09/16/2014 05:37 pm ET Updated Sep 16, 2014

HUFFPOST HILL - Political Football Now Literal

It’s unclear whether the persistent questions about “boots on the ground” will yield a more cautious military approach to ISIS or simply an inappropriate tweet from Kenneth Cole. The government announced today that the poverty rate fell to 14.5 percent, meaning there are 45.3 million Americans Mitt Romney is not concerned about. And Congress will likely approve U.S. aid for anti-ISIS fighters simply out of a desire to get home to campaign. So all you anti-Islamist fighters in Syria can thank the VFW’s annual apple orchard hayride and its attendant photo ops for those rocket launchers. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, September 16th, 2014:

"Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer confirmed Tuesday that, despite some provisions his colleagues don’t like — namely a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank through only June 30, 2015 — Hoyer and a significant bloc of Democrats would not withhold their support on the continuing resolution. 'You don’t get perfect,” Hoyer told reporters at his weekly pen-and-pad briefing...With the support from Democrats, passage of the CR and adoption of the Syria amendment look increasingly assured. There are plenty of remaining concerns regarding the trustworthiness of the Syrian rebels. But with Republican and Democratic leadership supporting the measure — not to mention the White House, which has been calling members to drum up support for the proposal — passage of the CR does not appear to be in doubt." [Roll Call]

House lefties disagree: "Yet a number of Democrats emerged from a two-hour caucus meeting Tuesday morning expressing strong reservations with the notion of providing Obama with the new authority. A lobbying push by White House deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken, who fielded questions during the meeting, seemed insufficient to persuade many skeptical liberals. 'There’s a lot of apprehension about moving forward as the president has planned. A lot of questions about the approach and a lot of angst about having been burned in the run-up to the Iraq war,' Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), told The Hill." [The Hill]

O THE GIFTS! SO MANY OBAMA GIFTS! - Jeff Young: "Another day, another survey showing that Obamacare is beginning to cure America's uninsured problem. The latest numbers come from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which polled more than 27,000 people during the first three months of the year. Forty-one million U.S. residents, or 13.1 percent, were uninsured during the quarter when benefits started to kick in for people who signed up for coverage into private insurance or Medicaid via the Obamacare exchanges or elsewhere. That's the lowest number and percentage of uninsured people since the CDC started using this version of its survey in 1997. It's also down 3.8 million people and 1.3 percentage points from the end of 2013." [HuffPost]

Neal Cavuto has figured out how to compare Robert Griffin III to Hillary Clinton. Thanks, Neal!

PAT ROBERTS SINKING IN KANSAS - Good thing he hasn't bothered wasting money on a home there. HuffPollster: "Independent Greg Orman leads Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Ks.), 41 percent to 34 percent, according to a poll released to HuffPost by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling. Six percent said they'd still vote for Democrat Chad Taylor, who has announced he's leaving the race, but whose name may remain on the ballot pending a lawsuit being heard Tuesday. Another 4 percent opted for libertarian Randall Batson, with the remaining 15 percent undecided. The PPP results find Roberts deeply unpopular, with a -17 net job approval rating among all voters, and only modestly positive numbers even among his Republican base. Orman, in contrast, has a +18 net favorable rating, with Democrats and independents giving him even stronger ratings, and Republicans about evenly split. A 58 percent majority of Democrats say they intend to vote for Orman, who says he'll caucus with the majority party, but hasn't made clear what he'll do if the outcome of the Senate hinges on his choice. Sixteen percent still say they'd pick Taylor, while 9 percent opt for Roberts." [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The U.S. poverty rate fell from 15 percent to 14.5 percent in 2013, the first decline since 2006. At 45.3 million the number of poor people didn't change much from the previous year. No big reactions to the news. The White House cheered a decline in child poverty. Self-styled poverty wonk Paul Ryan didn't have too much to say. "If this report tells us anything, it’s that we can do better. The status quo simply isn’t good enough, and this latest news should spur us to action." [Census.gov]

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ISIS: HAGEL BRIEFS HILL - He left his vial of anthrax at home, however. "The president has said repeatedly that the operation would not involve boots on the ground. But Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, revealed early in the hearing, held before the Senate Armed Services Committee, how that could change. Asked by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) if the air strikes already underway count as 'direct combat,' and whether the military would 'put boots on the ground' in the event a downed pilot had to be rescued, Dempsey answered directly: 'Yes and yes.' The number of ground troops needed for a such a rescue would likely be small. But Dempsey also acknowledged the mission could change, even though his current intentions are not to use ground forces beyond their current advisory role." [HuffPost]

That one time the Senate isn't actually responsible for its debate coming to a grinding halt: "A Senate conversation on the threat posed by the Islamic State, the militant group also known as ISIS, came with plenty of homegrown interruptions Tuesday morning. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's testimony before the Armed Services Committee was quickly drowned out by protesters from Code Pink, who shouted "no more war," among other things, and held signs with slogans such as 'more war = more extremism.' Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) voiced his discontent with the disruption, asking that "the noise" be removed from the room." [HuffPost's Adriana Usero and Chris Gentilviso]

