POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - SEPTEMBER 22ND, 2010

Both parties today prepared to unveil sweeping job-creation initiatives as Senate Democrats readied their payroll tax measure and Republicans leaked their "Pledge to America." Discussions of jobs were not relegated to back-to-work schemes, however. Word got out that Rahm Emanuel may go from telling people in Washington to go @*#$% themselves to telling people in Chicago to go @*#$% themselves. Lisa Murkowski lost her plum gig as the number-five GOPer in the Senate but got a month-to-month re-up as the energy committee's top Republican. And the government's chief TARP official announced he's dunzo. We hope Harry Reid will be able to get back to his job after his eyes cartoonishly shot out of his head today upon hearing that Tom Coburn wouldn't object to something. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesdsay, September 22nd, 2010:

SENATE DEMS GIVE JOBS BILL ANOTHER SHOT NEXT WEEK - Gotcha legislating at its finest. Sam Stein: "Senate Democrats are planning to vote on a payroll tax incentive by the end of next week, leadership aides confirmed. The bill, entitled 'Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act,' would provide payroll tax relief to companies who hired employees domestically during a three-year period beginning September 22. The legislation is similar to the one President Obama has begun touting as a quick and politically palatable measure to encourage companies to hire new workers -- though skepticism exists among the progressive economic community as to how effective it would be. 'We hope to have a vote on it by the end of next week,' said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). 'This bill is very different then previous bills we have taken to the floor. We are optimistic it is going to enjoy more support than previous efforts relating to shipping jobs overseas.'...Such a proposal has long had champions on the Republican side of the aisle, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) during the 2008 presidential campaign. The expectation going into next week, however, is that Senate Republicans will balk at the measure. " http://huff.to/cNAeQs

SENATE CLOSING IN ON FOOD SAFETY DEAL - Tom Coburn stunned Harry Reid this evening by uttering word's the majority leader never thought he'd hear from Dr. No: "I will not object." Reid was floored. "Would you say that again?" Reid begged. Coburn said it again, adding that he would agree to move forward to the food safety bill if the only amendments ruled in order were two by Harkin-Enzi and one by Jon Tester. Dianne Feinstein's BPA-restricting amendment would be backed over by the bus. "In light of my friend's request to modify my unanimous consent request, and my inability to intelligently respond to it, because this is something I had not anticipated, I will be happy to withdraw my request," Reid said. Negotiations are ongoing, but upon a little reflection, Democrats were less impressed by Coburn's offer, which was a bit too clever by half. Not only would it spike Feinstein's amendment, which Republicans hate, but it makes Coburn's amendment part of the bill itself without a vote, and Democratic aides say Coburn hasn't yet told them what the offsets would be.

Dorgan Wants Reimportation Amendment On Food Safety - Byron Dorgan has been promised a vote on his amendment to allow pharmaceuticals to be shipped back into the U.S. at cheaper prices, but he's running out of time. "I'm still hoping to be able to force that vote," he told HuffPost Hill today. "I was going to force a vote on [attachingit to] food safety, because that's FDA as well -- food safety, drug safety...I think on a straight up without intervention by some deal made by the White House, I think we'd have won." Now that food safety's alive again, so is his amendment.

RAHM LEAVING THE WHITE HOUSE IN OCTOBER? - Time says Emanuel is considering stepping down to avoid the appearance of impropriety as he prepares a possible Chicago mayoral bid. HuffPost Hill has learned that on his last day, Emanuel -- while limping out of the White House, sweaty and exhausted -- will be accosted by a wide-eyed, nervous child. "Mr. Emanuel? Mr. Emanuel? Y...y..you need any help?" the young man will inquire. "I just want you to know, I think...I think...you're the best ever!" "Yeah, sure," Rahm brusquely replies. "Want my Coke?" the boy, undaunted, asks. "It's OK, you can have it!" Rahm, clearly bothered, fires back: "No, no," The boy persists: "Really you can have it!" "Ohhhh-K" Rahm concedes, letting out a long sigh while taking the bottle of Coca-Cola from the child. Watching Emanuel gulp down the soda, the once wide-eyed boy -- clearly bruised by his hero's indifference -- begins to walk away. "See ya around," he mutters. "Hey kid," Rahm says, with a twinkle in his eye.... "GO %@#%& YOURSELF!!!" And then, in his last act as White House Chief of Staff, Emanuel throws the bottle at the boy's skull......We're trying to lock this one down. http://bit.ly/b7DcZF

