POLITICS
12/12/2013 06:04 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

HUFFPOST HILL - John Boehner Unsure If You Are Kidding Him

Donald Trump implied that President Obama ordered the murder of the official who verified his birth certificate, though technically he lost that ability when Congress defunded ACORN. The Washington metro area is home to the wealthiest counties in the country, as evidenced by the number of people who think Au Bon Pain is fine "if you're in a rush" median household income. And Ed Henry fretted that the White House is preventing photographers from getting good art in the event that President Obama is assaulted by a crazy person. If the "Faces of Death" team is looking for a crack White House reporter, we know just the guy. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, December 12th, 2013:

BUDGET DEAL CLEARS KEY HURDLE IN HOUSE, WILL LIKELY PASS - Politico: "The House cleared a procedural hurdle Thursday to passing Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray’s two-year budget. The rule for debate cleared the House Thursday afternoon 226-195, setting up a Thursday evening vote on final passage. Hill insiders expect the bill to easily clear the chamber with a combination of Democratic and Republican votes, sending it to the Senate for passage sometime next week. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill...Neither party appears to be jumping for joy over this agreement. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told Democrats in a closed meeting to “embrace the suck” of this bill, adding that Congress needs “to get this off the table so we can go forward.'...Both parties believe that the budget helps them politically. With the threat of a government shutdown mostly removed, Republicans think they can keep focus on the Affordable Care Act, which has had a troubled roll out. Democrats are already laying the groundwork to use January to pressure Republicans to extend emergency jobless benefits, which expire near the end of December. And Democrats are sure to pressure Republicans in 2014 to vote on immigration reform, which has been long stalled in the House." [Politico]

The House passed a one-month farm bill extension by voice vote today. Senate don't care.

POLITIFACT CALLS ITSELF THE BIGGEST LIAR OF THE YEAR - Here's the vaunted fact-checking site calling Obama's health care promise the Lie of the Year for 2013: "It was a catchy political pitch and a chance to calm nerves about his dramatic and complicated plan to bring historic change to America’s health insurance system. 'If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,' President Barack Obama said -- many times -- of his landmark new law. But the promise was impossible to keep." [Politifact]

Here's Politifact in 2012: "We rate Obama’s claim Half True."

THE CRAPPY OIL PAINTING ACT OF 2013 - Kate Sheppard: "Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) are pairing up to push proposed legislation to 'rein in excessive spending' on oil paintings of government officials. The bill, introduced Thursday, would limit the amount of taxpayer money that agencies can spend on official portraits to $20,000 a piece. If an official wants more spent on his or her image, the official can use 'other funds' -- which is government speak for 'pay for it yourself.' The bill would also restrict such portraits to those officials in the order of succession for the presidency, but that includes just about every Cabinet-level official. The bill follows a March 2013 report from ABC News that found the Obama administration had spent $400,000 on oil portraits of Cabinet members in 2011 and 2012. That followed a November 2012 report in The Washington Times that individual paintings were costing the government tens of thousands of dollars. A portrait of former Air Force Secretary Michael Donley cost $41,200, while the portrait of first-term Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson cost nearly $40,000. (Neither of those positions are in the line of succession.)" [HuffPost]

The horribleness of gun violence, via Jason Cherkis: "Bryan Yeshion Schneps comforted his brothers when they couldn't sleep. He taught them about sports, and music, and family. He gave them advice on everything. And then he was gone." [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Yuck: "In the week ending December 7, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 368,000, an increase of 68,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 300,000. The 4-week moving average was 328,750, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's revised average of 322,750." [Labor Department]

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BOEHNER KEEPS UP CRITICISM OF CONSERVATIVE GROUPS - No one has seen the speaker this angry since his wife took his favorite golf umbrella. Sabrina Siddiqui: "House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) assailed conservative groups Thursday for opposing the latest budget deal, saying they had crossed a line and lost their credibility. 'This budget agreement takes giant steps in the right direction,' Boehner said at a press conference. 'But when groups come out and criticize something they've never seen, you begin to wonder just how credible those actions are.'... For the first time, Boehner acknowledged that these groups pushed Republicans into an unsuccessful strategy that he didn't favor. He expressed particular outrage that one of the groups later said it knew the shutdown strategy wasn't going to work. 'Are you kidding me?' Boehner shouted. 'Frankly I think they're misleading their followers. I think they're pushing our members in places they don't want to be,' he added. 'And frankly I just think they've lost all credibility.' Boehner showed his first signs of true frustration Wednesday, when he slammed the groups for coming out against the budget deal before they had seen it and accused them of 'using' his members." [HuffPost]

This Vine of Boehner today is pretty amazing.

