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Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp will retire, meaning his tax reform plan that decreases the number of brackets and introduces an earned income surtax may be history's wonkiest mic drop. George Washington University will offer a master's in lobbying, though why someone would pay $100,000 to learn how to write checks, say "unintended consequences" and take lunches at Equinox is beyond us. And today is last call for Obamacare enrollment. As the old saying goes: You don't have to go home, but you can't keel over and die here. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, March 31st, 2014:
HIDE YO S-CHIP, HIDE YO WIC: RYAN BUDGET POPPING TOMORROW - U.S. Representative Paul Ryan on Tuesday plans to unveil a 10-year balanced budget plan that seeks to bolster Republicans' campaign credentials as the party of fiscal prudence but also leaves them open to fresh attacks over deep cuts to social programs. The House Budget Committee, which Ryan chairs, said in a statement that it has scheduled a vote on a budget resolution on Wednesday. Under House rules, the document must be made public at least 24 hours before it can be considered by a committee. Ryan has revealed no details of his plan, but Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have said it would achieve balance within 10 years, as Ryan's budget plan proposed last year. It is widely expected to contain many elements of his past budgets, including deep cuts to social safety net programs such as Medicaid health care for the poor and food stamps." [Reuters]
DAVE CAMP HAS BETTER THINGS TO DO - Ways and Means boss Dave Camp announced today he's peacing out after this Congress. "This decision was reached after much consideration and discussion with my family," Camp said on his website. "During the next nine months, I will redouble my efforts to grow our economy and expand opportunity for every American by fixing our broken tax code, permanently solving physician payments for seniors, strengthening the social safety net and finding new markets for U.S. goods and services." Camp released an ambitious tax reform plan this year but it was apparently too hot for Republicans to touch ahead of the midterms. Camp announced in 2012 that he'd beaten cancer. [Camp.house.gov]
@edatpost: With Camp's retirement, four House Republican committee chairmen -- not all of them term-limited -- planning to step down after this year.
PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST WONDERS WHERE THE INTEGRITY IS - HuffPost Hill's resident Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, who dropped off the grid after seeing what he thought was a recording device in an oyster at Johnny's Half Shell, resumed contact with an email about Obama administration officials bailing to K Street. "I'm not as self-loathing these days," PSLGOPL writes, referencing a Bloomberg article about all the White House defections to lobbying firms. "These guys make me feel better about myself." Thanks, PSLGOPL!
@ksieff: Number of US troops who died in combat over the last month: 0. First time in years that can be said.
HUFFPOST HILL ENDORSES TOMMY WELLS FOR MAYOR BECAUSE HE SAID SOME COMPELLING THINGS AND BOTHERED TO VISIT US - That said, we were genuinely impressed with his leadership on decriminalizing marijuana, his familiarity with the city's government and the need for a good bakery for stoned people to frequent. We were encouraged by Wells' attempts to dismantle the D.C. government's pervasive pay-to-play culture, an effort that includes opposition to corporate contributions and the incredibly shady Constituent Service Funds. Don't forget to vote tomorrow!
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Why Trisha Lovetrove lies to the food pantry: I admit it. It's true. I lie to the people running the food pantry. But before you get out your pitchforks and righteous indignation, before you diatribe about me 'abusing the system' or taking advantage, please let me explain. I'm not lying about needing the food. I'm not lying about my family size to get more in the bags. I'm not hiding income so that it appears I'm destitute. My lie concerns the little check boxes at the bottom of the form I fill out each time: Reason for need (check one):
Temporary loss of employment.
