POLITICS
01/14/2015 05:29 pm ET Updated Jan 14, 2015

HUFFPOST HILL - Lame Duck President Joins LinkedIn

Rand Paul thinks many disability claims are as dubious as his ophthalmology certification. Given some of the boasts coming out of Romneyland, don’t be surprised if Stuart Stevens says that Mitt Romney would have kept “The Interview” in theaters. And the Obama administration used LinkedIn to make a major announcement. Fortunately, HuffPost Hill checks its spam filter. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, January 14th 2015:

WHITE HOUSE LAUNCHES PAID LEAVE PUSH - Valerie Jarrett on LinkedIn: "Anyone who has ever faced the challenge of raising or supporting a family, while holding down a job, has faced tough choices along the way, and likely felt stretched between the financial and personal needs of their family…. Tomorrow, President Obama will announce several initiatives that will spur action and move us toward our goal of fully supporting and empowering working parents in both their roles as workers and parents…. And the President will sign a Presidential Memorandum that will ensure federal employees have access to at least 6 weeks of paid sick leave when a new child arrives and propose that Congress offer 6 weeks of paid administrative leave as well.... If you’re an employer, ask yourself what you’re doing for your workers on paid sick days and paid leave. If you’re looking for a job, ask yourself what you want out of your employer." [LinkedIn]

SPIES ARE OK, SPIES SAY - Ali Watkins: "Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan was aware of and approved his agency’s search of a walled-off computer network being used by the Senate Intelligence Committee to construct a report on the agency’s torture program, a CIA Accountability Review Board has found. Despite Brennan’s direct involvement, though, the board has determined that neither he nor his subordinates acted improperly when agency employees sifted through certain emails and databases of the supposedly off-limits network designated for the Senate committee." [HuffPost]

Andy Harris is mad about D.C.'s uppity pot policy, WAMU reports.

HOUSE VOTES TO GUT DODD FRANK - And this on top of that Edible Arrangement Jeb Hensarling got Jamie Dimon with the winkie-face note. Zach Carter: “House Republicans on Wednesday pushed through a bill that would delay a key section of the Volcker Rule, ignoring staunch opposition from Democrats and a veto threat from President Barack Obama. The vote of 271-154 included just 29 Democratic supporters. Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), a persistent opponent of Washington favors for big banks, was the lone Republican to stand against the bill. ‘If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again,’ said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) on the House floor the evening before the vote.... The legislation is a compilation of 11 bills that chip away at the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law. All but one passed the House by wide margins in 2013 and 2014, but died in the Senate, where then-Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) refused to put them on the floor for a vote. The most controversial measure in the collection is a two-year delay of a requirement that banks offload ‘collateralized loan obligations’ -- risky packages of corporate debt that are sliced off for sale to investors. Similar collections of risky mortgages were at the heart of the 2008 meltdown, and federal regulators have been warning about the corporate debt market overheating.” [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Wednesday began a two-day tour through New Hampshire, the first Republican primary state, where where he offered up a heap of red meat to supporters and local officials ahead of a likely run for president in 2016. Attending a breakfast with state legislative leaders in downtown Manchester, Paul engaged in a conversation about the viability of safety net programs. 'The thing is, in all of these programs there’s always somebody who’s deserving. But everybody in this room knows somebody who is gaming the system,' the Kentucky Republican said in a video uploaded by American Bridge, a Democratic opposition-research firm. 'What I tell people is, if you look like me and you hop out of your truck, you shouldn’t be getting your disability check. Over half of the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts. Join the club,' he added… Rand's comment comes as congressional Republicans are poised to push reforms to the Social Security Disability Insurance program, the little brother of the much larger Social Security retirement insurance program." [w/ HuffPost's Igor Bobic]

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HOUSE REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE VOTES TO ALIENATE ITSELF FROM HISPANICS, AGAIN - Ohla! You leave now, por favor? Gra-see-ass. Elise Foley: “House Republicans voted Wednesday to fund the Department of Homeland Security, but with the requirement that millions of undocumented young people, parents and others be put back at risk of deportation. The DHS funding bill was the opening shot in what is likely to be a contentious weekslong fight over how to deal with appropriations for the agency before its funding runs out at the end of February. For now, Republicans and Democrats have drawn lines in the sand: Most GOP House members said they would not vote to fund DHS without measures to end many of President Barack Obama's immigration policies, while Democrats and the president have vowed to oppose anything that includes those amendments. But the vote also showed a schism in the House Republicans -- this time from moderates rather than the usual revolts by immigration hardliners. Those moderates nearly derailed an amendment to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA, which helps undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Twenty-six House Republicans joined with Democrats to oppose that amendment, which narrowly passed in a 218-209 vote.” [HuffPost]

