The U.S. will negotiate with the Taliban, but this being the American government, it'll probably result in steep budget cuts tied to a debt ceiling increase. Edward Snowden is seeking asylum in Iceland, and we're pretty sure "Asylum" isn't a Reykjavik trance club. And Rep. Michael Burgess knows fetuses can feel because he's seen them masturbate. Just remember that when he refuses to feel your baby kick. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, June 18th, 2013:
TRANSCRIPT FIGHT! - With Sam Stein: "In a rebuke to House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) has released the full transcript of a key interview with an IRS employee at the heart of the agency's scandal... Republican and Democratic committee staffers interviewed IRS official John Shafer on June 6 about the agency's decision to scrutinize a tea party group's application for tax-exempt 501(c)(4) status. Shafer, who identified himself as 'a conservative Republican' and said he'd worked for the IRS since 1992, said that he and a fellow screener initially flagged a tea party group and continued to do so with subsequent applications in order to maintain consistency in the process...He said his team flagged the first tea party application because it appeared to be a high-profile case, and he wanted to make sure all high-profile cases received similar attention. 'What I'm talking here is that if we end up with four applications coming into the group that are pretty similar, and we assign them to four different agents, we don't want four different determinations,' he said. 'It's just not good business. It's not good customer service.'" [HuffPost]
ISSA: "I am deeply disappointed that Ranking Member Cummings has decided to broadly disseminate and post online a 205 page transcript that will serve as a roadmap for IRS officials to navigate investigative interviews with Congress." In other words, Issa would like to be the only one disseminating transcripts, thank you very much.
AWESOME STAFFER SNIPING - The IRS interview transcripts suggest a testy relationship between the Democratic and Republican interrogators. The GOP staff keeps trying to dig out the nefarious influence of Washington. Shafer keeps on not providing it. On page 175 a Dem staffer interrupts the questioning: "this is a question that has been asked and answered approximately 10 times now. He keeps giving the same answers." A GOP staffer says, "I appreciate that, [name redacted]. This is, like, the fifth or sixth time you've now interrupted our questions." Just like on TV!
HOUSE POISED TO PASS SWEEPING ABORTION BAN - Vote is expected around 6:15 pm. AP: "House Republicans on Tuesday make their most concerted effort of the year to change federal abortion law with legislation that would ban almost all abortions after a fetus reaches the age of 20 weeks. The 'Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,' expected to pass by a comfortable margin late Tuesday, would be a direct challenge to the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortions up to the time a fetus becomes viable. Fetal viability is generally considered to be at least 24 weeks into the pregnancy. The measure will be ignored by the Democratic-led Senate and the White House, saying the bill is "an assault on a woman's right to choose," has issued a veto threat. Even if the policy were to become law, it would almost certainly face a legal challenge. That's a prospect supporters hope for as part of the ultimate goal of overturning Roe v. Wade." [AP]
Will the vote further alienate women, John Boehner? "No. Listen, after this Kermit Gosnell trial and some of the horrific acts that were going on, the vast majority of the American people believe in the substance of this bill and so do I...I believe it will pass with a broad bipartisan majority." OK! [HuffPost's Laura Bassett]
IMMIGRATION BILL SAVES MONEY - The Congressional Budget Office says the immigration reform bill would result in 10.4 million additional Americans 10 years from now, 8 million undocumented immigrants gaining legal status in the short term, and the budget deficit shrinking by $197 billion thanks to new tax revenue from all those new workers. [CBO]
BURNED OUT, WENT DOWNTOWN COMES FACE-TO-FACE WITH LIFE'S FUTILITY - HuffPost Hill's Capitol Hill-to-K Street correspondent, Burned Out, Went Downtown, is done bribing workers at DCA to inform him of incoming lobbyist fly-ins. Now he sends us this update: "Dealing with Irrelevant Information Shock," BOWD writes. "You know how everything on the Hill is life or death and all of those meetings you're a part of are so important? Brace yourself. Downtown could care less about that stuff. I can't decide if that's refreshing or annoying." Thanks, BOWD!
Louie Gohmert has a thoughtful farm bill amendment that would eliminate food stamps altogether.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Gar Williams writes: "I am 65 years old and retired. My monthly income is just under $1,600 a month. This is too much for me to get any type of assistance yet it is too little for me to afford transportation, housing, utilities, food, and medical bills in the United States. As a result, I now live in Mexico." He says buses are cheap, he can visit a doctor for for less than what a copay would be in the States, and his total housing and utilities expenses are $240 a month. "I do miss the U.S. I sometimes get homesick. But my quality of life is so much better here and I'm not dependent on anyone."