Exelon Ready For Rahm - If Rahm does step into the Chicago mayoral race, he'll have the backing of the local nuclear utility and its CEO, John Rowe, that has had a close working relationship with the White House the past year and a half, HuffPost Hill is told. Rowe's been shoveling money Rahm's way for years. During his lucrative sojourn into private practice, Emanuel, as an investment banker, helped create the company as a broker for the merger that created Exelon. It was Emanuel's biggest deal as a banker, says Forbes. Rowe, at Emanuel's request, Forbes says, helped whip votes for cap and trade in the House. FEC records show he gave $2,000 to Rick Boucher in June of 2009, after Boucher cast a crucial vote in favor the bill. "We don't comment on rumor or speculation," an Exelon flack told HuffPost Hill. http://bit.ly/6xzld4

GOP SET TO UNVEIL 'PLEDGE TO AMERICA' TOMORROW - "ABC News has learned this new Pledge will include five broad categories, including jobs, government reform, spending, national security and health care. Under each category, there will be four or five specific proposals and actual bills, many of which have already been introduced...Unlike the Contract with America, which was unveiled by Newt Gingrich in 1994 on the steps of the Capitol, the Pledge will be unveiled at a hardware store in Sterling, Virginia by junior GOP House members. John Boehner and the other Republican leaders will be there, but they will let the backbenchers do most of the talking. It's nod to the fact that Republicans establishment is no more popular these days than the Democrats." http://bit.ly/ddrvpx

The full 21-page pledge, via CBS: http://bit.ly/aH6Mp2 (GOP leadership aides cautioned that the pledge, a copy of which HuffPost Hill also obtained, is not finalized and wouldn't be sent to members in final form until tomorrow morning.)

House Democrats are delaying tomorrow's votes to allow GOP members time to attend the unveiling. The Hill: http://bit.ly/9Zi2YW

TODAY'S TERKEL TAKEDOWN - From Amanda Terkel: "As the Republican Party debates whether to push social issues to the side in order to focus on the economy, a growing number of GOP candidates this election cycle are highlighting their opposition to abortion, even in cases where a woman has been a victim of rape or incest. In the Senate races, there are at least six candidates -- including Sharron Angle, Rand Paul, and Christine O'Donnell -- taking this position, and the Republican National Coalition for Life (which backs no abortions except when a mother's life is at risk) has endorsed 63 House candidates. Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood calls this increasingly normal GOP position 'startling.'" http://huff.to/c4YQtk

MURKOWSKI STRIPPED OF LEADERSHIP ROLE BUT KEEPS COMMITTEE SENIORITY - We would call this a carrot-and-stick situation but that would imply that Republicans partake in such girly, liberal things like playing with trees and eating vegetables: In a surprise move, the Republican Senate caucus today voted to keep Lisa Murkowski as the ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The caucus did, however, vote to remove Murkowski as the vice-chair of Senate Republican caucus, replacing her with John Barrasso. "We all respect the system, and she still is a Republican senator,'' Orrin Hatch, ever the gentleman, told the Wall Street Journal afterward. "It's just a matter of good taste. We decided to keep the status quo as long as she's a senator.'' WSJ: http://bit.ly/ayZEDZ

Tonight in Roll Call: Liberal House Democrats have been frustrated by their inability to exert leverage on their Caucus's agenda in the 111th Congress, so they are actively plotting strategies to boost their influence in the 112th, writes Roll Call's Kathleen Hunter. One option under consideration is tapping a single leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which is currently co-chaired by Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.).

