House appropriator Tom Graves wants to tackle the deficit by destroying civilization. Steny Hoyer is attempting to mollify belligerent Democrats by appealing to the sage wisdom of Charles Krauthammer. And Michael Steele's reported decision to run again for RNC chair saved the jobs of at least three Talking Points Memo reporters. Happy Monday, subscribers! You're all invited to the Tune Inn tonight where HuffPost Hill will be getting belligerent at our office holiday soiree/atheist festival of thinking about the human condition party. As such, we hope you enjoy this early edition of HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, December 13th, 2010:
SENATE TAX BILL ADVANCES IN SENATE - The Senate just reached the 60 votes it needed to end debate on the tax cut/unemployment benefits package. Mary Landrieu said she would "reluctantly" vote to support cloture and move forward with the bill: "I'll be voting yes today but I'm hoping there will be some amendments." Landrieu is working with Jeff Merkley to try to get a vote on an amendment that would end the tax cuts for the wealthy and apply the revenue to Social Security. The amendment, if it's brought up, does not have enough votes to meet the threshold of 60 that has become the norm. Asked what happened to her tag-team outrage with Bernie Sanders from last week, Landrieu said it remained -- but it was only for the tax cuts for millionaires, not the entire package. "I'm still outraged about it," she said. [HuffPost]
@wireglen: PEAS IN POD: Sen. Kerry, who ran against Bush tax cuts in '04, joining colleague Brown in supporting Obama tax compromise... #magov #mapoli
The 'NO' votes so far:: John Ensign (R-Nev.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
SENATE LIKELY TO STAY IN SESSION PAST FRIDAY - At this point, if you're a staffer that doesn't plan on staying in D.C. right up until Christmas, joke's on you. "Senate leaders from both parties just indicated that they expect Senate business to go beyond this Friday -- which was the expected get-away date for the holidays. No specifics yet and not a certainty, but that is the general guidance. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said they must finish pending business, which includes the tax-cuts package, funding government operations, and possibly ratification of New START. Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked in his daily press briefing about President Obama's scheduled departure for Hawaii for the holidays. Said Gibbs: 'I think the president will be in Washington and in the White House for as long as Congress is in session.'" [NBC]
THE TEA PARTY'S REALITY PROBLEM - Rep. Tom Graves, a Georgia Republican recently sworn in and a new member of the appropriations committee, tells The Hill that he hopes to cut enough spending that Congress won't need to raise the debt ceiling. Huh. The deficit is expected to be about a trillion dollars next year, which is roughly what it costs to run the federal government. Still, this is doable: With strategic cuts to the Department of Education (all of it), HUD (all of it), Veterans Affairs (all of it) and a couple of timely bake sales in the Russell Senate Office Building featuring Jim Webb's patented "Wild" Rice Krispies Treats (don't skim on the M&Ms, senator) Congress just might pull it off. Actually, they won't. They'd still be way in the red. Or Graves and his approps colleagues could start whipping that debt ceiling vote...just in case. [The Hill]
STEELE TO RUN FOR CHAIR AGAIN - The single most loved human being in the history of the cosmos will officially announce on a conference call this evening that he will seek to helm the Republican National Committee for another two years -- thus providing his party the principled, clearheaded leadership that has endeared him to his constituency and transformed him into a veritable demigod. Many observers expect Steele to call it quits but the former Maryland lieutenant governor has reportedly shattered the CW. Had he called it a day, it would have signaled the end to a remarkable period in the indefatigable Steele's career, marked by a failed Senate bid, and appearance in a 1980s Washington Redskins fan tribute videos and a .GIF file in his likeness that performed mutated version of the Cha-Cha Slide on the GOP.com homepage. [Fox News]
JOE MILLER APPEALS ELECTION RULING - "U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller has filed an appeal to the Alaska Supreme Court after a Superior Court judge ruled against him Friday in his challenge to the way write-in ballots are counted. His attorney Thomas Van Flein filed the paperwork Monday morning. Miller lost a round in state court on Friday, when Judge William Carey ruled that election workers did nothing wrong when they considered voter intent when counting write-in ballots for Senator Lisa Murkowski." [KTUU]
PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST'S NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA- Pa rum pum pum pum isn't just the beat produced by the Little Drummer Boy's tympan, It's also the pulsing noise in our Paranoid Self Loathing GOP Lobbyist's head that he insists are brain-permeating, voter intimidation gamma rays from ACORN's headquarters! And -- waddya know -- 'tis the season for our favorite Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist's New Year's Resolutions For Other People! On the third day of Christmas, PSLGOPLNYRFOP said to me: "Obama shouldn't change a damn thing," wrote PSLGOPL, taking a break from decking the halls with bowls of signal-disrupting tinfoil. "He should keep charging ahead with his plans to lose the Senate." And a partridge in a pear tree! Season's Greetings, PSLGOPL!
