POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Can You Even Whip Votes, Bro?

06/12/2014 06:07 pm ET | Updated Jun 12, 2014

Immigration reform appears to be dead, meaning it has supplanted the Silver Line, streetcars and a Redskins Super Bowl as Washington’s biggest unicorn. Dave Brat didn’t attend Princeton University as many had assumed, though whether he listed himself as part-Cherokee is unclear. And President Obama moved to extend a minimum wage hike to federal workers, so Republican horror stories of postal employees reclining in chaise lounges besides horns-o’-plenty can’t be far off. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, June 12th, 2014:

HOUSE GOP PASSES DEFICIT-RAISING TAX BREAKS - First the conference loses its only Jewish guy, now this. Banner week for America's fiscally responsible pro-Israel party. Mike McAuilff: "The word 'certainty' trumped the word 'deficit' Thursday as the House of Representatives passed the next two tax breaks in a series that would add $614 billion to the nation’s debt over the next decade. The two measures, designed to help small businesses, are broadly popular and have been extended on a temporary basis for years. But the Republican-backed measures aim to make them permanent, at a cost of some $75 billion, according to Congress’ nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. A bill that would allow firms to take immediate deductions on investments accounts for most of the cost. Democrats objected, noting that their GOP colleagues on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee had only recently proposed a broad tax reform plan that would have kept the two breaks and other popular exceptions without adding to the deficit. The reform would have closed other loopholes to pay for the costs. But with tax reform going nowhere, Republicans jettisoned the idea of fiscal discipline Thursday and voted to make the breaks permanent, with no way to pay for them. They spurned Democratic suggestions that the House take up a proposal by the Senate for another short-term extension of the two cuts, costing just $3.4 billion, to buy time to do tax reform." [HuffPost]

Sander Levin, throwing down on the floor: "The bill before us today is seven times more expensive than the cost of extending federal unemployment insurance for the remainder of the year – and I should note that we have already agreed to offset the cost of such an extension."

HILLARY CLINTON STRUGGLES WITH SIMPLE QUESTION - Ashley Alman: "Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton engaged in an awkward exchange with NPR's Terry Gross on Thursday when the radio host pushed her on her evolving stance on gay marriage. When Clinton ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, she, like then-candidate Barack Obama, opposed gay marriage. Since then, both Clinton and Obama have both publicly switched their stance on the issue. Gross attempted to clarify whether Clinton's initial opposition was a 'political calculation.' During their conversation, Clinton responded vaguely to Gross' attempts to clarify whether the likely 2016 candidate's position on gay marriage changed at any point, making general points like 'just because you’re a politician doesn’t mean you’re not a thinking human being,' and 'I think I’m an American, I think that we have all evolved.'" [HuffPost]

BERGDAHL HEADED TO U.S. - Given official reprimand for leaving post: 3:1; Sits down for extended interview with Brian Williams: 6:1; Gets really into Ron Paul ReLoveution and becomes Reason contributor: 10:1; Appears on "Dancing With The Stars": 1:1. AP: "Bowe Bergdahl, the Army sergeant who has been recuperating in Germany after being released from five years of Taliban captivity, is scheduled to arrive at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas on Friday, a defense official said. The official, who spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because the plan has not been publicly announced, declined to provide details. Officials had previously said the intention was for Bergdahl to be reunited with his family at Brooke and to spend an undetermined period there in further recuperation. Officials have kept a lid on details of Bergdahl's condition and his travel plans out of concern that he not be rushed back into the public spotlight after a lengthy period in captivity and amid a public uproar over the circumstances of his capture and release. Bergdahl was released from Taliban captivity on May 31 and has been at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany since June 1...Bergdahl has not made any public comment since his release, and Pentagon officials say there is no timeline for arranging his initial contact with the news media." [AP]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Steve Crabtree on the misery of long-term unemployment: "The longer that Americans are unemployed, the more likely they are to report signs of poor psychological well-being. About one in five Americans who have been unemployed for a year or more say they currently have or are being treated for depression -- almost double the rate among those who have been unemployed for five weeks or less." [Gallup]

DOWNER FLASHBACK - The link between suicide and the economy.

