Tories in the House of Commons closed their eyes, thought of England and voted to legalize gay marriage. "Why would anybody not own a gun?" Joe Manchin wondered, as if possession of a firearm were as perfunctory as maxing out one's 401(k) contributions. And Eric Cantor launched a major Republican rebranding effort today, prompting speculation it's all just a ploy to boost sales upon the reintroduction of Republican Classic. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, February 5th, 2013:
@LisaDCNN: BREAKING - HAGEL ALMOST CERTAIN: CNN Cap Hill team @streitfeldcnn and Ted Barrett have confirmed 5 GOP senators who oppose filibuster.
HOUSE REPUBLICANS SQUEAMISH ABOUT IMMIGRATION OVERHAUL - After today's immigration hearing in the House, in which Republicans didn't want to deport undocumented immigrants or give them citizenship, we're setting the odds at 17:1 that they end up proposing a "guest worker rewards" program. Elise Foley: "House Republicans insisted on Tuesday that Democrats are showing a lack willingness to compromise on immigration reform by calling for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, arguing that they should be more open to legislation without it. 'Are there options that we should consider between the extremes of mass deportation and the pathway to citizenship for those not lawfully present in the United States?" Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, asked San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (D) at a hearing on immigration reform, the first on the issue for the 113th Congress... A number of other GOP members of the committee made similar statements. They questioned Castro in particular, repeatedly asking whether he would support immigration reform that did not allow undocumented immigrants already in the United States to become citizens. Castro is not a member of Congress, and won't get to vote on the matter, but lawmakers used him as a stand-in for Democrats who say any immigration bill must include such a pathway, arguing such an insistence could derail any reform efforts." [HuffPost]
Eric Cantor meanwhile has flipped on the DREAM Act. Foley: "House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said on Tuesday that he believes undocumented young people who entered the United States as children should be given legal residence and, eventually, citizenship, in what marks a reversal for the congressman who voted against the Dream Act less than three years ago. 'A good place to start is with the kids,' he said of immigration reform during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute. 'One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents. It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children and who know no other home.'" [HuffPost]
Tomorrow Roll Call's Rebecca Gale will begin her new advice column for Hill staffers. It's not just taking your badge off when off campus and not sleeping with interns... though that's a start.
Former Cantor flack Brad Dayspring is leaving YG to join the NRSC. Folks will gather at Hawk N Dove -- which was recently renovated to look like every other new bar in the country -- around 7:00 pm.
The Bushes are back in town: "Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) is set to make his Conservative Political Action Conference debut in March, organizers at the The American Conservative Union announced Tuesday... [Bush] joins other potential GOP candidates, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), former Pennsylvania senator and past presidential candidate Rick Santorum and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Congressman and former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will also attend and serve as the conference's keynote speaker." [HuffPost's Lisa Miller]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Alicia Thomas of Chicago, Ill., worked as a director of research and development for a Fortune 100 company until her position was eliminated in a downsizing effort last year. Thomas, 58, became one of the 4.7 million long-term unemployed in January when she entered her sixth month of joblessness. As her unemployment spell has dragged on, Thomas has become more aware of new possibilities -- that she might need to go into business for herself, or dip into savings, or maybe even start flipping burgers. "It was sort of a joke that I said to people, 'If push comes to shove, there's a McDonald's on every corner,'" Thomas said. Not a joke anymore. "I understand now. I get it now," she said. "Maybe I will go do that, because if you're not willing to relocate, that may be what you have to do." [HuffPost]
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OBAMA PROPOSES TEMPORARY SEQUESTRATION FIX - At this point, Congress is starting to feel like John Locke and America's ongoing debate about its finances feels like the numbers that have to be entered into the terminal. AP: "President Barack Obama is asking Congress for a short-term deficit reduction package of spending cuts and tax revenue that will delay the effective date of steeper automatic cuts now scheduled to kick in on March 1. Obama said the looming cuts would be economically damaging and must be avoided. The president reiterated his insistence on long-term deficit reduction that combines taxes and cuts, a blend that faces stiff resistance from anti-tax Republicans in Congress...'There's no reason that the jobs of thousands of American who work in national security or education or clean energy, not to mention the growth of the entire economy, should be put in jeopardy just because folks in Washington couldn't come together to eliminate a few special interest tax loopholes or government programs that we agree need some reform,' he said." [HuffPost]
This spring in Jerusalem! "President Barack Obama plans to visit Israel in the spring, marking his first visit to the nation since becoming president. The White House says Obama spoke about the visit with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Jan. 28. That's when Obama congratulated Netanyahu on his success in Israel's recent election...The White House has not released the date of Obama's trip." [AP]
AMERICA NO LONGER IN THE RED, NOW IN THE, UM... SCARLET? - AP: " The federal budget deficit will drop below $1 trillion for the first time in President Barack Obama's tenure in office, a new report said Tuesday. The Congressional Budget Office analysis said the government will run a $845 billion deficit this year, a modest improvement compared to last year's $1.1 trillion shortfall but still enough red ink to require the government to borrow 24 cents of every dollar it spends." [AP]
Also, CBO says current law will make sure the economy remains terrible through next year.
