10/09/2013 06:14 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014


Public opinion of the GOP is so low you'd think the government shutdown was hurting young children and cute animals ( oh wait…). Phil Gingrey is excited that Republicans are having their "Braveheart" moment, though John Belushi's speech from "Animal House" seems more fitting. And police stopped a man trying to mow the Lincoln Memorial's lawn. His arch nemesis, the person who splattered paint on the Lincoln Memorial, didn't respond to messages left at her lair. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, October 9th, 2013:

CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS EYING SHORT-TERM EXTENSION - Folks in the Capitol have been working on their quads because Congress is about to PUNT. Bloomberg: "House Republican and Senate Democratic leaders are open to a short-term increase in the debt limit, said congressional aides of both parties who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss strategy. The steps mark the first movement toward averting a U.S. default. Republicans haven’t decided how long an extension they would support or whether it would include policy conditions and how to advance it through the House, a House Republican aide said. Senate Democratic leaders would be open to a short-term increase in the U.S. debt ceiling, a Senate Democratic aide said today on condition of anonymity to discuss private talks. Democrats would insist that any proposal wouldn’t impose budget conditions. If Republicans move toward a vote, they’re choosing an option President Barack Obama opened yesterday, when he said he would accept a short-term debt limit increase and then enter broader fiscal negotiations with Republicans." [Bloomberg]

@JGreenDC: Hill staffer on the House side emails that a proposal is floating for a six-week clean debt ceiling increase, shutdown will continue

RYAN PITCHING CONSERVATIVE ENTITLEMENT REFORM AS STANDOFF FIX - Ryan is still firing on all cylinders and, given that the congressional gym is still open, he's been P90X-ing extra hard lately. The Hill: "House conservatives are discussing a two-step plan outlined by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to lift the debt ceiling and reopen the government long enough for Congress to pass long-term entitlement reforms. Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, presented the idea Wednesday afternoon at a meeting of the conservative Republican Study Committee. Lawmakers leaving the confab said the influential group had not reached a consensus position on the debt ceiling or an end to the government shutdown. The plan appeared to be a more detailed version of a proposal that Ryan made Wednesday in an op-ed he penned in The Wall Street Journal. He called for 'modest' structural changes to Medicare and Social Security to resolve the fiscal crisis. The article made no mention of delaying or defunding President Obama’s healthcare law, which had been a central Republican demand leading to the government shutdown nine days ago." [The Hill]

Heritage Action is tired of this party: "A crack appeared Wednesday morning in the conservatives' united front against President Barack Obama in the budget-and-borrowing crisis of 2013. Michael Needham, CEO of the powerful group Heritage Action, said that he opposed conditioning a crucial vote to increase the government's borrowing authority on the group's main goal: defunding Obamacare. Under questioning at a breakfast with reporters, hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Needham, a product of the Stanford Business School, conceded that failure to raise the debt ceiling would indeed disrupt the global economy." [HuffPost's Howard Fineman]

PRESIDENT IS TEENAGE GIRL: CLAIM - Newsmax: "President Barack Obama is acting like a high school girl who calls her boyfriend to tell him she's not talking to him, Rep. Mick Mulvaney contends in an exclusive Newsmax interview. That is what the president sounded like when he called House Speaker John Boehner to tell him he would not negotiate on defunding Obamacare, the South Carolinian said. 'He called John Boehner yesterday to tell him he wasn't negotiating with him,' Mulvaney said Wednesday. 'I had a girlfriend call me in high school and tell me that she was giving me the silent treatment; that's sort of what it sounded like.'" [Newsmax]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - A Texas food bank howled Monday that the federal government shutdown had forced the U.S. Department of Agriculture to withhold 10 truckloads of food from hungry people. The claim received a good deal of press attention. But the USDA says the truck cancellations had nothing to do with the shutdown, and that the food they would have carried will come in other trucks. "Those orders were initially adjusted during the summer," USDA spokesman Bruce Alexander told HuffPost. "This happens all the time with states whenever we find good deals or a better price or food." It's another case of shutdown whiplash. While federal agencies made clear at the outset that the biggest safety net programs wouldn't be affected by a brief lapse in appropriations, the shutdown has delivered chaos to some smaller programs, resulting in confusion over which ones are closing and which are not. [HuffPost]