TRIPLE DOWNER - In honor of the World Cup check out Arthur's flopping skills.

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TEA PARTY LAWMAKERS UPSET WITH TIMING OF MAJORITY LEADER ELECTION - Not unlike an infinite number of monkeys having an infinite amount of time to write Shakespeare, the Tea Party Caucus could probably form an effective and unified campaign for leadership if given until the sun swells up and swallows the inner Solar System whole. Grim and Jen Bendery: "House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) set June 19 as the date for electing a successor for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who lost his primary race in a stunning upset on Tuesday night. Boehner announced the election date on Wednesday afternoon, right around the time that Cantor announced he would step down from his post July 31. But that was hours after two top Republicans had quietly begun building support in their bids for majority leader. A handful of other Republicans also launched bids for majority whip, another slot that may open up. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Thursday that snap elections are unfair because they 'stack the decks,' and said Boehner owes conservatives a chance to coalesce around a candidate opposed to any form of immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. King and like minded members view such a pathway as granting 'amnesty.'...To be sure, both candidates currently in the running for majority leader -- House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) -- identify as conservative Republicans. Sessions' campaign is built entirely around his track record as a conservative and his focus on tightening border security.But King said Sessions raised red flags last year when he made remarks in supportof a Senate immigration reform bill that included a pathway to citizenship." [HuffPost]

Cantor's chief of staff will make sure everyone who wants one scores a lobbyist job: "We’re not going to rest until everybody on this team has found a good place to land," he said, according to Roll Call.

BOEHNER: CANTOR OR NOT, IMMIGRATION REFORM IS KINDA SCREWED - Elise Foley: "House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) didn't do much on Thursday to dispel the notion that immigration reform is dead -- he just disputed the idea that what killed it was House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's (R-Va.) primary loss. 'The issue of immigration reform has not changed,' Boehner said emphatically at a press conference. 'The president continues to ignore laws that he signed into law, violating his oath of office. ... The president is going to have to demonstrate that he can be trusted to implement a law the way it was passed.' ... Boehner has been saying for months he would like to address immigration reform, but Republicans fear that if they passed a law, President Barack Obama would ignore the parts of it he disliked. The speaker suggested the situation was exacerbated by the recent trade of five Taliban militants for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was being held in captivity in Afghanistan. The administration made the trade without notifying Congress." [HuffPost]

DAVE BRAT DID NOT GO TO PRINCETON - But has he met with kings and queens daily? WaPo: "Economics professor and political giant killer David Brat appears to have done a little biographical inflation on his campaign website. One of his 'About Dave' selling points: 'that he tested his rural values against the intellectual elite while at Princeton.' But Brat never attended Princeton University, home to just the type of elites – we’re looking at you, Paul Krugman – some conservatives love to bash. 'We have no record under that name,' said Princeton University spokesman Martin Mbugua. Alas, Brat’s full 17-page CV lays out the facts: His Master of Divinity, Brat writes, came from Princeton Theological Seminary – a well-regarded institution, but far from the hotbed of Krugman-like liberal excess some conservatives may have imagined. Mbugua said people occasionally 'make an association between the institutions here in Princeton, an incorrect association.' The two independent institutions simply 'happen to be in the same town,' Mbugua said." [WaPo]

BOEING SHAREHOLDERS REALLY MUST HATE DAVE BRAT - After reading this, one can only imagine how the financial sector would tank if Chuck Schumer were to retire. Daily Signal: "Boeing, the biggest beneficiary of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, watched its stock drop by the biggest margin in months following House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary election defeat Tuesday. A federal agency that subsidizes American exports, the Export-Import Bank regularly subsidizes Boeing’s foreign sales. Just last month, Boeing announced the bank would underwrite $10 billion in new business for the aviation giant. Cantor, who brokered a deal for the Export-Import Bank’s reauthorization two years ago, had been non-committal about renewing the bank’s charter in advance of the Sept. 30 deadline for Congress. Chris Krueger, a senior analyst for Guggenheim Securities LLC, called Boing the 'biggest loser' following Cantor’s primary election defeat Tuesday, according to Bloomberg News." [Daily Signal]

