Bernie Sanders' second campaign announcement is a reminder that the “official” campaign launch is the dumbest political development since the prebuttal. George Pataki will announce his White House bid on Thursday, really shaking up the race to be Jeb Bush’s commerce secretary. And back in D.C., the Capitol was evacuated after a fire alarm sounded. This being recess, it only affected a couple hungover dudes in polo shirts. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, May 26th, 2016:
IN OBAMACARE, PROBLEM - Robert Pear: "They are only four words in a 900-page law: 'established by the state.' But it is in the ambiguity of those four words in the Affordable Care Act that opponents found a path to challenge the law, all the way to the Supreme Court. How those words became the most contentious part of President Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment has been a mystery. Who wrote them, and why? Were they really intended, as the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell claim, to make the tax subsidies in the law available only in states that established their own health insurance marketplaces, and not in the three dozen states with federal exchanges? The answer, from interviews with more than two dozen Democrats and Republicans involved in writing the law, is that the words were a product of shifting politics and a sloppy merging of different versions…. 'I don’t ever recall any distinction between federal and state exchanges in terms of the availability of subsidies,' said Olympia J. Snowe , a former Republican senator from Maine who helped write the Finance Committee version of the bill." [NYT]
LANDRIEU MAKES PREDICTABLE CAREER MOVE - The oil and gas lobby should be mindful of how many former senators it hires: the wind generated by the revolving door could be harnessed to power the entire country. Bruce Alpert: "Former Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is joining the Washington lobbying firm Van Ness Feldman...Landrieu said she will join Van Ness Feldman as a senior policy advisor, working closely with another recent hire, former Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., the former top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee...[Landrieu] can't lobby colleagues until January, 2017. But she can lobby members of the executive branch, and is free to provide Van Ness Feldman clients with strategic advice. Landrieu said the job will provide her with the 'flexibility' to continue her work for the Walton Family Foundation, advocating on education issues, such as support for charter schools in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and nationally...Landrieu said she'll be working on coastal restoration issues, as well as energy policy matters, for Van Ness Feldman, a firm that includes both Democratic and Republican lobbyists." [Times-Picayune]
Haircut: Christine Conetta (h/t Amanda Terkel), Neil Campbell (h/t Dan Curran)
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Stephen Ohlemacher: "Thieves used an online service provided by the IRS to gain access to information from more than 100,000 taxpayers, the agency said Tuesday. The information included tax returns and other tax information on file with the IRS. The IRS said the thieves accessed a system called 'Get Transcript.' In order to access the information, the thieves cleared a security screen that required knowledge about the taxpayer, including Social Security number, date of birth, tax filing status and street address." [AP]
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FEDERAL COURT WON'T LIFT IMMIGRATION RULING HOLD - Court affirms legally questionable halt to legally questionable action on legally untenable situation. "A federal appeals court refused Tuesday to lift a temporary hold on President Barack Obama's executive action that could shield as many as 5 million immigrants illegally living in the U.S. from deportation. The U.S. Justice Department had asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a Texas judge who agreed to temporarily block the president's plan in February, after 26 states filed a lawsuit alleging Obama's action was unconstitutional. But two out of three judges on a court panel voted to deny the government's request. It wasn't immediately clear if the government would appeal, either to the full appeals court in New Orleans or to the U.S. Supreme Court." [AP]
For only $5,000 you can attend Barbara Bush's 90th birthday in Kennebunkport. You can also book a first-class trip to Ibiza. Unclear which has more men in Speedos.
GEORGE PATAKI TO LAUNCH PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN THURSDAY
[Fade into CHADBOURNE & PARKE law firm in NEW YORK CITY where former Governor GEORGE PATAKI is idling in his corner office. The only audible sounds are the low din of an air conditioner and the squeak of his LAZZARO LEATHER CHAIR as he shifts his weight to and fro.]Pataki holds up right hand, his thumb and index finger curled into the shape of a mouth
PATAKI, in falsetto
You should run, George!
PATAKI, in deep voice
The country needs you!
Pataki holds up portrait of Nelson Rockefeller
PATAKI, bobbing Rockefeller portrait up and down
Only you can bring the country together, George!
[PATAKI leans back in his LAZZARO LEATHER CHAIR and crosses his arms. A satisfied grin creeps across his lips. PATAKI twirls chair around to face the NEW YORK skyline.]
MORE LIKE TOM DE-GAY - Dana Liebelson: "'Homosexuality is a behavior. Not a civil right.' So argues Restrain the Judges, a conservative coalition that has sponsored billboard ads proclaiming this message. The group, which is pushing Congress to prevent federal judges from ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, has attracted attention for its ads' controversial comparison of people 'born' black, Asian or Latino with gay people 'not born this way.' Less well-known is the fact that the group is advised by a man once among the most powerful in Washington: former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas).'" [HuffPost]
OH GODDAMNIT IT'S BLOOMBERG PRESIDENTIAL SPECULATION TIME AGAIN - Someone wrote about someone writing about a speculative Michael Bloomberg presidential campaign and now we're writing about someone writing about someone writing about a speculative Michael Bloomberg presidential campaign and though we can't tell you with absolute certainty he won't run for president, we can tell you with certainty that life is utterly pointless and we are all haphazard assemblages of stardust with stardust mouths that eat stardust hamburgers. [WaPo]
Stardust Hamburger is also our brass quintet David Bowie cover band.
