POLITICS
07/11/2013 05:57 pm ET Updated Sep 10, 2013

HUFFPOST HILL - Sharknado Leaves This Town In Ruins

The internet buzzed with "Sharknado" chatter, though Sharknadoes won't be real until Pat Robertson links them to gay marriage. Not content to let the Senate have all the glory -- you may recall it not ratifying a disability treaty and rejecting background checks -- the House today shrugged at 47 million Americans who need help buying food. And Mitch McConnell said Harry Reid's filibuster reform package will "kill the Senate." We're pretty sure the only thing that would kill this Senate is if Bistro Bis and Johnny's Half Shell quit doing group events. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, July 11th, 2013:

HARRY REID THREATENS TO MAKE MINOR CHANGE TO FILIBUSTER RULES, REPUBLICANS LOSE IT - And can you blame them? Who doesn't recall the Federalist Paper where John Jay argued that our fragile republic would crumble if an NLRB member was approved with a fifty-plus-one majority? USA Today: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., set the U.S. Senate on a potentially chamber-altering course for next week, pledging to use his power to change Senate rules to push through President Obama's executive branch nominations despite furious opposition from Republicans... Citing long-simmering Democratic frustrations with successful GOP efforts to block Obama's nominees to the Consumer Financial Protection Board and the National Labor Relations Board, among other agencies, Reid pledged Thursday to set in motion next week a series of votes to change Senate rules to lower the number of votes needed to end a filibuster of an executive branch nominee from 60 to 51 votes. The rules change could be accomplished with a simple majority vote...Reid told reporters he has the 51 votes he will need to change the rules..." [USA Today]

@jaketapper: McConnell: "My friend, the Majority Leader, is going to be remembered as the worst leader of the Senate ever."

@Team_Mitch: "RT if you agree: If Reid changes the rules to kill the filibuster, "Killed the Senate" will be on his tombstone pic.twitter.com/VDAmiiSYpI

Reid, at a press briefing after meeting with fellow Democrats, said that he would end his filibuster crusade if Republicans would just approve the seven nominees he wants, setting up a weekend-long game of chicken. Asked what he'd say if Republicans agreed not to filibuster them: "Hallelujah!"

HOUSE PASSES FARM BILL WITHOUT FOOD STAMPS - NBC News: "After an embarrassing failure to pass a farm bill last month, House Republicans on Thursday narrowly passed a modified version of the bill that stripped-out funding authorization for food stamps and nutrition programs. The vote was 216-208, with all Democrats voting against it. Twelve Republicans also voted against the bill. This time, leaders brought legislation to the floor that did not include language regarding funding authorization for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), earning the ire of Democrats and a veto threat from the White House. House Democrats worked to create procedural headaches as Republicans scrambled for support on their own side. They forced five procedural votes on the floor, pushing the final vote back by hours." [NBC News]

THERE IS NO FOOD STAMP CLIFF - "If you're a true liberal and you want to protect the [food stamps] program from any reform whatsoever, I suppose you'd be smiling," Frank Lucas, the Republican chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, told HuffPost on Thursday morning ahead of the vote. "The way food stamps is structured, even if the authorization expires, it's an appropriated program anyway. They can just keep it going." He's got a point, though some Democrats and hunger advocates worry about the appropriations process. [HuffPost]

Whoops: "Worse than your phone ringing in the theater? Having it go off in the middle of your Senate floor peroration against Democrats. That's what happened to the senior senator from Kansas, Pat Roberts (R), as he was lambasting Democratic plans to reform Senate filibuster rules Thursday. 'That's probably Joe Biden calling me right now, saying he agrees with me,' said Roberts, who had cited the vice president not long before. 'Can you turn that damn thing off?' Roberts told a chuckling aide." [HuffPost's Mike McAuliff]

@samsteinhp: "We need to vote soon or I won't be able to catch sharknado" -- house member overheard on cspan

FARM BILL MELTDOWN - Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) shouted "Shame on Republicans" while speaking during a floor debate that had already dragged longer than expected. Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) demanded her words be taken down -- potentially necessitating a vote and causing poor Frank Lucas to pound his armrest. Republicans crowded around Woodall for a few minutes, apparently urging him to call it off. Then he went over to Brown and talked to her, putting his hand on her arm, before eventually standing and withdrawing his request. Brown went back to the podium and said this: "Mitt Romney was right. You all do not care about the 47 percent. Shame on you!" Republicans boooooooed.

@KateNocera: The farm bill procedural delays are yielding some very pissed off looking lawmakers with planes to catch.

Here's a thing from a coworker's Facebook feed: "Funny political gossip of the night: We ran into Senator Whitehouse and Senator Schumer at Clyde's. Apparently there was a rat found at the Durbin/Schumer/Miller/Delahunt group house and Schumer refused to sleep there tonight."

