Pat Roberts taught us today that Kansas is so dull you can't even pay someone $174,000-a-year to live there. The Treasury will run out of money on February 27th, which is precisely why Fred Thompson would like to talk to Jack Lew about reverse mortgages. And President Obama signed the Farm Bill today, transferring the nation's pitchforks from our hardworking farmers to the commander-in-chief's legions of class warriors holed up in FEMA camps. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, February 7th, 2014:
@CNBC: BREAKING: Sec. Lew says Treasury likely to run out funding by Feb. 27. cnb.cx/1l7XFww
LOL PAT ROBERTS - Jonathan Martin: "It is hard to find anyone who has seen Senator Pat Roberts here at the red-brick house on a golf course that his voter registration lists as his home. Across town at the Inn Pancake House on Wyatt Earp Boulevard, breakfast regulars say the Republican senator is a virtual stranger. 'He calls it home,' said Jerald Miller, a retiree. 'But I’ve been here since ’77, and I’ve only seen him twice.' The 77-year-old senator went to Congress in 1981 and became a fixture: a member of the elite Alfalfa Club and the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which made him a regular on the Sunday talk shows. His wife became a real estate broker Alexandria, Va., the suburb where the couple live, boasting of her “extensive knowledge” of the area. But such emblems of Washington status have turned hazardous in a Republican establishment threatened by the Tea Party and unnerved by the defeat of incumbents like Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, who was viewed as a creature of the capital. Mr. Roberts is now desperate to re-establish ties to Kansas and to adjust his politics to fit the rise of the right in the state. But his efforts underscore the awkward reality of Republicans who, after coming of age in an era of comity and esteem for long-term service, are trying to remake themselves to be warriors for a Tea Party age." [NYT]
O RLY? @GarrettHaake: .@PatRoberts2014 Response to @jmartNYT story continues: "story was written by an East Coast journalist who knows nothing about Kansas.’’
WYDEN TAKES OVER FINANCE COMMITTEE - Bloomberg Businessweek: "Ron Wyden, poised to become the top Senate Democrat on trade and tax policy, said he wants to talk with fellow senators before considering a plan to speed trade deals, marking a delay for a priority of President Barack Obama. Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, spoke to reporters today in the Capitol after the Senate voted to confirm Senator Max Baucus as ambassador to China. Baucus’s departure means Wyden will become chairman of the Senate Finance panel as soon as next week. 'There have been so many changes in global commerce that a number of senators have simply indicated they want the time to have a chance to discuss these issues,' Wyden said. 'I’ve got some listening to do to my colleagues.'...On tax policy, Wyden said he wants to renew dozens of tax breaks that lapsed at the end of 2013. Those breaks include the production tax credit for wind energy and the research and development tax credit." [Bloomberg Businessweek]
SAD-EYED JOHN BOEHNER SECRETLY PINES FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM - Times: "Speaker John A. Boehner would sorely like to help engineer an overhaul of immigration policy to bolster his legacy, help his party politically and address a difficult social and economic problem. He just cannot seem to persuade other Republicans, who see the immigration debate as a major threat to their drive to win the Senate and increase their House majority in November. The tension between Mr. Boehner’s desire to forge ahead on immigration and a Republican sense that staying focused on the new health care law is the path to victory in the midterm elections contributed to the speaker’s sharp retreat on Thursday from his new push for an immigration consensus. Given that Mr. Boehner’s negative comments on the prospects for immigration came on the same day Senate Republicans again blocked an extension of emergency unemployment aid, Republicans risk being portrayed as a force of obstruction if the year becomes one long impasse...But Republicans knowledgeable about the issue said immigration was not yet completely off the table. Instead, they said, reaching any agreement has become appreciably harder because of a Republican reluctance to get caught up in an internal feud and stomp on their increasingly bright election prospects. At the same time, Republicans say President Obama’s increasing reliance on executive authority to impose his agenda has stirred real resentment among the rank-and-file." [NYT]
Local Democratic operatives are gathering at the Hawk N' Dove at 5:00 pm to herald Jesse Ferguson's triumph over cancer. Nothing says a renewed lease on life quite like "room full of Democratic operatives." God love ya, Jesse.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Another "meh" jobs report. "Hiring was surprisingly weak in January for the second straight month, likely renewing concern that the U.S. economy might be slowing after a strong finish last year. The Labor Department says employers added 113,000 jobs, less than the average monthly gain of 194,000 in 2013. This follows December's tepid increase of just 75,000. Job gains have averaged only 154,000 the past three months, down from 201,000 in the preceding three months." [Associated Press]
DOUBLE DOWNER - Harry Reid is still talking about the couch surfer who lost her unemployment benefits. "We are one Republican vote away from restoring the lifeline for these Americans who have lost work through no fault of their own -- Americans like the 57 year-old Nevada woman who wrote to tell me she first learned the definition of 'couch surfing' when she was forced to sell most of her possessions and stay with friends while she continues to look for a job." [Hang ten!]
