POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Election To Be Determined By Turnout, Relative Hotness Of Women

Ed Rendell said most women are ugly and won't vote for Donald Trump, which we rate half-true. The House Appropriations Committee voted against making Congressional Research Service reports publicly available, because if members of Congress aren't going to read these reports, then why should the American public? And people reacted to Donald Trump's list of Supreme Court picks like it was something real and tangible rather than just another shock of yellow hair flapping in a helicopter breeze, soon to disappear under a hat that says Make America Great Again. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, May 18th, 2016:

POLITICIANS PLAY POLITICS WITH TERRIBLE ILLNESS - Laura Barron-Lopez and Michael McAuliff: "Senate Democrats tried and failed Wednesday to expedite emergency funds to combat the Zika virus, stymied by Republicans who objected and tried to extract cuts to Obamacare as a condition for their agreement. Using procedural tactics, Democrats tried to force two votes by unanimous consent: one to approve the $1.9 billion sought by the Obama administration, and another requesting to speed up passage of a $1.1 billion measure that senators backed Tuesday. ... After Reid’s request to push through the president’s full $1.9 billion was unsuccessful, Murray took a shot, calling for a vote on the $1.1 billion Zika deal she’d helped craft with Republicans, but as a standalone. ... But Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) objected, and instead asked her to modify her request in a way that Republicans might prefer. 'Would the senator modify her request to include my language... which has the exact same funding levels... but includes a pay-for using the prevention fund in the Affordable Care Act?' Cornyn said, referring a part of Obamacare that aims to boost public health through preventive means, but that Republicans often target as a slush fund." [HuffPost]

The House of Representatives is actually debating the 2001 war authorization

DONALD TRUMP REVISES 'POSITION' ON ABORTION - Samantha Lachman: "Here’s yet another example of how the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump is a serial liar. Trump told The New York Times magazine in an interview published Wednesday that when he said in March that there 'has to be some form of punishment' for women who have abortions if the procedure were to be made illegal, he meant 'women punish themselves' if they have a termination. 'I didn’t mean punishment for women like prison. I’m saying women punish themselves,' Trump told the Times. 'I didn’t want people to think in terms of "prison" punishment. And because of that I walked it back.' This is a direct contradiction of what he told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. The businessman told him in March that there 'has to be some form of punishment for women who have abortions,' when the future President Trump succeeds in nominating enough Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe v. Wade, but that the punishment 'will have to be determined.' Trump’s new comments to the Times also contradict the statement his own campaign released after anti-abortion groups condemned his punishment comment. In that statement, he said 'the woman is the victim' and that it’s the provider who should be held legally responsible if abortion were banned." [HuffPost]

ED RENDELL IS HERE TO FIX YOUR PROBLEM WITH WOMEN VOTERS, HILLARY CLINTON - Dave Weigel has a great story about possible Trump support among suburban Pennsylvania Democrats. The story also has this amazing Rendell quote: "'Will he have some appeal to working-class Dems in Levittown or Bristol? Sure,' said Ed Rendell, the former Pennsylvania governor and Philadelphia mayor, who won landslides in the suburbs. 'For every one he’ll lose 1½ , two Republican women. Trump’s comments like "You can’t be a 10 if you’re flat-chested," that’ll come back to haunt him. There are probably more ugly women in America than attractive women. People take that stuff personally.'" [WaPo]

The Associated Press picked up the story: "Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell says Donald Trump's past comments on women will likely come back to haunt him because Rendell says 'there are probably more ugly women in America than attractive women.'" Good work, Ed! [AP]

DAVE DOWNER - Dave Jamieson: "Last year, executives at S&P 500 companies earned a whopping 335 times the pay of the average U.S. worker, according to a new analysis by the AFL-CIO. In their annual 'Executive Paywatch' report, the labor federation said the typical CEO raked in $12.4 million in 2015. The average rank-and-file worker, meanwhile, took home just $36,875, based off data from the Labor Department. 'Corporate CEOs have rewritten the rules of our economy to allow themselves to continue to amass wealth and power, while the rest of us are left to the scraps,' Heather Slavkin Corzo, who directs the AFL-CIO’s office of investment, said on a call with reporters Tuesday." [HuffPost]

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PRESIDENT TRUMP NOMINATES 11 SUPREME COURT JUSTICES - Jill Colvin: "Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, has released a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he's elected to the White House. Trump's picks include Steven Colloton of Iowa, Allison Eid of Colorado and Raymond Gruender of Missouri. Also on the list are: Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, Raymond Kethledge of Michigan, Joan Larsen of Michigan, Thomas Lee of Utah, William Pryor of Alabama, David Stras of Minnesota, Diane Sykes of Wisconsin and Don Willett of Texas. Trump had previously named Pryor and Sykes as examples of kind of justices he would choose." [Associated Press]

One of Trump's picks frequently mocks him on Twitter, so an early #FF to him.

CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS ARE A SHAM - In case you've never been to one, Jeffrey Young can fill you in: "Everyone knows Washington can be a virtual echo chamber, but a pair of witnesses at a congressional hearing this week took things a little too far. Two experts called to speak about a controversial Medicare regulation submitted written testimony to a House subcommittee Tuesday that included identical and near-identical passages outlining their opposition to a plan that would cut how much physicians get paid to administer medicines to patients in their offices. It’s usual for witnesses on the same side of an issue to share a point of view. It’s not normal for them to use the exact same words to articulate it. So how did this happen? Not surprisingly, lobbyists were involved." [HuffPost]

DEMOCRATS HOLD PRETEND HEARING - Seung Min Kim: "Wednesday’s forum organized by Democrats to promote Garland, the veteran jurist and current chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, elevated the unusual Supreme Court fight to a new level: A nomination hearing without the hearing or the nominee. ... Meanwhile, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) was peeved that Democrats diligently attended the Garland forum, yet skipped out on a hearing earlier Wednesday morning examining five judicial nominees. 'You know they only had two people come to my hearing on five judges?' Grassley said Wednesday afternoon. 'If nine or 10 of them could show up for a mock hearing, you think more ought to show up for a regular hearing. A real hearing.' The Garland forum, however, wasn’t even the most unusual Supreme Court maneuver from Democrats of the day. That distinction goes to the six House Democrats who introduced a resolution Wednesday that would keep Congress in session until the Senate confirmed Garland. Its name? The Senate’s Court Obligations Trump Unconstitutional Stalling (SCOTUS) Resolution. And guess who four of its six sponsors are? House Democrats running for the Senate." [Politico]

OBAMA DOES HELPFUL THING FOR WORKERS - Dave Jamieson: "The Labor Department announced Tuesday that it completed one of the most ambitious economic reforms of the Obama era, finalizing a new rule that will extend overtime protections to millions of additional workers. The administration will accomplish that by raising what’s known as the overtime salary threshold. Nearly all workers earning salaries beneath that threshold are entitled to time-and-a-half pay whenever they work more than 40 hours in a week. The current threshold is just $23,660. The White House will be doubling that number, to $47,476, guaranteeing overtime rights for salaried workers earning less than that. The Labor Department will now update the threshold every three years to make sure it keeps pace with inflation. The White House estimates that the change will bring overtime rights to 4.2 million workers who are currently excluded. It will also clarify eligibility for another 8.9 million workers who may or may not have overtime protections under the current rules, officials said." [HuffPost]

TRUMP A HYPOCRITE - Benjy Sarlin: "Trump’s campaign seems to have a nuanced view of the importance of a candidate’s tax returns. A senior campaign source told NBC New reporter Katy Tur on Wednesday that they were requesting tax returns from potential vice presidential candidates as part of their vetting process. When Tur asked whether this was hypocritical, the source countered, 'Trump’s not running for Vice President.'" MSNBC]

PAUL RYAN DOESN'T SEE HOW FAIR PAY WILL NOURISH THE SOUL -Lydia Wheeler: " House Republican leaders are slamming the Obama administration for expanding overtime pay to some 4 million Americans. In a statement, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called the overtime rule an 'absolute disaster' for the economy. 'This regulation hurts the very people it alleges to help,' he said. 'Who is hurt most? Students, nonprofit employees, and people starting a new career. By mandating overtime pay at a much higher salary threshold, many small businesses and nonprofits will be unable to afford skilled workers and be forced to eliminate salaried positions, complete with benefits, altogether.'" [The Hill]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Enjoy hating these bros who stomped on the Yellowstone geiser.

CRS REPORTS TO STAY POINTLESSLY HIDDEN - Matt Fuller: "In a blow to congressional transparency, the House Appropriations Committee voted against publicly releasing highly informative, taxpayer-funded reports that members use to educate themselves on the issues before Congress. At a time when highly informed voters might seem like a good thing, the Appropriations Committee voted down, 18-32, an amendment from Reps. Mike Quigely (D-Ill.) and Scott Rigell (R-Va.) that would have made it easier for the public to access Congressional Research Service reports. Under current law, CRS reports are made available when a member of CRS staff sends a report out and it finds its way online. In practice, lobbyists and private legislative tracking companies get their hands on the reports as soon as members do, while private citizens remain largely unaware that these detailed, nonpartisan reports even exist." [HuffPost]

WASHINGTON RANKED FITTEST CITY - Think how much fitter we'll be next year, after walking everywhere because the Metro is closed! Mary Bowerman: "Washington, D.C., is the fittest city in the United States for the third year in a row, according to a ranking of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the country. The nation’s capital was closely followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul and Denver as the second- and third-fittest of the 50 metro areas, according to the American Fitness Index. ... Many of the lowest-ranking metro areas on the list fell in areas in the South and Midwest. Indianapolis came dead last on the ranking, followed by Oklahoma City, which in the past has also held the lowest ranking."
[USA Today]

COMFORT FOOD

- Boy saves dog.

- Grand photos of Grand Canyon.

- Another supposed egg-peeling technique.

TWITTERAMA

@Emma_Dumain: Congressional reporters weep softly at prospect of having to ask 100 Senators what they think of Trump's SCOTUS list for rest of news cycle.

@jparkABC: Quote of the Day: "My name is Joe Biden. I love ice cream." -- @VP

@DanAmira: Just had a raisin so delicious that it's now my raisin d'etre

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