Joe Biden says he can't go to prom with a Connecticut teenager, and not because he has to prepare for the after party he's throwing. Nationals star Jayson Werth asked Ben Bernanke about quantitative easing but kept quiet about Danny Espinosa's crusade to audit the Fed. And Harry Reid kept the Senate schedule clear so Mitch McConnell could campaign. Reid, meanwhile, enjoyed his day off in his bathrobe, cleaning out his fridge and watching TIVO'd episodes of "Property Brothers." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, May 19th, 2014:
HOYER SAYS NO TO HALFHEARTED BENGHAZI BOYCOTT - Sabrina Siddiqui: "Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the second-ranking Democrat in the House, expressed his opposition Monday to appointing just one member of his party to the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Nearly two weeks after the House voted mostly on party lines to launch a special committee to investigate the September 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, Democrats remain undecided on whether they will participate in the committee or boycott it entirely. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) suggested a plan that would appoint just one Democratic representative to the committee, so Democrats could keep an eye on the investigation while still protesting its intent, which they view as politically motivated. Hoyer dismissed the proposal, telling reporters on Capitol Hill that 'you're either in or you're out.' 'My view is that that's the worst of all possible worlds,' Hoyer said. 'You're sort of there, but you have one person while you have seven people over here. And that's not fair, it's not balanced and it would give a skewed perception of what's going on.'" [HuffPost]
TOMORROW'S PRIMARIES A TEST FOR TEA PARTY AND THE CLINTONS - Amanda Terkel and Samantha Lachman: "Tea party groups were initially hopeful that they could oust Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) -- whom they have criticized as not willing enough to fight for conservative causes -- but that prospect appears unlikely going into the election. McConnell currently leads his tea party challenger, businessman Matt Bevin, by double digits... Six main candidates are vying for the Republican nomination to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)...Reps. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) and Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), haven't caught fire as many conservatives -- and Democrats -- would have liked, and they're currently polling at the bottom of the field. Instead, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) and businessman David Perdue, who have more backing from the establishment, are leading the pack... In Pennsylvania's deep blue 13th District, former Rep. Marjorie Margolies, 'liberal lion' state Sen. Daylin Leach, physician Dr. Val Arkoosh and state Rep. Brendan Boyle are engaged in an increasingly heated face-off for the Democratic nomination. Each candidate has his or her strengths: Margolies, who is Chelsea Clinton's mother-in-law, has a high level of name recognition among voters; Arkoosh has led in fundraising and has the endorsement of the Philadelphia Inquirer; Boyle has the backing of most of the local unions and Leach has enthusiasm over his support for marriage equality and marijuana legalization." [Also previews of OR Sen, PA Gov and others]
Three openly gay Republicans are running for Congress this year.
AWW: @mkraju: Reid scheduled a pro-forma in Senate today, allowing McConnell to campaign back home ahead of primary. Who said bipartisanship is dead?
JOHN LEWIS COMES OUT AGAINST BOGGS - “You’re walking against the muthaf*&%in’ wind! Lewis out.” Jen Bendery: “Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) announced Monday that he doesn't support President Barack Obama's embattled judicial nominee Michael Boggs, saying his record ‘is in direct opposition to everything I have stood for during my career.’ A former Georgia state legislator, Boggs has come under fire from progressive groups over his votes to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, to keep the Confederate insignia on the Georgia state flag and to require doctors who perform abortions to post online their names and the number of abortions they performed. Lewis, who is a civil rights icon and widely respected Georgia congressman, has emerged as a key voice in the debate over Boggs. On Monday, he referenced his personal history in stating his opposition. ‘I have worked tirelessly to rid Georgia, the South, and this nation from the stain of racial discrimination in any form, including the display of Confederate emblems in the Georgia state flag,’ he said. ‘I am not about to change that position now. A number of senators, including Democratic leaders and key Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, have said they wanted to consult with Lewis before making a final decision on Boggs.” [HuffPost]
@jbendery: Meanwhile, new photos surface of Michael Boggs at 2010 campaign event with NRA's Wayne LaPierre http://t.co/yFgvRMkBrY
HOUSE AG BILL REIGNITES STARCHY SPUD FIGHT - Fancy liberals don't want poor moms to use WIC benefits for white potatoes, but potato lobbyists have something to say about that. For once, it seems, conservatives support policy that gives more freedom to welfare recipients, while liberals want less. David Rogers: "House Republicans proposed a $20.9 billion budget for agriculture and food safety programs Monday, an 82-page bill that challenges the White House on nutrition rules and denies major new funding sought by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to better regulate the rich derivatives market…. In the case of nutrition programs, the House bill seeks to open the door for starchy, white potatoes to be added to the list of qualified vegetables under the WIC supplemental feeding program for pregnant women and their infant children. The Agriculture Department would also be required to establish a waiver process for local school districts which have found it too costly to comply with tougher nutrition standards for school lunch and breakfast programs." [Politico]