WHITE HOUSE ADVANCES MINIMUM WAGE RULES - Dave Jamieson: "As part of the president's pledge to act with or without the cooperation of Congress, the White House and Labor Department on Thursday released the details of a new rule guaranteeing workers under federal contracts a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour...The proposal is expected to raise the wages of hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers employed in government buildings and on federal lands throughout the country. Though still subject to a public comment period, officials said Thursday that the rule will apply to new and renewed federal contracts starting in January 2015.... Obama and Democrats in the House and Senate have proposed raising it to $10.10 per hour and tying it to an inflation index. House Republicans, however, have showed no signs of giving the proposal a vote, while Democrats in the Senate still appear short of a filibuster-proof majority on their bill...Cecilia Munoz, director of the White House's domestic policy council, said the executive order would raise wages on military bases, national park lands and in veterans nursing homes, among other places. The minimum wage will apply to workers throughout the subcontracting chain, whether or not their direct employers hold the federal contract." [HuffPost]

A non-symbolic, "Orange is the New Black" related win for transgendered Americans: "A transgender woman clinched the Republican nomination to represent a Nevada Assembly seat in a race that could have national implications. Lauren Scott, the executive director of Equality Nevada, won 58 percent of the vote Tuesday in the state Assembly's 30th District. If Scott wins in November, she could be the nation's first openly transgender state legislator, though another transgender woman, Dana Beyer, is running in Maryland's Democratic primary for a state Senate seat and so could also win that distinction." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a dressage cat.

SENATORS TARGET GEORGE WILL OVER SEXUAL ASSAULT COMMENTS - As far as opinion columnists go, George Will is to sexual assault what... well... George Will is to most other things. Laura Bassett: "A group of Democratic senators penned a scathing letter to conservative Washington Post columnist George Will on Thursday, sharply rebuking Will for casting doubt on the prevalence of campus sexual assault in his June 6 column. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and three of his Democratic colleagues, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) and Robert Casey (Pa.), said they read Will's controversial sexual assault column 'with dismay.' 'Your thesis and statistics fly in the face of everything we know about this issue,' the senators wrote. 'More egregiously, you trivialize the scourge of sexual assault, putting the phrase in scare quotes and treating this crime as a socially acceptable phenomenon. It is in fact a spreading epidemic, and you legitimize the myths that victims and victim advocates have worked tirelessly for decades to combat.' Will's column, 'Colleges become the victims of progressivism,' says that the number of college students claiming to have been raped is 'proliferat[ing]' because progressives made victimhood seem like a 'coveted status that confers privileges.' He puts the terms 'sexual assault' and 'survivors' in quotes and says the commonly cited statistic that 1 in 5 college women is sexually assaulted before she graduates is 'preposterous.'" [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Illustrations from the margins of two of John Lennon's books. [http://thebea.st/SDINfW]

- Tourist casually stops a charging elephant, which we're pretty sure makes him the Buddha. [http://bit.ly/1qBDoSw]

- And here's a woman singing a elephant to sleep. [http://bit.ly/1irzneo]

- A New Orleans jazz-style cover of the "Game of Thrones" theme. [http://bit.ly/1hS2P2o]

- There will be a character in the next "Game of Thrones" book named "David Goldblatt." Yep. [http://abcn.ws/1lo9JLY]

- World's oldest cat, Poppy, is dead at 24. RIP, Poppy. [http://bit.ly/1q8yL4S]

- Ten things that are just as likely to happen as England winning the World Cup. [http://bit.ly/1hS401L]

- A collection of trick shots in honor of the top of the World Cup. [http://bit.ly/1lRcYbf]

TWITTERAMA

@robwishman: @icpchad i am literally on my way to take your guns RT @icpchad: I'll type it slowly, again: You will not take my guns because of what someone else does with theirs. Ever.

@logandobson: A radio talk show, hosted by a recently displaced House Majority leader and featuring straight talk. Eric Candor.

@pourmecoffee: If you suffer from Sudden Onset Soccer Expertise, ask your doctor if shutting up about it is right for you.

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