A Capitol Hill couple is suing their neighbor for smoking cigarettes in his own home --between this and the Pour House closing, there is truly no place left to wallow. Michele Bachmann filmed a cameo for “Sharknado 3,” presumably to raise awareness of vaccines and their tendency to cause children to be gruesomely devoured by projectile apex predators. And lawmakers introduced a bill to ban taxpayer-funded first class travel for members of Congress, though whether our bulkhead amendment gets added on is unclear. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, March 11th, 2015:
CONGRESS COMES TOGETHER AND FINDS AWAY TO LEAVE TRAFFICKING VICTIMS IN THE LURCH - It's about time our government stood up to jerks who are treated as chattel and ignored their situation completely. Amanda Terkel: "Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told Republicans Wednesday morning that unless they remove an anti-abortion provision from a bill on human trafficking, the popular legislation is doomed...The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), would establish a fund to help victims by using fees charged to traffickers. The bill, a new version of a measure originally introduced in the previous Congress, has bipartisan support and unanimously passed out of the Judiciary Committee last month. But Democrats learned this week that the bill contains Hyde Amendment language -- a recurring rider that often gets attached to other legislation, and that restricts federal funding for abortion and other health care services. Republicans argue that the rider has been in there all along, and that senators should have read the bill. Democrats counter that when Cornyn introduced the current version of the bill, he did not make clear all of the ways in which it differed from the earlier version." [HuffPost]
Republicans are putting out their budgets next week. If they're serious about hitting a balance in 10 years, they're going to have to do some insane slashing, David Rogers reports.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Scott Walker likes to brag about the job openings listed on JobCenterOfWisconsin.com, but there's more than just jobs -- there is also advice. The site's Twitter feed is always linking to tips for jobseekers, such as: don't be sweaty. Don't admit that you haven't lined up childcare. And don't stop frantically searching for work even if somebody has offered you a job. You can relax when you're dead, because there are jobs to be had! [JobCenterOfWisconsin.com]
Awkward video of a union audience's eerie silence in response to what are supposed to be Ted Cruz's big applause lines.
DOUBLE DOWNER - Roughly 60,000 veterans will be cut from food stamps next year absent policy changes at the federal level, a liberal think tank warned Tuesday. The vets represent a small share of the million Americans the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities expects to be kicked off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program next year. The caseload cutback will occur as states re-impose a three-month time limit for recipients who are able-bodied, working-age adults without dependents." [HuffPost]
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KERRY TAKES AIM AT GOP IRAN LETTER - Mike McAuliff: "Kerry, testifying before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Wednesday, said he viewed the senators' letter as a shocking, unprecedented attempt to circumvent the nation's commander in chief. 'My reaction to the letter was utter disbelief,' Kerry said when asked about it by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). 'You write to the leaders in the middle of a negotiation -- particularly the leaders that they have criticized other people for even engaging with or writing to -- to write then and suggest they were going to give a constitutional lesson, which by the way was absolutely incorrect, is quite stunning,' he went on. Kerry noted that presidents often do create binding agreements with foreign governments on all manner of issues without congressional approval. 'This letter ignores more than two centuries of precedent in the conduct of American foreign policy,' said Kerry, adding that the suggestion that lawmakers would be willing to undo any presidential agreements 'risks undermining the confidence that foreign governments in thousands of important agreements commit to between the United States and other countries.'" [HuffPost]
PAUL RYAN SUED OVER CAR ACCIDENT - With hard work and determination, even the poorest of individuals can avoid being hit by cars. That's the American dream. We mustn't get in its way. Legal Times: "U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and his chief of staff, Kevin Seifert, face a $100,000 lawsuit over a car accident Seifert was involved in while driving Ryan’s car last year. The U.S. Department of Justice argues that Ryan and Seifert are immune against claims related to the accident and is asking for dismissal of the case. Ryan was not in the car at the time of the accident but owned the vehicle. The Justice Department acknowledged Seifert was involved in the February 2014 accident, which occurred on I-395 in Washington. In papers filed on Tuesday asking for dismissal of the case, the government said Seifert and Ryan were shielded by sovereign immunity. Seifert was 'acting within the scope of his employment' at the time of the accident, the DOJ said." [Legal Times]
LAWMAKERS INTRODUCE BILL PROHIBITING TAXPAYER-FUNDED FIRST CLASS TRAVEL - Anyone who has ever flown out of D.C. on a Thursday or, dare we say, Friday knows that this will not take easily. Hot towelettes are central to constituent outreach. The Hill: "Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Fla.) introduced legislation Tuesday that would prevent members of Congress from using taxpayer funds on first-class plane tickets. The bill would also ban lawmakers from using government funds for long-term car leases for personal use. 'It's a commonsense idea that Republicans and Democrats can both agree on: members of Congress shouldn't be able to charge taxpayers for first-class airfare or long-term personal car leases,' said Graham, who will likely be one of the most vulnerable House Democrats in the next election cycle. A statement from Graham's office said the bill is the first of multiple 'anti-perk bills' to curb luxuries for members of Congress. Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa) is currently listed as the bill's only cosponsor." [The Hill]
One of the Hill's most popular perks is lame grandstanding.