NSA REFORMERS SPLIT BY LEAHY BILL - Matt Sledge: "The USA Freedom Act, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), seeks to curb the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court's bulk phone record collection program, one of the most controversial programs revealed by Snowden, a former NSA contractor. Under Leahy's legislation, telephone providers, rather than the government, would store records detailing who Americans call and when. The government would only be able to ask phone companies for the data in a narrow set of circumstances....A long list of left- and libertarian-leaning groups ranging from the ACLU to the Council on American Islamic Relations to FreedomWorks, as well as a number of major tech companies, have endorsed the bill...'This bill a is a fraud,' charged whistleblower Mark Klein, who revealed AT&T's cooperation with the NSA in the early 2000s. 'It's designed to look like things have been fixed when actually it doesn't do a damn thing.' Klein, other NSA whistleblowers, and groups including the Progressive Change Institute released a letter on Monday claiming that Leahy's legislation is shot through with loopholes." [HuffPost]

BURR RUNNING AGAIN - National Journal: "Rumors about Burr's retirement are rampant, say North Carolina political consultants as well as congressional aides on the Hill. Burr himself has heard the same buzz. So is it true? 'No, no, no,' Burr said in an interview. Asked whether he's running in 2016, he nodded. 'Oh yeah. I'm planning on it,' he said...The contest is all but guaranteed to be heated. While the electoral map favors Republicans this year, 2016 will be a different story. Seven Republicans from states won by President Obama last cycle will face reelection. North Carolina isn't quite in that category—Mitt Romney narrowly carried the state in 2012—but Obama won it in 2008 and Democrats are optimistic that their turnout will jump again in 2016...Democrats are angling for a top-tier recruit in 2016, hopeful that former Charlotte Mayor and current Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx might decide to run. With access to the president's political network, North Carolina Democrats think they could give Burr a robust challenge." [National Journal ]

WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FOOTBALL UPDATE - New team name suggestion: Washington Late Night Jumbo Slice Cryeaters. WaPo: "Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) announced Tuesday that she will introduce legislation to eliminate the NFL’s tax-exempt status because of its refusal to address the name of the Washington Redskins. Flanked by several tribal chiefs, Cantwell, who is the former chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, condemned the team’s name as a slur against Native Americans. 'The NFL needs to join the rest of Americans in the 21st century,' she said. 'It is about right and wrong.' Cantwell made her remarks at a press conference called by a coalition of Native American and social justice groups leading the campaign against the Redskins’ name." [WaPo]

Cory Booker is targeting the tax break because of the league's handling of domestic abuse. Aside from these issues the NFL's nonprofit status is wholly unjustified -- it helps rich people, after all.

DAN SULLIVAN SENDS MIXED SIGNALS ON MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE - In fairness, Alaskans are paid entitlements and other government-backed income sources in ziplock baggies of crude oil. Amanda Terkel: "Alaska GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan announced Monday that he will be voting for a state ballot measure to increase the minimum wage, even though he had said during the Republican primary that he opposed boosting it. 'Because it is a state-driven initiative, I do support the motion to place a minimum wage question directly to the people of Alaska, and I personally intend to vote for it,' Sullivan told The Wall Street Journal. He still, however, does not think it should be raised at the federal level. Alaska's ballot measure would raise the state minimum wage, which is currently set at $7.75, by $2 over two years and adjust it for inflation from then on." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a peacock being pestered by a kitten.

MISS AMERICA ACTUALLY BELIEVES IN SOMETHING, GOP FURIOUS - Amanda Terkel and Usha Sahay: "Kira Kazantsev has been Miss America for only two days, but she's already taking a stand on issues that don't usually make their way into the pageant. Kazantsev, who is from New York, made domestic violence the focus of her platform, speaking out about how she was in an abusive relationship in college... Now, Kazantsev is getting attention for something else. Many conservatives are criticizing her for the fact that she once interned at Planned Parenthood...The pro-life site LifeNews.com wrote a piece Monday taking aim at Kazantsev's work with a company they say "snuffs out of the lives of young baby girls." [HuffPost]

Five-thousand write good points for "young baby girls."


- Supercut of cats battling toilet paper.

- Give your soul a nice bear hug by watching Lupita Nyong'o's "Sesame Street" appearance.

- Demos of David Bowie classics like "Changes" and "Space Oddity."

- Dog wags along to "If You're Happy and You Know It."


@LOLGOP: The House GOP will sue you if you give business more time to implement a mandate.

But just go ahead and start a war. It's cool.

@elisefoley: I keep thinking “this is fun to have new carpet in the press gallery” and then get deeply sad about my life.


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