The House will once again take up Paul Ryan's budget, likely an emergency response to all the lazy people in our inner cities depleting the Cheetos supply. President Obama's presidential library commission released its goals, and we couldn't be more excited for the Benghazi Truths Reading Room. And Russia poses an existential threat to half of the developed world and thousands of radar technicians and aeronautical engineers can't locate one airplane. But it's okay because Mercer beat Duke. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, March 21st, 2014:
HOUSE TO CONSIDER NEW RYAN BUDGET - Sabrina Siddiqui: "House Republicans will consider a revised budget resolution this year by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), according to a memo Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) sent to members on Friday. The announcement comes amid speculation over whether the GOP-controlled House would opt to forgo the politics of budget priorities ahead of 2014 midterm elections. Senate Democrats said last month they had no plans to pass a budget this year, pointing to the Murray-Ryan agreement that passed in December as sufficient for the time being. Cantor also told his members that Ryan's budget would adhere to the spending levels under the Murray-Ryan budget deal. That budget set annual spending levels on military and domestic discretionary programs at just over $1 trillion for fiscal 2014 and for fiscal 2015. "While the president’s budget blows past the spending limit previously agreed to, the House Republican budget, under the leadership of Chairman Paul Ryan, will adhere to the agreed upon spending limits and balance in ten years, as we did last year," Cantor wrote. There was little other news in the memo, in which Cantor also emphasized the need for U.S. leadership amid the crisis in Ukraine. The House passed an aid package earlier this month, although the Senate passed a bill of its own that will tee up a fight between both chambers over whether or not to increase the U.S. share at the International Monetary Fund."
Ted Cruz likes to say the "biggest lie in politics" is that Republicans are the party of the rich. You already knew better, but Glenn Kessler has gone to the trouble of explaining Cruz's wrongness in detail.
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SAYS UNEMPLOYMENT DEAL IS WORKABLE - U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez disagrees with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) that Senate legislation to reauthorizing unemployment insurance would be too difficult for states to implement. Boehner's claim had been prompted by a letter from the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, an advocacy group for state labor departments, which said agencies would have a hard time restoring benefits to the 2 million who've missed out since December. Not true, says Perez. "I am confident that there are workable solutions for all of the concerns raised by NASWA," Perez wrote in a Friday letter to Senate leaders. "The Department of Labor has consistently worked with states to implement these extensions in an effective, collaborative and prompt fashion, and will do so again."
A GOP aide wonders why it took the Labor Department two whole days to send this letter. "Is their rapid response team using carrier pigeons? Did a magnetic cassette get jammed in their Commodore 64?"
THE PRIVATE SECTOR WON'T FEED THE HUNGRY - Mike Konczal on the conservative idea that we don't need no government safety net: "It’s incorrect as a matter of history; it ignores the complex interaction between public and private social insurance that has always existed in the United States. It completely misses why the old system collapsed and why a new one was put in its place. It fails to understand how the Great Recession displayed the welfare state at its most necessary and that a voluntary system would have failed under the same circumstances. Most importantly, it points us in the wrong direction. The last 30 years have seen effort after effort to try and push the policy agenda away from the state’s capabilities and toward private mechanisms for mitigating the risks we face in the world. This effort is exhausted, and future endeavors will require a greater, not lesser, role for the public." [DemocracyJournal.org]
HUFFPOST'S RESIDENT ETHICIST WEIGHS IN - HuffPost Hill's professional ethicist, the Former Abramoff Lobbyist Pissed At Things, shares his thoughts on the second-ever enforcement action for violating the Lobbying Disclosure Act. The feds say lobbyist Alan Mauk, who represented Indian tribes and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, failed to fill out his forms and ignored warnings. "Why do all the scoundrels represent Indian tribes?" FALPAT asks. "Is it the fire water? It's too bad this is only a civil case because 'Mauk' is an awesome prison name." Thanks, FALPAT!
What's up with Matt Drudge's weird tweet about Obamacare?