House Schedule - There are at least 40 reasons why the the House is sticking around next week even if the Senate doesn't finish its tax cut work: the Sunlight Foundation's Party Time website lists dozens of already scheduled fundraisers -- and those are just the ones we know about. If a keg flies out of a second story window of the Capitol Hill Club, we'll let you know.

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

GOVERNMENT'S TARP CHIEF TO STEP DOWN - Market Watch: "Herb Allison, the successful business executive who left retirement to help the government grapple with the financial crisis, announced Wednesday that he is leaving his post as head of the controversial Troubled Asset Relief Program, becoming the latest in a string of top aides to President Barack Obama to announce their departures. Allison was asked by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to take the helm of Fannie Mae after it was taken over by the government. He stayed on into the Obama administration and became the Treasury assistant secretary for financial stability...Tim Marin, the chief counsel of the Office of Financial Stability, will become the acting assistant secretary pending appointment of a permanent replacement." http://bit.ly/beBJMI

BERNIE SANDERS COMES OUT AGAINST OBAMA'S OMB NOMINEE - Shahien Nasiripour: "Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont who works closely with Democrats, said in a statement obtained by The Huffington Post that he won't vote to confirm Jacob 'Jack' Lew, Obama's nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget, because after meeting with Lew the Senator 'found too many echoes of the failed policies of the past in his responses to my questions on trade policy, Social Security, deregulation of banks and other issues.' 'It is my strong belief that President Obama needs an OMB Director who is willing to stand up to corporate America and the wealthy, say enough is enough, and fight for policies that protect the working class in this country,' Sanders said in a statement. 'Unfortunately, I do not believe Mr. Lew is the right man at this time for this important job.'"

Treasury Cashes Hartford Investment - The Treasury Department said today it is selling the remainder of its TARP investment in Hartford Financial Services. Combining the sale proceeds and the dividends already paid, we -- you and me, friend! -- made a nice little 24.59% return on our investment, according to HuffPost Hill's favorite TARP-studying professor, Linus Wilson. Taxpayers can lineup at 15th and Pennsylvania at the "bailout proceeds" window beginning at 5:00 to collect a check for their share. The rich folks on the other end of the Treasury deal are likely getting an even better deal, Wilson tells us. "The investor's in today's auction stand an excellent chance of making a healthy profit."

GOP SENATE LEADERS MEET WITH REPUBLICAN GAY RIGHTS GROUP - In what is being billed as the most awkward meeting between of the LGBT community and conservative politicians since Eric Cantor sued a gay club for the naming rights to "Young Guns," John Cornyn and Pete Sessions are scheduled to appear before a Log Cabin Republicans gathernig this evening. Sam Stein: "[The lawmakers] are this year's recipients of the Barry Goldwater Award recognizing 'leaders in the Republican Party who have served their nation with distinction in the model of the late Senator Barry Goldwater.'...Casey Pick, the programs officer at the Log Cabin Republicans confirmed that it is the 'first time' that a single head of a Republican campaign committee has attended the dinner...'We are quite proud of this. It represents unprecedented access and our strength in the party. We are in a very different election cycle than we have been in the past. There is a recognition that social issues are a distraction.'" http://huff.to/a3ntz1

RAND PAUL TO GOP: I'M NOT AN ISOLATIONIST LIKE MY DAD - Hoping to assuage establishment GOP fears that he subscribes to a "You best go back from whence you came" foreign policy, Rand Paul reportedly has been making amends with prominent conservative and neoconservative figures. GQ, via Greg Sargent: "At a private office in Dupont Circle, he talked foreign policy with Bill Kristol, Dan Senor, and Tom Donnelly, three prominent neocons who'd been part of an effort to defeat him during the primary. 'He struck me as genuinely interested in trying to understand why people like us were so apoplectic,' Senor says of their two-hour encounter...The following month, he met with officials from the powerful lobbying group AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), which has frequently clashed with Ron Paul over what the group views as his insufficient support of Israel. Paul, according to one person familiar with the AIPAC meeting, 'told them what they wanted to hear:I'm more reasonable than my father on the things you care about. He was very solicitous.'" http://bit.ly/c3qaK8

