POLITICS
07/24/2013 06:04 pm ET Updated Sep 23, 2013

HUFFPOST HILL - 'Cantaloupe Calves' Is Fun To Say, Also Racist

A new poll finds John Boehner is as unpopular as George Zimmerman, which makes sense as both men tend to hurt people when they stand their ground. Ken Cuccinelli once supported anti-adultery laws, but probably realized that Congress can't function without anyone in it. And Max Baucus and Orrin Hatch ordered that certain tax reform proposals remain anonymous, so we won't know for 50 years who was responsible for letting former senators write off Butte- area vacation homes as business expenses. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, July 24th, 2013:

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE MAKING THE NSA LOOK TRANSPARENT - The faint drumming sounds you hear are the painfully throbbing temples of every single CREW staffer. The Hill: "The Senate's top tax writers have promised their colleagues 50 years worth of secrecy in exchange for suggestions on what deductions and credits to protect in tax reform. Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), have assured lawmakers that any submission they receive will not be released by either the committee or the National Archives before the end of 2064. Deeming the submissions confidential, the Senate’s top tax writers have said only certain staff members – 10 in all – will get to review a senator’s written suggestions. Each submission will also be given its own ID number and be kept on both password-protected servers, with printed versions kept in locked safes. The promise of confidentiality was revealed just two days before the deadline for senators to participate in the Finance Committee’s 'blank slate' process, which puts the onus on lawmakers to argue for what credits and deductions should be preserved in a streamlined tax code." [The Hill]

@ZekeJMiller: Inbox: PRESIDENT GEORGE H. W. BUSH "41" SHAVES HEAD IN SOLIDARITY WITH YOUNG CANCER PATIENT pic.twitter.com/anA4CP3N6v

D.C. BUDGET BILL STAYS TRUE TO TRADITION BY SCREWING D.C. - Roll Call: "Lawmakers... approved a bill Wednesday that lets the District set its own fiscal calendar and spend locally raised tax dollars without first getting congressional permission. Introduced Tuesday night by House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the budget autonomy proposal comes during a big week for proponents of the cause. A referendum with similar intent survived its 35-day congressional review period... Both the referendum and Issa’s bill would allow the District to operate on a July-to-June fiscal year, as most other states and localities do, in order to prepare funding in advance of the start of the school year. Under both proposals, D.C. would be free to spend local funds as approved through its own budgeting process...Under the referendum, the budget would only be subject to a 30-day congressional review period during which Capitol Hill could disapprove of the budget. By contrast, Issa’s bill mandates that as soon as the next federal spending bill is signed into law, D.C.’s budget would still be subject to policy restrictions. Republicans have routinely added policy riders to the annual spending bill restricting needle exchanges and spending on abortion." [Roll Call]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Happy birthday, stagnant minimum wage! Dave Jamieson: "Workers toiling in low-wage jobs marked a dispiriting anniversary on Wednesday: It's now been four years since the last time the federal minimum wage was raised. The minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour, and it prevails in the 30 states that don't already mandate a higher one. The last time it saw a boost was on July 24, 2009, when it was raised from $6.55. That 70-cent raise marked the last in a series of increases signed into law by President George W. Bush. Since then, the legal wage floor has held steady, even as the cost of living has continued to rise. A full-time worker earning the minimum wage now pulls in a salary of about $15,000 per year, far below a living wage in most parts of the country." [HuffPost]

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OBAMA DELIVERS SPEECH, WITH WORDS AND PUNCTUATION AND EVERYTHING - Sam Stein: "Against the backdrop of a stable but still lethargic economy, President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged Congress to end what he deemed worsening gridlock and to join him in crafting a constructive agenda for jobs, immigration reform and health care implementation. The speech, which was widely hyped in advance by the administration, was heavy on broad themes while touching on a few specifics. The president pitched a refinancing plan for mortgages, a long-term fix to student loans, worker training programs, and a renewed focus on manufacturing jobs and infrastructure repair. Speaking at Knox College, he called on Congress to offer constructive input on all these fronts...The speech, which is one of several that the White House has planned, was pitched as a pivot of sorts back to economic issues after months of focus on other items -- from the legislative (gun control) to the headline-grabbers (the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS). The setting itself was meant to be an emotional springboard. The president had delivered the commencement address at Knox College as a senator in 2005, an address that he and his advisers have routinely cited as the best distillation of his economic principles." [HuffPost]

