POLITICS
01/21/2016 05:43 pm ET Updated Jan 21, 2016

HUFFPOST HILL - Government, Weather Unable To Reach Last-Minute Consensus

D.C. residents are bracing for the impending blizzard like any normal people would: cracking snowquester jokes and placing overnight orders for a Settlers of Catan expansion pack. Congress is taking Monday off, and also leaving early today to buy an extra can of beans that will remain in the congressional cupboard for several years. And Senate Democrats hope to lift research bans on gun violence. S.B. 4236, the We Know This Won’t Go Anywhere And Just End With All Of Us Feeling Sad And Sharing Links About Australia On Our Facebook Feed Act, will likely be tied to an appropriations bill. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, January 21st, 2016:

WAR STUFF - Jen Bendery: "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) caught nearly everybody off guard late Wednesday by quietly clearing the path for new legislation to declare war on the self-described Islamic State -- an issue he'd signaled for months he had no interest in touching. McConnell introduced a sweeping authorization for the use of military force, or AUMF, that would give the president new authority to take action against the militant group also known as ISIS or ISIL. It wouldn't put any limits on the duration, geography or use of U.S. ground combat troops in the war, or on the means by which the U.S. military could act. It also would keep in place a broad AUMF from 2001 that never expired and that allows the president to take military action against anyone, anywhere, connected to the terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks. In other words, it's a war authorization that's as wide open as it gets… White House spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine couldn't say if President Barack Obama would get behind McConnell's vision of an AUMF..."We will review the proposal put forward by Leader McConnell, and look forward to continued consultations as Congress undertakes what we hope will be the robust debate and amendment process the American people deserve on this important topic." [HuffPost]

DEMS HOPE TO ADDRESS GUN CONTROL RESEARCH BAN - Laura Barron-Lopez: "Despite a shortened calendar year, and the 2016 presidential election looming large over Congress, Senate Democrats plan to pressure Republicans into a debate over a 20-year-old ban on using federal funds to research gun violence...On Thursday, a handful of Senate Democrats, joined by three gun violence researchers from universities across the country, raised the issue again. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) called on Congress to pass legislation that would authorize $10 million annually, for six years, in the CDC’s budget for such research...Democrats will likely try to attach [a measure] to one of the 12 appropriations bills Republicans are eager to pass this year. Still, the limited legislative calendar will make it harder to have substantive debates in either chamber and leaves little time for both parties to compromise." [HuffPost]

There will be no votes on Monday due to the weather. You know who really hates our government's snow closure policy? Hitler.
Members of the House Oversight Committee wanna hear from Rick Snyder on the Flint water crisis, and the EPA briefed energy committee staffers today.

DELANEY DOWNER - Kris Maher in Flint: "Like most people who enter the Mission of Hope shelter these days, Christine Brown comes for the water. Ms. Brown, 55 years old, was once an aide to former Mayor Don Williamson but has been unemployed since she was laid off in 2008. Now, she is one of the 100,000 Flint residents whose lives have been upended by lead contamination of the city’s water. She washes herself with bottled water to avoid rashes she got from the water at home last year and drives 20 miles once a week to take a long bath at her sister’s house in Clio, Mich. 'We’re nothing but the walking dead in Flint,' said Ms. Brown on Wednesday, bundled in a full-length New York Giants coat and a Detroit Pistons hat. She was making her daily pilgrimage across the city to the daytime shelter for three, one-gallon jugs of water. 'It’s pitiful,' she said." [WSJ]

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ADMINISTRATION STILL WITHHOLDING GITMO TORTURE VIDEOS - Shorter: White House afraid of losing Middle East swing vote. Ryan Reilly: "The Obama administration indicated on Thursday that it would seek to continue to keep secret heavily redacted videos showing a former Guantanamo Bay detainee being force-fed. Justice Department attorneys notified a federal court in Washington on Thursday that the government would appeal an order that would have allowed the public to see the videos on Friday. A federal judge last year had ordered the release of the edited videos showing former Guantanamo prisoner Abu Wa'el Dhiab being force-fed and forcibly extracted from his prison cell. The government had argued that the videos would be used as Islamic State propaganda, 'inflame Muslim sensitivities' and ''subject the U.S. Government to criticism,' though they maintain the videos show no wrongdoing by military personnel. Several media organizations argued for the release of the videos." [HuffPost]