WHO TO KISS UP TO ON THE HILLARY CAMPAIGN - Courtesy of the New York Times, who will also probably be doing some butt smooching, too: “People to impress: Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin and Evelyn S. Lieberman. Doesn’t tolerate drama: John Podesta. Will run things: Robby Mook (and his mafia). Dark horse: Stephanie Schriock of Emily’s List. Spin meisters: Brian Fallon or Jennifer Palmieri (a Podesta pick) Money man: Dennis Cheng. Policy wonk: Jake Sullivan. Message makers: Wendy Clark, the Coca-Cola marketing whiz, and Roy Spence, the advertising guru based in Austin, Tex. (“Don’t Mess with Texas,” or Hillary.) The X-Factor: Chelsea.” [NYT]

RACE PROBLEM? WHAT RACE PROBLEM? - “How on earth can you be asking me about civil rights protections when there are derivatives markets out there that need deregulating?” Jen Bender: “House Republicans have concluded that it's not ‘necessary’ to restore the portion of the Voting Rights Act that was struck down by the Supreme Court, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said Wednesday...’There are still very, very strong protections in the Voting Rights Act in the area that the Supreme Court ruled on, which is the question of whether or not certain states, there were, I think 11 states, all Southern states, that were required by law to seek pre-clearance of any changes in where polling places are located and other matters like that," Goodlatte, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast….It wasn't just states in the South that required pre-clearance under the Voting Rights Act, as Goodlatte suggested. Arizona and Alaska were on the list at the time of the Supreme Court decision, as were regions of California, New York, South Dakota and Michigan, according to the Justice Department website. In the past, parts of Hawaii, Colorado, New Hampshire, Idaho, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Wyoming, Maine, New Mexico and Oklahoma were covered too.” [HuffPost]

DOJ SCRUTINIZING MEDIA SUBPOENAS - Ryan Reilly: “The Justice Department is revising guidelines that spell out when federal prosecutors can seek information from and records of reporters in a move intended to expand high-level review before subpoenas and warrants are issued, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Wednesday. The Justice Department undertook a review of its policies on subpoenaing journalists in 2013 after it was revealed that the government had obtained phone records and emails of reporters in the course of investigating press leaks. The first revisions of the media guidelines were announced last February. The latest changes, said the Justice Department, came after talks with federal prosecutors and media representatives, including a meeting with the newly formed Attorney General’s News Media Dialogue Committee this past May. Under the prior policy, news organizations were concerned that prosecutors could exploit a reference to "ordinary newsgathering" to define what types of conduct journalists could properly engage in.” [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are two bowling chamelons.

MITT ROMNEY PROBABLY A GOD: ADVISER - Also, remember that Super Bowl when the lights when out? Mitt would’ve fixed that, too. Igor Bobic: “[W]hat elicited the most chatter [in a Boston Globe summary of Mitt Romney’s putative campaign] was the insistence of one adviser that many of the biggest foreign policy challenges under President Barack Obama's second term would simply not exist under a Romney presidency. ‘There wouldn’t be an ISIS at all, and Putin would know his place in life. Domestically, things would be in better shape,’ a longtime adviser told the Globe. If that play sounds familiar, it's because Romney's aides attempted it before. Just a few days following the 2012 terror attacks on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, a top foreign policy aide to Romney claimed that the circumstances that led to the death of Amb. Christopher Stevens also would not have occurred under the governor's steady hand.” [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Even the mascots in Brazil know how to dance.

- Twelve viral photos that aren’t actually real.

- A look at one of D.C.’s abandoned underground trolley stations.

TWITTERAMA

@daveweigel: A problem. If either Romney or Hillary wins, their second terms will run up against Zeke Emmanuel’s mandatory age 75 death sentence.

@mattyglesias: The new TNR is really leaning into tawdry clickbait with this long profile of Thomas Piketty’s translator: http://bit.ly/1BpvzGQ

@elisefoley: Decent chunk of House Rs seem to be in the “perhaps we should’t give Democrats another ‘Republicans voted to deport Dreamers’ ad” group

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