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Senate Republicans want to hold a preemptive vote to raise the debt ceiling, though destroying the global economy sure would be a way to avoid a sophomore slump after taking everyone’s health care away. The Georgia 6th special election reminded us that unlike the dating pool and most self-respecting co-op boards, journalists should be allowed into public events. And a Republican congressman introduced legislation to allow lawmakers to carry guns wherever they go. The bill would also require lawmakers to certify that they are Good Guys. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, June 20th, 2017:
GEORGIA-6 A SQUEAKER - It’s finally over, as are the Daily Kos articles your parents forward you with a note about how they contributed. Ariel Edwards-Levy: “Earlier surveys gave Democrat Jon Ossoff, who was backed by record levels of fundraising, a slight edge over Republican Karen Handel, whom he led by 2 to 3 points in most surveys. Ossoff led by 7 points in both a WXIA-TV poll conducted by SurveyUSA in May and an Atlanta Journal-Constitution survey from Abt SRBI in early June. A subsequent SurveyUSA poll, however, found the race tied, as did a second poll conducted for WSB-TV. One survey, from the GOP-affiliated Trafalgar Group, gave the edge to Handel, although it remains the only recent poll to do so. Given the margin of error inherent in any survey ― not to mention the added difficulty of predicting who will turn out to vote in an off-year House runoff ― and the race looks about as close as it can get.” [HuffPost]
What tonight’s results might mean: “The special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District is already one of the most hotly contested and absurdly expensive contests in congressional history. Now, those hoping to put off Obamacare’s demise are gearing up to use a potential win by the Democratic nominee, Jon Ossoff, as a means of spooking recalcitrant Republicans into inaction. ‘It could at least give them pause that there will be a bigger backlash than they even thought and that they should rethink this huge bill,’ is how one top health care reform advocate put it.” [HuffPost’s Sam Stein]
Today’s unused HuffPost Hill headlines: “Sean Spicer Not Fat, Just Full Of Chewing Gum” ”‘At Least Someone Called Sean Spicer Fat’ Thought Zero Dying Uninsured Americans” “Already Beleaguered Nation Forced To Think About Sean Spicer’s Body”
SENATE GOP HOPES TO GET DEBT CEILING OUT OF THE WAY - It’s not as much fun to play chicken with the global economy when you control the government. Burgess Everett and Rachel Bade: “Senate Republicans are planning for a July vote to raise the debt ceiling, according to senators and aides. Though the Treasury Department has said that Congress can likely wait until September to avoid default, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his lieutenants are increasingly disposed to clearing the Senate’s plate as much as possible before heading home for August recess. That would also likely mean decoupling the debt ceiling from a potential government shutdown fight in September. It’s not clear what exactly such a bill would look like, but members of both parties are interested in a broad spending deal that would avoid the blunt budget cuts of sequestration. A clean debt ceiling increase may be a problem for a GOP majority filled with fiscal conservatives.” [Politico]
Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) introduced legislation that would let lawmakers carry guns everywhere.
MONEY FOR OMB, NONE FOR THEE - Matt Fuller and Arthur Delaney: “While President Donald Trump and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney propose deep cuts to the social safety net ― as well as thousands of fewer jobs at agencies like the Department of State and the Environmental Protection Agency ― Mulvaney is asking Congress to increase one aspect the federal bureaucracy: his own office. When Mulvaney goes before a House appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday, he will be asking for modest increases to the OMB budget and the office’s full-time employees. He wants to boost the OMB budget 8.4 percent, from $95 million to $103 million, and add 30 employees to the staff of about 465. Mulvaney’s spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment. Democrats, however, were happy to point out the apparent hypocrisy. ′With 30 additional people, hopefully the OMB will have enough employees to double-check its math and realize the extreme harm the Trump Administration’s budget will inflict upon millions of Americans,′ Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), an Appropriations Committee member and Trump budget hater, told HuffPost in an emailed statement.” [HuffPost]
DELANEY DOWNER - For politicians across the spectrum, shuttered factories are a symbol of America’s diminished economic greatness. But even good manufacturing jobs come with a downside that politicians overlook in their effort to valorize them: long, terrible hours…. [T.J. Bray, a Carrier worker for the past 15 years, explained the downside of 60- and 70-hour weeks:] “You miss out on so much stuff in your life because you’re freakin’ in a factory all week, and then you get one day off and on that one day off all you want to do is sleep and rest,” he said. “I don’t want to spend my life ― six, seven days a week ― in a factory and next thing I know, my kids are going to be grown up and I missed out on everything because I was too busy making money.” [HuffPost]
DOUBLE DOWNER - Your trusty HuffPost Hill correspondent was the ONLY reporter at a presser on the plight of working people whose jobs have random crappy schedules. Rosa DeLauro and Elizabeth Warren have legislation addressing the problem of unfair scheduling.