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - North Carolina is finding so many ways to skewer safety net people. "The state Senate is toning down legislation to require drug testing and criminal background checks on all applicants for North Carolina's worker-training and welfare program....The legislation requires people seeking help from the state's Work First welfare program to ensure they're not parole violators, facing felony charges, or a suspected drug user. Senators adopted changes on Wednesday that drop a requirement to tell people looking for help they can avoid drug testing if they forget about applying." [Associated Press]

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BOEHNER LEAVES DOOR OPEN TO CITIZENSHIP PATHWAY - If nothing else, the House speaker wouldn't mind having a few more of his conference members hail from swing states. Things have gotten lonely lately. Elise Foley: "Despite hearing concerns from some House Republicans about providing a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) declined Thursday to rule out the option, saying it remains to be seen whether legalization can pass the House. 'We're going to find out,' he told reporters, referring to support for bills on legalization or a pathway to citizenship. 'But the twitter from the conversation yesterday was that the members do believe -- the vast majority of our members do believe -- we have to wrestle with this problem. But they also believe that we need to do a step-by-step, common-sense approach.' Boehner has repeatedly refused to give a straight answer on whether he supports allowing undocumented immigrants to eventually become citizens, arguing that it's not helpful for him to voice a view publicly because he should instead listen to his members. His only firm lines have been that a Senate-passed bill will go nowhere in the House, and that border security must come before legalization." [HuffPost]

Cantor Cares 4 Children: "At least one piece of legislation on undocumented immigrants is likely to find Republican support in the House, after the offices of Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) confirmed Thursday they are working together on a bill to help undocumented children. The bill, tentatively named the KIDS Act, would be a Republican alternative to the Dream Act that failed in the Senate in 2010, and would allow undocumented young people to become legal residents." [HuffPost]

STUDENT LOAN DEAL REACHED, MIGHT RAISE RATES IN THE FUTURE - But the future is when we'll all skip college to land construction jobs in Chengdu and/or stitch sneakers at the Li Ning plant in the Upper West Side so... who cares? Shahien Nasiripour: "A bipartisan group of senators struck a deal late Wednesday to overhaul the federal student loan program, tying interest rates on new loans to the U.S. government's cost to borrow in a move that immediately reduces the cost to finance higher education, but is forecast to raise borrowing costs for millions of graduate students and parents in about three years. Rates on new student loans from the Department of Education, the dominant source of college loans, would be pegged to the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. Undergraduates would pay 1.8 percentage points above the government's cost to borrow for 10 years. Graduate students would pay 3.8 percentage points above the rate. Parents would pay 4.5 percentage points above the benchmark, officials said... most students starting school this fall and their parents would enjoy lower borrowing costs than the rates that prevailed during the last school year. But their savings would effectively be subsidized by future borrowers, who would pay more relative to current law as the economy improves and interest rates rise." [HuffPost]

Zach Carter and Jason Cherkis take a look at Mitch McConnell's record and political rise in Kentucky: "In place of a discernible philosophy or lasting impact on the lives of ordinary citizens, there are other monuments. In Owensboro, there's a Mitch McConnell Way and, on the city's riverfront, a Mitch McConnell Plaza. Outside Louisville, there is a 5.4-mile trail in the Jefferson County National Forest called Mitch McConnell Loop. In 2004, Bowling Green established the River Walk at Mitch McConnell Park. The Mitch McConnell Center for Political Leadership crowds half a floor of the University of Louisville's library with a hodgepodge of mundane artifacts celebrating his Senate career. One placard notes that he has served longer than Wendell Ford, while another details his interest in Henry Clay's desk. A portrait of a younger McConnell is inscribed: 'In a representative democracy senators are elected to lead, not merely to reflect which way the political wind is blowing at any given time.'" [HuffPost]

WHO HASN'T DABBLED IN CONFEDERATE WORSHIP AND/OR SECESSIONIST IDEOLOGY? - Rand Paul says he is "not a fan of secession," which is the type of language one uses when expressing one's distaste for The Doors or licorice, not an act that invokes the protection of slavery. Howard Fineman: "In an interview with The Huffington Post, Sen. Rand Paul stoutly defended an aide who, as a radio shock jock in South Carolina, praised John Wilkes Booth, heaped scorn on Abraham Lincoln and wore a ski mask emblazoned with the stars and bars of the Confederate Battle Flag. Paul (R-Ky.) stressed that he opposed such views, many of which have been recanted by the Senate aide, Jack Hunter, who co-wrote Paul's first book in 2010 and who is now his social media adviser in Washington. 'I'm not a fan of secession,' Paul said. 'I think the things he said about John Wilkes Booth are absolutely stupid. I think Lincoln was one of our greatest presidents. Do I think Lincoln was wrong is taking away the freedom of the press and the right of habeas corpus? Yeah.'" [HuffPost]

Richard Blumenthal -- or rather his new media staffer -- has posted a listicle on BuzzFeed.

