POLITICS
03/09/2017 06:11 pm ET

HUFFPOST HILL - Paul Ryan Mulling Whether To Straddle Chair And Rap With You About Medicaid

Aaron Bernstein / Reuters

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Today is the 20th anniversary of Biggie Smalls’ senseless murder at the hands of Rafael Cruz. If “but that Jughead Jones-lookin’ guy had a PowerPoint presentation!” is why a bunch of grandmothers end up losing their health coverage, we’re going to positively lose it. And the Trump administration is attacking the CBO’s credibility, meaning we’re probably only a few months away until Roger Stone is dispatched to discredit time.gov. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, March 9th, 2017:

HOUSE GOP RUSHES TO ADVANCE AHCA  - Surely, Joe Lieberman will find some way to make this health care debate worse, too. Jonathan Cohn and Jeffrey Young: “House Republicans plowed ahead with their effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, brushing aside new criticism of what their proposed legislation would do ― and ignoring protests over the hurried process they are using to enact it. Two House committees ― Energy and Commerce, and Ways and Means ― spent dozens of hours Wednesday and Thursday to advance complementary portions of the American Health Care Act, the long-awaited bill to repeal and ‘replace’ the 2010 health care law. The Ways and Means Committee completed its work around 4:30 a.m. Thursday, and the Energy and Committee followed early Thursday afternoon…. In the end, the measure departed the Ways and Means Committee unchanged, and only one minor Republican amendment found its way onto the legislation in the Energy and Commerce Committee…. These lengthy committee markups shouldn’t be mistaken for a prolonged consideration of the bill. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has said he hopes to wrap up the process before the April recess, which would mean the bill would go from introduction to passage in just a few weeks.” [HuffPost]

TODAY IN ‘THE ONGOING WEAKENING OF CIVIL SOCIETY’ - Gosh, the deep state traitors at the Bureau of Labor Statistics have gotten to the CBO, too?!? S.V. Date and Jeffrey Young: “President Donald Trump’s White House Wednesday began undermining the credibility of the Congressional Budget Office – days ahead of its likely analysis that a Republican health care plan will result in millions losing their insurance…. The White House attack on its efficacy follows similar evidence-free assertions ― that millions voted illegally in the November elections, for example, or that Obama ‘wire tapped’ Trump at his midtown Manhattan headquarters…. Today’s Republicans didn’t invent griping about the CBO ― Democrats certainly did their fair share when writing the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010. But the White House and GOP lawmakers appear to be taking things further by questioning the very legitimacy of the office tasked with telling lawmakers and the American people what new policies will do to the government, businesses, households and the economy.” [HuffPost]

PARTISAN SPLIT OVER SESSIONS - Ariel Edwards-Levy: “Reactions to the controversy over Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ communications with Russia fall largely along political lines, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds. Nearly 90 percent of voters who supported Hillary Clinton, but just 16 percent of those who voted for President Donald Trump, say it’s somewhat serious or very serious that Sessions failed to disclose during his confirmation hearing that he spoke last year with Russia’s ambassador to the United States. Three-quarters of Clinton voters think Sessions should resign, while roughly the same percentage of Trump voters say he shouldn’t…. Americans’ adherence to partisan cues is perhaps especially unsurprising in the Sessions controversy, given that less than one-third of the public says they’ve followed the story closely, and 41 percent that they’ve followed it not very closely or not closely at all.” [HuffPost]

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BEN CARSON CUPS HAND OVER HUD’S MOUTH, STABS IT, URGENTLY WHISPERS “SHHH SHHH SHH,  JUST RELAX, JUUUUUST RELAAAX” - Amanda Terkel “Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson tried to reassure staff that they will not necessarily see a $6 billion cut to the agency Thursday, after The Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump was considering doing just that. Carson sent a message to HUD staff Thursday morning, which was shared with The Huffington Post by an agency employee: ‘...It’s unfortunate that preliminary numbers were published but, please take some comfort in knowing that starting numbers are rarely final numbers. Rest assured, we are working hard to support those programs that help so many Americans, focus on our core mission, and ensure that every tax dollar is spent wisely and effectively.’ The Washington Post reported that preliminary budget documents show the massive cut, which would shrink the department’s budget by 14 percent. The cuts would hit public housing support and end most federally funded community development grants. Those programs provide meal assistance and clean up abandoned properties in neighborhoods.” [HuffPost]

TRUMP’S AG NOMINEE UNDER SCRUTINY - Eric Lipton and Steve Elder: “In Sonny Perdue’s telling, Georgians were growing weary of the corruption and scandals in their state when he took over as governor in 2003 — a time when he gave his own version of a ‘drain the swamp’ pledge…. The criticism centers on the fact that, as Mr. Trump has, he continued to own or help run his family business ventures — four farming-related companies — while serving as governor…. [A] holdup in the release of paperwork accompanying his nomination by the federal Office of Government Ethics has been blamed for the delay [in Perdue’s confirmation hearing]. The office must examine Mr. Perdue’s proposal to avoid conflicts of interest while running the U.S.D.A., as the department is known, which may include selling off some of his farming assets. Before his tenure as governor ended in 2011, 13 complaints had been filed against Mr. Perdue with the State Ethics Commission, which on two occasions ruled that the governor had violated state ethics laws. The commission took the unusual step of fining Mr. Perdue while he was governor.” [NYT]