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WHITE HOUSE LESS TRANSPARENT, VERY HOSTILE - Rosie Gray: “Over the course of the Trump administration, the White House’s daily press briefings have been pared progressively further back; they are now shorter, less frequent, and routinely held off-camera...But instead of canceling them entirely, the White House has appeared to embrace a different strategy: simply downgrading them bit by bit, from ‘briefings’ to ‘gaggles,’ and from on-camera to off-camera. Guidance for the briefings have begun to include a note that audio from them cannot be used. Additionally, though Trump has held short press conferences when foreign leaders visit, he has not held a full press conference since February… Neither Spicer nor deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders responded to queries about the changes to the briefings. Asked why the briefings are now routinely held off-camera, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said in a text message ‘Sean got fatter,’ and did not respond to a follow-up.” [Atlantic]
SEAN SPICER REAPPEARS! IS TOTALLY UNHELPFUL - Spicer repeatedly told reporters that he hasn’t “touched base” with the president, which is language typically used to describe texting someone to see how their tinder date went. Hayley Miller: “White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s first on-camera press briefing in over a week was full of non-answers and promises to ‘touch base’ with President Donald Trump at a later date. When asked Tuesday if Trump believed Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election, as the U.S. intelligence community determined in January, Spicer said he wasn’t sure. ‘I have not sat down and talked to him about that specific thing,’ Spicer said. ‘Obviously, we’ve been dealing with a lot of other issues today. I’d be glad to touch base.’ It’s been six months since the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency released a joint report outlining the Kremlin’s efforts to tip the election in favor of Trump. Spicer acknowledged that he’s personally seen the reports, but he apparently hasn’t been able to gauge where Trump stands on the issue. ‘I have not sat down and asked him about a specific reaction to it,’ Spicer said. ‘So I’d be glad to touch base and get back to you.’” [HuffPost]
ERIC HOLDER FOR PRESIDENT: BECAUSE AFP NEEDS TO RAISE EVEN MORE MONEY - Hooray, four more years of talking about Fast and Furious! Andrew Romano: “More than two years after leaving the Obama administration, former Attorney General Eric Holder is reentering the political fray. His goal: to lead the legal resistance to Donald Trump’s agenda — and perhaps even run against the president in 2020. Seized by a sense of urgency to oppose Trump and restore what he regards as America’s best self, Holder is mulling a White House bid of his own, according to three sources who have spoken to him and are familiar with his thinking. ‘Up to now, I have been more behind-the-scenes,’ Holder told Yahoo News in an exclusive interview about his plans. ’But that’s about to change. I have a certain status as the former attorney general. A certain familiarity as the first African-American attorney general. There’s a justified perception that I’m close to President Obama. So I want to use whatever skills I have, whatever notoriety I have, to be effective in opposing things that are, at the end of the day, just bad for the country.’” [Yahoo News]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here are dogs unloading groceries.
SO MUCH FOR THAT POST-SHOOTING SENSE OF TOGETHERNESS - Mary Papenfuss: “The hotly contested special election for a Georgia congressional seat took on the added drama of a media war Monday as both campaigns reportedly barred news operations unfriendly to their cause. The conservative Washington Free Beacon said its reporter was escorted out of a campaign event Monday night before Democrat Jon Ossoff was scheduled to speak on the eve of the election. And a reporter from liberal ThinkProgress said she was barred from events by Republican Karen Handel.” [HuffPost]
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- How to deal with politics-induced stress, aside from reading HuffPost Hill, of course.
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