POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Obamacare Probably Doomed This Time

03/18/2015 05:40 pm ET | Updated Mar 18, 2015

"We must do all that we can to stop President Obama's lawlessness," Bob Goodlatte said today, likely a reference to when Obama and the Hole in the Wall Gang stole a bunch of cattle from Farmer Kinney’s ranch. Ted Cruz wants to allow LGBT discrimination in D.C. to continue, suggesting there are people in D.C. who aren’t gay. And a staffer for Amy Klobuchar knew weeks ago about an anti-abortion provision in the Senate’s human trafficking bill. The news angered both Republicans, who have been battling Democrats over the legislation, and Democrats, who were shocked to learn they have to pay attention while in the minority. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, March 18th, 2015:

GOP TRYING TO GUT OBAMACARE WITH RECONCILIATION - What about stealing America's nuclear launch codes and destroying the country in a blaze of radioactive hellfire? That would more or less remove Obamacare. Politico "Senate Republicans want to use a powerful budget maneuver known as reconciliation to go after President Barack Obama’s health care law -- particularly if the Supreme Court strikes down key provisions of Obamacare this June. Using the fast-tracking procedure offers some advantage for Republicans, largely because a reconciliation package can’t be filibustered… But it’s not going to be easy. First, House and Senate Republicans need to agree on a budget resolution, which could be difficult with fiscal conservatives calling for spending cuts but defense hawks looking for more money for the Pentagon. And, of course, President Barack Obama could veto any reconciliation bill that reaches his desk. Still, Republicans are hoping the procedural maneuver will get them closer, at least symbolically, to gutting the president’s signature health care law. The plans were included in a budget blueprint rolled out Wednesday by the Senate Budget Committee -- a governing document that calls for balancing the budget within a decade, extracting hundreds of billions in savings from Medicare and turning over more responsibility to the states to run Medicaid, reducing costs even further." [Politico]

Scott Walker caved to Iowa Republicans and fired Liz Mair, prompting Tim Carney and others to observe that Walker is an Iowa-pandering wimp.

DEMOCRATIC AIDE KNEW OF ABORTION PROVISION - Guess it wasn't such a *hide amendment* issue after all. David Espo and Erica Werner: "Senate Democrats blocked debate on stalled human trafficking legislation for a second day Wednesday as a Democratic senator's office belatedly conceded that a staff aide knew weeks ago that the measure included a controversial abortion-related provision. Democrats have said for more than a week that their side of the aisle was not aware of the provision until a few days ago, nearly two months after the legislation was made public and long after a bipartisan vote in the Judiciary Committee on Feb. 24." [Associated Press]

Watch Rick Santorum wait patiently for a crazy lady to quit screaming so he can agree with her.

CRUZ GOING AFTER D.C. ABORTION, LGBT LAWS - Roll Call: "Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and James Lankford of Oklahoma introduced resolutions of disapproval Wednesday to strike down two D.C. bills they say violate religious freedom. The resolutions target the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act and the Human Rights Amendment Act, which the D.C. government approved in January…The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act seeks to prohibit employer discrimination based on reproductive health decisions. The D.C. Council unanimously approved a resolution on March 3 clarifying the act would not require employers to pay for insurance that covers reproductive health decisions, such as abortions. But conservatives argue the clarification does not go far enough, and employers would still be forced to act contrary to their religious beliefs. The second D.C. measure, the Human Rights Amendment Act, is actually an attempt to undo a 1989 congressional amendment known as the Nation’s Capital Religious Liberty and Academic Freedom Act, which allowed religious educational institutions to 'deny, restrict, abridge, or condition' funds, school facilities and services from gay groups." [Roll Call]

SCRAP THE CAP! As congressional Republicans push a wish-list budget that would dramatically cut government safety net programs, their Democratic counterparts are jumping on a bill to expand Social Security benefits and shore up the program's finances. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, endorsed the legislation at a press conference Tuesday. "You don't save Social Security by cutting Social Security," said Van Hollen, who previously endorsed a proposal that would trim Social Security benefits and is currently campaigning for a Senate seat in Maryland. [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Amazing report by San Francisco area TV station KCBS: "Saint Mary’s Cathedral, the principal church of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, has installed a watering system to keep the homeless from sleeping in the cathedral’s doorways. The cathedral, at Geary and Gough, is the home church of the Archbishop. There are four tall side doors, with sheltered alcoves, that attract homeless people at night…. Water pours from a hole in the ceiling, about 30 feet above, drenching the alcove and anyone in it. The shower ran for about 75 seconds, every 30 to 60 minutes while we were there, starting before sunset, simultaneously in all four doorways. KCBS witnessed it soak homeless people, and their belongings….A cathedral staff member confirmed to KCBS the system was installed, perhaps a year ago, to deter the homeless from sleeping there." [KCBS]

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REPUBLICAN BUDGET WILL GIVE YOU THE SNIFFLES - Jonathan Cohn: "Worried about the number of Americans who still don’t have health insurance? If House Republican leaders get their way, the number will be much bigger -- maybe even twice as big. That may sound ridiculous. But health care analysts tell The Huffington Post that it’s a fair interpretation of the proposed 2016 budget that Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), the chairman of the House Budget Committee, released on Tuesday. Price's document includes two familiar ideas for transforming major government health care programs: repealing the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, and transforming Medicaid into a 'block grant' program…And Obamacare repeal is only the first way in which Price’s health care agenda would increase the number of uninsured. Turning Medicaid into a block grant, as the House budget seeks to do, would mean ending the program’s current guarantee: that, as more people fall into the program’s eligibility guidelines, the federal government will provide more money. Under a block grant scheme, by contrast, the federal government would start giving states fixed sums of money with which to administer the program. Given the funding levels Price’s budget appears to set, the money almost certainly wouldn’t keep up with demand for the program. " [HuffPost]