GOP REALLY UPSET WE'RE GIVING EURORAIL PASSES TO TERRORISTS... OR SOMETHING - People in Iran want to kill us and President Nobama is urging Ali Khamenei to take selfies in front of Bubba Gump Shrimp. Julian Hattem: "Furious Republicans assailed the Obama administration Thursday for making changes to a visa entry program for foreign tourists that they characterized as illegal. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Thursday announced changes to the easy-entry visa waiver program, which allows citizens from 38 countries — including Australia, France and Japan — to enter the United States without a visa. The DHS said its new policy will not prohibit people from the 38 countries from entering the U.S. if they have recently traveled to or are dual citizens of Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Syria, which are considered hotbeds of terrorism. Instead, those people — who otherwise would have been eligible to participate in the visa waiver program — will have to obtain a visa through the State Department. However, the administration is also creating a carve-out solely for Iran, with visa waivers handed out on 'a case-by-case basis' to people who have traveled there for "legitimate business-related purposes" following adoption of the nuclear deal last year. Some journalists, diplomats and aid workers traveling to and from the four countries would also receive waivers, the DHS said." [The Hill]

RUBIO PINNING HOPES ON SOUTH CAROLINA - Ken Vogel and Steven Shepard: "Marco Rubio had long planned an ambitious Iowa advertising assault in the weeks leading up to the caucuses, but his campaign has quietly scaled back its ad buys in the state by more than $500,000, according to a POLITICO analysis of advertising buys. The change appears due partly to a switch from offense to defense, but it also comes at a time when the Florida senator is focusing his hopes for an early state victory in South Carolina, where his campaign is increasing its advertising buys, according to the analysis, compiled for POLITICO by The Tracking Firm…Rubio’s campaign is embracing a bold, but risky, strategy to emerge as the GOP establishment’s consensus challenger to Trump and Cruz. One version of the strategy, which some supporters have dubbed '3-2-1,' envisions Rubio placing third in the Iowa caucuses, second in the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9 and first in the South Carolina primary on Feb. 20." [Politico]

CHRISTIE FLIP-FLOPS ON SELF-DEPORTATION - No, hasn't decided to deport himself. Elise Foley: "Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie supports making it so difficult for undocumented immigrants to live in the U.S. that they'll "leave on their own," he told the Washington Examiner in an interview published on Monday. Interviewer Byron York asked Christie if he, like opponent and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R), supports 'attrition through enforcement.' Christie replied, 'I think that would be the practical effect of it, yes.' The New Jersey governor's remarks weren't dissimilar from those of other Republican presidential candidates. But they were somewhat contradictory for a politician who had previously rejected the feasibility of "self-deportation" -- a term popularized by 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who proposed instituting tough policies that would cause undocumented immigrants to leave the country. 'I'm not someone who believes that folks who have come here in that status are going to engage in self deportation,' Christie said in April of last year." [HuffPost]

THIS IS THE MOST CARLY FIORINA THING EVER - Correction, this is the most Carly Fiorina thing ever, after this. Adam Gabbatt: "Carly Fiorina has been accused of 'ambushing' a group of children, after she ushered pre-schoolers, who were on a field trip to a botanical garden, into an anti-abortion rally in Des Moines. On Wednesday, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive embarked on a day of campaigning across Iowa, in an attempt to boost her ailing presidential campaign. The alleged ambush occurred when Fiorina hosted a 'right to life' forum at the Greater Des Moines botanical garden. Entering the rally, before a crowd of about 60 people, she directed around 15 young children towards a makeshift stage. The problem, one parent said, was that the children’s parents had not given Fiorina permission to have their children sit with her -- in front of a huge banner bearing the image of an unborn foetus – while she talked about harvesting organs from aborted babies." [Guardian]

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

MICHAEL LEWIS MEETS K STREET - Robert Schmidt: "Brad Katsuyama and his Investors’ Exchange were lionized in the best-selling book 'Flash Boys' as protecting mom-and-pop investors from predatory high-frequency traders. Now nearly two years later, his firm, IEX Group Inc., is counting on that renown to help smooth its path to become a public stock exchange...Standing in the way are some of those same speed traders, who have an opportunity -- via the regulatory process -- to chasten IEX and its earnest leader. Leading the charge is the hedge fund Citadel LLC, whose billionaire founder Ken Griffin was furious over the negative light that the Michael Lewis book cast on his firm, according to two people who have spoken with him. Aligning themselves with IEX competitors like the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Inc., senior Citadel executives have trekked to Capitol Hill to lobby congressional staff and written several critical letters to the SEC arguing that the approval would harm, rather than protect, most investors. While IEX says the complaints are fear-mongering, the opposition has prompted the SEC to delay its decision and forced Katsuyama’s firm to mount a counter-lobbying effort." [Bloomberg]

COMFORT FOOD

- Eating a 50-year-old MRE.

- A comical look at purgatory.

- Alan Rickman cut a viral video for charity before he died.

TWITTERAMA

@ralstonreports: So far from Trump
Polls
Jeb joke
Cruz losing
People stupid
Polls
Cruz losing
Media sleazebags
Cruz losing
Polls
I love China/Mexico
Polls

@samarkhurshid: Formula for a #Trump tweet: "So sad that dumb _________ spends so much ________ talking about _________. Just sad. What a waste of _______

@AdamKSnider: It was nice knowing you all. DC had a good run. They'll find some fun stuff when they dig us out in 2047.

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