President Obama purchased health insurance on HealthCare.gov, though if he likes the doctor who lives in his house, it's unclear if he can keep him. At least one GOP lobbyist wants increased taxes on private business jets for Christmas, though the rest probably just want Max Baucus' legislative director. And the White House is concerned that too many last-minute HealthCare.gov applicants will overwhelm the system. We don't know why they're worried, if there's one thing Americans don't do this time of year, it's waiting until the last minute to buy something. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, December 23rd, 2013:
ENJOY YOUR HOLIDAY BECAUSE NEXT YEAR WILL FEEL AS POINTLESS AS 2013 - On the plus side, Robin Thicke can only release "Blurred Lines" once. The Hill: "Due to October’s government shutdown, Congress needs to act on an increase in the $16.7 trillion borrowing limit far sooner than expected. Rather than the summer deadline that was once predicted, the Treasury will now only be able to stave off a default until early March, at the very latest. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says he sees no “reasonable scenario” in which he could buy more time. That means Capitol Hill could spend the start of the New Year in the same place it spent much of the last: trading partisan fire over debts and deficits. Obama on Friday said he hoped the bipartisan budget deal reached this month means that Congress will avoid another round of “brinksmanship” over the federal borrowing limit...Republicans have made clear they expect a debt-ceiling bill to include fiscal reforms. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said this week he “can’t imagine” Congress agreeing to a debt limit hike without attached provisions. And Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), fresh off striking the budget deal with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), said Republicans would be seeking concessions on the borrowing cap." [The Hill]
PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST'S INSANE HOLIDAY WISH LIST - HuffPost Hill's Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, who isn't sure whether his underground bunker's air hole qualifies as a chimney for Santa to climb down, rattled off a list of his wants for the coming year:
"*That rich liberal white male journalists, who preach and lecture the GOP about diversity get fired and replaced with journalists who are actually diverse. I'm pulling for you, Joy from the Grio.
*I wish Republicans would support a tax on only the business jets owned by Warren Buffett's jet company, NetJets (The new Buffett Rule!)
*I wish that Organizing for America would re-run the ads from 2009 paid for by Pharma and the Health Insurers and remind America that they supported Obamacare, just for shits and giggles.
*I wish Ryan Grim didn't enjoy the free town car ride to MSNBC studios as much as I know he does.
*I wish David Krone would instruct his staff to sign up for the DC exchange like our President did today.
*I wish Leibovich would write a book about Heilemann and Halperin. And not take his foot off the gas like he did in This Town.
*That Arthur Delaney starts travelling to Yemen and other drone zones to conduct Daily Delaney Downer HPH interviews. Americans should have to read how Obama is accidentally killing innocent people with his remote-controlled toys.
*That Mike Allen stops covering self-loathing Washington journalists as if it's newsworthy. Here's an idea, get an anonymous character in one of your corporate backed newsletters and let it rip. " Thanks, PSLGOPL!
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Mary Lowe’s description of her unemployment was hard for Rep. Rosa DeLauro to hear. The Connecticut Democrat winced as she listened to Lowe’s story during a conference call with reporters on Monday. Democrats had invited Lowe, of Irontown, Ohio, to speak about her experience on the call, which was organized to pressure Republicans into supporting a reauthorization of federal jobless pay. Lowe said she'd lost her job as a restaurant’s general manager in February. She has a bachelor’s degree in health administration and had previously worked for 15 years in management for a medical center. "I’m indescribably thankful that the federal unemployment benefits were there when my state unemployment benefits ended in late October this year," Lowe said. "My husband had a sound and music business that had already fallen off before I became unemployed. He had already started having health issues, and two weeks ago he suffered a stroke." "Oh, God," DeLauro said. [With HuffPost's Sam Lachman]
DOUBLE DOWNER - Congress adjourned for its Christmas break without taking action on longterm unemployment insurance. If the House and Senate approve the benefits when they return in January, Lowe and people like her would retroactively receive checks for whatever they'll miss during the lapse. Lowe credited the benefits with keeping her current on her mortgage. “Our American dream, our good life seemed to be a reality. To have a Christmas with a few small gifts, because I squirreled away about $50 ... I’m sorry,” she said, as her voice filled with emotion. “Oh, gosh,” DeLauro said. While it's common for Democrats to have unemployed people share their stories, it's less common for them to blurt things out in the middle of the person's remarks. [With HuffPost's Sam Lachman]
Have a happy holidays. We'll be back later this week. Try not to alienate too many of your relatives.
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OBAMACARE ENROLLMENT DEADLINE EXTENDED ONE DAY - WaPo: "At midnight Monday, the official deadline arrives for Americans to sign up through the new federal health insurance exchange for health plans that begin Jan. 1. But, without any public announcement, Obama administration officials have changed the rules so that people will have an extra day to enroll, according to two individuals with knowledge of the switch. Over the weekend, government officials and outside IT contractors working on the online marketplace’s computer system made a software change that automatically gives people a Jan. 1 start date for their coverage as long as they enroll by 11:59 p.m. Christmas Eve. The switch is the most recent rule change — some by government officials, and at least one by the insurance industry — as a milestone approaches for what has been a tumultuous three-month start of the long-awaited opportunity for Americans to buy new health plans under a 2010 law intended to reshape the nation’s health-care system...One individual familiar with the unannounced extension said that it is, in part, intended as a buffer in case the Web site has trouble if a last-minute surge of insurance-seekers proved more than the computer system could handle." [WaPo]
Change.org promoting Duck Dynasty campaign - We emailed a Change.org spokesperson to ask about the pro-Duck Dynastry petition they've been promoting and got this autoreply: "Hi. I've taken a break from helping change the world to go enjoy the world. And I'm having a great time! I'll be back Monday, January 6, and reply as soon as possible upon my return. I'm not checking e-mail so if this is urgent please call my mobile. Thanks!" No, thank you, Change.org!
