Barack Obama and Joe Biden were officially declared winners of the electoral college, though they would have gotten more votes if the electors weren't made to wait in those super long lines. A growing number of Americans want Joe Biden to regularly participate in a reality show, which is perfect because the world is his confessional room. And no one likes our plan to avoid the debt ceiling by dumping a bunch of high denomination platinum coins into the Reflecting Pool and having Tim Geithner jump into it like Scrooge McDuck. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, January 4th, 2013:
HARRY REID CRUMPLES UP DEBT CEILING, TOSSES IT IN BURNING FIREPLACE - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has privately told other Democrats, including President Obama, that if the administration claimed its constitutional and executive authority to continue paying its debts in the face of House Republican opposition, he would support the approach, according to a source familiar with Reid's message to the president. Liberals are loving this platinum coin thing, but just see if they're smiling when 1/15th of our debt gets lost under the cushions of Tim Geithner's couch, and then when he resigns he takes the couch with him. But the way the coiners see it, the simplest escape route out of the debt ceiling impasse is for the president to direct the Treasury to find a legal way to pay its debts. The Treasury then has a variety of options. One gaining particular attention relies on a law that allows the Treasury to mint a coin of unspecified value and deposit it with the Federal Reserve. Those funds could then be used legally to pay debts. "Reid has not dismissed any option," said the source close to Reid.[HuffPost]
Endorse: "Rep. Jerry Nadler proposed issuing a trillion-dollar coin to circumvent an impending fight over the federal debt ceiling, and the idea has taken off... Through a spokesman, in an email, Nadler offered a couple of other ideas. 'Albert Gallatin -- for his role in setting up the modern treasury system John Boehner -- for his role in screwing it up'" [Capital New York]
REPORTS SUGGESTING HAGEL ON VERGE OF NOMINATION - If Hagel fails as a nominee, he can always turn to local theater productions of "Friday Night Lights." Luke Johnson: "Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) will in all likelihood be nominated as secretary of Defense by President Barack Obama, according to reports from Foreign Policy,The Daily Beast and NBC News. The Daily Beast and NBC News say the nomination will likely come Monday or Tuesday. NBC News said the decision had not been finalized. Other top candidates had included former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy and Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter." [HuffPost]
SPEAKERS CRY - John Boehner is an emotional man, but a tender speaker who likes to puff is not without historical precedent. When LBJ lost the Democratic nomination to JFK in 1960, then-speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, who loved LBJ almost like a son, had a sad, according to Robert Caro's latest tome: "He put his head down on a friend's chest, and tears ran down his cheeks. After a while, he sat up in his seat, squared his shoulders, lit a cigarette and took a long puff." Here's to you, John.
CREATE YOUR OWN PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST - Our favorite PSLGOPL, who joined Twitter just so he could block the CIA, asked us to just go ahead and make up his reaction to Al Gore selling Current TV to Al Jazeera. Here's what Delaney thinks PSLGOPL might say: "Trying to make the deal before higher Obama taxes kick in? Now THAT's rich!" We invite our readers to submit their own hair-brained PSLGOPL rants. Make them as lacerating as possible, because the man loves to self-loathe. Thanks, PSLGOPL!
@joshgerstein: Dick Armey gives exclusive to Media Matters bit.ly/UtT4rs Also, world ends
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From our ongoing series PASTED: The Email of People on Social Security, today's correspondent reacts to recent news about Congress considering less generous cost-of-living adjustments: "My Medicare payments increase every year, my prescription insurance payments increase every year, and my supplemental Medicare coverage payments increase every year. I have been in the work force since 1962 and deserve and need my entire Social Security. I cannot believe people will tamper with this. [Members of Congress] are certainly not of retirement age and living on a fixed income and so cannot at all even relate to us who are retired and living on a fixed income." [Hang in there!]