A new Time/CNN poll finds Democrats Russ Feingold and Michael Bennet are trailing their GOP opponents in Wisconsin and Colorado, respectively. Ron Johnson is leading Fiengold 51 percent to 45 percent and Ken Buck is leading Michael Bennet 49 percent to 45 percent. http://bit.ly/c9EIrj

"Rep. Joe Sestak, the Democratic Senate hopeful in Pennsylvania, is in trouble on a number of fronts, according to a poll released by Quinnipiac University on Wednesday morning.
Former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) led Sestak 50 percent to 43 percent in the survey of 684 likely Pennsylvania voters taken Sept. 15-19". The margin of error was 3.8 points." Roll Call: http://bit.ly/d9vDrs

Ed Secretary Says He'll Campaign For Dems - Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said he'll campaign for Democratic candidates in October, including Sen. Michael Bennet, Rep. Perriello and Illinois Senate hopeful Alexi Giannoulias. When asked, at a Christian Science Monitor Breakfast Wednesday, whether such efforts risk "politicizing education issues" and his role as a top negotiator, Duncan said the point was moot - he's just supporting candidates "that really care about education." Because education, of course, is not political. Speaking of which, when asked if there were any lessons to be learned from Fenty and Rhee's reform attempts, Duncan passed:. "You guys are the political pundits."

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - From Arthur Delaney: "Last week 300 economists urged Congress to do more spending to help the economy and not to worry about the deficit, except if it can be reduced by taxing rich people. Today, the GOP summons 300 economists who urge Congress not to tax rich people. WHY OH WHY DO WE LISTEN TO ECONOMISTS SO MUCH." http://bit.ly/bvg7C8

FOX BIZ COMPLAINS THAT ALAN GRAYSON WANTS TO STOP FRAUDULENT FORECLOSURES - In the wake of revelations that foreclosure document processors have been rubber-stamping 10,000 potentially bogus affidavits per month, Grayson asked the Florida Supreme Court to quit taking people's homes. Neil Cavuto and guest compare Grayson to the tin can dangling from a "just married" car. http://youtu.be/hM-hfu-JHiU

More on this foreclosure scandal, which could be huge: http://bit.ly/aU5RZd

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a hungry kitten. A hungry newborn kitten. http://bit.ly/9AJiY9

Carl Paladino has come within six-points of Andrew Cuomo in the New York gubernatorial race. A new Quinnipiac survey has Cuomo with 49 percent of the vote and Paladino with 43 percent. Paladino, who has made waves in the local press lately for some of his more colorful positions and actions (see e-mails, pornographic and = Hitler, Orthodox Jews) was widely expected to be a longshot candidate. Whereas earlier polls of registered voters gave Cuomo a likely insurmountable lead, the Quinnipiac survey queried only likely voters, an indication of voter engagement on both sides. We'll see whether Cuomo has the "cajones" to widen his lead. http://bit.ly/cisDT5

NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg had endorsed Cuomo for governor. "We need a governor who knows that the partisan politics of the past cannot be the way of the future. Andrew Cuomo has made the focus of his campaign to build a coalition for reform that transcends party labels and brings together Democrats, Republicans and independents together behind his agenda and I am proud to stand with him in that effort." Bloomberg said in a statement. During the announcement ceremony today Bloomberg, reaching into his newly discovered can't-we-all-just-get-along bag of tricks, eloquently added: "Anger is not a governing strategy." The endorsement is just one more anti-Tea Party nod from Bloomberg, who has already endorsed Harry Reid and Michael Bennet. Daily News: http://bit.ly/9DKH2O

Obama is moving Gene Dodaro from acting to permanent head of the GAO http://bit.ly/bZ4Vkp
Today in No Justice, No Peace: "A prominent attorney says a nail salon charged him $2 more for a pedicure just because he's a man. He is suing the salon for $200,000 in Prince George's County Court, claiming his plight 'mirrors the case of Rosa Parks.' http://bit.ly/ai1b2i

JEREMY THE INTERN'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: True to form, keep on the lookout for potentially strong thunderstorms. There's a watch in effect until 10 p.m. tonight (which may be lifted earlier) for the entire region. We're seeing a line of cells sweeping in from the west. The storm that was supposed to come through dissipated, but that doesn't entirely mean that we're spared. On the bright side, there must be something good on TV tonight, right? Tomorrow: High 80s, but fortunately, a bit less humid. It won't be much better than today, but then again, every little bit helps. Thanks, JB!