President forced onto socialistic health scheme: "President Barack Obama symbolically enrolled in a new health insurance exchange created by the Affordable Care Act over the weekend, a White House aide said Monday...According to the aide, Obama enrolled in a Bronze-level plan in the Washington, D.C.-based exchange. News of the Obama sign-up was first reported by April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks. But Obama’s move is only symbolic, because as president he receives coverage from military physicians of the White House Medical Unit...The aide added that Obama only signed himself up, and not the rest of the First Family. Obama also did not enroll through the troubled Healthcare.gov or the D.C. exchange’s website. Aides signed him up in person over the weekend, due to the “complicated nature of the President’s case,” the White House aide said. Some of Obama’s personal information is not readily accessible on the government databases used by the website for identity verification. According to the D.C. Health Link website, a Bronze-level plan would cost the president between $263.62 and $367.39 per month, depending on the specific plan he selected." [Time]
Obamacare is losing the ladies: "Support for the country's new health care law has dropped to a record low, according to a new national poll. And a CNN/ORC International survey released Monday also indicates that most Americans predict that the Affordable Care Act will actually result in higher prices for their own medical care. Only 35% of those questioned in the poll say they support the health care law, a 5-point drop in less than a month. Sixty-two percent say they oppose the law, up four points from November. Nearly all of the newfound opposition is coming from women. 'Opposition to Obamacare rose six points among women, from 54% in November to 60% now, while opinion of the new law remained virtually unchanged among men,' CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said." [CNN]
BAUCUS' AMBASSADORSHIP AN EARLY CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR LANDRIEU - Roll Call: "President Barack Obama’s decision to tap Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., as ambassador to China is a political boon for Democrats trying to protect their vulnerable majority, but especially for Sen. Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana. In the game of gavel dominoes that would be set off by Baucus vacating his chairmanship of the Finance Committee, Landrieu would likely ascend to the top of the Energy Committee, which could serve as a valuable tool in her tough 2014 re-election bid. The Louisiana Democrat, who often speaks of drilling issues on the Senate floor, would be in a position to team up with the panel’s top Republican, Lisa Murkowski of oil-rich Alaska, on various issues important to her state. The committee shakeup was a hot topic of conversation when Baucus announced his retirement in April, but now there’s an added wrinkle and the Montana Democrat’s early departure could factor into 2014 politics. With gulf drilling issues key to voters back in Louisiana, the impact of Landrieu taking the energy panel’s gavel would be intensified." [Roll Call]
VITTER: JINDAL OBVIOUSLY RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT - We're impressed that Vitter has been able to keep his cool after Harry Reid got him that Depends 30-pack as a Secret Santa gift. Politico: "It is 'very obvious' that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will run for president in 2016, according to Sen. David Vitter. Vitter said Jindal, a Republican, is indeed already laying the groundwork in pursuit of the 2016 GOP nomination, but wouldn’t say whether he will support his home-state governor in what is certain to be a brutal Republican primary season. 'I like Bobby, I respect his leadership, I agree with all of his political values. But I haven’t thought about what I would do or wouldn’t do personally,' Vitter said on C-SPAN’s 'Newsmakers' on Sunday. Asked whether he believes Jindal would like to be president, Vitter, 'Oh yeah. I think that’s very obvious to everybody who has been paying attention.' Vitter is currently considering whether to run to succeed Jindal as governor in Baton Rouge in 2015. Jindal, who is serving his second term, is term-limited." [Politico]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are some cats ruining Christmas.
MITCH MCCONNELL'S CAMPAIGN MAKES A FUNNY - Sabrina Siddiqui: "Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is putting his own spin on 'Twas the Night Before Christmas,' using the classic holiday poem to attack his Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes in a radio ad released Monday McConnell narrates the ad himself, which reworks author Clement Clarke Moore's poem to criticize "liberals" over the Senate's passage of Obamacare on Christmas Eve four years ago. It also goes after President Barack Obama for his so-called "war on coal," for raising taxes and for allowing the national debt to hit record levels, before tying Grimes to the same policies. 'Twas the night before Christmas, four years ago. Liberals wanted Obamacare but Kentucky said no,' McConnell says. 'If you like your plan you keep it, they said with a twinkle in their eye. Newspapers now say, that was the year's biggest lie.' 'The differences are stark and your choice will be clear,' he adds later. 'But you’ll make your decision in November next year. So Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to Kentuckians all. Especially Alison Lundergan Grimes, I’ll see you next fall.'" [HuffPost]
- Cats aren't the only ones ruining Christmas. Here are some dogs ruining Christmas, too. [http://huff.to/1hzFQVr]
- The growth and evolution of Reddit in one chart. [http://bit.ly/1kAen8m]
- Blind man sniffs scented markets and guesses the color. [http://bit.ly/1e4Na9h]
- A map of all the places journalists have called "The Next Silicon Valley." [http://slate.me/18BxUlY]
- Guy dresses up as a demented Santa Claus and lip syncs "All I Want For Christmas Is You" on Chatroulette. [http://bit.ly/19mnDuG]
- A breakdown of this year's NFL touchdown celebrations. [http://on.wsj.com/1hrgWqP]
- Reproductions of AirBnB's nicest homes but in birdhouse form. [http://bit.ly/1lavJ9y]
@MrDanZak: Gay marriage is now legal in every state in which Mitt Romney owns a home.
@timothypmurphy: Why I'm Leaving DC [For a Week]
@elisefoley: Does Obama have to pay for his new symbolic insurance? If so, his insurance costs went up enough to be an Obamacare horror story, right?
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