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OBAMA NOMINATES YELLEN FOR FED CHAIR - We eagerly anticipate Rand Paul putting a hold on her nomination until the DOJ investigates Fort Knox for possible UN infiltration. WaPo: "President Obama on Wednesday nominated renowned economist Janet Yellen to become the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve, calling her a tough, proven leader. In a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Obama said that Yellen is a role model for other women. He pointed to her work on unemployment as one of the key challenges facing the economy and to her early warnings of the impending housing crash as an example of the clear-eyed thinking required at the head of the nation’s central bank. 'She doesn’t have a crystal ball, but what she does have is a keen understanding about how markets and the economy work, not just in tech but the real world,' Obama said. 'She calls it like she sees it.' With Yellen and outgoing chairman Ben S. Bernanke standing on either side of him, the president thanked Bernanke for his leadership during the darkest days of the global financial crisis and credited him with helping the nation avert the next Great Depression. Bernanke’s term ends on Jan. 31...Not only would Yellen become the first female chief of the nation’s central bank — or any major central bank — she would also be the first Democrat to hold the job since Paul A. Volcker stepped down in 1987." [WaPo]

POLL: GOP STILL BEING BLAMED FOR SHUTDOWN - The GOP should really recast their willingness to shutdown the government as some kind of pro-family, spend-more-time-with-your-kids initiative. AP: "The Associated Press-GfK survey, out Wednesday, affirms expectations by many in Washington — Republicans among them — that the GOP may end up taking the biggest hit in public opinion from the fiscal paralysis, just as that party did when much of the government closed 17 years ago. But the situation is fluid nine days into the shutdown and there's plenty of disdain to go around. Overall, 62 percent mainly blamed Republicans for the shutdown. About half said Obama or the Democrats in Congress bear much responsibility... The poll found that the tea party is more than a gang of malcontents in the political landscape, as its supporters in Congress have been portrayed by Democrats. Rather, it's a sizable — and divisive — force among Republicans. More than 4 in 10 Republicans identified with the tea party and were more apt than other Republicans to insist that their leaders hold firm in the standoff over reopening government and avoiding a default of the nation's debt in coming weeks...much of the country draws a blank on Republican Ted Cruz of Texas despite his 21-hour Senate speech before the shutdown. Only half in the poll were familiar enough with him to register an opinion. Among those who did, 32 percent viewed him unfavorably, 16 percent favorably." [HuffPost]

GOP POPULARITY REACHES NEW LOW - You'd think an independent prosecutor was railing about a blue dress. Mark Blumenthal and Ariel Edwards-Levy: "There may be plenty of blame to go around for the nine-day government shutdown, but the Republican brand is taking the harder hit in public opinion. Just 28 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of the Republican Party, down 10 percentage points from last month, according to a Gallup poll. The polling firm called it a 'record low,' noting that 'this is the lowest favorable rating measured for either party since Gallup began asking this question in 1992.' While the Democratic Party isn’t popular either, it fared better, with 43 percent of Americans approving of the party -- down a comparatively small 4 points from September. The percentage of Americans rating the Republicans unfavorably also reached a record high of 60 percent, while 49 percent gave the Democrats a negative rating. Remarkably, more than one-quarter of Republicans (27 percent) viewed their own party unfavorably." [HuffPost]

Phil Gingrey wants to take off his shirt and smear himself with blue paint...or something: "While Democrats refuse to negotiate on the continuing resolution and the debt limit, apparently assuming the GOP will eventually cave, House Republicans insist they are prepared to bring borrowing authority to a screeching halt. I can assure you it’s not posturing. It’s not a political play or anything like that,” Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., told CQ Roll Call on Tuesday... 'I mean, they seem to think that we will miss this opportunity for a ‘Braveheart’ moment to do the right thing for the American people and that we’ll back down for fear of losing the House and not gaining control of the Senate,' Gingrey said." [Roll Call]

Vince Gray will have satisfaction: " A press event held Wednesday by Senate Democrats to escalate pressure on Republicans over the government shutdown was overshadowed by a rally to restore funding to the District of Columbia, led by Mayor Vincent Gray. Nearly every Senate Democrat had gathered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol as part of their latest push to end the government shutdown, which is in its second week... Some 200 feet away, Gray and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) were joined by several hundred people at a protest over the funding of D.C.'s budget. Gray has been pressing congressional lawmakers to exempt the city's budget from the shutdown...Within moments, the crowd Gray had left behind began loud chants of "Free D.C." that drowned out Democrats who continued with their remarks unfazed. The chants died down for a few minutes, only to start up again even louder. Attendees also brandished signs that read, "Congress, pass our budget. Stop playing with people's lives," "Democracy is not for $ale" and "Protect our democracy." The crowd became such a disruption that Norton had to quiet down attendees." [HuffPost's Sabrina Siddiqui]