Does somebody keep forwarding you this newsletter? Get your own copy. It's free! Sign up here. Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill
HOUSE FINALLY PASSES (SOME) SANDY AID - For a while it looked like the most the residents of the Eastern Seaboard would get from Congress would be a resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that it's a total bummer that Bills Surf 'n Turf of Monmouth Beach, New Jersey was destroyed. John Rudolf: "A $9.7 billion bill to pay flood insurance claims from Hurricane Sandy sailed through the House on Friday with an overwhelming bipartisan majority, just two days after Republican officials in New York and New Jersey exploded in outrage after a much larger relief bill failed to come up for a vote before the end of the last Congress. Friday's 354-67 vote extends the borrowing authority of the National Flood Insurance Program, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency warned on Tuesday was set to run out of money next week without additional funds from Congress. Another vote is set for Jan. 15 on an additional $51 billion in Sandy aid, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said. That aid covers a wide range of needs related to the storm, including funds for financially-strained municipalities struggling with the recovery." [HuffPost]
Rebellious members of the House Republican conference will not wake up in their beds next to Rafalca's severed head. Roll Call: "Speaker John A. Boehner told GOP members Friday morning that he isn't seeking vengeance after a fledgling coup attempt made his re-election as speaker more eventful than predicted. 'I don't hold grudges, and my door is always open to you,' the Ohio Republican told the defectors in his first closed-door meeting with his conference, after thanking those who had voted against him. Boehner received 220 votes for speaker on Thursday, when nine Republicans voted for someone else and three abstained from voting. The conference then ratified committee assignments previously chosen by the GOP Steering Committee. Several of those who abstained or voted against Boehner had been granted plum committee assignments, including Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., who was awarded a spot on the Financial Services Committee, and Rep. Raul R. Labrador, R-Idaho, who was granted a spot he requested on the Judiciary Committee." [Roll Call]
We haven't forgotten you, Seamus. We never will.
REPUBLICANS VOWING TO GET CUTS FROM DEBT CEILING NEGOTIATIONS - And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin' to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take... OUR TWO-PERCENT CUTS TO ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS!!!!!! Sam Stein: "Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' this week, "we Republicans need to be willing to tolerate a temporary, partial government shutdown" in order to achieve spending cuts and entitlement reforms. On Friday morning, meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told members that he was prepared to use the debt ceiling fight as leverage to get spending cuts. According to a source in the room, Boehner showed fellow lawmakers the results of a survey by the Winston Group, a GOP polling firm, which showed that 72 percent of Americans 'agree any increase in the nation's debt limit must be accompanied by spending cuts and reforms of a greater amount.' 'The debate is already under way,' the speaker said." [HuffPost]
The first day of the Senate will technically last until January 22nd to allow for filibuster reform. You see, Harry Reid has obtained the amulet from an underground Mesopotamian tomb, which can bend the laws of time and space itself. Or not. WaPo: "The middle ground in this debate has been given the name 'the constitutional option': It argues that on the first day of a new session of Congress, you only need 51 votes to change the Senate rules, as each Congress has a constitutional right to make its own rules. That's the approach various Democratic senators are taking in their effort to reform the filibuster. But Thursday was the first day of the 113th Congress. And it came and went without filibuster reform. So is filibuster reform dead? Nope. Majority Leader Harry Reid is just making the first day of the session last far longer than the typical 24 hours." [WaPo]
JOBS REPORT: AREEEE WEEEEE THEREEEEEE YEEEETTTT??? - As Mark Kirk bravely demonstrated yesterday, people who've suffered debilitating strokes have recovered faster than our economy. Great job, everyone. AP: "U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in December, a steady gain that shows hiring held up during tense fiscal cliff negotiations in Washington. The solid job growth wasn't enough to push down the unemployment rate, which stayed 7.8 percent last month, according to the Labor Department's report Friday. November's rate was revised higher from an initially reported 7.7 percent. Stock futures rose modestly after the report was released. Robust hiring in manufacturing and construction fueled the December gains. Construction firms added 30,000 jobs, the most in 15 months. That likely reflects additional hiring needed to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy and also solid gains in home building that have contributed to a housing recovery. Manufacturers gained 25,000, the most in nine months. Even with the gains, hiring is far from accelerating. Employers added an average of 153,000 jobs a month last year, matching the monthly average in 2011. Employers added 1.84 million jobs in 2012, the same as the previous year." [HuffPost]
:-( AP: "U.S. Sen. Michael Crapo pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of driving while intoxicated and then apologized for his actions and asked forgiveness from his constituents. The Idaho Republican said nothing during a brief appearance in Alexandria General District Court, where he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor and was ordered to pay a $250 fine and complete an alcohol safety program... Crapo said he tried alcohol for the first time about a year ago, though he couldn't remember the details. It was a misguided attempt to relieve stress, he said, and he always kept his use of alcohol hidden, drinking alone in his Washington, D.C., apartment. The night of his arrest was the first time he had driven drunk, Crapo said." [HuffPost]
BARNEY FRANK WANTS TEMPORARY SENATE SEAT - If nothing else, "Warren and Frank: Crime Fighting Senators" would make a great formulaic drama on the USA Network. Luke Johnson: "Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who just left the House of Representatives Thursday after 32 years, said Friday that he has told Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) that he would like an interim appointment to fill the Senate seat that would open if Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is confirmed as secretary of state. 'A few weeks ago, I said I wasn't interested. It was kind of like, you're about to graduate and they said, you've got to go to summer school. But that [fiscal cliff] deal now means that February, March, and April are going to be among the most important months in American financial history,' he said on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe.' 'Yes, in fact, I'm not going to be coy, it's not anything I've ever been good at. I've told the governor that I would now like, frankly, to be a part of that. It's only a three-month period, I wouldn't want to do anything more, but to be honest, it's a little arrogant.' Said Frank, 'Coach, put me in.'" [HuffPost]
Deval Patrick on whether he would've preferred Frank to not go public: "Does it matter, in the case of Congressman Frank, what I would have preferred?"