If you notice, all of these are pretty much 'reasons why you aren't working.' Maybe that's just the impression I get, but there is no check box for "barely making it even though we're working." [HuffPost]
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OBAMACARE ENROLLMENTS SURGE AS DEADLINE LOOMS - Jeff Young: "On the last day to sign up for Obamacare, evidence appears to be mounting that what started as a disaster may turn out a success. Monday is the deadline to enroll in health insurance for 2014 via the health insurance exchanges created by President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, and it's clear that many waited until the last minute. The looming deadline and fear of the penalty for not getting covered has driven millions of people to the exchange websites, enrollment events and health insurance companies over the past few days. The final rush could push the total number of private insurance enrollments well past the 6 million figure touted by the Obama administration last week. Obamacare sign-ups may wind up closer to the 7 million originally predicted for the first year. 'It's kind of the lead-up to Christmas right now, and all the last-minute shoppers are out,' said Brian Lobley, senior vice president for marketing and consumer business at Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia. The company, which serves the city and its surrounding suburbs, signed up 28,000 customers in less than three weeks in March. It signed up 90,000 in the five months prior." [HuffPost]
Healthcare.gov crashed, because of course. If government websites were the cast of "Parks and Recreation," Healthcare.gov would be Jerry.
Social media giveth and social media taketh
away your ill-conceived Obamacare attack and obliterates it: "Back on March 24, [Ted] Cruz posted an informal survey on his verified senatorial Facebook page. It read: 'Quick poll: Obamacare was signed into law four years ago yesterday. Are you better off now than you were then? Comment with YES or NO!' It's probably fair to say that he didn't expect the tsunami of 'YES' votes that have shown up on the page among the 47,000 that Facebook says have been posted. Respondents have listed, among other things, their newfound ability to obtain coverage despite preexisting medical conditions, the right of young adults to stay on their parents' policies to age 26, lower premiums and the end of lifetime benefit limits. Some posted impolite remarks about Cruz's personality or political positions. And some -- rather tactlessly, we thought -- observed that Cruz himself isn't subject to Obamacare. He gets his coverage through Goldman Sachs, where his wife is an executive. But the general tenor of remarks is that the Affordable Care Act is a good thing, that Cruz should get out of its way already and that, if anything, he should be working to improve it, not overturn it." [LA Times]
This is precisely why Louis C.K. should be the face of immigration reform: "U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said Monday that the Obama administration has Zach Galifianakis to thank for a "bump" in Obamacare enrollment... When asked about unconventional methods such as President Barack Obama's appearance on Galifianakis' webshow 'Between Two Ferns,' Sebelius said that they 'definitely saw the Galifianakis bump.' "The website traffic surged once the 'Between Two Ferns' interview went on," Sebelius said. 'But more importantly, what we're trying to do is reach people in the language that they most understand. Certainly Zach reaches a certain audience.'" [HuffPost's Natasha Bach]
If you haven't watched Ronan Farrow's daily handoff to Joy Reid, you should check out this fabulously awkward mashup.
GOP BENGHAZILY BENGHAZING THE BENGHAZI - Benghazi. TPM: "A trio of Republican senators is pushing for a special committee to investigate the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead. 'We are once again calling for the appointment of a Joint Select Committee to investigate the terrorist attacks on our compounds in Benghazi,' said Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John McCain (R-AZ) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) in a statement Monday. 'It is imperative that we learn everything that happened before, during and after the attacks. A Joint Select Committee should be established.' The push comes as House Democrats are demanding that House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) give up his year-and-a-half long probe into purported Obama administration mischief over the attack. Democrats accuse Issa of pursuing a witch hunt aimed at tarnishing the president and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ahead of a possible 2016 presidential run. To date, there isn't evidence to implicate Clinton or senior White House officials in wrongdoing." [TPM]
SCHATZ THROUGH THE HEART: PRESIDENT ENDORSES HAWAII SENATOR - The Big Choom weighs in. Jen Bendery: "President Barack Obama [endorsed] Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) over his challenger, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii), in the state's competitive Senate Democratic primary...Obama's support will go a long way for Schatz, given the president's personal connections to Hawaii, where he was born and where he often visits during holidays. Hawaii gave Obama some of his highest approval ratings nationwide in 2013. Hanabusa has been after Schatz's seat from the moment he took office in December 2012, when Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) appointed Schatz to fill out the late-Sen. Daniel Inouye's term until the 2014 special election. Inouye, who held the Senate seat for nearly 50 years, requested from his deathbed that Hanabusa replace him. But Abercrombie ignored his pick and instead went with Schatz, his lieutenant governor at the time...Schatz was an early Obama supporter during his presidential run in 2008. Hanabusa, meanwhile, sided with Inouye in backing Hillary Clinton. A February poll shows Schatz and Hanabusa in a dead heat. Hawaii's primary election is Aug. 9." [HuffPost]
@jbendery: And... now Harry Reid endorses Brian Schatz. "I endorse him wholeheartedly and support President Obama’s decision to do the same."