President Obama was denounced by Senate Republicans today for doing his job. Jen Bendery: "It may not be factually accurate, but some Republican senators just can't resist accusing President Barack Obama of 'court-packing' as he tries to fill empty seats on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. During a Wednesday hearing on one of Obama's key judicial nominees, Nina Pillard for the D.C. Circuit, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee resurrected the claim that the president's effort to fill three vacancies on the court amounts to 'court-packing.'...'The president appears to have targeted the D.C. Circuit in hopes that he can pack the court and stack the deck to his advantage,' said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) noted that the Senate already confirmed a nominee to the D.C. Circuit this year...and argued that Obama's efforts... are politically motivated." [HuffPost]

JOHN BOEHNER IS UNLOVED - Cue the tears. Ariel Edwards-Levy: "Twice as many Americans view House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) negatively than view him positively, according to an NBC/WSJ poll released Wednesday. Poll respondents ranked Boehner just ahead of Edward Snowden and George Zimmerman in popularity. Only 18 percent of Americans have a positive opinion of Boehner, while 36 percent view him negatively, the poll found. Boehner's unfavorable ratings, which stood at 29 percent last December, jumped in the aftermath of January's fiscal cliff debate. Boehner's rating, at a net -18, puts him far behind former President George W. Bush and ahead of only Snowden and Zimmerman -- the two least popular public figures tested." [HuffPost]

LA RAZA ACTIVIST STEVE KING DELIVERS CRUSHING BLOW TO CIR OPPONENTS - We're not sure how Jose Antonio Vargas is laundering all that money to Steve King's bank account but he should keep on doing it. Politico: "Rep. Steve King is defending his remarks that drew criticism from his own party leadership that the children of some immigrants were being used as drug mules. 'It’s not something that I’m making up,' King told Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson. 'This is real. We have people that are mules, that are drug mules, that are hauling drugs across the border and you can tell by their physical characteristics what they’ve been doing for months, going through the desert with 75 pounds of drugs on their back and if those who advocate for the DREAM Act, if they choose to characterize this about valedictorians, I gave them a different image that we need to be thinking about because we just simply can’t be passing legislation looking only at one component of what would be millions of people.'...King’s initial remarks came in an interview last week with Newsmax. While discussing the DREAM Act, which would allow children brought to the country illegally by their parents to qualify for citizenship, King said supporters were incorrectly depicting the children as valedictorians." [Politico]

CHC: WTF: "[M]embers of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus took to the House floor to denounce King and call on Republicans to do the same...Although it was interspersed with unrelated floor speeches from other members on jobs and Obamacare, the outcry from the Hispanic caucus nonetheless served as a reflection of a line crossed -- even from King, a noted immigration hardliner who oncelikened immigrants to dogs." [HuffPost]

Raul Labrador can't believe the media is fixating on the prejudiced views of AN ELECTED MEMBER OF CONGRESS: "Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) went after the media on Wednesday for its coverage of remarks by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), saying reporters are to blame for paying more attention to the outspoken lawmaker than moderate Republicans who want to work on immigration reform. 'You have an entire committee except for Steve King that were very positive in their comments and all you guys can do is fan the flame of one person making a reprehensible and irresponsible comment,' he said at a 'Conversations with Conservatives' event, referring to a Judiciary subcommittee hearing Tuesday." [HuffPost]

HOUSE REPUBLICANS DEFENDING FREEDOM'S GREATEST AIR CIRCULATORS - Sabrina Siddiqui:"Rep. Marsha Blackburn is not a fan. The Tennessee Republican says new regulations on energy efficiency will overly burden businesses in her district. At the center of Blackburn's concerns is the inclusion of ceiling fans and ceiling fan light kits in a list of appliances for which the Department of Energy is seeking to implement energy efficiency standards, as part of the Obama administration's broader agenda to gain more from each kilowatt of electricity and reduce carbon emissions in the fight against climate change. As it turns out, Blackburn's state is home to the nation's biggest ceiling fan supplier, the Hunter Fan Company. And so, along with Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), the congresswoman secured an amendment to the fiscal year 2014 energy-and-water appropriations bill that would prevent the Energy Department from enforcing its energy efficiency standards for ceiling fans and ceiling fan light kits. The amendment was approved by a voice vote, and the final bill passed the House two weeks ago on a mostly party-line vote of 227-198." [HuffPost]

