POLITICS
01/21/2015 05:45 pm ET Updated Jan 21, 2015

HUFFPOST HILL - Golden Age Of Political Comity Put Off For Another Day

CNN will debut a political game show: a Republican and Democratic contestant will each be asked the same questions, but no actual answer will be given. The bigamy case against Alan Grayson’s estranged wife had to be postponed so she could get her breast implants removed, meaning “briefs-clad meth head who robbed a 7-11 with a banana” will really need to up his Florida game. And the Senate GOP defeated a resolution claiming global warming is real. The vote recalled last year’s round Earth resolution where Dan Coates passionately cited a “Medieval flat period.” This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, January 21st, 2015:

SESSIONS TO BE SENATE GOP POINT MAN ON IMMIGRATION - Niels Lesniewski: "One of the most vocal critics of President Barack Obama’s immigration policies appears set to wield the gavel of a key Senate subcommittee. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., is in line to become chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee with authority over immigration law, a move that a source familiar with the situation said was already a done deal although there’s been no official announcement." [Roll Call]

Looks like Eric Holder's not interested in civil rights charges for Darren Wilson.

DEMS BUCKING OBAMA ON TRADE DEAL - Jen Bendery: “With President Barack Obama declaring on Tuesday his intentions to push for legislation giving him authority to move forward unilaterally with trade deals, Democrats made one thing clear: They don't have his back...it's not the right thing to do according to those in his party opposed to granting that special authority, known as trade promotion authority or fast track authority, which prevents lawmakers from shaping the details of trade deals. ‘We will do what we can in the Senate to defeat this unfortunate proposal,’ said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who caucuses with Democrats. ‘The president cannot go around the Democrats,’ said Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.). ‘If he wants trade promotion authority, which of course is what we call fast track, he has to tell us what it’s going to be.’ In a Congress run by Republicans and with the largest majority of House Republicans in 85 years, it's a steep climb for Democrats hoping to block Obama's action on trade deals. Republicans historically support trade agreements because they're supposed to boost U.S. commerce overseas. Democratic concerns stem from jobs in their districts being lost to international companies, and the deals' lack of environmental, labor and consumer protections” [HuffPost]

Harry Reid's having eye surgery.

Republicans also trying to block the president, go figure: “Less than twelve hours after President Barack Obama directly warned lawmakers against nudging their way into talks over Iran’s nuclear program, members of Congress made clear that they weren’t planning to heed his cautions. ‘I have met no one that believes that us weighing in would do anything to destabilize these negotiations,’ newly-minted Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said at a Wednesday hearing. ‘Not a single one of [our negotiating partners] has any concerns whatsoever with Congress having the ability to vote up or down on a final deal. Many of them believe it strengthens our hand.’” [HuffPost]

GOP’S SPANISH SOTU RESPONSE ALTERED - Elise Foley: “Earlier Tuesday, it appeared the GOP's Spanish-language rebuttal to the State of the Union would be exactly the same as the English-language one, just delivered by a Latino congressman instead of a senator who wants to make English the official U.S. language. But when the speeches were delivered in the evening, there was at least one major difference -- one key to many Spanish-language audiences. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), delivering the official Republican rebuttal, did not utter the word 'immigration' once. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) not only mentioned the issue, but said Republicans want to work on it with President Barack Obama. ‘We should also work through the appropriate channels to create permanent solutions for our immigration system, modernize legal immigration and strengthen our economy. In the past, the president has expressed support for ideas like these, now we ask him to collaborate with us to get it done,’ Curbelo said in the address,translated by liberal group American Bridge (and checked by The Huffington Post).” [HuffPost]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - For all the attention Temporary Assistance for Needy Families gets as the program most closely associated with the word "welfare," it is a tiny part of the federal government's safety net. The Congressional Budget Office reported today that "the federal government spent $17 billion on TANF in 2013, which was the lowest inflation-adjusted amount in the program’s history." That's 3 percent of overall federal spending on means-tested poverty programs, yet TANF accounts for 80 percent of proposals to make poor people pee in cups. [CBO.gov]