Bob Dole stands up for Eric Shinseki.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Long-term unemployment benefits are looking long-term dead, Burgess Everett reports: "Senate negotiators toiled for months to revive long-term unemployment benefits in a manner that could draw the support of both centrist Republicans and liberal Democrats. But in a few days, that effort will be all for naught. The jobless aid bill that narrowly passed the Senate in early April would extend the benefits to June 1 — but barring a surprise breakthrough, there’s almost no chance the House will take up that legislation or an alternative of its own during the last two weeks of May." [Politico]
Does somebody keep forwarding you this newsletter? Get your own copy. It's free! Sign up here. Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill
MARCO RUBIO CAN'T TELL IF HE'S ACTING WEIRD - People are definitely looking at him and talking about him though. Mario Trujillo: "Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said asking whether a politician has ever tried marijuana is a 'worthless question' in American politics. Rubio, a potential 2016 candidate for president, has consistently dodged the question about if he experimented with the drug as a younger man. In an interview that aired Monday from ABC News-Yahoo News, Rubio reiterated that answering the question honestly is a lose-lose. 'Here is the problem with that question in American politics,' he said. 'If you say that you did, suddenly there are people out there saying it is not a big deal, look at all these successful people who did it. And I don't want my kids to smoke marijuana. And I don't want other people's kids to smoke marijuana. I don't think there is a responsible way to recreationally use marijuana. On the other side of it, if you tell people that you didn't, they won't believe you. So it is just a worthless question.'" He is acting weird. [The Hill ]
Marco, your kids will now assume you did nothing but smoke weed in your youth.
JIM WEBB OPEN TO WHITE HOUSE RUN - He'll be upset to learn how much being president eats into his time watching VHSs of the History Channel in his basement. Mike McAuilff: “Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb (D) could throw a monkey wrench into 2016 White House prognostications, suggesting in an interview that he is at least thinking about running for president. Asked by Susan Page on NPR's Diane Rehm Show if he was considering a bid, Webb paused for a second, then said that he and his wife were discussing what they wanted to do next. Page pressed, saying his answer sounded more like an expression of interest than a denial, Webb didn't disagree, and noted that he didn't announce his challenge of former Virginia GOP Sen. George Allen until nine months before the election in 2006. Webb also sounded a bit like he was talking up his political skills, pointing out that before he targeted Allen, the incumbent had been named the top presidential choice of conservatives in the Republican Party, and he was popular in the state, But Webb also cautioned that it takes him a long time to consider such matters. Webb is a Democrat, but it's not a given that if he decides to jump in it would be in a primary against Hillary Clinton, should she decide to run. Webb, who is famously independent and was Secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan -- could entertain an independent bid. He did say he didn't think a vice presidential run would be a good fit.” [HuffPost]
Although they’re not the queens and kings Scott Brown is used to hanging out with, these people, like Britain’s queen, do form our government: “Two high-profile Republicans on Friday courted hedge fund executives at an election-year conference in a glitzy hotel, drawing criticism from Democrats eager to link the GOP to Wall Street as they try to defend their Senate majority. Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, now a New Hampshire Senate candidate, were the only current or former elected officials featured at the three-day gathering hosted by hedge fund firm SkyBridge Capital, which brings some of the financial industry's wealthiest men and women to Las Vegas every year. While technically a nonpartisan affair, the crowd was largely Republican, and the host, Anthony Scaramucci, is a prominent GOP donor... ‘You have a role to play,’ said Brown, who was paid to speak, ‘whether it's in the think tanks, whether it's in public policy issues, whether it's drawing a line in the sand and supporting people that you feel will bring forth your agenda and your concerns.’” [AP]
GOVT AWARDS SURVIVOR BENEFITS TO SAME-SEX SPOUSE - This is bittersweet news that will likely be completely undone when Louie Gohmert says it will embolden Kim Jong-un. Amanda Terkel: “Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Tracy Dice Johnson, whose wife was killed fighting in Afghanistan, has received word from the Department of Veterans Affairs that she will receive the same survivor benefits that heterosexual married couples are entitled to. Johnson’s wife, 29-year-old Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Donna Johnson, was killed Oct. 1, 2012, by a suicide bomber. They are believed to be the first same-sex couple to suffer a casualty after the 2011 repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ the federal law that barred openly gay and lesbian individuals from serving in the military. According to the Army Times, Johnson announced the VA’s decision on Saturday at the American Military Partner Association’s gala, where she received the organization’s 2014 Community Hero Award. She called the VA’s announcement ‘an important step toward our end goal of achieving equal treatment for all military families.’ … Johnson didn’t even hear directly from the military when her wife died. Although she was listed as next of kin, the military didn’t recognize their marriage as being valid. Therefore, casualty officers notified Donna Johnson’s mother first.” [HuffPost]