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - "My Tailspin Into Brokeassdom": the title of the latest blog in our All Work, No Pay series, by Chi Sherman: "I hadn't been unemployed since I had lived with my parents, back when my biggest worry was coming up with $25 for my monthly phone bill. In 2009, however, I was on my own and not at all ready for the fallout that came with unemployment. It only took a few days for me to lose my mind.... By the time I picked up full-time employment in 2011, I was so fractured that it took months to think of myself as rescued and important again. After fewer than two years of full-time work, company restructuring landed me back at the unemployment office. Things were harder the second time around. I qualified for about $150 less per week than I had after the 2009 layoff, and felt that bite immediately. Before long, I had to close out my small-but-viable retirement accounts. I was perpetually behind on everything and thankful I had a forgiving landlord. I got a little too familiar with counting change to buy food and begging companies to wait just a few more days for a payment." [HuffPost]
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BLANCHE LINCOLN SELLING OUT IN A GLORIOUSLY BRAZEN FASHION - Looks like somebody's getting some table games comped. Roll Call: "The top Republican contributor has hired a former Democratic Senator to lobby for his casino company. The government consulting firm of former Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., the Lincoln Policy Group, has registered to lobby for the Las Vegas Sands Corp., whose business is described in the registration as an 'Upscale, integrated resort and casino operations.' Billionaire Sheldon Adelson is the chairman and chief executive officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. In the 2011-2012 election cycle, Adelson and his spouse contributed $100 million to various Republican committees, including $96,280,000 to Super PACs and $3,800,000 to Section 527 organizations. Former Sen. Blanche Lincoln will be the lobbyist along with Robert Holifield, the former staff director of the Senate Finance subcommittee on International Trade, and former staff director at the Senate Agriculture Committee. They will lobby on 'legislation that would reinstate the policy banning internet gambling (i.e. restore the Wire Act).'" [Roll Call]
PRESIDENT PEEVED MIDTERM VOTERS ARE SO DAMN WHITE AND OLD - Don't be surprised to see the president driving a voter van around Bushwick on November 4th. The Hill: "President Obama complained Thursday that Democrats “get clobbered” in midterm elections, blaming a “toxic” atmosphere in Washington for suppressing Democratic constituencies. 'The challenge is that our politics in Washington have become so toxic that people just lose faith,' Obama told a group of top Democratic donors gathered at the home of former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning. 'They say, ‘Y’know what, it doesn’t matter, I’m not that interested, I’m not gonna vote.’ And that’s especially true during the midterms.' Obama noted that young, female, black and Hispanic voters were more likely to vote in elections with a presidential contest. “Suddenly a more representative cross section of America gets out there, and we do pretty well in presidential elections,” Obama said. 'But in midterms, we get clobbered, either because we don’t think it’s important or because we get so discouraged about what’s happening in Washington that we think it’s not worth our while. And the reason today is so important, and the reason that I’m so appreciative for all of you being here is because we’re going to have to get over that. This is a top priority.'" [The Hill]
Candidate is old, rude television commercial notes: "Rep. Ralph M. Hall, R-Texas, is really old. And in case northeast Texas voters don’t know that already, a GOP super PAC wants to remind them. Now or Never PAC released an advertisement Thursday that featured disco music, a picture of President Jimmy Carter and a narrator declaring, 'Now he’s 90, the oldest member in Congress ever!' Hall is in a dogfight of a runoff against another Republican, attorney John Ratcliff, on May 27. Ratcliffe, who is not associated with the ad, denied in a recent interview with Roll Call that he was making Hall’s age an issue in the race. But he has alluded to the topic, running a biographical ad that used the word 'new' five times." [Roll Call]