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U.S. NEGOTIATING WITHDRAWAL TERMS WITH TALIBAN - After ten years, untold billions of dollars and countless lives lost, we'll be lucky if women are allowed to display their wrists and the penalty for owning music is downgraded from death by flogging to death by stoning (or the other way around?). NBC News: "U.S. and Taliban representatives will meet soon for the first time to begin what are expected to be long and complex negotiations for a peaceful settlement to the war in Afghanistan, senior Obama administration officials said Tuesday. The officials told NBC News that the meeting will take place in the next several days in the Qatari capital of Doha. The Taliban will open an office there for the purpose of negotiating directly with the Afghan government, the officials said. A precise date was not announced...The negotiating conditions require the Taliban to break their ties with al Qaeda, end the violence and accept the Afghan constitution, especially the protections for women and minorities, the officials said. But because of deep distrust between the Afghan government and the Taliban, the process will be "complex, long and messy," one official said. The officials emphasized that expectations were low, but said the opening of Doha office was a crucial step for Afghanistan." [NBC News]
NSA MOSTLY GIVEN A PASS DURING HEARING - The secretary from the Department of Love was unable to make it. Mike McAuliff: "The House Intelligence Committee's public hearing featured leaders from the office of the director of national intelligence, the NSA, the FBI and the Department of Justice, all called to respond to revelations from leaker Edward Snowden that the United States collects records on the phone calls of U.S. citizens and sweeps extensive data from the Internet... Most members of the committee seemed to agree that the important damage here was not to citizens' rights, but to their safety...'We are here today because of the brazen disclosure of critical classified information that keeps our country safe,' said Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the committee... Gen. Keith Alexander, the Defense Department official who runs the NSA, said that the programs have helped stop more than 50 terror plots around the world and that Section 702 was important to 90 percent of those efforts. Section 215 also played an important role in uncovering many plots, he said. FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce elaborated on several of the terrorists' schemes, including the New York subway bombing plan of Najibullah Zazi.'..."Without the 702 tool, we would not have identified Najibullah Zazi," Joyce told Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.)." [HuffPost]
We're waiting for Tony Rezko to launch his Red State blog: "Bill Ayers, whose relationship with President Obama was the subject of much intrigue during Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, now says the president should be tried for war crimes. Ayers, the former Weather Underground member and University of Illinois at Chicago professor, told Real Clear Politics that Obama is 'absolutely' engaged in terrorist activity by using drones and 'absolutely' should be tried for war crimes." [WaPo]
Outgoing L.A. Mayor and awkward Democratic convention chair emertus Antonio Villaraigosa wants to run for governor.
BOEHNER CONFIRMS: NO IMMIGRATION VOTE WITHOUT GOP SUPPORT - The speaker just purchased a snooker table for his finished basement (it'll go next to the wine refrigerator and painting of ducks), so he'd probably like to save some time and not have the vote at all. Jen Bendery: "House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday tamped down on the idea that he may be willing to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation by relying on Democratic votes to carry it through. Emerging from a private meeting with House Republicans, Boehner said he told his conference that any immigration reform bill that hits the floor has to have the majority support from both parties. 'I don't see any way of bringing an immigration reform bill to the floor that doesn't have the majority support of Republicans,' he told reporters. There's been speculation over whether Boehner would be willing to ditch the so-called Hastert Rule -- an informal requirement that a majority of the majority supports a bill in order to bring it to a vote... Boehner regularly says he supports the rule, but he's already violated it several times this year: for the fiscal cliff deal, Hurricane Sandy aid, the Violence Against Women act reauthorization bill and a bill relating to federal acquisition of historic sites." [HuffPost]
GOP GOVERNORS TARGETING MANDATORY PAID SICK LEAVE - Tom Donahue wants you to pop a couple of Nyquil and quit yer whining. Dave Jamieson: "On Friday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed a so-called sick-leave 'preemption' bill into law, thereby forbidding local jurisdictions from passing measures that mandate accrued sick time for workers...According to records with the Sunlight Foundation's OpenStates.org, preemption laws backed by the restaurant industry have recently been passed in at least six other states -- Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kansas and Wisconsin -- where the bills were all signed by Republican governors. Other preemption bills have been proposed in states like Michigan, Indiana and Alabama. The U.S. is an outlier among most developed countries in its lack of guaranteed sick time for workers. According to recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 40 percent of private-sector U.S. workers receive no sick leave at all, many of them in lower-wage industries like restaurants and retail. When these workers or their children get sick, they face an unpleasant choice: Clock in anyway, or lose a day's wages." [HuffPost]
GOP REP: DON'T ABORT FETUSES BECAUSE THEY MASTURBATE - Our ancestors lived and died for thousands of generations, discovering fire, tilling dreary spits of land, enduring war, famine and who knows what else, so we could be here right now... writing about masturbating fetuses. Nick Wing: "Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) said Monday that abortion should be banned as early as 15 weeks after conception because he has witnessed male fetuses masturbate at that stage. RH Reality Check first reported Burgess' comments, which came during a late-night House Rules Committee hearing on a GOP bill that would ban abortions starting at 20 weeks after conception. 'This is a subject that I do know something about,' said Burgess, a former OB/GYN. 'There is no question in my mind that a baby at 20 weeks after conception can feel pain. The fact of the matter is, I argue with the chairman because I thought the date was far too late. We should be setting this at 15 weeks, 16 weeks.' 'Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful,' Burgess continued. 'They stroke their face. If they're a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to think that they could feel pain?'" [HuffPost]
@deirdrewalshcnn: Rep Gwen Moore is quoting Miss Utah on House floor during abortion debate - really, she is
Second amendment remedies update: "On Saturday, more than 100 activists with pro-immigration reform group Sunflower Community Action traveled to [Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R)]'s house, delivering an address from his front stoop and leaving him shoes, meant to remind him of families broken up by aggressive deportation policies. A few days later, Kobach made it clear that he was disturbed by the display 'If we had been in the home and not been armed, I would have felt very afraid -- because it took the police 15 minutes to show up.' Kobach, a renowned immigration hardliner, told Fox News. 'It's important we recognize there's a reason we have the Second Amendment...'" [HuffPost's Nick Wing]
EDWARD SNOWDEN SEEKING ASYLUM IN ICELAND - There's a strong Hawaii expat community there so he should fit in just fine. Reuters: "Iceland has received an informal approach from an intermediary who says Edward Snowden... wants to seek asylum there. In a column in Icelandic daily Frettabladid, WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson wrote that a middleman had approached him on behalf of Snowden. 'On 12 June, I received a message from Edward Snowden where he asked me to notify the Icelandic government that he wanted to seek asylum in Iceland,' Hrafnsson, who is also an investigative journalist in Iceland, told Reuters. The Icelandic government, which has refused to say whether they would grant asylum to Snowden, confirmed it had received the message from Hrafnsson." [Reuters]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Boston Terrier wears pearls, also gives high fives.
