GOP House leaders want to punish members who don’t vote for John Boehner as speaker, but that would imply that House Republicans have an aversion to self-sabotage. John Boehner lambasted idle Americans who don’t get up off their butts and do something — he meant the unemployed, not Congress. And in today’s edition of “Goddammit, Joe!” the vice president praised a former Senator who resigned amidst allegations of assault and sexual harassment against women. We’ll see if he apologizes when he appears at a Scott DesJarlais campaign rally this weekend. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, September 19th, 2014:
GOP TRYING TO CHANGE LEADERSHIP RULES TO PROTECT BOEHNER - National Journal: "House Republicans are quietly discussing a proposal that could fundamentally alter the way future speakers of the House are chosen, according to multiple GOP sources, with the objective of avoiding a repeat of John Boehner's embarrassing reelection vote in 2013. The rule tweak began as an informal discussion but has morphed into a concrete proposal that is beginning to circulate in the House. According to people briefed on it, any Republican who votes on the House floor in January against the conference's nominee for House speaker—that is, the candidate chosen by a majority of the House GOP during its closed-door leadership elections in November—would be severely punished. Specifically, sources say, any dissenters would be stripped of all committee assignments for that Congress...At the same time, according to sources, conservative lawmakers are discussing something of a counter-proposal. Under their plan, the November leadership elections would be pushed back until after the lame-duck session of Congress ends in December. This idea was described by one House conservative as a preemptive strike to warn leadership not to consider any significant legislation during the 15-day period between November's midterm elections and the start of the new Congress in January." [National Journal]
DWS NOT FEELING THE LOVE - Politico: "Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is in a behind-the-scenes struggle with the White House, congressional Democrats and Washington insiders who have lost confidence in her as both a unifying leader and reliable party spokesperson at a time when they need her most. Long-simmering doubts about her have reached a peak after two recent public flubs: criticizing the White House’s handling of the border crisis and comparing the tea party to wife beaters. The perception of critics is that Wasserman Schultz spends more energy tending to her own political ambitions than helping Democrats win. This includes using meetings with DNC donors to solicit contributions for her own PAC and campaign committee, traveling to uncompetitive districts to court House colleagues for her potential leadership bid and having DNC-paid staff focus on her personal political agenda." [Politico]
LAWMAKERS MOVING TO PRESERVE SCIENCE FUNDING - Sam Stein: "Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation late Thursday that would effectively do away with the budget cap for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The bill, titled the Accelerating Biomedical Research Act, would replace the institute's existing budget limit with a much higher ceiling, one that would see funding for the NIH restored to the levels it would have reached had it kept up with inflation after 2003. The bill, which mirrors one introduced in the Senate by the retiring Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), is a rebuke to the spending caps introduced by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which pared down both defense and non-defense spending alike. While it seems unlikely in today's climate that conservatives would suddenly abandon the spending reductions they were able to secure in hard-fought budget standoffs with the White House, there is a potential window for alterations." [HuffPost]
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CONGRESS SOURING ON NFL - "Congressman, polls find Americans are increasingly upset with the NFL's handling of its players indiscretions, so we need to find you a new sport to small talk to constituents about so they know you're just a regular joe, so we had an intern draw up a list of WWE belt holders...." Roll Call: "Members of both chambers have written Roger Goodell, the league’s commissioner, to complain about his handling of a domestic violence incident involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, calling for more transparency from the league. Now, Senate Democrats are following through on a threat to use the NFL’s nonprofit status to pressure team owner Dan Snyder into changing the franchise’s name, putting the company’s tax exemption in peril...Before skipping town to focus on fall elections, Sen. Maria Cantwell introduced a bill that would end tax-breaks for the NFL if the league continues to promote the name the Washington football team has used since 1933...Unlike a proposal from Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., that would permanently end the nonprofit status of the NFL, as well as the National Hockey League, the Professional Golfers’ Association and other sports leagues with annual revenues over $10 million, the Democrats’ bill would only temporarily target the football league." [Roll Call]
BOEHNER CALLS UNEMPLOYED CHUCKLEHEADS - "At least they could get up and mow some people's lawns..." Delaney: "House Speaker John Boehner's Thursday lament that unemployed people think they can ‘just sit around’ instead of working shows how much the political conversation about the economy has changed. All year long, Democrats have bashed the Ohio Republican for his callous indifference to the plight of the long-term unemployed, who Democrats have insisted aren't lazy. And in dozens of interviews with HuffPost, unemployed people themselves have said they resent any implication they're not trying to find jobs...A spokesman for Boehner told Reuters the speaker wasn't trying to call the unemployed lazy, despite the clear implication. His change in tone probably is owed to two things: First, Democrats are no longer pushing for more unemployment benefits, and secondly, the unemployment rate has fallen steadily to 6.1 percent. Politically, it's safer than it's been in years to dis the jobless." [HuffPost]
Someone has written a folk song about labor reporter Mike Elk. Of course.
OH, JOE - All but a week and a half ago, the veep was receiving plaudits for his resposne to the Ray Rice scandal. Now this. Goddamnit, Joe. WaPo: "Vice President Biden just capped off one heck of a week with this doozy at a Democratic women's conference on Friday. While talking about how the Republican Party has changed, Biden brought up a couple of former colleagues who often worked across the aisle. If you missed it, you can be forgiven. 'Packwood' is former senator Bob Packwood. And for those who didn't follow politics in the 1990s, he's not really the kind of person you should be speaking well of at a women's conference. The Oregon Republican resigned from the Senate in 1995 amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assaulting women. The Senate ethics committee had voted unanimously to recommend his expulsion." [WaPo]
Obama to break bread with CBC: "President Obama will appear at a dinner for the Congressional Black Caucus next weekend, in a sign that tensions between the White House and black lawmakers over some of the president’s judicial picks may be dissipating. White House press secretary Josh Earnest announced the president's attendance as the keynote address at the CBC’s annual Phoenix Awards Dinner on Friday." [The Hill]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are two koala bears having an argument.
- The first person to buy an iPhone 6 in Perth, Australia immediately dropped his purchase while on live television.
- And here's an illustration of just how long the line for an iPhone 6 was in London.
- Thirteen dogs who look like things that are not dogs.
- Cat chills out in a baby swing.
@MikeMadden: Every once in a while, someone from the Howard Stern Show does something during a news event and reminds me that Stern is still on the air.
@jesseberney: "Mr. Commissioner, how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood and also you are a garbage human being."
@pourmecoffee: Whatever size iPhone 6 you get, it turns out to be designed to perfectly fill the hole in your soul where human emotions normally go.
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