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MONTANA'S LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR APPOINTED TO BAUCUS' SEAT - Harry Reid's evil plan is motion. Roll Call: "Win or lose in November, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Walsh will be the next senator from Montana. Gov. Steve Bullock appointed his former running mate to fill the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, who is leaving the Senate early after being confirmed Thursday as ambassador to China. Walsh was already running for the seat, but he’ll now run as the incumbent senator. That change could provide some inherent advantages in his quest to hold one of the party’s most vulnerable seats. 'I wanted to appoint someone who I truly believed would wake up each and every day wanting to put Montana and Montanans first,' Bullock said in a Friday news conference to announce the appointment. National Democrats recruited Walsh to run after former Gov. Brian Schweitzer took a pass on the race. The open seat is a top target of national Republicans, who landed a top-tier candidate in Rep. Steve Daines. Two other Democrats, former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger and rancher Dirk Adams, are also seeking the nomination. Walsh said he would fly to Washington, D.C., on Monday and be sworn in on Tuesday. Running as a sitting senator could offer Walsh considerable fundraising assistance, as he’ll be close to Capitol Hill donors and he’ll now introduce himself as a senator. The designation also could get more voters to pay attention to the race, while also providing him free media." [Roll Call]
Apparently a Cheney lied. We know. Shocking.: "Despite telling reporters that she raised $1 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, Liz Cheney's Wyoming Senate campaign actually pulled in far less than that total and spent more than she raised during that time. The daughter of former President Dick Cheney dropped out of the race just days after the end of the fundraising period. Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show Cheney's fundraising slowed during the final three months of last year, while her spending skyrocketed. She began 2014 with $612,000 in the bank and $175,000 in debt -- far less than GOP Sen. Michael Enzi's $1.83 million cash on hand. Cheney announced she was withdrawing from the race on Jan. 6. Polls showed her well behind Enzi at the time. Cheney raised just under $720,000 in the fourth quarter of 2013, but her campaign spent more than $900,000, FEC reports show." [National Journal]
KY SEN: LUNDERGAN GRIMES EDGES OUT MCCONNELL IN LATEST POLL - Tom Daschle might soon have a fellow Majority LOOZER to commiserate with. Ariel Edwards-Levy: "Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes has a slim advantage in the race against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, according to one of the first nonpartisan polls of the Kentucky Senate race. The poll -- conducted by SurveyUSA for Kentucky media outlets, including the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Courier-Journal and stations WHAS and WKYT -- found the Kentucky secretary of state taking 46 percent to the veteran Republican senator's 42 percent among registered Kentucky voters. But nine months out from Election Day, University of Kentucky professor Stephen Voss warned against reading too much into those numbers...Grimes leads McConnell among women and voters under 35, according to the poll. She also has a 20-point lead among self-described moderates, who made up 42 percent of those polled. Despite her high office in state government, Grimes is still an unknown quantity to many Kentucky voters, and opinions of her are split: 26 percent view her favorably, 27 percent unfavorably, and 47 percent are neutral or have no opinion. McConnell, however, is widely disliked, with nearly twice as many voters viewing him unfavorably as favorably. His approval rating of 32 percent in Kentucky puts him below President Barack Obama, who clocked in at 34 percent." [HuffPost]
Bubba's inbound: "Former President Bill Clinton will be traveling to Louisville, Ky. later this month to campaign for Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), who is challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for his U.S. Senate seat in November. 'We are very excited to have President Clinton coming into town to make his first campaign stop of this election cycle,' Grimes said in an interview with the Courier-Journal Friday. 'I was elated when he called and said he wanted to make this race his top priority.'" [HuffPost]
