POLITICS
10/16/2013 06:20 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

HUFFPOST HILL - Ted Cruz Patriotically Costs Country $24 Billion

John Boehner threw in the towel, which is fine, because the congressional gym will have extras when the government reopens tomorrow. Federal employees won't be told when exactly they can return, but the glut of Facebook posts about the Panda Cam should do the trick. And NSA Director Keith Alexander will step down. You can wish him well simply by saying so the next time you write anyone an email. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, October 16th, 2013:

FISCAL DEAL FINALIZED, WILL LIKELY BE APPROVED TONIGHT - Somewhere John Boehner is doing his best impression of that "Sideways" scene when Paul Giamatti dumps the spittoon of discarded wine into his mouth. Times: Congressional Republican leaders conceded defeat Wednesday in their budget fight with President Obama over the new health care law, agreeing to support a reopening of the government and a lifting of the nation's borrowing authority in exchange for future budget negotiations. Speaker John A. Boehner, the leader of conservative House Republicans whose push to strip money for the health law led to the shuttering of much of the government on Oct. 1, said that the House would not block a bipartisan agreement reached in the Senate that yielded virtually no concessions to the Republicans...Under the agreement, the government would be funded through Jan. 15, and the debt ceiling would be raised until Feb. 7. The Senate will take up a separate motion to instruct House and Senate negotiators to reach accord by Dec. 13 on a long-term blueprint for tax and spending policies over the next decade. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, stressed that under the deal, which he negotiated with Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, budget cuts extracted in the 2011 fiscal showdown were not reversed, as some Democrats had wanted, a slim reed that not even he claimed as a significant victory." [NYT]

Kevin McCarthy's office on the evening's vote schedule: "The Senate will most likely vote between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. From there, the House will take up the bill, at the earliest, between 7:00 and 8:00 p.m. The timing of the House votes depends on how quickly the Senate wraps up its votes and delivers the necessary paperwork to the House." [HuffPost]

Read the Senate bill here

@eschor: BIG win for Sen. McConnell - and something conservatives will probably hate when they know about - is tucked into Section 123 of the deal.... Sec. 123 of the deal quietly lifts the cap for Army Corps $ on the Olmsted Locks on the IL/KY border. Cornhusker Compromise redux?

Facepalm: "The government shutdown has taken at least $24 billion out of the United States economy, the financial ratings agency Standard & Poor's said Wednesday. The firm said the shutdown caused it to cut its forecast of gross domestic product growth in the fourth quarter by at least 0.6 percentage point. The agency lowered its estimate for GDP growth to close to 2 percent from 3 percent." [HuffPost]

Grover Norquist isn't pleased with the Default Caucus: "These are the people who said, 'Plan: Step One, Invade Iraq. Step Two, It turns into Kansas,'" he said in an interview with National Review. "Could I ask if there's anything in between Step One and Step Two? 'Oh ye of little faith.'" [National Review]

CONSERVATIVES SAY THEY'RE NOT GOING TO OVERTHROW BOEHNER - Though the speaker should be cautious not to let Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor lead him into an empty house, like Joe Pesci in "Goodfellas." Roll Call: "That conservative mutiny many said Speaker John A. Boehner might face if he allowed a vote on a clean continuing resolution and debt limit increase? It's not likely to happen. Indeed, Boehner's standing with conservatives in his conference appears solid, even as the House moves to a vote on a CR and debt limit bill that conservatives largely had no say over and don't like. At the monthly Conversations With Conservatives event Wednesday, conservative leaders were unequivocal: There is no discussion of a Boehner coup on their end. "I've actually been really proud of Speaker Boehner the last two and a half weeks," said Rep. Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho... Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona, who was also at the Conversations With Conservatives event and has said fighting Obamacare was the reason he came back to Congress after a 13-year hiatus, said Boehner's done a 'phenomenal job' dealing with the 'disparate feelings and emotions and ideas and opinions over the last couple of weeks.'" [Roll Call]

@DRUDGE: Speaker Pelosi Part 2: Opening Jan 5. 2015

When Congress does restore funding, it'll be up to federal employees to find out when they can return to work, that is, if they can unfuse themselves from their couches. The Hill: "Hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal employees would need to get back to the office when the shutdown ends, but many won't receive an official notice from their boss...The Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which sets policies for government workers, has been telling federal employees to watch the news and keep track of its website to stay abreast of whether a funding deal has been reached...It would be difficult to try and reach workers through email or phone messages, according to the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB), because most employees are prohibited from using their government-issued devices, and many have had to hand them in." [The Hill]

