POLITICS
06/10/2014 05:24 pm ET Updated Jun 10, 2014

HUFFPOST HILL - Congress To Do Something

Netflix took a swipe at Chris Christie, even though "Duplicitous Republican administration featuring a strong male lead" is almost certainly a category on the company’s streaming service. The U.S. Senate is working so hard on VA reform you'd think there was an idling Escalade downstairs ready to go to the airport. And Republicans control every Confederate statehouse for the first time since the end of Reconstruction, when, if we recall correctly, voter ID laws successfully rooted out election fraud. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

SENATE DEMS DOUBLE FUNDING FOR CHILD MIGRANTS - David Rogers: "Senate Democrats moved Tuesday to double the available funding for the care and resettlement of child migrants on the Southwest border — a $1 billion increase that comes at the expense of President Barack Obama’s prized education initiatives. The action by the Senate Appropriations Committee is the strongest response yet by Congress to the growing humanitarian crisis in the Rio Grande Valley. But it also captures the conflicts between the president and his own party — each subject to strict spending caps adopted last December." [Politico]

VA REFORM BILL RACING TOWARD PASSAGE - This thing is coming together so fast you'd think Congress was lowering the cap gains tax. Roll Call: "The Senate could move ahead at breakneck pace on bipartisan legislation to address the VA scandal — after just as swiftly voting to block a partisan student loan refinancing bill. A test vote on the student loan measure championed by Democrats and led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is set for Wednesday, and despite the vocal support of Democrats and an outside public relations push, it is going nowhere fast. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell dissed that measure, which would allow student loans to be refinanced at lower current rates with an offsetting millionaire minimum tax. Instead, he said, the Senate should be acting on the bill to address the unfolding scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs, negotiated by Veterans Affairs Chairman Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., and Republican John McCain of Arizona. 'We have a bipartisan veterans bill negotiated the way we used to do business in the Senate, with members of both parties, ready to go. It was introduced yesterday. So, I hope we’ll not get onto a bill going nowhere and immediately turn to the veterans bipartisan bill and see if we can address that in a bipartisan way very quickly. Maybe even finish it this week,' McConnell said. McConnell’s counterpart Majority Leader Harry Reid also thought the VA bill could move ahead quickly." [Roll Call]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Matt Sepic reports: "Minnesota's economy is in much better shape than it was a few years ago. Housing prices are rising, and the state's unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in April — the same as it was a decade earlier, well before the Great Recession. But almost 504,000 Minnesotans still rely on food stamps, more than double the number of 10 years ago... 'This is our new normal. We're not waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel,' said Michelle Ness, executive director of the PRISM food shelf in Golden Valley. 'The recession, when it started, we said, "Let's give it a few years and let's wait and see." Well, here we are. We're not waiting for some great boom to happen. It's folks who are getting re-employed and they're underemployed.'" [St. Cloud Times]

UPSIDE DOWNER - At 46.1 million people, national food stamp enrollment is down by more than a million from this time last year, when the decline started. The per-person monthly benefit shrank from $133 to $126 thanks to the expiration of a stimulus boost last fall. Enrollment and costs will continue to shrink. [USDA (pdf)]

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REPUBLICANS CONTROL ALL CONFEDERATE LEGISLATURES FOR FIRST TIME SINCE RECONSTRUCTION - Who knew the Party of Lincoln would be so instrumental in helping the South rise again? Shadee Ashtari and Grim: "On Monday, Virginia Republicans snatched control of the state Senate after reportedly bribing state Sen. Phillip P. Puckett (D) out of office, flipping control of the Senate to the GOP. It's part of an effort to block Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s (D) plan to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to cover some 400,000 low-income Virginians, but it also has a broader, symbolic consequence: The unexpected flip means that the Republican Party has gained complete legislative control of all 11 Confederate states for the first time since the early 1870s, or the post-Civil War era known as Reconstruction. Throughout Reconstruction, freed slaves had real voting rights and protection from federal troops. Democrats were relegated to minority status as reform-minded Republicans launched a legislative push for civil rights and other progressive reforms that would later be unthinkable in the South. Democrats responded with a campaign of terrorism and murder that effectively ended the federal occupation and returned power to the former slave-owning elites. The gains made by African-Americans were systematically rolled back and the Ku Klux Klan remained a powerful force within the Democratic Party into the 20th century." [HuffPost]

