POLITICS
01/26/2015 05:15 pm ET Updated Jan 26, 2015

HUFFPOST HILL - Epic Snow Barely Affects Out-Of-Touch Washington

Mitt Romney was called a “good man” by some 2016 hopefuls, which, of course, doesn’t mean “good man” but means Mitt Romney is “a deplorable miscreant who — and I’m just spitballing here — may flog seal cubs.” Hillary Clinton will likely announce her candidacy in the second quarter of this year, meaning her associates still have time to plant some last minute jabs at each other in the press. And a group of conservative lawmakers launched the comically named “Freedom Caucus.” There will undoubtedly be clashes with the bipartisan Tyranny Working Group and the Gang of Hate. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, January 26th, 2015:

SNOW DELAYS BORDER BILL - Jake Sherman: "The House might have to delay consideration of its border security bill until the middle of February, Republican leadership sources said Monday. The leadership’s original plan was to have House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul’s (R-Texas) legislation on the floor this week. But the impending snow storm has left Congress with just two days in session, and GOP leaders fear they do not have enough time to canvass the House Republican Conference for support. Attendance might be light." [Politico]

CBO FORECASTS STRONG ECONOMY, EMBIGGENING DEFICITS - "The federal budget deficit, which has fallen sharply during the past few years, is projected to hold steady relative to the size of the economy through 2018. Beyond that point, however, the gap between spending and revenues is projected to grow, further increasing federal debt relative to the size of the economy -- which is already historically high." [CBO.gov]

RICK PERRY GOES UNEMPLOYMENT RATE TRUTHER - That time Rick Perry danced with a group of orthodox Jews is no longer the former Texas Governor’s strangest moment near the Chosen People (okay, it still is, but this is still odd). Dave Jamieson: “After a two-year hiatus from politics, unemployment trutherism made its return to the Republican campaign trail on Monday, making a brief appearance alongside Rick Perry at an Iowa breakfast. According to Bloomberg Politics reporter Dave Weigel, the former Texas governor told a gathering of the Republican Jewish Coalition that they couldn't trust the official unemployment rate coming out of Washington. ‘It's been massaged, it's been doctored,’ Perry said, as quoted in a tweet by Weigel. (Weigel told HuffPost he was in attendance for the speech.)..Back in 2012, such conspiracy theories became known as unemployment or BLS trutherism, in reference to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the division of the Labor Department that's responsible for producing the unemployment rate. After some surprisingly upbeat jobs reports that bolstered the campaign of President Barack Obama, skeptical conservatives either implied or said outright that the numbers couldn't be trusted.” [HuffPost]

Ken Vogel reports the Kochs are getting ready to spend nearly $1 billion on 2016.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) had previously said he wanted to fight the Obama administration over drug tests for food stamp recipients, but it turns out Walker would prefer to ask nicely. A Walker spokeswoman said that instead of just imposing the drug tests, the governor's forthcoming budget proposal will seek permission to do so. "The budget will include language requesting waivers from the federal government to test all able-bodied adults without dependents on FoodShare, as well as all childless adults on Medicaid," Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said in an email Sunday. [HuffPost]

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TEA PARTY MEMBERS FORMING ‘FREEDOM CAUCUS’ - Roll Call: “Conservatives announced Monday morning the formation of a new group, the House Freedom Caucus. But with only nine members to start, it’s unclear what such a caucus will mean for another conservative group: the Republican Study Committee. Instead of a grand news conference, members opted for a quiet press release, announcing the ‘HFC’ before lawmakers even got back to the Capitol. The release said the group — which includes Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Jim Jordan of Ohio, John Fleming of Louisiana, Matt Salmon of Arizona, Justin Amash of Michigan, Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho, Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, Ron DeSantis of Florida and Mark Meadows of North Carolina — would have an agenda of ‘limited, constitutional government in Congress.’..Some members involved in the formation of the splinter group contend it will be in direct competition with, and in direct response to, the RSC, which many conservative lawmakers believe has become too large and too cozy with GOP leadership.” [Roll Call]

JOHN BOEHNER DIDN’T NEED THE MINIMUM WAGE AS A LAD - Ol’ Johnny boy couldn’t go out and push around a hoop with a stick like the other scamps. He had to put on his most ragged pair of breeches and clean chimneys. Sam Stein: “ In an interview with CBS’ "60 Minutes" on Sunday night, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) turned to autobiography to explain his opposition to raising the federal minimum wage.‘I've had every kinda rotten job you can imagine growin' up and gettin' myself through school,’ the speaker declared. ‘I wouldn't have had a chance at half those jobs if the federal government had kept imposing higher minimum wage.’ … During Boehner’s time in college -- when he was at those humbling jobs -- theminimum wage went up three times. In May 1974, it was raised to $2.00 an hour. In January 1975, it went to $2.10 an hour. And in January 1976, the wage went up again, to $2.30 an hour. (This threefold increase in the federal minimum wage did not affect farm workers, but Boehner wasn’t working on a farm.)” [HuffPost]

Jeff Young has public service-tastic rundown of how Obamacare has changed your taxes.