OBAMA/BIDEN CERTIFIED WINNERS OF 2012 ELECTIONS - Biden totally should've shotgunned a Natty Boh after declaring himself winner of the vice presidential vote. NPR: "The counting is done and as expected, President Obama and Vice President Biden collected all 332 Electoral College votes they earned on Election Day. Their Republican opponents, Mitt Romney and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, received 206 votes each...Next: Taking the oaths of office. They'll do it twice. Because Jan. 20 falls on a Sunday this year, there will be private ceremonies that day. Then on Jan. 21, there will be the public swearing-in outside the Capitol (weather permitting)." [NPR]
Hiking the trail to victory: "Charleston, in the heart of South Carolina's 1st District, is a long way from the Appalachian Trail. That's good news for former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who looks poised to launch a comeback bid for his old House seat. The Republican looks to be the instant front-runner in the special election to fill the seat of now-Sen. Tim Scott in the coastal, safely Republican district." [Roll Call]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Forget genetics and evolution, animals are social constructs, as this fox who plays fetch demonstrates.
THE JOE BIDEN REALITY SHOW WOULD PROBABLY MAKE BRAVO EXPLODE - Jason Linkins: "Well, if you want this bad enough, hie thee hence to the White House's 'We The People' petition website, because -- in keeping with the way that site has slowly evolved from a well-intended means of cutting ordinary Americans into the political process to its new role as a government funded means of expressing America's wild and woolly id -- there is now a petition that seeks to 'authorize the production of a recurring television program featuring Vice President Joe Biden.'" [HuffPost]
- Misheard lyrics of 2012. [http://bit.ly/UNObM6]
- Eleven awwwww-inducing photographs of yesterday's congressional swearing-ins. [http://bit.ly/WoQSA9]
- Have a lot of LEGO pieces? Want to sort them with a machine made entirely of LEGOs? Your day has come. [http://bit.ly/Wopx10]
- "The Day William Shatner Tweeted at an Astronaut (and the Astronaut Replied)" [http://bit.ly/W8lzZF]
- A runway covered entirely in cars destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. [http://bit.ly/10UX4H5]
- Push it to the limit and never stop reaching for the sky: A montage of people in movies training. [http://huff.to/YZUQ3I]
- The War on Christmas has extended to the animal kingdom. Here are some elephants eating Christmas trees. [http://bit.ly/S9jJgc]
@jbarro: There's always money in the platinum stand.
@CarrieNBCNews: "Faithless Electors" also great indiepop band name MT @DomenicoNBC: Nixon holds record for most faithless electors: 3. nbcnews.to/1347wLE
@pourmecoffee: The Electoral College votes are being counted. As prescribed by the Constitution, the tally is then given to Nate Silver for certification.
Today - Tomorrow: Ever wanted to see a wobbly Orrin Hatch switching between pizza and french fries? Here's your chance at the veteran seantor's Deer Valley ski retreat. [Deer Valley, UT]
Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Ryan Grim (email@example.com) or Arthur Delaney (firstname.lastname@example.org). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e