POLITICS
09/13/2013 04:44 pm ET Updated Nov 13, 2013

HUFFPOST HILL - The David Vitter's A Big Jerkface Omnibus Amendment Act of 2013

Sequestration is keeping so many people from being vaccinated you'd think Jenny McCarthy came up with the idea. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said he and Vladimir Putin once drunkenly resolved the Cold War through arm wrestling, though he might be confusing that with an unmade "Over The Top" sequel. And if David Vitter continues to hold up a bill, Senate Democrats say they'll remind everyone about his prostitution scandal. Vitter better comply lest members of the press start mentioning *****HIS PROSTITUTION SCANDAL****. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, September 13th, 2013:

SENATE DEMS THREATEN TO TELL VITTER ABOUT HIMSELF - Politico: "Senate Democrats have had all they can take from David Vitter and his fixation on Obamacare — and they’re dredging up his past prostitution scandal to hit back. Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, has infuriated Democrats this week by commandeering the Senate floor, demanding a vote on his amendment repealing federal contributions to help pay for lawmakers’ health care coverage. But Democratic senators are preparing a legislative response targeting a sordid Vitter episode. If Vitter continues to insist on a vote on his proposal, Democrats could counter with one of their own: Lawmakers will be denied those government contributions if there is 'probable cause' they solicited prostitutes. According to draft legislation obtained by POLITICO, Democrats are weighing whether to force a Senate vote on a plan that would effectively resurrect Vitter’s past if the conservative Republican continues to press forward with his Obamacare-bashing proposal...It’s unclear which Democratic senator will offer the plan or whether a vote will ever come to pass. It was drafted by staff in response to requests by several Democratic senators. And sources say it was discussed at a Senate Democratic lunch on Thursday." [Politico]

We have the proposal: "(iv) LIMITATION. -- No employee contribution payable under section 8906 of title 5, United States Code, with respect to health insurance coverage under this subparagraph, may be provided on behalf of an individual who the relevant congressional ethics panel has probable cause to determine has engaged in the solicitation of prostitution." [HuffPost]

Is it just us or does this bring to mind that "Simpsons" episode where Homer taunts Marge about her gambling addiction? "Sure. Remember when I got caught stealing all those watches from Sears? Well, that's nothing because you solicited a prostitute who made you wear diapers!. And remember when I let that escaped lunatic in the house because he was dressed like Santa Claus? Well you solicited a prostitute who made you wear diapers!!"

Also, Politico's headline, "Will Democrats haul out hookers in David Vitter fight?" makes us so very uncomfortable.

VITTER FIGHTS FIRE PROSTITUTES WITH FIRE - Luke Johnson: "Vitter, who survived a prostitution scandal in 2007, called on Friday for an ethics probe of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). Without mentioning prostitution explicitly, Vitter accused the Democratic senators of violating rules for 'proposing and circulating through the press legislation that ties Members’ personal healthcare benefits to their performance of specific acts and votes.' Vitter said the move constituted 'attempted bribery, and the exact sort of behavior that the Senate Ethics Committee has previously condemned.' Spokesmen for Reid and Boxer, the chair of the Ethics Committee, did not immediately respond to requests for comment." [HuffPost]

CONGRESSIONAL DEMS AT ODDS OVER FISCAL STRATEGY - Sam Stein: "The Budget Control Act of 2011 established caps on how much the government could spend during a given fiscal year.. .In fiscal year 2014, which begins in October, that number will be $1.058 trillion. But sequestration effectively reduces those spending caps. In FY 2013, it lowered the $1.043 trillion spending cap to $988 billion...House Republicans want to lower the baseline for the next fiscal year to $988 billion -- in other words, the spending cap in FY 2013 under sequestration -- rather than the $1.058 trillion agreed to under the Budget Control Act. Democrats are divided as to whether or not this would be acceptable, and conversations with sources on the Hill reveal two competing concerns. The first is that by acquiescing to this demand, Democrats believe they would be setting a terrible standard for budget fights to come...On the other side of that argument are Democrats concerned about mucking up the politics of the budget battles. Any continuing resolution that gets passed in September, they argue, will only last for a few months, after which the two sides will try to hammer out a longer-lasting agreement to fund the government." [HuffPost]