Alex Pareene has a very good takedown of needless presidential hype about hizzoner.
The Clinton campaign is marketing a line of mock-pantsuit t-shirts. Between the Hillary Pantsuit tee and the now defunctRand Paul-branded Ray-Bans, The nation turns its lonely eyes to Rick Santorum's merchandise page for sweater vest beer coozies. [Politico]
Bernie Sanders's 404 page is quite clever. "The good news is you're on the right website, and it's a really good website," an uncharacteristically kempt Sanders says in a video that pops up. "The bad news is, you're on the wrong page." Sanders then says to "just scoot down to the bottom of the page where and you'll find your way back home to where you should be." Typical socialist telling you where you should and shouldn't be. [Sick earned media, bro]
ANN KIRKPATRICK TO SEEK MCCAIN'S SENATE SEAT - It's never easy telling the old man that he shouldn't go into the office anymore, but at least he still has his car privileges -- not everyone does. Emily Cahn: "Kirkpatrick made calls Monday to inform people of her plans, the source told CQ Roll Call. Her bid also opens up Arizona’s 1st District, a GOP-leaning seat spanning the northeast quadrant of the state...Kirkpatrick, 65, won re-election last fall in this district against all odds, defying a GOP wave that felled fellow moderate House Democrats. She has strong ties to the district’s Native American population, which made her uniquely able to carry the seat...Democratic operatives speculate that if the current congressional map is tossed by the court, fellow Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema could also look at a Senate bid. Republicans would likely make her 9th District, located in the Phoenix suburbs, less competitive for the Democrats." [Roll Call]
@RussOnPolitics: In all of Sen. John McCain's #AZsen campaigns, not one of his Dem opponents has been a member of Congress. Anne Kirkpatrick changes that.
WALKER MAY SKIP FLORIDA - Technically, this adheres to our maxim, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you… and do the exact opposite of whatever Giuliani '08 did," so we give Walker a good grade for the shrewdness of this move. "If we get in as a candidate, we're going to make a strong play in Iowa," Walker told Laura Ingraham. "Actually the main thing being around the country if we chose to get in, I don't think there's a state we wouldn't play in, other than maybe Florida where Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are -- listen some of the polls are essentially tied and they're going to eat up a lot of that financial advantage that Gov. Bush is going to have." Bonus points for the royal "we," governor! [HuffPost's Igor Bobic]
This sort of thing is cheap politics (almost as cheap as the photo-ops themselves) but, that said, cheap politics puts food on our table, so check out this collection of Republicans grinning with Josh Duggar.
CAPITOL EVACUATED - For every five tourists alarmed by this kind of thing, there's at least one leadership staffer relieved he gets to leave a fly-in meeting with a bunch of dairy industry reps he didn't want to see. Alan Fram: "Police briefly evacuated hundreds of workers and tourists from the U.S. Capitol and its adjacent visitors’ center on Tuesday in a problem officials tentatively blamed on a faulty exhaust fan in a visitor center kitchen. Within an hour after alarms sounded, employees returned to the building. Tourists were readmitted shortly after that...The U.S. Capitol Police told congressional workers in an email that two alarms were triggered in the visitors’ center, which they said was apparently caused by 'a known problem with environmental controls with the kitchen exhaust fan.' It provided no additional detail." [AP]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a bird taking a bath.
TODAY IN LEDES - There's a "burying the lede" quip somewhere that even we aren't shameless enough to formulate. Penn Live: "A couple that rides together, stays together. So goes the motorcycle couple's credo. But sometimes, they also die together. Such tragedy befell a Harley-riding couple in Fleetwood, Pa., Sunday. Citing Fleetwood police, the Associated Press reports that Michael McCulley, 56, and Luann McCulley, 57, of Berks County, were pronounced dead at the scene of a motorcycle-SUV crash." [Penn Live]
- Dan Rather explains internet slang.
- The pizza box of the future.
- James Harden hit the year's most impressive three-pointer that didn't count.
@MEPFuller: Meanwhile, in his most elaborate heist yet, Danny Ocean and gang are breaking into a Capitol room and appropriating themselves $1 billion.
@Bencjacobs: Starting to get the feeling that people at the Bernie Sanders rally don't like the Koch Brothers
relatablefuuu: I publish my latest column 'Can Obama Lead? Bloomberg Will.' The Acela derails from all the hooting and hollering my column brings.
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