HERE'S SOME 2020 SPECULATION BECAUSE WE HATE YOU - This is really going to force Malia Obama to recalibrate her path to the 2040 nomination. "It may seem like every Republican is gearing up to run for president next year, but one GOP senator’s supporters are actually clearing a path for him to run in 2020. This week, state legislators in Arkansas are considering a bill that would allow candidates to seek multiple federal offices in the same election. The lawmaker proposing the legislation, state Sen. Bart Hester (R), said it is being written with a potential beneficiary in mind: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). 'Tom Cotton would be my current idea of someone who should be afforded this opportunity,' Hester said, according to the Associated Press. 'Politics, if I've learned anything, it changes every day and there could be the great next hope show up tomorrow. But I don't think it's reasonable to say I wouldn't be looking at Tom Cotton to have that opportunity.' Cotton hasn't said whether he supports the effort to change the current law, according to Hester. A spokesperson for the senator did not immediately return a request for comment." [HuffPost]
MICHELE BACHMANN MAKES CAMEO IN 'SHARKNADO 3' - But will it compare to Steve King's oft-forgotten cameo in the "Evil Dead" franchise? The profundity of his performance as the buzzsaw-town crier hybrid will stick with you. Igor Bobic: "A star has been born. Former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) on Tuesday starred in a cameo for 'Sharknado 3,' the cult-classic fantasy movie series featuring vicious, airborne sharks riding deadly tornadoes from the sea. The 2012 Republican presidential candidate was spotted with a film crew outside the White House, presumably before the disaster hits Washington, D.C. 'I believe they are growing in size. Congress has to take this seriously because sharknado is a real phenomenon,' Bachmann said in a scene, before excusing herself for a vote on the Hill a couple of miles away...After several takes, which were filmed among a gathering of tourists on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Bachmann's first -- though we certainly hope not last -- movie role came to an end. 'That is a picture wrap on Michele Bachmann!' the director yelled, as a few cheers went up in the crowd.'" [HuffPost]
On that note: "Just over a week after the watery Syfy sequel was hit by labor action, IATSE has taken its bark and bite to the nation’s capital. Shooting on Sharknado 3 in front of the White House this morning was interrupted by picketers. All the IATSE members on the Asylum produced shoot walked off the job, the union says." [Deadline]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a dog getting a checkup from a toddler.
EFFING YUPPIES - This is the sort of thing that starts off as a contentious comment thread on Prince of Petworth and ends with body bags. Washingtonian: "DC has been gripped this week by the suit filed by lawyers Brendan and Nessa Coppinger, who claim that their neighbor, Edwin Gray, is harming them and their children with cigarette smoke that seeps between their Fifth Street, Northeast, rowhouses. The Coppingers, according to the Post, moved into their place last September; Gray’s family has been in their house for half a century. But when conversations about the smoking failed, the Coppingers sued Gray in DC Superior Court for $500,000 in damages. The case became news last week when a judge issued a temporary order prohibiting Gray and his family from smoking anything." [Washingtonian]
- "Dinosaurs" meets Biggie Smalls.
- The 2015 Minnesota high school hockey hair-off
- This is what a snowboarding 1620 looks like.
@JohnDingell: If you serve in the United States Congress and "don't use email," you're doing it wrong.
@ClaraJeffery: There are an awful lot of people employed to write press releases with near zero chance of pickup. Still.
@sethdmichaels: BOB LOBLAW LOBS NOM BOMB rRT @SimonMaloy congratulations Mr. President
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