SANDERS TRYING TO BROADEN THE MAP - And spread the news about the ah-le-gahchy. Sam Stein: “Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) finds himself increasingly outside the Beltway, in states and towns won by President Donald Trump. Since January, the Vermont senator has stopped in Mississippi, Kansas and Michigan. Monday he’s heading to one of the poorest counties in America, McDowell County, West Virginia, which Trump carried by a ratio of 3-to-1. Sanders views these enclaves as critical for the future of the Democratic Party and, by extension, the country. They are, he argues, the places where Democrats have shown ‘an enormous amount of neglect.’ ‘The truth is, and I think anyone who objectively assesses the situation has to appreciate, that the model the Democrats have followed for the last 10 to 20 years has been an ultimate failure,’ Sanders said in an interview with The Huffington Post from his Senate office in Washington.” [HuffPost]

BORDER CROSSINGS DROPPING - RIP your avocado toast ― also, you know, thousands of flesh-and-blood people’s futures. Nicholas Kulish and Fernanda Santos: “The number of undocumented immigrants caught along the southwest United States border fell significantly last month, which the Trump administration said Wednesday was a sign that its hard line on illegal immigration might already be discouraging border crossers. Roughly 840 people a day were caught or stopped from entering the United States from Mexico in February, according to Customs and Border Protection, a drop of about 36 percent from the previous February…. The flow of people across the United States’ southern border has long depended on many factors, including the economy and violence in their home countries, and even the weather. But chief among them is America’s own immigration policy, and experts said they were not surprised to see a slowdown even before Mr. Trump’s executive orders on immigration have taken full effect or his signature wall has been built. ‘Deterrence through perception is central to these executive orders,’ said Faye Hipsman, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute. ‘Even floating the possibility of expanding detention at the border makes somebody less likely to come.’” [NYT]

IT’S THREE AM, AND A PHONE IS RINGING IN THE WHITE HOUSE…ALSO, A BUNCH OF MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ARE TALKING ABOUT BONERS - Tara Golshan and Jeff Stein: “It was nearly 3 am in the House Ways and Means Committee hearing room when the talk turned to Viagra. The hearing was a mark-up for the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. It had been going for 16 hours. Democrats were still offering amendments to the bill. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) was up, with a proposal to bar registered sex offenders from using their tax-advantaged Health Savings Accounts to pay for erectile dysfunction medication. ‘I feel very strongly about this,” she said — but not strongly enough, she admitted, to vote for the bill if the amendment succeeded. Her amendment died, like every other Democratic attempt to change or delay the bill. That was by design.” [Vox]

BETTER TO JUST ASK HIM TO DELETE HIS ACCOUNT - Marina Fang: “When President Donald Trump or a member of his staff deletes a tweet, they may be violating federal law, two top congressmen warned the White House this week. Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, sent a letter to White House counsel Don McGahn on Wednesday expressing concerns about the Trump administration’s record keeping habits and its nontransparent use of social media and other forms of electronic communication…. ‘Many of the messages sent from these accounts are likely to be presidential records and therefore must be preserved,’ they wrote, referring to both Trump’s personal @realDonaldTrump account and his official @POTUS account. ‘It has been reported, however, that President Trump has deleted tweets, and if those tweets were not archived, it could pose a violation of the Presidential Records Act,’ Chaffetz and Cummings wrote in the letter.” [HuffPost]

OENOPHILES V. TRUMP - Without looking into this at all, we’ll just assume these people are connected to Comet Ping Pong in some way. Jonathan O’Connell: “At Cork Wine Bar, owners Khalid Pitts and Diane Gross host corporate dinners, political fundraisers, embassy receptions and an array of other events for clients looking for a casually elegant setting offering more than 200 wines from around the world. But the couple contend their Logan Circle business would be better off if not for a new player in town who they claim is operating with an unfair and illegal advantage: President Donald Trump, owner of the $212 million Trump International Hotel he opened last fall. With support from a legal team headlined by the co-founder of Ralph Nader’s advocacy group, Gross and Pitts sued Trump and his D.C. hotel company Wednesday in Superior Court, alleging that the president’s continued ownership of the hotel constitutes unfair competition that damages their business.” [WaPo]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a dog befriending a baby.

PEOPLE JUST NOTICING THE EMPTY PLACE WHERE JIMMY FALLON’S SOUL SHOULD BE - We miss Dave Letterman: Maxwell Strachan: “With his overall viewership coming in below that of his late-night rival Stephen Colbert for the fifth straight week, Jimmy Fallon is apparently feeling the pressure to tweak his show to fit the times. The New York Post’s Page Six cited multiple sources when reporting this week that forces inside NBC are pushing ‘The Tonight Show’ host ‘to be more political.’ … ‘He has to change his format to keep up because he’s losing viewers,’ a source told Page Six. ‘They had to figure out a way to get Trump [into his routine] because he’s too weak on Trump, and viewers are going elsewhere.’” [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Our attempts to make “Sensitive Neanderthal Boyfriend” a meme failed spectacularly, but we were nevertheless pleased with the results.

- Ranking the federal government’s best and worst logos.

- Alexa is suspiciously quiet about its associations with the CIA.

TWITTERAMA

@igorbobic: Game Change III: It’s Time For Some Game Theory

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┻┳| •.•)  The Freedom Caucus

┳┻|⊂ノ    doesn’t vote as a monolith

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@max_read: my favorite publicist tic is when they respond “we’re going to have to decline this opportunity” to requests for simple factual information

 

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