06/20/2013 05:56 pm ET Updated Aug 20, 2013

HUFFPOST HILL - Let Them Buy Their Own Cake

An immigration agreement will effectively result in a "surge" near the U.S.-Mexico border, a move that will definitely reduce crossings from Anbar Province. President Obama will unveil new green regulations on power plants, though we're pretty sure coal plants can reduce their CO2 by letting more air into their tires. And Fox News announced Howard Kurtz was joining the network, prompting Kurtz to retract his report that he'd been hired by Animal Planet. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, June 20th, 2013:

Mike Lee on the Senate floor today: "I've often said that we're slightly less popular in America than the Castro brothers, and slightly more popular than the influenza virus but the virus is gaining on us rapidly." We're not sure if he's talking about Republicans or Congress in general or if he's using the royal we. Call it a win/win/win. H/T Mike McAuliff

OBAMA TO NOMINATE JAMES COMEY TO LEAD FBI - If confirmed, Comey will oversee the agency in charge of antagonizing local detectives by declaring "we'll take it from here" and insisting things be run "by the book"... and also shutting down weed growers. AP: "The White House says President Barack Obama plans to announce Friday his new choice to lead the FBI in Jim Comey, former President George W. Bush's No. 2 at the Justice Department. If confirmed by the Senate, Comey would replace Robert Mueller, who has held the job since shortly before the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. Mueller is set to resign on Sept. 4 after overseeing the bureau's transformation into one the country's chief weapons against terrorism. The White House said Thursday that Obama would make the announcement Friday afternoon. Comey was a federal prosecutor who rose to serve as deputy attorney general under Bush. In recent years, he's worked as a head fund executive and lectured at Columbia Law School." [AP]

HOUSE REJECTS FARM BILL BUT HASTERT RULE STILL INTACT SO EVERYTHING IS TOTALLY COOL - Democrats rejected the measure because it cuts food stamps while some Republicans rejected it because people can pay for their own damn Fruit Loops and Spam. With Mike McAuliff and Sabrina Siddiqui: "Republican and Democratic leaders waged a blame game Thursday after GOP-backed cuts to food stamps unexpectedly derailed a trillion-dollar piece of legislation known as the farm bill. The bill's stunning failure sets back for a second year progress on the country's agricultural policies and gives House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) a fresh black eye after his chamber failed to move a farm bill last year. The Senate has passed its version twice, with large majorities. The contentious measure would have cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by $20.5 billion, or roughly $2 billion per year -- depriving 2 million Americans of food assistance -- and a sufficient number of Democrats were apparently ready to approve it. But this week Republicans added amendments to let states drug-test SNAP program beneficiaries and set up additional work requirements that anti-hunger advocates and Democrats warned would give states incentives to boot even more people from the food-stamp rolls. The latter amendment, from Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.), became a sticking point. While Democrats said the measure would essentially pay states to reduce enrollment, Republicans touted the supposed success of a similar policy in the 1996 'welfare reform' law, which instituted work requirements in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program." [HuffPost]

Pelosi on the Southerland thing: "I just can't get over the fact that 58 republicans voted for an amendment that would sink the bill...It's a stunning thing. Why would you give people an amendment that's going to kill your bill, and then go blame it on somebody else?"

BOEHNER WARNS OF ANOTHER DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN - Jen Bendery: "House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday that he would negotiate a debt-ceiling increase with spending cuts, potentially setting up another fight with President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats. 'Well, you know, I could say the sun's not going to come up tomorrow, but guess what? It is. So the president can say, "I'm not going to negotiate on the debt limit." Get over it,' he told CNBC, in an interview scheduled to air later Thursday. 'We're spending more money than what we're bringing in. We have to deal with this problem. And if we're going to raise the debt limit then we've got to do something about what's causing us to spend more money than what we bring in.' 'So guess what? We're going to have a debate and we're going to have a negotiation,' said Boehner." [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From our ongoing series PASTED: The Email of the Jobless: "I was laid off at the age of 61. If it wasn't for the unemployment benefits, I would not have survived. They were my safety net, especially at my age. I was on them for 79 weeks as I was never able to get gainful employment. When they ran out, that's when the nightmare began financially. I quickly ran out of money. I have lost everything. I just recently let go of my car because I could no longer afford the payments or the insurance. I am now 64 years old and starting over, barely. I was forced to go on full retirement at age 63 which was not in the cards for the near future. I wanted to retire when I wanted to, but that did not happen. I cannot get food stamps or any other assistance because I do not qualify. So, this is my just reward after many years of doing all the right things and that is earning a living and paying my bills. I just hope that things will turn around for me. I just keep praying every day just to survive." [Hang in there!]

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IMMIGRATION DEAL ANNOUNCED, MEXICAN BORDER TO GET ITS VERY OWN MAGINOT LINE - It's unclear whether there will be any anti- drug catapult measures included in a final bill. Elise Foley: "A deal will be announced on Thursday for a border security amendment that would up the cost and requirements for enforcement of immigration law in the 'gang of eight' immigration reform bill, senators said. The agreement gives a boost to an effort led by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) to win over more Republicans. The bill mandates that significant increases to border requirements be met before undocumented immigrants can move from provisional status to legal permanent residency. Given those increases, it's likely to be expensive: aides said they expect a cost of about $30 billion for 40,000 border agents to be hired and deployed, rather than the 21,000 agents in the original bill. The deal would also require 700 miles of fencing and more funding for aerial drones and surveillance of the U.S.-Mexico border. Some of these strategies are similar to what is being used in Iraq and Afghanistan, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a member of the gang of eight, told reporters of the amendment. 'This is a border surge,' Graham said. 'We've practically militarized the border.'" [HuffPost]

