POLITICS
02/25/2015 05:53 pm ET

HUFFPOST HILL - The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is Long But It Bongs Toward Justice

Vulnerable Republicans are skipping CPAC, though why a Pennsylvania senator would feel hesitant about attending the "There's No 'I' In Teamsters: Obama’s Bow to Big Labor Bosses" breakout session is beyond us. MSNBC has gone easy on Bill O’Reilly for fabricating stories about his past, a compassion O’Reilly hasn’t witnessed since Walter Cronkite shared an anchor desk with him when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. And Marijuana is set to be legalized in the District tomorrow -- too bad CPAC is being held in National Harbor. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, February 25th, 2015:

SENATE MOVES AHEAD WITH CLEAN DHS BILL -- HERE'S TO YOU, JOHN - John Boehner just added a cutout of Mitch McConnell's face to the knucklehead dart board he has hung in his finished basement apartment. Elise Foley and Sabrina Siddiqui: "The Senate made its first move on Wednesday to prevent a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security, with just two days remaining until the agency runs out of money. The upper chamber voted 98-2 on a procedural hurdle that would pave the way for a 'clean' funding bill to be brought to the floor, following a deal announced by Senate Democratic leaders earlier in the day. Only Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) voted against moving forward with the agreement, which would fund DHS without any measures to block President Barack Obama's 2014 executive actions on immigration. The vote marked the first cracking of the impasse that has for weeks threatened DHS funding. Under the agreement, which was suggested on Tuesday by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate will resolve the DHS funding issue and then vote on a separate bill from Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to block Obama's executive actions, which would grant temporary deportation relief and work authorization to as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants." [HuffPost]

So much merlot: "On Wednesday, however, Boehner gave no indication that his caucus would support McConnell's offer. 'Until I can see what they're going to pass, no decisions have been made on the House side,' he said." [HuffPost's Jen Bendery and Elise Foley]

GOODLATTE GOOD ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM? Ryan Grim: "The Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee was 'remarkably open to many aspects of criminal justice reform' during a White House meeting on Tuesday, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) told The Huffington Post. Booker, in a HuffPost Live interview immediately following the meeting, said the discussion among a bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers and President Barack Obama was 'phenomenal.' He said he told those at the meeting that criminal justice reform would have to be led by the House chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). 'I believe -- and, God willing, I'm gonna go see him -- that he's gonna be a leader on significant reforms,' Booker said." [HuffPost]

DC WEED, Y'ALL - The Jumbo Slice stimulus is about to take effect. The Hill: "Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) is not backing down from the city’s plan to legalize marijuana on Thursday despite congressional opposition. 'We know that the residents of the District of Columbia spoke loud and clear last November 4th when they adopted initiative 71 to legalize small amounts of marijuana in the District of Columbia and our government is prepared to implement and enforce initiative 71,' she said at a press conference. D.C.'s government will begin implementing the measure at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday…'If you decide to move forward with the legalization of marijuana in the District, you will be doing so in knowing and willful violation of the law,' said House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) in a letter to Bowser on Wednesday." [The Hill]

DISABILITY FIGHT UNDERWAY - Sam Johnson (R-Texas) is laying the groundwork for a Social Security showdown. The ticking time bomb is a 19 percent benefit reduction for 11 million Social Security Disability Insurance recipients next year. Democrats maintain that all Congress has to do to defuse the bomb is re-allocate payroll taxes a tiny bit, something they say Congress has done 11 times in recent history. On Wednesday, Johnson set about muddying the Democratic narrative on past reallocations with expert witness testimony insisting that previous reallocations always came with major reforms. Still not clear what sort of reforms Republicans want. No hurry.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Republicans in the House of Representatives on Wednesday started in on a "top-to-bottom" review the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known by its former name, food stamps -- but they say they're not out to cut benefits. Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), the new chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, which oversees nutrition assistance, has insisted he is not interested in having the same fight about cutting benefits that roiled the Republican Party in the previous Congress. "We will conduct this review without preconceived notions and with a commitment to strengthening the program so it can serve as a tool to help individuals move up the economic ladder," Conaway said Wednesday…. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), the panel's top Democrat on nutrition policy, said it was "curious" that SNAP had been singled out for review even though caseloads have been declining. "I hope that this is not going to be an exercise in another attack on poor people," McGovern said. (McGovern complained in 2013 about the fact that there were NO hearings on nutrition policy, before Congress passed the SNAP-cutting farm bill. Careful what you wish for!) [HuffPost]