ANTHONY WEINER'S SEX ADDICTION LIES - Say. It. Ain't. So. BuzzFeed: "Anthony Weiner stepped down from Congress two years ago with a promise to 'heal from the damage' of his sexual Twitter scandal. But sex therapy and addiction experts say the program he enrolled in shortly after his resignation wouldn't have done much to address the root causes behind his behavior...'No one gets treatment in three days,' said Robert Weiss, a sexual addiction therapist with more than 20 years of experience treating high-profile clients. 'Three days is an evaluation, but an evaluation isn't treatment.'" [BuzzFeed]
- "We're not so different, you and I" -- arguably the most overused phrase in movie history. [http://huff.to/13YNOzE]
- A short documentary on Black Flag's logo and its widespread popularization. [http://bit.ly/196M0Is]
- Ward off perverts with these stockings that make your legs look like Robin Williams'. [http://bit.ly/10sixs7]
- Want to see tiger twins being birthed? Why not. [http://bit.ly/15fLvYr]
- Judi Dench likes to make embroideries for her castmates with foul words sewn in. You go, girl. [http://bit.ly/13MGjxa]
- Which Trader Joe's foods are healthiest? Stay away from the veggie pizza. [http://bit.ly/13UD2dH]
- A look at the development of movie trailers over the decades. [http://bit.ly/16EzulZ]
@KagroX: If your fetus is old enough to masturbate, he's old enough to wear a flag lapel pin. No more excuses.
@PRyan: With P90X guru Tony Horton, a workout photo I'm proud to share. cc: @TIME Magazine. pic.twitter.com/GodsIfGmdA
@APStylebook: Some overused travel story words, according to @AP_Travel's Beth Harpaz: unique, stunning, storied, charming.
6:00 pm: Jim Risch, who is in the running to be the next chairman of the "Wait, Who?" Caucus, shakes hands and pretends to care about what you have to say at a campaign function. [The Caucus Room, 401 9th Street NW]
6:00 pm: Tim Scott, who is enjoying the last precious moments before Bill Kristol or whoever writes a "Why not him" 2016 article about him, attends a fundraiser with special guest Richard Burr.
6:30 pm: Congress is examining the pros and cons of the NSA's expanded surveillance techniques, so it's a good thing Pat Toomey is getting a expert advice and, er, money, at his telecom industry fundraiser. [Rasika, 633 D Street NW]
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm: New Hampshire's congressional delegation attends an "Experience New Hampshire" reception, which will feature [Kennedy Caucus Room Russell SOB]
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm: Iowa Senate candidate and Congressman Bruce Braley hosts a "Taste of Iowa" reception. Unclear if there will be butter statues. [500 N Capitol Street]
6:00 pm: As the newest member of the three amigos, we can only assume Kelly Ayotte has taken over previous rookie Lindsey Graham's role of paying for everyone's drinks and retrieving John McCain's laundry. She escapes freshman amigo duty with a dinner fundraiser. [BLT Steak, 1625 Eye Street NW]
6:00 pm: Heather Podesta, because she is Heather Podesta, hosts a fundraiser for the DSCC featuring most of the Senate's Democratic women. [Casa de Podesta]
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm: Not that he needs the help, but Steny Hoyer will attend a fundraiser hosted by lobbyists Linda Hall Daschle -- wife of Tom -- and Frederick Graefe. Ellen Tauscher will also be on hand. [901 K Street NW]
7:30 pm: AFI Docs marks the 50th anniversary of JFK's death by hosting a screening of "Letters To Jackie: Remembering President Kennedy." [Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW]
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