@frankthorpNBC: In Senate bill --> "Employees furloughed as a result of any lapse in approps...shall be compensated at their standard rate of compensation"

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH - "The Farm Bill's top four negotiators met Wednesday and authorized staff to step up discussions on the commodity title in anticipation that the full House-Senate conference could begin the last week of October. The meeting, hosted by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas in his Longworth offices,was the first since the House finally appointed its conferees last Saturday." [Politico's David Rogers]

NSA CHIEF TO STEP DOWN - Guardian: "The director of the National Security Agency and his deputy are expected to depart in the coming months, US officials said on Wednesday, in a development that could give President Obama a chance to reshape the eavesdropping agency. Army general Keith Alexander's eight-year tenure was rocked this year by revelations contained in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about the agency's widespread scooping up of telephone, email and social media data. Alexander has formalized plans to leave by next March or April, while his civilian deputy, Chris Inglis, is due to retire by year's end, according to US officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. One leading candidate to replace Alexander is Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, currently commander of the US navy's 10th Fleet and US Fleet Cyber Command, officials told Reuters. The 10th Fleet and Fleet Cyber Command both have their headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland. The NSA is also headquartered at Fort Meade." [Guardian]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Supersizing the welfare state: "Taxpayers are shelling out $1.2 billion a year to help pay workers at McDonald's, according to an estimate from the National Employment Law Project published Tuesday. The organization used estimated figures from a study by University of California-Berkeley and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on how many fast food workers rely on public assistance programs like food stamps and Medicaid for its analysis. Overall, low wages at the top 10 largest fast food chains cost taxpayers about $3.8 billion per year, NELP found." [HuffPost's Jillian Berman]

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COMPANY BEHIND BOTCHED HEALTHCARE.GOV LAUNCH HAS SPOTTY HISTORY - WaPo: "CGI Federal is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Canadian firm CGI Group...CGI Federal is a relative newbie on the U.S. government IT contracting scene. It bought the U.S. contractor American Management Systems in 2004, but only started ramping up business after 2008, and accelerated in 2010 with the $1.1 billion acquisition of U.S.-based military IT contractor Stanley Inc. That sent its contracting work through the roof. Still, CGI is only the 29th largest federal IT contractor, with about $950 million in contracts in 2012, compared to number one Lockheed Martin's $14.9 billion...CGI Federal's health-care practice has grown 90 percent year over year, largely due to the Healthcare.gov project. And for a contractor, ballooning projects are a good thing...CGI had done work in the healthcare arena, and not all of it good: Its performance on Ontario, Canada's health-care medical registry for diabetes sufferers was so poor that officials ditched the $46.2 million contract after three years of missed deadlines, the Washington Examiner reported....It has, however, helped deliver complex projects on time and on budget. Back in 2009, the White House's Recovery Board retained CGI Federal to adapt a well-functioning system it had built for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency into FederalReporting.gov, another very complex, public-facing and high-volume site that would handle all contracts granted under federal stimulus legislation." [WaPo]

CHRONICLE REGRETS TED CRUZ ENDORSEMENT - We're actually surprised that Houston's paper of record doesn't just endorse James Baker for every possible thing. Chronicle: "Does anyone else miss Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison? We're not sure how much difference one person could make in the toxic, chaotic, hyperpartisan atmosphere in Washington, but if we could choose just one it would be Hutchison, whose years of service in the Senate were marked by two things sorely lacking in her successor, Ted Cruz...One reason we particularly believe that Hutchison would make a difference in these hectic days is that if she had kept her seat, Cruz would not be in the Senate. When we endorsed Ted Cruz in last November's general election, we did so with many reservations and at least one specific recommendation - that he follow Hutchison's example in his conduct as a senator. Obviously, he has not done so. Cruz has been part of the problem in specific situations where Hutchison would have been part of the solution." [Chronicle]

@j_strong: inbox: Issa SUBPOENAS natl park service documents ... this ought to be good

HOW OUR CAMPAIGN FINANCE RULES GOT US HERE - Paul Blumenthal: "Dysfunctional politics led a coalition of independent conservative groups and hardline Republican lawmakers to push for a showdown on Obamacareover a continuing resolution to fund the government and thus to shut down the government for more than two weeks. But what empowered a fracturing Republican Party to bring chaos on Washington? The short answer: a one-two punch rewriting of campaign finance law that drove legislators to heed their own parties' extreme elements. Former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) has blamed the 2002 McCain-Feingold reform law, calling it "the worst thing that ever happened to Congress." By taking unlimited "soft money" away from the political parties, but especially from the Republican Party, the law empowered the nascent insurgents at the Club for Growth. President Barack Obama said it was the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision that "contributed to some of the problems we're having in Washington right now." Post-Citizens United, money from independent groups has poured into elections. Republican lawmakers who once held safe seats now worry about a primary challenge from the tea party right, funded in part by the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks or Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint's network. But it's the interaction between McCain-Feingold's blow to political parties and Citizens United's boost to independent groups that has really done the damage." [HuffPost]