Joe Biden noted that had the Irish not been allowed to immigrate in the 19th Century, Barack Obama wouldn't be president. Somehow this is supposed to convince Republicans to vote for immigration reform and not, say, cause them to resurrect the Know Nothing movement. Jen Bendery: "Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that if today's tough immigration laws were in place back when President Barack Obama's relatives came to the United States from Ireland, they wouldn't have been let in and Obama would never have been president. During remarks at the Hispanic National Prayer Breakfast, Biden praised the Senate for moving forward with comprehensive immigration reform legislation and highlighted that both he and Obama have roots in Ireland." [HuffPost]

Despite Ted Cruz's insistence on "legal" immigration, his parents bribed their way into the country, which is like the rich person's coyotaje: "Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Tex.) father said in an interview airing Thursday that he had to grease some palms -- in Cuba, at least -- to get to the United States. 'A friend of the family -- a lawyer friend of my father -- basically bribed a Batista official to stamp my passport with an exit permit,' 74-year-old Rafael Bienvenido Cruz told NPR." [WaPo]

Before the farm bill failed the House OKed an amendment legalizing the growing of hemp for scientific ventures, like finding out how to make hemp clothes that aren't terrible. Grim: "The House of Representatives on Thursday overcame last-minute lobbying from the Drug Enforcement Administration to pass a farm bill amendment that would legalize the growing of hemp for research purposes. The 225-200 vote came after a flurry of opposition from the DEA, which argued that it would be too difficult for the agency to differentiate legal hemp from illegal marijuana, both varieties of the cannabis plant...The fate of the hemp amendment is currently tied to the farm bill, but now that it has garnered majority support, the measure stands a good chance of passage the next time it can be attached to pending legislation." [HuffPost]

OBAMA SET TO UNVEIL POWER PLANT EMISSIONS REGULATIONS -NYT: "President Obama is preparing regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, senior officials said Wednesday. The move would be the most consequential climate policy step he could take and one likely to provoke legal challenges from Republicans and some industries. Electric power plants are the largest single source of global warming pollution in the country, responsible for nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. With sweeping climate legislation effectively dead in Congress, the decision on existing power plants -- which a 2007 Supreme Court decision gave to the executive branch -- has been among the most closely watched of Mr. Obama's second term...The president is preparing to move soon because rules as complex as those applying to power plants can take years to complete. Experts say that if Mr. Obama hopes to have a new set of greenhouse gas standards for utilities in place before he leaves office he needs to begin before the end of this year." [NYT]

@learyreports: Love intro to this news release: "Congressman Ted Yoho (FL-03), a 40-year equine and bovine veterinarian ..." Farm bill defeat "a sad day."

As this video demonstrates, Congress is laughably ignorant about our nuclear arsenal.

HOWARD KURTZ HEADS TO FOX NEWS - Listen, if the network can give Oliver North a home, surely it can give one to Howard "He was engaged. To be married. To a woman." Kurtz. Politico: "In a big shakeup in the world of media and television, reporter and critic Howard Kurtz is leaving CNN and joining Fox News, the network announced on Thursday. Kurtz, who hosted CNN's Reliable Sources, will anchor a weekend media program for Fox News and write a weekly column for FoxNews.com, Fox News executive vice president of news Michael Clemente said in a press release. Kurtz starts his new gig at Fox News on July 1." [Politico]

E.W. JACKSON: BIG GOVERNMENT WORSE THAN SLAVERY - We can't wait for Quentin Tarantino's next revenge flick where Laurence Fishburne portrays a small businessman who loses his shit and kills a bunch of economists at HHS. HuffPost: "E.W. Jackson, the Chesapeake minister running on the GOP ticket for lieutenant governor... claimed that government social programs have done more harm to the African-American community than slavery, Talking Points Memo reported. 'In 1960, most black children were raised in two-parent, monogamous families. By now, by this time, we have only 20 percent of black children being raised in a two-parent, monogamous families with the married man and woman raising those children,' Jackson said. 'It wasn't slavery that did that, it was government that did that. It tried to solve problems that only God can solve and that only we as human beings can solve.'" [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Otter butler fetches you a drink (bonus: Japanese karaoki music!).


- A map of the United States, with the names of its states and cities rewritten with their literal meanings. It makes America feel like Westeros. [http://slate.me/13YNKjv]

- A look back at James Gandolfini's best moments. [http://huff.to/17pLeJx]

- Doxie puppy plays red light green light. [http://bit.ly/12O07Cd]

- Better names for groups of animals. [http://bit.ly/1bZAder]

- Meet astronaut Wang Yaping, China's answer to Chris Hadfield. [http://bit.ly/15mxV5z]

- Yes this is called "Comfort Food," but we just had to share this list of foods that are banned abroad but available in the U.S. [http://bit.ly/1bZiUdv]

- While we're at it, here are nine unsettling scientific facts. [http://bit.ly/15lSkHW]


@KateNocera: overheard in the press gallery: "Tom DeLay would have executed everyone" #farmbill

@delrayser: Well, guess I won't be needing these today. *tapes up boxes of SCOTUS gay marriage jokes*

@pourmecoffee: Dow down 354. Money is a lie. Throw off the shackles of society and revert to your wild nature. Hunt, gather, or get out of the way.

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