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SOTU: VIEWERS GIVE OBAMA GOOD MARKS - Upgrading the political benefit of the event from “utterly meaningless” to “of note, somewhat.” Ariel Edwards-Levy: “Americans who watched President Barack Obama's State of the Union address largely approved, giving him better marks than they did for last year's speech, according to instant polling conducted by CNN. Positive ratings from State of the Union watchers are the rule, not the exception. CNN found Obama getting high marks in all five annual State of the Union speeches they previously polled (the network didn't conduct a post-State of the Union poll in 2012). Former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton also received largely positive ratings. Eighty-one percent of viewers had a somewhat positive or very positive opinion of the 2015 State of the Union, according to CNN -- up from 76 percent in 2014, and in line with ratings for Obama's speeches in 2011 and 2013. The speech also increased watchers' confidence the president's policies 'will move the country in the right direction.' The number of those saying that rose 15 percentage points, from 57 percent in a pre-speech survey among speech watchers to 72 percent afterward. That was similar to Obama's 17-point gain on the same measure last year.” [HuffPost]

John Boehner invited Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress, kind of poking Obama in the eyeball.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE WELL-HEELED? - Looks like somebody is going to have their eventual senate/gubernatorial run pret-tay well funded. Grim: “House and Senate Republicans are rejecting President Barack Obama’s suggestion to reform tax code that allows heirs to inherit extreme amounts of wealth largely tax-free. ‘Let’s close the loopholes that lead to inequality by allowing the top 1 percent to avoid paying taxes on their accumulated wealth,’ Obama said Tuesday night during his annual State of the Union address. ‘We can use that money to help more families pay for child care and send their kids to college.’ A variety of tax strategies exist to shield much of an inheritance from taxation. And that, said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), is as it should be. Chaffetz moved quickly from talking points to genuine anger in responding to the president’s proposal. ‘That’s a non-starter. The audacity, that he thinks the government has a right to people’s money? He wants to transfer wealth,’ Chaffetz said. ‘It’s one of the most immoral things you can do, is try to steal somebody’s inheritance, to steal it away from their family.’” [HuffPost]

HOUSE CONSERVATIVES NOT YIELDING ON IMMIGRATION FIGHT - So many tired. So many poor. So many huddled masses. Gross. Elise Foley: “Republicans in the Senate likely don't have the votes to pass a bill blocking President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration, but House conservatives said Wednesday that was no reason to cave on the subject during a fight over funding for the Department of Homeland Security. Their message to Senate Republicans: Step up, stop the excuses and do whatever you can to end Obama's policies protecting some undocumented immigrants from deportation. ‘I'm going to speak to our conservative counterparts on the Senate side, who have said time and time again, 'You in the House need to do this, you in the House need to do that,'’ Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) said at a "Conversations with Conservatives’ event...Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters last week that the upper chamber will vote on the House-passed DHS funding bill. But Republicans would need help from Democrats to reach the 60 votes needed to pass the legislation -- something they're unlikely to get. “ [HuffPost]

@amy_hollyfield: (AP) Trial to determine if @AlanGrayson's wife committed bigamy delayed because she required emergency surgery to remove breast implants.

WHY IS BARACK OBAMA SOOOOO RACIST? Julia Craven: "In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Barack Obama touched on the turmoil in many cities where African-Americans have been protesting unjust treatment by the police…. 'He's been so divisive on the issue of race,' Gohmert told reporters Tuesday night after the speech. He said he'd thought that once Obama was elected president, 'that issue' would be 'behind us.' Gohmert expressed a wish that Obama were more like his black high school basketball coach. 'But unlike my favorite coach in high school, who happened to be black, he has been more divisive -- when I had a coach that brought us together as a team like never before,' Gohmert said. 'I thought this president would do that. He has divided more than united, so that’s been heartbreaking.'" [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here is a sleepy dog.

CNN LAUNCHING ‘JEOPARDY’-STYLE POLITICAL GAME SHOW, ANDERSON COOPER TO HOST - This prominent news anchor and scion of the Vanderbilt dynasty has tried for years to break free of his reputation as a news anchor and recast himself as an ill-defined host of mildly entertaining family programming. AdWeek: “CNN is producing a political game show, TVNewser has learned. The blocking and testing of the show is happening this week at CNN’s New York studios. Insiders tell us the show will be hosted by Anderson Cooper and will air on Presidents’ Day, Feb. 16. If it’s successful, further episodes would go into production. We hear the program will be a quiz style game show, focused on presidential politics.” [AdWeek]

COMFORT FOOD

- Photos of Britain’s abandoned WW2 facilities

- A globe showing each country’s top Google search.

- What kind of sorcery: water bottles instantly turn to ice.

TWITTERAMA

@jbendery: Rep. Gwen Moore, star on HuffPost's "Drinking and Talking," in a wheelchair after a fall. Confirms: "I had not been drinking and talking."

@aedwardslevy: what tan is the state of the union

@jasoncherkis: Patriots are guilty if they hire Lanny Davis tomorrow.

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