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - William Rugg said he lost his job as a senior-level paralegal back in May 2009. "At first I didn't sweat it," he told HuffPost. "I thought with my experience -- 20-plus years in the legal profession -- I thought that would take me a long way." It didn't. Rugg said it seems his applications go into a "black hole" when he responds to job ads online. The forced time off hasn't been much of a vacation. "When you're out of work this long there are no weekends anymore," said Rugg, who lives in Westfield, N.J. "It's like Groundhog Day." Rugg doesn't love that long-term unemployed people such as himself have become a bargaining chip in congressional negotiations over tax cuts for the rich. "I hate to be one of the people that's slowing down real progress in getting rid of the deficit or having a more fair tax structure as far as the top two percent," he said. Seeing the benefits reauthorized, however, is his main concern. "I'm a calm individual and I tend to see the glass half full," he said, "but if this doesn't go through I'll be in the shitter like a lot of people." [HuffPost]
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HOYER: TAX CUT VOTE LIKELY TO PASS HOUSE - Sam Stein reports on the once and future House minority whip appealing to disillusioned Democrats by citing Charles Krauthammer: "On Monday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) predicted that the lower chamber would pass tax-cut legislation. The package may differ from Obama's proposed compromise, Hoyer said, citing the estate tax as a possible hurdle for the Senate, but he remained vague on details. Hoyer made sure, however, that everyone in the room knew what [Charles] Krauthammer had written. The Maryland Democrat invoked Krauthammer's name twice during a speech at the National Press Club while arguing that the tax deal had strong merits. 'We don't think that the proposal dealing with upper income or the estate tax are useful in trying to get a handle on our debt. Having said that, taking a hit, everybody in the legislative process takes a hit,' Hoyer said. 'Krauthammer apparently believes the Republicans took a hit, a pretty big hit according to Charles Krauthammer.'" [HuffPost]
FEDERAL JUDGE DECLARES HEALTH REFORM UNCONSTITUTIONAL, SUPREME COURT LIKELY NEXT - What a shame: Justice had just enrolled in its parents' health plan to treat its blindness. "A federal judge declared the foundation of President Barack Obama's health care law unconstitutional Monday, ruling that the government cannot require Americans to purchase insurance. The case is expected to end up at the Supreme Court. In his order, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson said he will allow the law to remain in effect while appeals are heard, meaning there is unlikely to be any immediate impact on other provisions that have already taken effect. The insurance coverage mandate is not scheduled to begin until 2014." [HuffPost]
SUPREME COURT REJECTS CONGRESS-ENLARGING CASE - The high court turned down an appeal this morning aimed at increasing the size of the House of Representatives to potentially over 1000 members. The plaintiffs argued that the current, uneven distracting system violates the "one-man, one-vote" principle. The defeat is seen as a win for conservatives, who typically benefit from disproportionately influential rural districts and states. It's also a victory for Washington-area women, who won't have to deal with an onslaught of guys hitting on them at Tortilla Coast by providing a link to their Legistorm page and boasting about their boss' influence on the Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife subcommittee. Whew.
'NO LABELS' BRINGS TOGETHER
CENTRISTS - Washington's Twitterverse erupted today with satiric hashtags (#NoLayBulls #NoFables #NoCables #NoPeriodicTables) as self-described not self-described (except when they are self-described) politicians convened in New York for the inaugural meeting of the centrist-but-don't-call-us-that group No Labels. Beth Fouhy: "In panel discussions, most attendees said they did not expect an independent third party to take root, despite the frustration many voters feel about the current system. On Sunday, [New York City Mayor Mike] Bloomberg - who seemed poised to launch an independent presidential bid in 2007 and again this year - ruled himself out as a candidate." [WaPo]
DAVID PATERSON'S UBER-DEPRESSING EXIT INTERVIEW - You'd think that with only a few weeks left in office, the New York governor would use his media appearances to ensure a smooth transition into the Andrew Cuomo administration and burnish his own tenure in Albany. It wouldn't be irrational to expect soundbites dripping with self-promotion and false optimism -- boilerplate statements that begin with "When I assumed office our state faced seemingly insurmountable...", transition with "Now, thanks to..." and conclude with "We have begun to turn the tide against..." Instead, he's going for more of a WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIEEEEEE approach which is ... well... you know...less self-promoting and optimistic. "He's doing all the right things. He's saying all the rights things," Paterson said of Cuomo on WWRL this morning. "But I don't think one person can change the way government works right now." He continued: "Before everybody starts blaming him the way they blame me, I want everybody to stop before this governor comes into office and assess what is actually the capacity." He also questioned whether Albany is "even governable." Hang in there, buddy [Daily News]
Incoming Ohio Governor John Kasich says one of his top priorities is to dismantle his state's collective bargaining law. This meshes nicely with his stated belief that the income tax should be phased out and with his prior work as the head of Lehman Brothers' Columbus investment banking division. "If they want to strike they should be fired," he said last week. "I really don't favor the right to strike by any public employee. They've got good jobs, they've got high pay, they get good benefits, a great retirement. What are they striking for?" Exactly! Anyone want to volunteer to write Governor Kasich's 2011 holiday message to state employees ("Happy holidays, you ungrateful bastards!")? [Plain Dealer]
Number crunching: "How many people live in the United States? Where do they live? Where did they move from? Which states get more seats in Congress? We'll start getting answers next week, when the U.S. Census Bureau fulfills its constitutional mandate and presents the results of the 2010 Census. The data will include the total population for the country, each of the 50 states and the Congressional apportionment totals for each. By law, the Census Bureau must report the decennial census results to the president by Dec. 31. [WaPo]
JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT -Tonight: If you're drinking, you may be best able to deal with the freezing temperatures -- mid 20s and windy. Tomorrow: It will hover at the freezing mark with more wind. Thanks, JB!