You stay strong, American democracy: "Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.) said last week he thought he would receive a campaign donation after voting against a bill, according to The Ouachita Citizen. At a meeting of the Northeast Chapter of Louisiana CPAs, McAllister recounted a conversation he had with an unnamed colleague, who told McAllister the Heritage Foundation would give him a $1,200 campaign check if he voted 'no' on a bill involving the Bureau of Land Management. 'I played dumb and asked him, 'How would you vote?'' said McAllister, according to the paper. 'He told me, 'Vote no and you will get a $1,200 check from the Heritage Foundation. If you vote yes, you will get a $1,000 check from some environmental impact group.'' McAllister said that, unlike his colleague, he did not receive a donation after his 'no' vote. He backtracked the next day, telling The Monroe News-Star that his comments were 'taken completely out of context.'" [HuffPost's Andrew Perez]

BOEHNER UPS CRITICISM OF BERGDAHL EXCHANGE - Mike McAuliff: "House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) hammered the White House Tuesday over the prisoner swap that freed Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. prisoner of war in Afghanistan, saying it will ultimately cost American lives. Bergdahl was exchanged for five high-ranking Taliban officials being held in Guantanamo Bay on May 31, after more than five years in captivity. Although the idea of a deal had been floated before -- including as recently as February -- White House officials barely notified Congress before agreeing to it. Boehner criticized the lack of consultation, but said the larger problem was that the administration had agreed to the swap at all. 'The biggest issue here is the violation of a policy that the United States has had for many, many years that we don't negotiate with terrorists,' Boehner said in a news conference on Capitol Hill. 'The fact is that we have violated that policy and as a result we have made Americans less safe here and all around the world.' He predicted dire consequences, suggesting terrorists would be encouraged to target Americans." [HuffPost]

DOJ BACKS PROPOSAL TO SHORTEN DRUG SENTENCES - Ryan Reilly: "The Justice Department is formally backing a proposal being considered by the U.S. Sentencing Commission that would shorten the amount of time that federal drug offenders currently behind bars would have to spend in prison. The proposal would apply only to nonviolent drug offenders and would be expected to save taxpayers $2.4 billion. The U.S. Sentencing Commission, which already approved a proposal to lower certain drug sentencing guidelines, will vote next month on whether to make those changes retroactive. 'Under the department’s proposal, if your offense was nonviolent, did not involve a weapon, and you do not have a significant criminal history, then you would be eligible to apply for a reduced sentence in accordance with the new rules approved by the Commission in April,' Attorney General Eric Holder, who has made criminal justice reform a priority in the second term of the Obama administration, said in a statement." [HuffPost]

FOX NEWS STRONGLY INFLUENCING CONSERVATIVES' VIEWS ON IMMIGRATION - We Report, You Decide To Talk Your Family's Ears Off Over Thanksgiving About Anchor Babies. Elise Foley: "Many people who oppose immigration reform have something else in common: They watch Fox News, according to a poll published on Tuesday. The new survey from the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution found that, in the report's words, trusting Fox News was 'the most powerful independent predictor of opposition to a path to citizenship.' ... Slightly more than half of Republicans -- 53 percent -- said they trusted Fox News most among TV networks on politics and current events, according to the poll. The survey also found those Republicans were more conservative than GOP supporters who listed other TV networks as their top source of news. On immigration, the divide was especially pronounced. While 60 percent of Republicans who said they trusted non-Fox News outlets most said they support allowing undocumented immigrants to eventually become citizens, only 42 percent of Republicans who prefer Fox News said the same. One-third of Fox News-favoring Republicans agreed with the statement that "immigrants strengthen our country because of their hard work and talents." Among GOP supporters who trust other networks more, 56 percent agreed." [HuffPost]