OBAMA'S AMBASSADOR TO ARGENTINA NOMINEE HASN'T ACTUALLY BEEN THERE - If the administration is going to straight up troll the Republican foreign policy establishment, it should go all in and nominate Tony Rezko as the next ambassador to Great Britain. Slate: "Filibuster reform has taken away the tool Republicans used to hold up President Obama's nomines for non-lifetime posts. The party has adapted to this reality with a tactic much appreciated by journalists: public shaming. Today's example is the confirmation hearing of Noah Bryson Mamet, who's up for ambassador to Argentina and who bundled at least $500,000 for the Obama campaign, according to the Center for Public Integrity. He has not, as Marco Rubio found during questioning, been to Argentina. Obviously, a diplomatic posting in Buenos Aires is an enviable gig, probably one of the few dozen best ambassador gigs in the world. But this is a hell of a time to take it. Argentina, like a lot of next-wave developing nations, failed to build the sort of foreign currency reserve that would have sheltered it from the current slump. (Also in this category: South Africa, Turkey, Venezuela.) Delicate times, probably opportune times for a diplomat with years logged in South America." [Slate]
Well, we've all really bungled this one, huh? "Argentina reacted angrily Friday to comments by U.S. senators who challenged President Barack Obama’s nominee for ambassador to the South American country. Foreign Minister Hector Timerman called Sens. Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez 'extremists' who don’t represent the will of the Senate, the U.S. government or the American people. Cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich says both senators should show more respect. Both senators disagreed Thursday with nominee Noah Mamet’s statement that Argentina is a mature democracy and an ally, and suggested that the U.S. needs a more experienced diplomat in Buenos Aires." [WaPo]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a poodle protecting a baby.
THIS IS WHY TEXAS IS TURNING BLUE - Get your shit together, guys. Dallas Morning News: "Attorney General Greg Abbott’s comment comparing heavily Hispanic South Texas to a 'third world country' has sparked criticism from Democrats and a sharply worded editorial by one of the region’s largest newspapers. The Monitor in McAllen accused Abbott of playing politics by pitting white Texans against Hispanics...In a speech this week in Dallas, the likely GOP nominee for governor outlined his program for protecting the border. He cited the growing influence of Mexican drug cartels in Texas. And he singled out law enforcement corruption in Starr, Hidalgo and Cameron counties in South Texas. 'This creeping corruption resembles third-world country practices that erode the social fabric of our communities and destroys Texans’ trust in government,' he said. The Monitor said there’s no question corruption by law enforcement should be denounced. But it questioned whether Abbott would have made a similar comparison to third-world countries had he been talking about local law-enforcement corruption in Dallas or Houston. The newspaper said it wants to hear from other candidates whether they “denounce these words or embrace them.'" [DMN]
- Fulfilling our civilization's destiny to travel to the cosmos isn't that expensive. Here is a tumblr dedicated to all the things that cost more than space exploration. [http://bit.ly/1lBgFr2]
- Capybaras are so much fun to ride that someone created a website dedicated to animals sitting on them . [http://bit.ly/1anSUxS]
- A strategy guide for a game. The game is called LIFE. [http://bit.ly/1jeTSiI]
- Giant panda enjoys snow. [http://bit.ly/1fB9Ii9]
- The latest installment of celebrities reading mean tweets. [http://bit.ly/1nZYnOV]
- The worst slow jam in history. [http://bit.ly/1ngI7pl]
- "Shawshank Redemption" set to the theme of "Full House" is... different. [http://bit.ly/NfO5fO]
@DavidMDrucker: Pro tip for Senators: Maintain a residence that you own in state you represent. It makes life easier. Also, try & sleep there sometimes.
@woodruffbets: Richard Cohen says Justin Bieber is "no longer cool." He must be devastated.
@pourmecoffee: Fun Fact: At the ancient Olympics, spectators from Rhodes were famous for tweeting snarky insults about the Sparta outfits.
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