NEW JERSEY: LGBT ACTIVISTS PLANNING GAY MARRIAGE PUSH - WSJ: "National groups that have led successful fights on behalf of gay marriage in other states are setting their sights on New Jersey, armed with Republican donors and Wall Street executives who will be opening their wallets for the effort. It is the first time prominent national groups that fund efforts for same-sex nuptials—such as the American Unity Fund and Gill Action Fund—will be involved in a coordinated campaign in New Jersey. Individual financiers who helped bankroll New York's push to pass gay marriage in 2011 are also expected to contribute...The 'New Jersey United for Marriage' campaign intends to target Republican legislators to vote for an override of Republican Gov. Chris Christie's veto last year of a bill allowing for same sex marriage in New Jersey. Lawmakers need to pull in the support of three senators and 12 Assembly members for an override of Mr. Christie's veto. The campaign—scheduled to be announced Wednesday at a news conference in Asbury Park—is run by the state's leading gay-advocacy group, Garden State Equality, and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey. " [WSJ]

KEN CUCCINELLI ONCE SUPPORTED ANTI-ADULTERY LAWS - Now that would make for an interesting "Law & Order" spinoff. Politico: "Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli once suggested that society would benefit from enforcing anti-adultery laws, according to a report dating to the Republican’s days as a state senator. Speaking to Richmond’s Style Weekly magazine back in 2008, Cuccinelli defended laws criminalizing extramarital sex, saying that such restrictions 'ought to stay on the books.' 'Frankly it wouldn’t hurt to enforce them more,' Cuccinelli is quoted saying. The magazine paraphrased Cuccinelli drawing a comparison to 'perjury inasmuch as the occasional prosecution or two would get people thinking twice.'...In response to an email from POLITICO, Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix said the question of adultery was not a major issue in the 2013 election." [Politico]

Bob McDonnell says he won't resign: "Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) denied Wednesday that he would resign amid an ethics scandal, but did not answer directly whether he would repay gifts from a top donor, one day after announcing all loans from the donor had been repaid. 'I'm not going anywhere. I love this job ... there has been no consideration of that," he told NBC Washington from Kabul, Afghanistan, where he is visiting troops." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a cat chihuahua riding a tortoise.

COMFORT FOOD

- Seven sites you should be wasting time on right now. [http://huff.to/18zUHLr]

- Cat interrupts pianist. [http://bit.ly/16ZTWrM]

- Popeyes has unleashed a culinary horror that may cause the South to sink into the Gulf of Mexico: Chicken Waffle Tenders. [http://bit.ly/15fO0ws]

- George Brett, auto-tuned. [http://bit.ly/15JjsCl]

- The hilarious similarities between "Game of Thrones" and "Star Wars." [http://bit.ly/15J5Mr6]

- During last night's Tigers-White Sox game, Hernan Perez scored an inside-the-park home run. It was awkward. [http://bit.ly/1aILtNt]

- Two-hundred and eighty movies edited together to cover Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby." [http://bit.ly/15ZsgGo]

TWITTERAMA

@SimonMaloy: Are those cantaloupes in your pants or are you ha--DEAR GOD THOSE ARE YOUR CALVES????

@igorbobic: Massive bar tabs? RT @DylanByers: Journalists contribute little to society, one-in-four Americans tell Pew politi.co/135ytQo

@TPCarney: Carlos Danger is a pirate sailing the Ocean of Tomorrows.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm: A slew of D.C. journalists and other Washington muckity mucks host a book party for Mark Leibovich, whose new book "This Town" chronicles the shortcomings of D.C. journalists and other Washington muckity mucks. If Escher were a political cartoonist, he'd have a field day with this event. [Adams Morgan]

Cory Booker crosses the Hudson for a fundraiser at [spit take] Ivanka Trump's Manhattan apartment. Of course. [New York City, NY]

TOMORROW

Wendy Davis, the sneakered champion of women's health and reproductive rights, attends a happy hour off the beaten fundraising track on U Street. [Local 16, 1602 U Street NW]

6:00 pm: Valerie Jarrett hosts a reception honoring leaders of the Young Elected Officials Network. [Washington Court Hotel, 525 New Jersey Ave NW]

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