@peterschroeder: Tester spokesman confirms to me that if Larry Summers is nominated to Fed Chairman, he would oppose. Could be 4 D 'no's' on Banking now.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - A Minnesota woman on food stamps wrote an op-ed to fight back against cash register resentment: "This is an apology to the lady behind me in line at Cub Foods in Edina on a recent Sunday night. This is also a reminder to me and to others who have ever slipped into believing that we are just a little better than others we encounter…. I know we looked like people you might think need EBT: a bit unkempt in sweatpants and T-shirts. If I’d had the guts to talk to you, I would have told you that I’d just had an emergency surgery and that my daughter came home from college five hours away to help for the weekend because my husband had scheduled surgery two days after mine. I haven’t been able to put on real clothes yet, and I can’t lift a bag of groceries. I thought I could handle your disdain, since I am a professional working at a local corporation where I am surrounded every day by people who respect me and care about me. But it still made me feel a little dirty -- unworthy -- and I still went home and cried in the privacy of my shower so my family would not know I was hurt by you." [StarTribune.com]
Does somebody keep forwarding you this newsletter? Get your own copy. It's free! Sign up here. Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

MCCAIN STRONGLY HINTS AT RETIREMENT - The aging senator would like to spend more time with his family and clear his numerous lawns of frisbees. The Hill: "Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) hinted that he may be serving his last term in office, admitting that he does not want to become 'one of these old guys that should’ve shoved off.' McCain, a 27-year veteran of the senate and former presidential candidate, made the admission while speaking about his relationship with President Obama. 'The president and I, he's in his last term, I'm probably in mine, the relationship we have had over the past three years is quite good,' McCain told The Wrap in an interview... McCain backtracked a bit... 'I was trying to make a point. I have to decide in about two years so I don’t have to make a decision. I don’t want to be one of these old guys that should’ve shoved off.'" [The Hill]

[Michele Norris voice] While most Washington politicians are trying to keep Russian President Vladimir Putin at an arms' length, one D.C. lawmaker once locked arms with the Russian leader. [/Michele Norris voice]. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher to KPCC-FM: "[In the early 1990s at Kelly's Irish Times, Putin and I] were having a little bit too much to drink, I guess. But anyways, we started arguing about who won the Cold War, etc. And so we decided to settle it like men do when they’ve had too much to drink in the pub. And so we got down to these arm wrestling matches. And I ended up being paired up with Putin. And he’s a little guy, but boy I tell you, he put me down in a millisecond. He is tough. … His muscles are just unbelievable. He’s a tough guy, and he’s supposed to be a tough guy. That’s what the Russian people want. But that’s not a reason we shouldn’t try to work with him.” [KPCC-FM, via WaPo]

@DSenFloor: #OnThisDay in #Senate history: In 1948, Margaret Chase Smith became the 1st woman elected to both the House & Senate 1.usa.gov/18ZDGYA

POLL: 44 PERCENT OF AMERICANS HAVE DEEP-SEATED MASOCHISTIC TENDENCIES - It would explain Paula Deen. Ariel Edwards-Levy: "In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Friday, 44 percent of respondents said they are against raising the debt ceiling, while 22 percent said it should be raised so the U.S. avoids 'going into bankruptcy and defaulting on its obligations.' The remaining third said they are unsure. 'People’s first instinct is how fed up they are with Washington and spending,' Republican pollster Bill McInturff told NBC. “This is a very difficult issue in terms of public opinion.' A Reason-Rupe poll released Thursday by the libertarian Reason Foundation and Arthur N. Rupe Foundation found even wider opposition, with 70 percent against raising the debt ceiling and 24 percent in favor of it. The poll, unlike the one from NBC/WSJ, didn't explicitly give respondents the option to say they didn't know enough to form an opinion." [HuffPost]

SEQUESTRATION A BOON TO BIG INFLUENZA - Amanda Terkel: "The Air Force will no longer be giving free flu shots to civilian employees this year, due to the federal budget cuts known as sequestration. Last year, 12,000 employees were vaccinated under the Air Force's program, free of charge. Now, only beneficiaries of TRICARE, the Defense Department health system, will be eligible, along with members of the military, their families and military retirees. "In the past, AFMC has offered both the flu vaccine and wellness programs because civilian health and wellness is an important factor that supports our command mission," said Col. James King, AFMC command surgeon, in a statement this week. 'Unfortunately, limited resources required us to prioritize and ultimately fund broader health programs that provide more resources for the total health of our civilian workforce.'" [http://huff.to/18blzOy]

@DarrellIssa: Hi.