SCHOOL SAFETY DROPPING - The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a shaky Teach For America volunteer from Brookline, Massachusetts with a gun. Joy Resmovits: "American public and private schools are generally much safer than they were 10 years ago, but school crime began a slight climb in 2010, according to a government report released Tuesday. The rate of non-fatal incidents in which students felt victimized at school decreased to 35 per 1,000 students in 2010, from 181 per 1,000 students in 1992, according to the 2013 School Crime and Safety Report. The rate rose to 52 per 1,000 students in 2012, the report found. Any type of school crime, the report noted, increases the likelihood of dropouts, teacher turnover and student transfers. 'Over the long term, schools are getting safer,' said Thomas Snyder, the report's project officer. 'That doesn't mean there's not a lot of room for improvement.' The 208-page study is the 16th annual report by the U.S. Education Department and Bureau of Justice Statistics. It aggregates information from various surveys, tracking schools through 2012. Snyder said school crime data mirror overall crime trends." [HuffPost]

RHODE ISLAND DEMS PROUDLY STICK TO PRINCIPLES: ABOLISHING HIGHER MINIMUM WAGES - The right-to-work amendment can't be that far off. Dave Jamieson: "State Democrats in Rhode Island have apparently taken a page from the Republican playbook, moving to preemptively block cities and counties from establishing their own local minimum wages. The state's House Finance Committee last week passed an amendment to the Rhode Island budget bill that would forbid local jurisdictions from mandating a wage floor for any employer. Providence lawmakers and labor activists say the maneuver is a clear strike against a union-backed proposal before the Providence City Council that would mandate a $15 minimum wage at large hotels. So-called preemption laws are hardly new. They've previously been employed by state lawmakers elsewhere, particularly in red states, in efforts to scuttle local labor laws. Such measures often enjoy the backing of low-wage industry lobbies representing food and hospitality interests. What's novel in Rhode Island's case is that Democrats, and not Republicans, are leading the charge. Both chambers of the statehouse are overwhelmingly blue. Minimum wage advocates fear such measures could crop up in other Democratic-led states if the proposal in Rhode Island becomes law." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a dog who doesn't like leaf blowers.

TIME FOR SOME TRAFFIC PROBLEMS IN YOUR NETFLIX QUEUE - Well played, Netflix. Well played. Alexis Kleinman: "In the latest tit-for-tat over poor video quality, Netflix subtly suggested Verizon is acting like the politician at the center of one of last year's biggest political scandal: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). On Monday, Netflix's top lawyer sent a letter to his counterpart at Verizon reiterating his company's belief that Verizon, not Netflix, is at fault for the poor streaming quality that some Verizon customers have been seeing lately. Netflix makes its argument with a comparison straight out of New Jersey: 'To try to shift blame to us for performance issues arising from interconnection congestion is like blaming drivers on a bridge for traffic jams when you’re the one who decided to leave three lanes closed during rush hour.' Ouch." [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- BaneCat is back, still terrifying. [http://huff.to/UruCfN]

- BP has been approved to use drones, making it the first company given the green light to use UAVs. [http://bit.ly/1oaIO9N]

- The upcoming "Dumb and Dumber" sequel has a poster. [http://uproxx.it/1qpcZqM]

- Teens try to teach senior citizens the internet, hilarity ensues. [http://huff.to/1l5jlGU]

- Motorcycle jumps over a plane -- what have you done today? [http://bit.ly/1nvPPyG]

- Dog with spinal deformities still loves life. [http://bit.ly/1kiZcgf]

- A search engine based around making evening plans. [http://bit.ly/1xEEzoU]

TWITTERAMA

@realaxelfoley: "It was 20 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play" --Buzzfeed in 1987

@edsbs: A show where you take the NYT opinion staff into the real world and ask them to perform basic tasks without setting themselves on fire.

@timothypmurphy: Lard Choices is my new food truck

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