To be fair, Sioux Falls does sound pretty French: "In a 60-second, introductory Senate campaign ad released last week, former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds touts his state’s economy and quality of life — but it’s unclear if any of the people featured in the Republican’s ad are actually from the Mount Rushmore State...But each of the photos in the ad are available for purchase on stock photo sites like Getty and Shutterstock. That includes, in order of appearance, the roofer, the father and son fishing, the three people at the meeting, the playful family, the guy checking the boxes, the woman at the meeting, and the father and son washing their car. At least one was definitely not photographed in South Dakota. The 'woman at the meeting' photo was taken at the Getty Images office in Paris, the England-based photographer who shot it confirmed in an email to CQ-Roll Call." [Roll Call]
EARLY VOTING TURNOUT LOW IN D.C. - So that "Georgetown Cuddler" write-in you cast while drunk might actually have an impact. WaPo: "Despite predictions that more District residents would vote early for mayor, the opposite has turned out to be true — a sign of potentially historic low turnout and a reason for new uncertainty in Tuesday’s already fluid Democratic primary. Just over 14,000 voters cast ballots during a two-week early voting period that ended Saturday evening. Four years ago, more than 22,000 voted before primary day, and the precipitous drop occurred despite several additional early voting locations opening this year. Candidates readily blamed a new campaign schedule — previous mayoral primaries have come in early September — and a spate of bad campaign-season weather that included frigid temperatures, snowfall that affected two days of early voting, and, on Saturday and Sunday, drenching rainfall that dampened candidates’ last-minute efforts to connect with voters." [WaPo]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a hedgehog bowling ball.
GW OFFERING MASTERS IN LOBBYING - At least with public policy MAs and JDs you could pretend you weren't going to sell out. Politico: "A new Master’s degree program at The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Managementwill focus on preparing students for careers in global governance and policy influence. The 39-credit Advocacy in the Global Environment degree is designed to meet today’s global emphasis among corporations, organizations and associations. It will be offered both on campus and online and includes a weeklong study abroad in key international cities. Graduates will learn to lobby before legislatures of foreign countries, create advocacy plans for multinational corporations, non-profits and NGOs and advise clients on regulatory and policy changes for a foreign country or region." [Politico]
- A 15-year-old discussing his Olympic ambitions... and learning to drive. [http://bit.ly/1iSGE97]
- A timelapse of the new "Tonight Show" set being built. [http://bit.ly/QziEPf]
- A mashup of action heroes suiting up and locking and loading. [http://bit.ly/1hV47TI]
- @CrapTaxidermy is the creepiest Twitter account we've encountered in some time. [http://bzfd.it/1gThlp2]
- What happens when liquid freezes and boils nearly simultaneously. [http://bit.ly/1gHX30s]
- Show the proletariat you're a friend of the working man with this gold Ferrari. [http://bzfd.it/1dHDVAp]
@EvanMcSan: upcoming buzzfeed list: the 7 members of congress not retiring this year
@samsteinhp: Reid endorses Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz, Schatz.
@indecision: Obamacare hits record high of 49% support. Only in politics is that a good number. "Remember that rash? Well, it's 49% cleared up."
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