DEMS GET VIABLE CANDIDATE IN WEST VIRGINIA SENATE RACE - Up to this point Democrats in the Mountain State were planning to run a life-sized cardboard cutout of John Denver and wheel him about the state in a Radio Flyer. This is preferable: "West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant intends to run for Senate in 2014, according to two Democratic sources familiar with her thinking. The expected announcement by the former television reporter gives Democrats their first credible candidate in an uphill campaign against Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito. Tennant is known across The Mountain State for her work in the media and has twice won statewide elections to be secretary of state, though she was unsuccessful in a 2011 gubernatorial run...Several well-known West Virginia Democrats, including longtime Rep. Nick Rahall and state Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis, had passed on the chance to challenge Capito, the daughter of a former West Virginia governor. That has left Tenant as one of the last hopes for Democrats in the conservative state." [Politico]

TRAYVON MARTIN'S MOTHER TO TESTIFY BEFORE CONGRESS - Jen Bendery: "Sybrina Fulton, whose teenage son Trayvon Martin was gunned down last year by a man who claimed he was acting in self-defense, will testify next Tuesday about the impact of 'Stand Your Ground' laws. Fulton is one of several witnesses appearing before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, which is holding a hearing titled 'Stand Your Ground' Laws: Civil Rights and Public Safety Implications of the Expanded Use of Deadly Force.' Lucia McBath, whose teenage son Jordan Davis was shot and killed in July by another man claiming self-defense, will also testify. Both shootings took place in Florida, both teens were black and neither was armed. More than two dozen states have some type of 'Stand Your Ground' law, which allows a person who feels threatened to “meet force with force, including deadly force.” Florida's controversial law wasn't invoked during Martin's trial, though it did factor into the jury's decision, according to one of the jurors. The law may be directly tested in the Dunn case." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a phoenix dog, rising from the ashes.

HOUSE REPUBLICANS DISTANCE THEMSELVES FROM SCIENCE - Kate Sheppard: "Climate science is apparently so controversial for Republican members of the House of Representatives that they can't approve legislation that would create an honorary position of science laureate for the United States. A bipartisan group of senators and House members proposed legislation in May to create this position for an expert in his or her field who 'would travel around the country to inspire future scientists.' But as Science reports, what was supposed to be an easy House vote this week to approve the honorary (read: unpaid) position was tabled after a conservative group objected..House leadership pulled the bill from the schedule. It's now expected to go back to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology for a debate." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- "Game of Thrones" as a video game for the original Nintendo. You can play this one. [http://bit.ly/13WN2WO]

- Key and Peele introduce more ridiculous football names. [http://huff.to/18ZuhQO]

- Flying from Copenhagen to Helsinki today? Just remember that it's Friday the 13th, the flight number is 666 and your destination is HEL. True story. [http://bit.ly/1eqw21S]

- Lazy dog only awoken by fake raccoon sounds. [http://bit.ly/14P2GRb]

- The video for Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" with Nicolas Cage playing the role of Miley. [http://bit.ly/15nKEJE]

- Hats off to Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason for decorating his helmet with zombie Benjamin Franklin and Betsy Ross. [http://yhoo.it/18XkVFe]

- Mashup of puppies and kittens staring at mirrors. [http://bit.ly/10YUDQb]

TWITTERAMA

@dceiver: 2 Chainz CPI

@bendreyfuss: I've only written one politician a letter ever. It was Rick Perry bc he is afraid of snakes and I wanted him to know that he wasn't alone.

@stefanjbecket: POLITICO Playbook presented by BP-FIRST LOOK AT JOE SCAROBOROUGH'S NEW BOOK *closes tab*

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com), Ryan Grim (ryan@huffingtonpost.com) or Arthur Delaney (arthur@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e