GEORGIA GETS ITS TODD AKIN - Paul Broun will announce his Senate candidacy tomorrow. Remember that this is the guy who, in 2010, voted against a ban on animal crush porn because it infringed on people's freedom. In 2014 America will learn a WHOLE NEW meaning of "shut that whole thing down." NBC News: "Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), one of the most conservative members in the House of Representatives, appears ready to announce his bid for the U.S. Senate from Georgia on Wednesday. Broun will make a statement at an Atlanta hotel tomorrow at 4:00 pm ET to announce his plans, according to a press release. Broun's wife recently told conservative activists that her husband will run, and GOP aides expect Wednesday to be the official announcement. Broun, who got a 96% rating from the conservative group Heritage Action, has often bucked the House GOP leadership. He voted against John Boehner for Speaker, supporting Tea Party favorite former Rep. Allen West (R-FL) instead." [NBC News]
And Iowa is getting its... Steve King: "Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is the favorite among Iowa Republicans to run in next year’s contest to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), according to the latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling. The poll showed 41 percent of usual GOP primary voters in the state identifying King as their preferred candidate over three other Republicans. Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) was a distant second with 22 percent support among Hawkeye State Republicans. Neither King nor Latham so far has declared an intention to run." [TPM]
DEMOCRATS MIGHT PULL A FACEBOOK - Well, they already email you incessantly about their upcoming events so we guess they already pull Facebooks on the regular. That said, they might Facebook again. ProPublica: "For years, state Democratic parties have been gathering information about individual voters' political leanings. They have noted down the opinions voters shared with canvassers -- which candidates they said they supported or their positions on policy issues. Now, the record of what people told Democratic volunteers may go up for sale -- and not just to political groups. Democrats are looking into whether credit card companies, retailers like Target or other commercial interests may want to buy the information.State Democratic party leaders formed the National Voter File Co-op in 2011 to sell their voter data to approved groups like the NAACP.... Each state Democratic Party will have the final say over whether to sell their voter information for commercial purposes. If state party leaders aren't comfortable with selling proprietary data to a certain client, they can opt out. Individual states have different laws about how their public voting records can be used. Many states mandate that public voter rolls can only be used for 'political purposes,' and some states explicitly ban using voting records for 'commercial purposes.' The co-op and its clients must abide by these rules." [ProPublica]
ICYMI: It takes a village (to ship a guy with "al-" in his name to Qater and rip his fingernails off). Josh Hersh: "The U.S. counterterrorism practice known as extraordinary rendition, in which suspects were quietly moved to secret prisons abroad and often tortured, involved the participation of more than 50 nations, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Open Society Foundations. The OSF report, which offers the first wholesale public accounting of the top-secret program, puts the number of governments that either hosted CIA 'black sites,' interrogated or tortured prisoners sent by the U.S., or otherwise collaborated in the program at 54. The report also identifies by name 136 prisoners who were at some point subjected to extraordinary rendition." [HuffPost]
JOE MANCHIN: YOU GET A GUN! AND YOU GET A GUN! AND YOU GET A GUN! EVERY. BODY. GETS. A. GUN!!!!!!!! - In an interview with USA Today, the West Virginia senator wondered why every able bodied person in the United States doesn't pack heat. "Why would anybody not own a gun?" he said. [USA Today]
Former Rep. Joe Walsh is starting a super PAC to "support freedom-loving conservative alternatives to [Karl Rove] on FOX." Godspeed, guy.
THE WEST'S MOST SEXUALLY PENT-UP COUNTRY TO PROBABLY LEGALIZE GAY MARRIAGE - Bully! Telegraph: "The Prime Minister won his first Commons battle to legalise same-sex marriage by a margin of 400 votes to 175...Despite his 11th-hour appeal for support, only around 130 of the 303 Conservative MPs last night joined Mr Cameron in voting for gay marriage. 139 voted against and 30 others abstained...Mr Cameron, who described gay marriage as 'an important step forward for our country', smiled broadly as the result was revealed. Nick Clegg called the vote 'a landmark for equality in Britain'... Ed Miliband said it was 'a proud day'. Minsters have insisted that the new law will not mean any church is forced to hold gay weddings if it does not want to do so. The Church of England is specifically exempt from the legislation, the Government says." [Telegraph]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Puppy tries to get on a treadmill.
"The Daily Caller reached out to Coulter...to ask whom exactly she said should screw itself, himself or herself."
- Life in New York City in the 1950s, courtesy of TWA. [http://bit.ly/12os82x]
- "The Walking Dead" meets "Punky Brewster" -- the internet makes some weird video smoothies. [http://chzb.gr/YyxYJX]
- A blooper reel from a video game means it's only a matter of time until Lara Croft is recording commentary tracks. [http://ars.to/Y5DUYM]
- And now you know what Will Ferrell's apartment looks like. [http://bit.ly/WUXbPC]
- History's greatest cover letter. [http://huff.to/WVQJrF]
- Canada is discontinuing its penny. Cue the Sarah McLachlan (a Canadian!). [http://buswk.co/11K3wg7]
- "8 Of The Most Amazingly Absurd Hats Owned By Dr. Seuss" [http://bit.ly/XkoHSZ]
@jeremyscahill: This should be a new MSNBC commercial RT @chrislhayes Bike: stolen :(
@NoreenMalone: It never fails to bug me that DC cab receipts are left blank. Low-level expense account grifting encouraged in our nation's capitol.
@APStyleBook: Only OK is OK by us. Also, OK'd, OK'ing and OKs. Do not use okay. OK? #APStyleChat
@TheMatthewKeys:"Do you know Alex outside of Facebook?" Yes, I know him from Twitter.
6:30 pm: John Cornyn celebrates his birthday
with a small circle of friends and family at home by throwing a $500-a-plate fundraiser. [Hill Country, 410 7th Street NW]
5:30 pm: Mitch McConnell takes a break from praying for an Ashley Judd candidacy to raise funds for his leadership PAC. Guests include John Cornyn, John Barrasso, John Thune, Roy Blunt and Jerry Moran. [National Republican Senatorial Committee, 425 2nd Street NE]
6:30 pm: The NRSC is ostensibly the beneficiary of this fundraiser, but we suspect everyone will just drink to forget about Scott Brown's decision to not run for John Kerry's seat. Kelly Ayotte, Rob Portman and Jerry Moran are set to appear. [Caucus Room, 401 9th Street NW]
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