In related weather news, Fox News reports that the freezing cold has caused the Salvation Army to not station its bell-ringers outside. Why is nature waging a war on Christmas? Fair point, JB!
- If this impromptu dance-off in a Bangalore cafeteria is any indication, India not only has the economic ascent thing figured out, but also the slow decline-by-social-atrophy part, too. Freedom! [http://bit.ly/fUP2G0]
- The "100 Worst Hip Hop album covers of all time" is NSFW but also features flaming cartons of Tropicana and a reference to Reaganomics. [http://bzfd.it/fV9qZG]
- The world's tallest snowman is great and everything but why does it look like someone punched him in the eye? [http://bit.ly/gBW5tq]
- If you woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, let this hoping hamster draw you back. [http://bit.ly/hCpYnx]
- Silly person who attached wings to their bulldog, bulldogs can't fly! [http://bit.ly/feTPoa]
- Wow this is a boring video. It's just footage of some guy's neighborhood. WTF?! There's a car. There's a store. There's a tree. There's Santa Claus on a unicycle. B-O-O-RING [http://bit.ly/hm3X2W]
- A website tries to answer why the escalators on the D.C. metro break so often. The conductor of the phantom train would likely have a better answer but he/she/it wasn't available [http://bit.ly/iimXbn]
@lehmannchris: Yale names "I'm not a witch" quote of the year, still evidently working through 3 centuries of Salem-trial guilt.
@aterkel: Lame duck Congress that rubber stamps stuff should be called a...rubber duck.
@FakeAPStyleBook: Fashion writers: Declare to your readers that cerise is "the new black." Laugh and collect your check from the powerful Cerise Lobby.
4:30 pm - 7:00 pm: The National Farm Bureau hosts its "Taste of the States" holiday party. So if you're the type of person who likes to lick Delaware, this is your jam [Holiday Inn Capitol Hill, 550 C Street NW].
5:30 pm - 8:00 pm: Revolution Messaging hosts benefit for the D.C. Central Kitchen and Jail Guitar Doors at its "Revolt for a Cause" featuring Wayne Kramer [18th Street Lounge, 1212 18th Street NW].
6:00 pm: The Embassy of Italy hosts a panel that they're calling "What's Next In American Politics." Good question. Bill Schneider, Helene Cooper, Stephen Hayes and Richard Wolffe get their panel on [Embassy of Italy, 3000 Whitehaven Street NW].
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm: The Telecommunication Industry Association's Holiday Reception features fiber optic fun (sorry) [Occidental Grill, 1475 Pennsylvania Ave NW].
5:30 pm - 8:30 pm: NEI has its holiday party at Charlie Palmer Steak.
Break some bread. Split some atoms. Have a great time [Charlie Palmer Steak, 101 Constitution Ave NW].
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Dow Lohnes Government Strategies celebrates all the work it does helping the little guy [Sonoma, 223 Pennsylvania Ave SE].
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm: If the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Association can't have a raging holiday party, no one can [The Source, 575 Pennsylvania Ave NW].
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Third Way's holiday party will feature good, moderate fun. Not too much one way or the other. Just a pleasant time [Sonoma, 223 Pennsylvania Ave SE]
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: iConstituent, which provide communications services for Congress, provides a different kind of service with its open bar holiday soiree [L2
Lounge, 3315 Cadey's Alley NW].
6:30 pm - 9:30 pm: The Center for American Progress holds its annual holiday fete at the 9:30 Club. Word is no one dances until John Podesta dances. Words to live by [9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW].
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