GOP LEADERS FILE AMICUS BRIEF AGAINST PRESIDENTIAL IMMIGRATION ORDER - Presumably "We must do all that we can to stop President Obama's lawlessness" was not included in the brief. Elise Foley "A group of Republican lawmakers are urging an appeals court not to let the Obama administration expand deportation relief and work authorization for undocumented immigrants with long-standing ties to the U.S. The Republicans -- Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn and Reps. Bob Goodlatte (Va.) and Lamar Smith (Texas) -- along with the the American Center for Law and Justice filed an amicus brief on Wednesday with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asking it not to lift an injunction on President Barack Obama's immigration executive actions as courts consider a case from 26 states aiming to block the programs. The administration has asked the court to consider lifting the injunction in the meantime. 'We must do all that we can to stop President Obama's lawlessness,' Goodlatte said in a statement." [HuffPost]

STFU - "Real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump took the first steps on Wednesday toward launching a 2016 presidential campaign, a sign the businessman may jump into the Republican race after publicly considering it in years past. Trump said he had formed an exploratory committee to determine whether to run, and that he had hired staff in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Those states are among the first to hold Republican and Democratic presidential nominating contests. 'We have lost the respect of the entire world' Trump said in a statement Wednesday. 'I am the only one who can make America truly great again!'" [Reuters]

SCHOCK & PA - At least he isn't Lord Merton. That guy's sons are total dicks. CBS Chicago: "Dr. Richard Schock said he spoke with his son Tuesday, when the congressman announced his resignation, effective March 31. 'Ten years from now, whatever he’s doing, he’ll be successful at, I’ll promise you that. Two years from now he’ll be successful, if he’s not in jail,' the elder Shock said of his son…'He was broken. He was broken,' the elder Schock said of his son. 'They’re blaming people he’s invested with for buying him off, and this hurts, because most of it is lies and innuendos.' He said he believes his son has been attacked because he doesn’t fit the stereotypical mold of a politician. 'What this is really about is that Aaron has been very successful. Aaron is a very hard worker. Aaron is very popular. Aaron is a little different. He wears stylish clothing, and yet he’s not gay … and he’s not married. … and he’s not running around with women,' he said. 'Everybody’s throwing up their arms. They can’t figure out Aaron. So he must be crooked. So attack him. Bring him down, because he doesn’t fit into our picture.'" [CBS Chicago]

Cute: "The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is asking Republican lawmakers who received donations from Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) to exercise their goodwill and donate the funds to the Treasury. 'Aaron Schock made a name for himself jet-setting around the country raising dollars for Republicans -- some of that at taxpayer expense,” DCCC Communications Director Matt Thornton said in a statement. 'If his soon-to-be-former colleagues in the House are truly as concerned with wasteful spending in Washington as they claim to be, then they will donate Schock’s money to the Treasury.' The DCCC highlighted 12 newly elected lawmakers who received donations from Schock: Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.), Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.), Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Rep. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.), Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.), Rep. Thomas MacArthur (R-N.J.), Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine), Rep. David Young (R-Iowa) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.)." [HuffPost's Julia Craven]

Anthony Weiner weighed in on Schock's resignation because, yeah, why not, this is a free country: "Besides us both resigning and having too many embarrassing pictures, there is very little that Schock and I have in common. He is accused of real crimes and a planeload of greed. I did embarrassing personal things and wasn’t honest about them. But Schock quickly realized something that I also learned in the final days of my congressional career: Being investigated by the House Ethics Committee is an expensive ordeal. When my scandal was unfolding, I was told by some of the best ethics lawyers in DC that I had broken no rule, but that I would need to find about $1 million to defend myself." [Business Insider]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a child who is truly all about that bass.

RAHM'S HOUSING AGENCY HOARDS CASH - w/ Ryan Grim and Kim Bellware: "Mayor Rahm Emanuel's housing agency has been pulling hundreds of millions of dollars from a fund earmarked for its affordable housing program and using the money instead to boost its pension, purchase government debt and build up a staggering cash reserve. Meanwhile, Chicago's most vulnerable are bearing the brunt. The Chicago Housing Authority's waitlist tops 280,000, with a sizable portion of the city's population hoping for a shot at affordable housing. Ninety-seven percent of the people receiving housing assistance are black or Latino, and 85 percent are women, according to the agency. Some 15,000 families on the list are homeless." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- A list of the movies and TV shows that are being pulled from Netflix in April

- Once popular baby names that are going extinct.

- Cat can't get enough of bags .

TWITTERAMA

@daveweigel: Ran into Rep. Steve King and caught up on the Walker/Liz Mair story. “I think her and Jennifer Rubin have voodoo dolls of me.”

@pourmecoffee: Trump: "How is the exploring going?"

Exploratory Committee Chair: "Very good Sir. Everyone loves you."

Trump: "Very well, keep me posted."

@dcbigjohn: I blame all the bros who were wearing flipflops the other day for this impending snow storm

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