CLINTON CAMPAIGN LAUNCH EXPECTED AFTER MARCH - Newsletter Pappa Bear: “The exact timing of Hillary Clinton’s launch is unknown, but close allies expect her to officially enter the 2016 race shortly after the end of this quarter, so that her first fundraising report will be a blockbuster. On March 4, the Clinton Foundation holds its annual gala in New York, with entertainment by Carole King, and it’s expected to be one of the Clintons’ final major events before the campaign. Friends and advisers say she is planning this campaign ‘her way,’ without being buffaloed by outside pressure. ‘She is taking her time,’ one adviser said. ‘Part of doing something right is … taking the time to balance the advice she is getting with her own thoughts. She’s in no rush. People have been putting a red ‘X’ on the calendar for a long time, but that isn’t necessarily happening internally.’...The Clinton team knows it can’t campaign with the swagger of a presumptive nominee because the air of inevitability was so damaging last time around. That said, some advisers are already privately talking up potential running mates, with Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado and Tim Kaine of Virginia dominating the early speculation.” [Politico]

GOP 2016 CONTENDERS RIP ROMNEY - When Mitt Romney is around, the rest of America suddenly identifies with the people sitting on the couch during the Omega Theta Pi rush party in “Animal House.” Igor Bobic: “A trio of Republican presidential hopefuls serving in the U.S. Senate participated in a quasi-debate Sunday night, where they weighed in on Mitt Romney's renewed ambitions for the White House, income inequality and stagnant wages, among other topics. Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky headlined the discussion in Palm Springs, California, which was hosted by the conservative billionaire Koch brothers and attended by hundreds of their wealthy donors…’I’m kind of with Ann Romney on this one. No, no, no, no, no,’ Paul said, referring to her firm comments that her husband would not make a third run for president. The Kentucky Republican argued that Romney failed to establish a ‘visceral connection’ with voters, and that no talk of uplifting the poor would change that. Cruz was more blunt about the matter. ‘The reasons Republicans lost could be summed up in two words: 47 percent,’ he said, before proceeding to recite Romney's infamous remarks about Americans who are dependent on government verbatim.” [HuffPost]

IT’S GETTING SCANDALOUS DOWN IN ‘BAMA - In Birmingham they love the guv’na *their mistresses* (hoo! hoo!) Amanda Terkel: “Alabama's only openly gay legislator is putting her anti-gay colleagues on notice: If they keep espousing family values rhetoric as a reason to oppose marriage equality, she'll start making their marital infidelities public. ‘I will not stand by and allow legislators to talk about 'family values' when they have affairs, and I know of many who are and have,’ wrote state Rep. Patricia Todd (D) on Facebook over the weekend, as reported by the TimesDaily in Alabama. ‘I will call our elected officials who want to hide in the closet out.’ Todd's post came after a federal judge ruled Friday that Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. She told The Huffington Post that she decided to issue her threat after reading some of the anti-gay rhetoric coming from certain elected officials in the state.” [HuffPost]

Nice work if you can nyet it: “FBI agents on Monday arrested an alleged Russian spy in the Bronx who they said attempted to recruit New York City residents as intelligence sources and gather intelligence on behalf of the Russian Federation. Evgeny Buryakov, 39, allegedly posed as an employee in the Manhattan office of a Russian bank when he was actually working on behalf of the Russian government, according to the feds. Two others charged in the case -- Igor Sporyshev and Victor Podobnyy -- no longer live in the U.S. Both were protected by diplomatic immunity when they lived in the U.S. because they were in the country officially on behalf of Russia. But federal prosecutors said they were not allowed to “conspire with, or aid and abet” Buryakov, as he worked as an unregistered agent.” [HuffPost’s Ryan Reilly]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here are some panda cubs.

EVERYONE WANTS WEED - Matt Ferner: “Legal marijuana is the fastest-growing industry in the United States and if the trend toward legalization spreads to all 50 states, marijuana could become larger than the organic food industry, according to a new report obtained by The Huffington Post. Researchers from The ArcView Group, a cannabis industry investment and research firm based in Oakland, California, found that the U.S. market for legal cannabis grew 74 percent in 2014 to $2.7 billion, up from $1.5 billion in 2013. The group surveyed hundreds of medical and recreational marijuana retailers in states where sales are legal, as well as ancillary business operators and independent cultivators of the plant, over the course of seven months during 2013 and 2014. ArcView also compiled data from state agencies, nonprofit organizations and private companies in the marijuana industry for a more complete look at the marketplace.” [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Man really loves his cats.

- Create your own hipster corporate logo. We made a very sharp-looking one for our minimalist cafe, Pot & Kettle.

- The most badass penalty shot in hockey history

TWITTERAMA

@elisefoley: People telling me to "stay tuned" or "stand by" just makes me want to shut my computer and walk away.

@delrayser: If people are flying drones over the WH fence, the solution is clearly to build another fence on top of the first fence.

@darth: "little higher...little hi...oh crap..uh oh"

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