EARLY INDICATORS SHOW STRONG INTEREST IN HEALTH EXCHANGES - Socialism update, via Reuters: "Tens of thousands of uninsured people have begun to sign up for health coverage through online Obamacare private insurance marketplaces in California and New York, officials said on Tuesday, while problems still plagued the federal online system. California and New York are two of the biggest markets for signing up millions of uninsured Americans under President Barack Obama's healthcare law. State officials said the data they provided on Tuesday was an early indicator of strong demand for new insurance plans that will take effect in 2014. The disclosures from New York and California come as Republican opponents of Obama's healthcare reform press the administration for details of how enrollment is progressing. The federal government has been working to fix both capacity and software issues that have prevented access to the Healthcare.gov website since the new exchanges launched on Oct. 1...The Covered California exchange said it approved more than 16,000 applications for health insurance that would cover over 28,000 state residents, despite early glitches since the website launched. The number includes people deemed eligible for the state's Medicaid program for the poor. Another 27,000 applications are still being processed." [Reuters]

Scott Gillis has definitely earned his intern tour of the Capitol: "Scott Gillis sat in the House balcony on Thursday, watching a speech by Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.). The last time Gillis had seen her, she was unconscious, bleeding profusely and in need of life-saving surgery. Gillis was one of the medics who helped save Duckworth's life in 2004. Back then, he was an Army sergeant stationed in Iraq, and Duckworth was rushed into Gillis' hospital tent after her helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade." [HuffPost's Jen Bendery]

BILL YOUNG RETIRING FROM FLORIDA SWING DISTRICT - Florida's own Ted Stevens is saying adieu (although there was never a fanboat to nowhere, sadly). Times: "Representative C. W. Bill Young of Florida, currently the longest-serving Republican in Congress, will retire in 2014, he announced Wednesday. Mr. Young, 82, told the Tampa Bay Times that he will vacate his seat representing parts of Pinellas County, on the Gulf Coast, at the end of his term for several reasons, concluding, 'It’s my time.'...The congressman has long served on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, including as its chairman from 1999 to 2005. In Florida his name adorns roads, bridges and other projects, and he is known for bringing millions of dollars back to his district, especially in military contracts — making him a target for critics of earmarks. But those days have gone by the wayside with both chambers of Congress imposing bans on earmarks in recent years, inhibiting the ability of lawmakers — even members of the appropriations committees — to bring home the bacon...Last week he said he would vote for a “clean” budget resolution to end the government shutdown that did not touch President Obama’s health care law. While he said he admires the spirit of the Tea Party members of his party, Mr. Young said he was “a little disappointed” with the gridlock." [NYT]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a dog that enjoys the guitar.

CONCERNED CITIZEN GOES ROGUE, MOWS LINCOLN MEMORIAL LAWN - The government knows how Americans feel about their lawns. Weekly Standard: "Earlier today, an unidentified bearded man took it upon himself to bring his lawnmower and a few tools to the Lincoln Memorial to provide free groundskeeping work to the closed federal monument. It's unclear how much of the expansive lawn behind the memorial was mowed, but Park Police were alerted and three cruisers with multiple officers showed up. The Weekly Standard watched the officers observing the mystery mower from a distance, as he appeared to be packing it up for the day, carefully placing his blue South Carolina flag in a tube attached to his tool-toting dolly. According to Park Police public information officer Sergeant Paul Brooks, there was no arrest made. 'He was asked to leave, and he complied,' said Brooks." [Weekly Standard]

DCist unmasks the dispenser of street justice lawn care: " Mystery solved: The bearded mower is Chris Cox, who is the founder and only member of the Memorial Militia—whose mission is to clean up the National Mall while Park Service employees are furloughed." [DCist]


- Guilty dog is plagued with regret. [http://bit.ly/19A6VXz]

- Jimmy Fallon and The Roots performed an a cappella version of Miley Cyrus' "Can't Stop" on last night's "Late Night." [http://huff.to/15naeOv]

- The latest in the unfailingly adorable "Dog greets returning soldier" series. [http://huff.to/1crySlv]

- What would happen if the sun died? [http://bit.ly/17n6lWA]

- A choir performs YouTube comments. [http://bit.ly/160Ir3M]

- A supercut of ominous-sounding clangs, bangs and other sudden noises that turn out to be "just a cat." [http://bit.ly/19gUgoI]

- John Lennon trashed a lot of Beatles songs. Here are 18 Fab Four ditties he really hated. [http://bit.ly/1hCdVlM]


@Kagrox: It's possible we could end the debt limit standoff with a tri-corner hat buy-back program. Folks just need a face-saving way out.

@pourmecoffee: Janet Yellen thanked Obama, rang a gong-sized trillion dollar coin with a huge hammer and walked away. It's happening.


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