LABRADOR: IMMIGRATION REFORM DEAD AFTER FISCAL BATTLES - Can President Obama, like, mint the green card? Elise Foley: "The bad blood between House Republicans and President Barack Obama has only worsened since the fight over funding the government and paying its debts, and Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) said Wednesday that it had doomed any chances for immigration reform. After Labrador said during an event with conservative members that they could no longer trust the president on immigration, HuffPost asked him a simple question: Is it dead? 'I think it is,' he replied. 'For us to go to a negotiation, to the negotiating table with President Obama after what he has done over the last two and a half weeks, I think would be probably a very big mistake.' Obama told Univision affiliate 34 KMEX on Tuesday that he would turn back to immigration reform immediately after the fiscal issues are dealt with, even as House Republicans look increasingly unwilling to pass immigration reform themselves." [HuffPost]

COURTS HURT BADLY BY SHUTDOWN - Plus dire was slashed from prosecutors' budgets so only voir has been used in jury selection. Ryan Reilly: "Disregarding guidance issued by the judiciary, chief judges in more than two dozen districts across the country have declared all of their staff essential, refusing to furlough them. Some federal judges are dispatching with their normally diplomatic demeanor to tell Congress just how they feel. Two days into the shutdown, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson smacked down lawyers for the House of Representatives, who opposed delaying their suit against Attorney General Eric Holder. DOJ lawyers weren't to blame for the shutdown, she wrote, Congress was. 'It is time to tell Congress to go to hell,' Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush who sits on the bench in Nebraska, wrote on his blog last week. 'It's the right thing to do.' 'We're drowning,' Chief Judge Anne Conway of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, told the National Law Journal. 'We're treading water to keep our heads up. There's just nobody left.'" [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are some puppies with tennis balls.

BEGUN, THESE CAPITOL HILL EATERY WARS HAVE - We're partial to the shrimp balls at Tune Inn. Examiner: "On Wednesday morning, just hours before the government was to hit its debt ceiling and throw the U.S. economy into a tailspin, a group of Republicans supportive of House Speaker John Boehner ran into each other at Pete's, a cozy greasy spoon breakfast joint on Capitol Hill. The diner is a favorite of Boehner's, who regularly eats breakfast on the counter stool furthest from the door. The speaker was dressed casually in running shoes and a red Nike cap. Missing from his cap was Nike's decisive slogan: 'Just Do It.'...Though their meetings were serendipitous, Republicans going in and out of Pete's were generally those who never wanted to shut down the government in the fight over Obamacare started by Cruz and a few dozen other lawmakers. Nor did they want to take the government to precipice of default by refusing to raise the nation's borrowing limit. Together, they've made Pete's the ideological polar opposite of Tortilla Coast, another Capitol Hill eatery at which Cruz and like-minded lawmakers gathered for a strategy session Monday evening, Roll Call reported, just when it appeared that moderates may wrest the debate from their hands and settle with Senate Democrats and the White House." [Examiner]

COMFORT FOOD

- The trailer for "Blade Runner" reimagining the movie as a 1940s noir film. [http://bit.ly/15IhYe7]

- A supercut of rappers introducing themselves. [http://huff.to/16g4vYf]

- Should men sit when peeing? We so no. This article says you're an adult and should do as you please. [http://bit.ly/GPsp6h]

- Anthony Hopkins, who knows a thing or two about playing disturbed people, wrote a fan letter to Bryan Cranston. [http://bit.ly/16HZ1ZR]

- Seven easy tips on how not to die. [http://bit.ly/16MAaEp]

- A chart showing the height and weight of NFL players by position. [http://usat.ly/19LnEkN]

- There's the world, which is broken in so many ways, and then there are these piglets, which are perfect in every way. [http://bit.ly/16aYaTc]

TWITTERAMA

@GrahamDavidA: I like cliches, but if you use "not with a bang but a whimper" today, you should feel bad

@robdelaney: .@TedCruz @JohnBoehner Excited to see House GOP vote consciously & explicitly to support & fully fund Obamacare. #Terrific!

@BrettLoGiurato: Barack Obama Said To Place Giant Round Item Back In Vault

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