AMERICA INCREASINGLY DIVIDED ALONG URBAN/RURAL LINES - The "you best go back from where you came [hocks a loogie into spitoon]" effect is truly profound. Journal: "Polling, consumer data and demographic profiles paint a picture of two Americas—not just with differing proclivities but different life experiences. People in cities are more likely to be tethered to a smartphone, buy a foreign-made car and read a fashion magazine. Those in small towns are more likely to go to church, own a gun, support the military and value community ties. In many ways, the split between red Republican regions and blue Democratic ones—and their opposing views about the role of government—is an extension of the cultural divide between rural Americans and those living in cities and suburbs. As Democrats have come to dominate U.S. cities, it is Republican strength in rural areas that allows the party to hold control of the House and remain competitive in presidential elections...The urban-rural divide has also grown in presidential contests. In 1992, Democrat Bill Clinton beat Republican George Bush in the 50 densest counties—the most urban in the country—by 25 percentage points. By 2012, Democrat Barack Obama's advantage in those urban counties had shot up to 38 points, according to a Journal analysis of Census and election data." [WSJ]
TEXAS AG AND GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE OVERSAW UNEQUAL PAY - San Antonio Express News: "Even as Texas grows increasingly diverse, Anglos continue to vastly outnumber minorities in key positions and earn more salary in the Texas attorney general's office. Anglo assistant attorneys general outnumber their minority counterparts by more than 3-1, an analysis by the San Antonio Express-News of payroll data from the attorney general's office shows. Additionally, they earn more than $5,500 more in base salary, on average, than do minority assistant attorneys general. Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor, has led the office more than 11 years. 'Salary decisions are based on each individual attorney's experience and qualifications — any assertion otherwise is baseless and irresponsible,' Lauren Bean, a spokeswoman for the AG's office, said in a statement. Additionally, she pointed out its assistant attorneys general workforce is more diverse than the overall composition of the state bar, which is 82 percent Anglo. The findings come as Abbott and his Democratic challenger, state Sen. Wendy Davis, spar over equal pay for women. The Abbott campaign referred questions to the attorney general's office. The Davis campaign did not provide comment. Abbott's campaign said Wednesday he would have vetoed a bill sponsored by Davis last session, which would have made it easier for women to sue their employers for wage discrimination." [San Antonio Express News]
'Salary decisions are based on each individual attorney's experience and qualifications,' is the best route to take as it doesn't at all bring you back to the question of why white people get paid more. Not at all.
Alaska is strange, part 491,201,881: "Alaska state Sen. Pete Kelly (R) is declaring war on fetal alcohol syndrome, and he's proposing to place state-funded pregnancy tests in bars and restaurants so that women can figure out if they're pregnant before drinking. But he also told the Anchorage Daily News this week that he opposes increased access to contraception, because birth control is only for women 'who don't want to act responsibly.'" [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a baby moose being freed.
OBAMA LIBRARY FOUNDATION UNVEILS GOALS - Applicants must provide a detail blueprint of the room where the illuminati will be able to worship over Hugo Chavez's bones. AP: "Want your city, university or nonprofit group to be chosen to host President Barack Obama's presidential library? Now's the time to get started. The foundation that will develop and choose the site for Obama's future library asked interested parties Thursday to submit their initial proposals. The "request for qualifications" offers the most detailed look to date at what the president and first lady Michelle Obama are seeking for what will be the permanent monument to their White House legacy. Illinois, New York and Hawaii are all expected to compete for Obama's library, which is anticipated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, attract a flurry of visitors and drive economic development in the surrounding community. Chicago and Honolulu have been working on their own proposals for years. Those and other communities will have until June 16 to submit details about their proposed sites, including current zoning rules, topographical surveys, tourism statistics and information about accessibility to transportation. Over the summer, the Barack Obama Foundation will score those proposals, then cull the list and invite selected groups to submit more formal, detailed applications." [HuffPost]
- Ultra slow-motion video of a dog drinking water. [http://bit.ly/1hOevOy]
- Penguins have hard time traversing a roadblock. [http://bit.ly/1r5WpxQ]
- This Twitter bot that generates new "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" lyrics wins the internet. [http://bit.ly/1nKdf6m]
- Baby wakes up to Bruno Mars. [http://huff.to/1jc2eZv]
- Behold the clearest infrared image of our galaxy every documented... and then go back to watching cat videos. [http://bit.ly/1jbVPxj]
- Here's a cat video. [http://bit.ly/1diMRMr]
@igorbobic: "Now, let me be clear," Obama to say to tech CEOs. "I won't rest until Flappy Bird is back on the app store."
@rejecter: Work your tragic.
@sabrinasidiqqui: @SabrinaSiddiqui: I thought Mercer was a consulting firm. #sport
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