IOWA GETTING OBAMACARE - Tony Leys: "Gov. Terry Branstad and federal officials have reached an agreement that will allow tens of thousands of poor Iowans to gain public health insurance. The two sides have been negotiating for months over details of the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan, which is an alternative to expanding Medicaid. The new program is to take effect Jan. 1, so time was running short." [Des Moines Register]

ANOTHER OBAMACARE DEADLINE EXTENDED - Jeff Young: "As many as 135,000 individuals enrolled in federally funded programs for people with pre-existing conditions will be given a few more weeks to find replacement coverage for next year through Obamacare's health insurance exchanges, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Thursday...given the ongoing difficulties in using HealthCare.gov and several state-run health insurance marketplaces, concerns have grown that these sickest beneficiaries could find themselves uninsured next month, which could disrupt their medical care and expose them to extraordinarily high costs. Under the policy announced Thursday, PCIP beneficiaries in 40 states and the District of Columbia, where the federal government operates the program, would have until the end of January to enroll in new coverage via the health insurance exchanges. Ten states run the program for their residents on behalf of the federal government and would have to sign off on the extension, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services...the troubled rollout of the centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act has jeopardized insurance coverage for as many as several million people, including those whose current policies can't be renewed because they don't meet the law's benefit standards and those enrolled in the PCIP and similar state-run programs, many of which also are shutting down in the coming months." [HuffPost]

OBAMACARE: COBURN SEES THE WRITING ON THE WALL - Tom Coburn, who we're pretty sure thinks global warming is caused by ecoterrorists on the sun, is convinced that the Obamacare exchanges will be fully functional soon. That can't bode well for conservatives. "Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), one of the most ardent opponents of Obamacare, conceded Thursday that the law's health insurance exchanges 'will work and work well.' 'I'm not worried about the exchanges,' he said in a Senate floor speech. 'They'll get that fixed.' Coburn attributed the early failures of HealthCare.gov -- the online portal where individuals can shop for coverage under the Affordable Care Act -- to an 'incompetency of management.' But the exchanges would ultimately be successful, Coburn said. 'It will eventually work and work well,' he said." [HuffPost]

PELOSI SAYS DROPPING UNEMPLOYMENT IMMORAL - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that failing to rescue federal benefits for the long-term jobless would be practically "immoral," after an extension of the benefits was excluded from the bipartisan budget agreement announced earlier this week. "It's interesting to note that [Republicans] rejected unemployment insurance," Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill. "This is so unconscionable, it's practically at the level of immoral to do to people who work hard, play by the rules, lose their job through no fault of their own are not able to continue getting unemployment insurance checks." The federally-funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation program is scheduled to expire on Dec. 28, resulting in an abrupt end to assistance for 1.3 million Americans who've been out of work six months or longer. Democrats had said they would like to see those benefits attached to the broader budget deal being negotiated between Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), but the benefits were left out. [With HuffPost's Mike McAuliff]

As part of the unemployment brouhaha Sandy Levin opened an empty box on the House floor, signifying the hopelessness of the holiday season.

YOU KNOW WHAT ISN'T COOL? RAPE INSURANCE - On that note, don't forget to pay a visit to your local State Farm insurance agent his holiday season to make sure you have the strongest possible genocide policy. Ashley Woods: "Michigan women will have to purchase a separate rider if they want their health insurance to pay for an abortion, after the state's Legislature on Wednesday banned most public and private plans from covering abortion as a medical procedure. Women must buy the rider before they become pregnant in order to have abortion coverage, once the law goes into effect in March. Women who become pregnant through rape or incest must already have the rider in place for an abortion to be covered, leading some opponents to dub the riders, 'rape insurance.' But currently, insurance abortion riders don't actually exist in Michigan, the law's opponents say. 'There are no riders in Michigan that we are aware of,' Lori Lamerand, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan, told The Huffington Post...Michigan is the ninth state to restrict public and private insurance plans from covering abortions, Nash told The Huffington Post. Only two of those states have providers with abortion riders available for purchase." [HuffPost]

FORMER ALEXANDER COS ARRAIGNED ON CHILD PORN CHARGES - Taking Congress' ongoing efforts to harm children to a truly disgusting level. Ryan Reilly: "Jesse Ryan Loskarn, who goes by his middle name, is facing charges of both possession and distribution of child pornography. He was fired from Alexander's office Wednesday afternoon after federal authorities searched his home in southeast Washington and arrested him. Loskarn possessed a hard drive filled with 'hundreds of videos depicting underage boys engaged in sexually explicit conduct,' according to the complaint against him. He allegedly did not respond when police knocked on his door with a search warrant on Wednesday. When authorities used a ram to force the door open, an investigator saw Loskarn lean out a second-floor window and appear to place something on the roof, according to the complaint. That object was later determined to be a portable hard drive that contained videos of both underage girls and boys being abused, the complaint states." [HuffPost]