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VULNERABLE REPUBLICANS AVOIDING CPAC - More like NOPAC -- right, hombres? Right?!? Roll Call: "Sens. Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin -- all of whom are top Democratic targets in 2016 -- are not addressing the conference this year, according to a public CPAC agenda. Toomey, a former Club for Growth president, addressed the crowd from the main stage in 2013 and 2014. Ayotte gave the conference’s keynote address in 2013 and Johnson spoke in 2012. Another top target for Democrats, Sen. Mark S. Kirk, has never spoken at the event during his Senate career, according to a search of conference agendas from previous years. Though he is not on CPAC’s official schedule, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio is speaking Thursday afternoon on a breakout panel about cybersecurity. Portman serves on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee." [Roll Call]

Ted Strickland is in. Your move, Martha Coakley: "Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) announced Wednesday that he'll seek the Democratic Senate nomination to challenge first-term Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) in 2016. 'I'm running for the United States Senate in 2016 because I am determined to restore the American Dream for working people in this country,' Strickland said in a statement, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I believe in the American Dream because I've lived it.' Strickland, who once told The Huffington Post that he had 'no plans to run for the Senate,' left his position as president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund and began fundraising for the bid earlier this month. He has high name recognition in the state, as he served six terms in Congress before winning the governorship." [HuffPost's Samantha Lachman]

Get yer class warfare-iest pitchforks! "Working Families Party candidate Ed Gomes won a Connecticut state Senate special election Tuesday night, making him the first state legislative candidate to win solely on the party's line. Gomes' victory represents a vindication of strategy for the progressive party, which typically cross-endorses Democrats. As a former Democratic state senator, Gomes was known in his Bridgeport-based district as an advocate for a higher minimum wage, guaranteed paid sick days and funding for public education." [HuffPost's Samantha Lachman]

MSNBC LAYING OFF O'REILLY, MOSTLY - Again, "mostly." Michael Calderone and Jackson Connor: "On Tuesday night, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow slammed Bill O’Reilly for threatening journalists who are investigating charges that the Fox News host exaggerated claims about his reporting on the Falklands War…Yet Maddow's was the only critical segment MSNBC has done on O’Reilly since Mother Jones' David Corn and Daniel Shulman reported on Feb. 19 that the Fox News host had exaggerated stories about his time reporting for CBS in Argentina in the 1980s. Corn and Shulman said that O'Reilly had a 'Brian Williams problem,' a reference to the now-suspended NBC anchor who lied about coming under rocket-propelled grenade fire in Iraq and who continues to be dogged by questions over a number of other claims he made." [HuffPost]

THINGS POLITICOS COULD BUY WITH KIM KARDASHIANS FACE - Not unlike our previous post, "How best can a Senator horse trade with Ryan Gosling's calf muscles?" Dana Liebelson and Paige Lavender: This week, socialite Kim Kardashian detailed her makeup routine, listing products with a total cost of at least $1,977.75, according to an investigative report by Jezebel. That got the HuffPost Politics team thinking about the many political items a person could buy instead of investing in the products that create the mirage known as 'Kim Kardashian's face.' .. Tickets to a sold-out Katy Perry concert for Rep. Aaron Schock's (R-Ill.) interns...About 2.5 hours of Washington lawyer Robert B. Barnett's time...More than 29 percent of all tax filers made per month in 2010...Eight 4-mile trips with a car service for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R)...Almost five haircuts for former vice presidential nominee John Edwards (D)." [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a helpful dog.

ANONYMOUS SOURCING, OMG - Source with close ties to Huma Abedin's Tuscan Asiago Steak Panini says Hillary is running. "Why are you asking me these questions? Who is Hillary? You're upsetting the other customers, sir. I'm going to have to ask you to leave this Panera Bread." From a Times piece on Port Authority's improved bathrooms: "A second person who checked out the women’s restroom -- and who asked not to be identified because she has always wanted to be an anonymous source -- reported her findings by email: “Black shiny granite-y sink. Arched faucets by Sloan. Tasteful slate gray and powder gray tiles.” [Times]

COMFORT FOOD

- The "Birdman" action figure all the kids will be clamoring over this holiday season.

- A list of 43 words made up by authors.

- "Academy Award Winners Recreated Using Stock Footage and Vague Titles"

TWITTERAMA

@gweldon: Feb 26's Washington Post
A1 Headline: MARIJUANA LEGAL by Post Staff
C3 Headline: BRAH U GOTS TO TRY GO-GO TAQUITOS AT 7-11 by Tom Sietsma

@elisefoley: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, make a deal with Reid, then try again.

@darth: best names in politics today:

3) senator whitehouse
2) congressman labrador
1) mayor bowser

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