COMFORT FOOD

- Pee-Wee Herman weighs in on "Dancing With The Stars" in a HuffPost blog entry because ... hey ... why not? http://huff.to/95RDKM

- With horrible anti-drug videos like this, it's a miracle that not everyone born in the 70s and 80s isn't a cheese-toothed meth head. http://bit.ly/dpn04R

- A photo tour of the large hadron collider. http://bit.ly/cRxeyL

- Ladies and gentlemen, the most annoying commercials in America. http://bit.ly/agbHuo

- Have a an hour to spare? Here's Jurassic Park, the musical. http://bzfd.it/aKTlus

- We don't care how much you like Lady Gaga. This isn't an appropriate way to express your admiration. http://bit.ly/a1x6EI

- Best. Bathroom. Graffiti. Ever. http://bit.ly/daJhtf

- We know how tired you are of hearing about pizza cutters shaped like iconic sci-fi spaceships but please give this one a chance. http://bzfd.it/csuA5M

- This dog really wants peanut butter. That's about it. http://bit.ly/9KqYUq

TWITTERAMA

@EricKleefeld Take it from an expert at resignations. RT @SarahPalinUSA Rahm's the smart one...bailing before Nov

@meredithshiner: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is doing a presser tomorrow @ 12 with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). The things I haven't seen in the CVC.

@pourmecoffee: Based on how Tea Party candidates are using it, Fox News is a Witless Protection Program.

THE TUBE

TONIGHT: Loretta Sanchez and our own Sam Stein are on Hardball (along with National Journal Reporter Major Garrett...weird!). Sherrod Brown is on the Ed Show.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: George Miller (D-Calif.), probably more worried about maintaining his HELP chairmanship than securing reelection, nevertheless hosts a fundraiser [Phoenix Park Hotel, 520 North Capitol Street NW].

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: In case you've never had a mooseburger, Don Young (R-Alaska) will gladly grill you one for $2,400 [The Home of Frank Young and Anna Young, 625 E Street SE].

6:00 pm: Ain't no party like a North Dakota party 'cause a North Dakota party don't stop! Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) passes the hat with some help from his state's two senators Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) [Washington Court Hotel on Capitol Hill, Washington Court Hotel on Capitol Hill].

TOMORROW

8:00 am - 9:00 am: A hella ton of CHC members will be on hand for a breakfast benefiting John Salazar's (D-Colo.) CHC BOLD PAC [Tortilla Coast, 400 First Street SE].

8:00 am - 9:00 am: Wannna-be Rep. Steve Fincher (R-Tenn.) presents himself to the powers that be -- in this case thats Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and other Tennessee GOPers [Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street SE].

8:30 am: Ever the consummate businessman Mark Warner (D-Va.) raises funds for his 2012 reelection campaign [Bistro Bis, 15 E Street NW].

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm: The Capitol Hill Club turns out more fundraisers in a day than John Boehner does Bahama Bronze. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) raises funds with an assist from Eric Cantor (R-Va.) [Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street SE].

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm: Colorado congressional candidate Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) is in D.C. He stops by -- where else? -- the Capitol Hill Club for a campaign function attended by John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Pete Sessions (R-Texas) [Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street SE].

5:00 pm- 6:30 pm: Ohio Senate candidate Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is already getting into the lawmaker lifestyle with a lobbyist fundraiser. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) stops by along with various members of Ohio Republican delegation [The Offices of Davis and Harman, 1455 Pennsylvania Ave NW].

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm: Carly Fiorina (R-Calif.) is in town to egg Barbara Boxer's house meet with GOP lawmakers and fill her coffers. She'll be joined at a fundraiser by Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) [National Republican Senatorial Committee, 425 2nd Street NE].

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