At least they all have the Patriots: "Scott Brown’s iconic truck, which helped drive the Republican to the U.S. Senate in 2010, still has Massachusetts license plates. The liberal super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century, plans to highlight this Thursday afternoon in a hit on the ex-senator, who is actively mulling a 2014 bid for Senate from New Hampshire. Brown dismisses the carpet-bagging attack as 'kind of silly,' noting that he still lives in Massachusetts." [Politico]

@realDonaldTrump: How amazing, the State Health Director who verified copies of Obama’s “birth certificate” died in plane crash today. All others lived

FOX NEWS AND THE WAR ON WHITE SANTA - For someone who spells her name with a "y," Megyn Kelly has a lot of nerve telling people how things should and shouldn't be. The Wire: "On Megyn Kelly's show last night, the Fox News host discussed a piece by Slate's Aisha Harris about how the typical representation of Santa Claus as a white man had been confusing in her youth. Kelly addressed the piece, "Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore," head-on, for the kids. 'When I saw this headline I kinda laughed and I said, "Oh, this is ridiculous. Yet another person claiming it's racist to have a white Santa." And by the way, for all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white. But this person is maybe just arguing that we should also have a black Santa. But, you know, Santa is what he is, and just so you know, we're just debating this because someone wrote about it, kids.'" Thanks, Megyn Kelly! [The Wire]

ED HENRY REALLY CHOOSES THE WORST HILLS TO DIE ON - Move over, "What about your gaffes?" There's a new sheriff in town and it's "What about your grisly demise?!?" Mediaite: "At Thursday’s White House briefing, Fox News’ Ed Henry broached the topic that would eventually result in a full revolt over photographer access to the President, but in making the case for more access, presented a rather ghoulish hypothetical with a dubious priority at its center. Henry referenced an earlier question about the possibility that bogus sign language interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie could have become violent with President Obama, and said that 'the official White House photographer was up there, and individual photographers from news organizations that you just hailed were not allowed on that same platform.' Carney had just finished speaking, with great emotion, about his personal respect for photojournalists, particularly in combat situations." [Mediaite]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a cat that likes being trasnported via plastic bag.

DC IS RICH, YO - WaPo: "The Census Bureau has confirmed that, once again, the Washington region dominates the list of the most affluent places in the United States. Among more than 3,000 counties across the nation, Loudoun County is the richest, with a median household income last of almost $119,000. Maryland’s Howard County and Virginia’s Fairfax, Arlington and Stafford counties also made it into the top 10. Three New Jersey counties outside New York City also were among the well-off top 10. The Census Bureau listed the city of Falls Church, where the median income is $121,000, as the richest location, but that’s just because of a quirk in how the census ranks independent cities in Virginia alongside much larger counties instead of with cities or towns. Montgomery County and Prince William County fell just below the 10 wealthiest counties. Also in the top 30 were Charles, Calvert, Anne Arundel and St. Mary’s counties in Maryland, and the city of Fairfax in Virginia." [WaPo]

A good of a time as any to remind you of the Arlington Rap.

COMFORT FOOD

- Have a very Slayer Christmas, everyone! [http://bit.ly/1bzgfWP]

- The Twerking Thief of Brooklyn should be the antagonist of the next "Home Alone" installment. [http://huff.to/1h3Aa5G]

- "Creepy White Guys" features one Asian woman's encounters on online dating sites with creepy white guys with Asian fetishes. [http://bit.ly/1cqvPVI]

- More than half of internet users aren't human, and we don't mean trolls. [http://bbc.in/JaxUhe]

- Conan O'Brien, Ice Cube and Kevin Hart shared a Lyft to find weed and it was pretty fantastic. [http://huff.to/IRGi4w]

- A list of the things we talked about most on social media this year. [http://n.pr/1kCWeUC]

- A kindergartner's deaf parents couldn't hear her holiday recital so she performed it in sign language as well. A-dorable. [http://huff.to/IRAIPJ]

- This piano that responds to movement at Chicago's Union station is the only thing magical about traveling on Amtrak this holiday season. [http://bit.ly/1dtEZTr]

TWITTERAMA

@mollyesque: Maybe I'm an optimist, but I like to think America can do better than "at least we're not North Korea," guys.

@elisefoley: @elisefoley: OMG they're dating?! RT @DylanByers: MEET THE PRESS Exclu: Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray *together*

@daveweigel: At a briefing on netroots organizing and technology where, had I chosen "iterative" as a drinking word, I would be very drunk.

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