Here come the charges that Democrats who don’t support the establishment of poor houses are socialistsww. Andrew Perez: “More than four out of five Illinois workers who lost long-term unemployment benefits at the end of last year were still without work two months later, according to the state's workforce agency. The Illinois Department of Employment Security released a study Monday which found that almost 83 percent of the state's long-term jobless were still out of work at the end of February, two months after Congress allowed long-term unemployment insurance to end. The findings appear to undermine the idea that unemployment benefits themselves keep people out of work by allowing them to coast on government largesse, the agency says.” [HuffPost]
SORRY, JOE BIDEN CAN’T GO TO PROM WITH YOU - HuffPost Hill was just in Newington for a college graduation and deeply, DEEPLY regrets not seeking out this letter. Hartford Courant: “When Talia Maselli envisioned her perfect prom date, one man immediately sprang to mind: Vice President Joe Biden. ‘Joe Biden makes me laugh,’ Maselli said. ‘He just cracks me up.’ So she mailed Biden a handwritten note last fall asking him to escort her to the Newington High School prom. ‘I am inviting you so far in advance because I'm sure many 17-year-old girls send you prom invitations, and I had to beat them to it,’ Maselli said in her letter. ‘I could only tolerate a high school dance if I was to be escorted by the most delightful man in America.’ If Biden turned her down, Maselli warned that she might ask Speaker of the House John Boehner in his place. ‘And we can't have that now can we,’ she wrote…At about 10 a.m. Thursday, on the eve of the prom, Maselli got a shock. Her doorbell rang, and a deliveryman handed her a wrist corsage. Inside was a handwritten note from Biden. ‘I am flattered, but my schedule will not permit me to be in Connecticut on Friday evening,’ the vice president said in the note. ‘But I hope you will accept this corsage and enjoy your prom as much as I did mine.’” [Hartford Courant]
President Obama needs to focus more on job creation than being the target of chemical attacks: "A Mississippi man who pleaded guilty to sending letters dusted with the poison ricin to President Barack Obama and other officials was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison. James Everett Dutschke was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock in Aberdeen after telling the judge he had changed his mind about wanting to withdraw his guilty plea in the case. He also was sentenced to five years of supervised release and remains in federal custody.” [AP]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a puppy walking a horse.
BRO, THOSE INFLATION DOVES ARE WEAK - Everything about this: “Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is famous for being a die-hard Nationals fan. But who knew the feeling was mutual? Bernanke and former White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten often sit near each other during games at Nats Park. At a joint speech Monday at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Bolten divulged that he has noticed Nationals star right fielder Jayson Werth always tips his hat to Bernanke before heading onto the field. Bernanke offered this explanation: Last year, former Nationals manager Davey Johnson was ushering him around the team's batting practice and introducing him to players. Among them was Werth, whom Bernanke described as a ‘big tall guy with hair down to his shoulders.’ Johnson introduced Bernanke as the head of the Federal Reserve. Werth repeated the title, as if to make sure he had heard right. Then, Bernanke recalled, ‘Jayson looks at me and says, 'Well, what's the deal with QE3 anyway?'’” [WaPo]
- Chickens vs. laser pointer. It’s not even close. [http://bit.ly/SaGcdI]
- Lonely Island’s new music video identifies the worst thing about today’s dance music. [http://bit.ly/1j9STQa]
- Michael Jackson appeared, via hologram, at the Billboard Music Awards. We still want Tina Brown to create a hologram old Diana. [http://bit.ly/RNTxIx]
- The trailer for “Her” recut with Dr. Steve Brule as the operating system’s voice. [http://bit.ly/1tazcKV]
- A time-lapse video of the 9/1 memorial’s construction. [http://bzfd.it/1jh8woZ]
- Vox assembled the best graduation speeches from the last 50 years. [http://bit.ly/1ljuB4q]
- We would gladly trade in a pair of Google Glasses for these working Wolverine claws. [http://bzfd.it/1mNMZVW]
- Lovely footage of the moon rising over the Golden Gate Bridge. [http://bit.ly/1gHf3KP]
@krempasky: The month of May in DC is like the first few dates with someone. Sunny, breezy. Really, it's beautiful. Just don't get used to it.
@michaelroston: Editor Thinks Story About DirecTV Could Really Use a Few Satellite Dish Photos
@lachlan: Now that both Castro bros are in DC, I assume they will be playing mischievous role-switching pranks. Joaquín will never miss another vote.
Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (email@example.com), Ryan Grim (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Arthur Delaney (email@example.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e