MARK SANFORD BETRAYS THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL - God we hope this is followed by Larry Craig announcing an initiative to fire the janitors who clean the bathrooms in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Amanda Terkel: "Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) is getting a helping hand from Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) in his push for an amendment to defund the Appalachian Regional Commission, which is designed to promote economic development in the underserved region. On Wednesday night, Chabot went on the House floor and argued that the Appalachian Regional Commission and a handful of other similar commissions are wasteful and duplicative... But even before he made his case, Chabot thanked Sanford, the politician who is perhaps most associated with the Appalachian region. 'I want to thank the gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Sanford, for his leadership in co-sponsoring this particular amendment with me,' said Chabot." [HuffPost]

That time a "Fox and Friends" host hit a baby with a basketball

KEN CUCCINELLI DISTANCING HIMSELF FROM BOB MCDONNELL - Luke Johnson: "Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the state's 2013 Republican nominee for governor, is trying to distance himself from a gifts scandal engulfing Gov. Bob McDonnell (R). 'What we've all been seeing is very painful for Virginia, and it's completely inconsistent with Virginia's very reserved traditions,' Cuccinelli said in a statement released Wednesday. 'Right now there are two investigations running, one of which began with my referral, and we need to let those play out; however, all of this emphasizes the need for clearer and faster disclosures that cover the whole family, as well as a cap on the size and types of gifts.'...Once mentioned as a possible 2016 contender for the presidency, McDonnell is now fending off resignation rumors. The scandal could also threaten Cuccinelli, who has received gifts from the same donor. In November 2012, Cuccinelli's office launched an investigation into McDonnell's disclosures." [HuffPost]

Anthony Weiner, still a mensch to New York's seniors: "Attacks flew at a mayoral forum Thursday that saw two of Anthony Weiner's Democratic rivals slam him as a liar and a narcissist, and one hit him for the sexting scandal that drove him from Congress... The attacks didn't seem to do Weiner much harm with the senior citizen crowd, who booed when Albanese brought up the scandal and mobbed Weiner for pictures after the forum. After running the gauntlet of elderly women and press, Weiner, carrying his helmet, strolled to a Citibike station near the NYU Kimmel Center where the debate was held, checked out a bike and hopped on to pedal home." [Daily News]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is Jumpy the Dog. He does tricks.

CONSERVATIVE COLORADANS TRYING TO SPLIT FROM THEIR NATURE-LOVING, GUN-HATING BRETHREN - TPM: "Representatives from 10 rural Colorado counties met this week to draw up plans for a 51st state they call 'North Colorado,' where they dream gun and oil laws will be more lax, Denver television station KCNC reported. The secessionist movement grew out of its organizers' frustration with state lawmakers passing restrictions on guns and the oil and gas industry, as well as raising renewable energy standards for rural co-ops, according to KCNC. The counties would need the approval of voters, the Colorado General Assembly and U.S. Congress to secede and form "North Colorado," according to the television station. Should the secession plan fail, county commissioners could propose a ballot initiative that would alter the state Senate so that each of Colorado's 64 counties would have its own senator to represent its interests." [TPM]

COMFORT FOOD

- Spiderman has mad basketball skillz. [http://bit.ly/12jXovM]

- The trailer for "Sharknado," Syfy's upcoming made-for-TV movie about a tornado that whips up sharks from the ocean and drops them on people. I have had it with these mothaf----n sharks off this mothaf----n tornado. [http://bit.ly/130JT7u]

- It's not exactly a Sharknado, but this waterspout is what happens when a tornado forms over water. [http://bit.ly/11DD4KO]

- A father filmed a his child each day from birth and compiled the clips into this short film. [http://bit.ly/12nf5xT]

- This interactive map uses tweets to determine which fast food chains are most popular in a given area. [http://bit.ly/12Y2wca]

- What the Universal Studios intro looks like from Earth. [http://bit.ly/1ae6z64]

- Now you see Teleportation Cat. Now you don't. [http://huff.to/11FP3Yo]

TWITTERAMA

@samsteinhp: headline ideas for Reid's rule change gambit? Mitch Don't Kill My Vibe?`

@dceiver: "Mr. Speaker I ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my foot up a GOT DAM ass up in this piece."

@andylevy: all i'm saying is no sharknadoes hit america while bush was president #HeKeptUsSafe

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