Today the United States put aside its Freedom Fries in favor of Solidarity Crepes. On that note, we forgot how lucky we are that the worst responses we get to our political satire usually involve curt emails from flacks about something being a "non item." And John Boehner kindly reminded everyone that "rubbed shoulders with white supremacists" still isn't as terrible as "helped people get health care." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, January 7th, 2014:
AND JUST WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH YOU, LOUIS BULLER GOHMERT JR? Erica Werner: "House Republicans began the new Congress with old divisions on display Wednesday, bitter fallout from a failed rebellion against Speaker John Boehner. Boehner took swift action against two of the dissenters, knocking them from a key committee. But some of his allies demanded more, furious at the two dozen lawmakers who opposed the Ohioan in Tuesday's speaker vote. In the process, the GOP is starting the year with party infighting instead of a unified challenge to President Barack Obama. 'All of us think that they should have retribution,' Boehner loyalist Devin Nunes of California said of the rebels. 'They put the conservative agenda at risk with their wanting to be on television and radio.' The dissidents warned of their own payback if Boehner does take further steps against them. 'There's going to be a fight,' said Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, when asked what would happen if leaders retaliated against lawmakers who opposed Boehner's re-election." [Associated Press]
DAVE BRAT HAS SOME REAL GUMPTION - Brat smiled broadly as he posed for swearing-in photos with John Boehner right after voting against Boehner's speakership. "The juxtaposition of the vote and the photo was a bit much for still-seething allies of the speaker, who considered the move quite brazen," Carl Hulse reports. No kidding! [NYT]
CBO SPANKS OBAMACARE BILL - The Congressional Budget Office reported that the Republican bill tinkering with Obamacare's definition of full-time work would reduce the number of people with employer-sponsored health insurance, burden Medicaid, increase the number of uninsured, and jack up the deficit. The "dynamic" version of the analysis said the bill smells like flowers. [CBO.gov]
REPUBLICANS UNFAZED - Mike McAuliff: "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he was not worried about the CBO findings about the deficit implications or the negative impact on full-time workers, suggesting he also knew better than the numbers crunchers' data. Asked at his Capitol Hill news briefing Wednesday if the information gave him pause, he offered an unequivocal 'No.' 'One of the worst things we can do is destroy the 40-hour work week, which has been a part of American culture and life for a very long time,' McConnell said, despite the findings that many more 40-hour workers would be hurt by shifting the threshold." [HuffPost]
Meanwhile, the uninsured rate keeps falling, according to surveys. Go fig.
OBAMA ON THE CHARLIE HEBDO MASSACRE: "The fact that this was an attack on journalists, attack on our free press, also underscores the degree to which these terrorists fear freedom -- of speech and freedom of the press. But the one thing that I'm very confident about is that the values that we share with the French people, a belief -- a universal belief in the freedom of expression, is something that can't be silenced because of the senseless violence of the few."
HOUSE GOP NOT BACKING DOWN FROM DHS FIGHT - Elise Foley: "After gunmen attacked a satirical French newspaper on Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Republicans won't back away from a fight over immigration that risks halting funding for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 'I believe that the president's executive actions with regard to immigration are outside of the Constitution and outside of his powers, and I believe that we can deal with that issue in the Department of Homeland Security bill without jeopardizing the security of our country,' he told reporters when asked whether the Paris attacks would change the GOP's strategy on funding DHS." [HuffPost]
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Several news organizations are afraid to show Charlie Hebdo's cartoons. Fortunately, HuffPost is not one of them. [HuffPost]
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BOEHNER STANDS BEHIND SCALISE - Mike McAuliff: “House Speaker John Boehner insisted he knows what's in the heart of his embattled House Republican whip, Rep. Steve Scalise, and stood behind the Louisiana Republican who has come under fire for a 2002 speech to a white supremacist group. Boehner, who said earlier that the speech to a group affiliated with David Duke was an "error of judgement," repeated that opinion Wednesday, when questions about the third-ranking Republican in the House dominated the GOP's first news conference of the new Congress. Scalise spoke to the group when he was a Louisiana state lawmaker, and Boehner suggested that it would be easy for anyone in such a circumstance to mistakenly address an organization that may have distasteful views. “ [HuffPost]
DEMS WEIGHING KEYSTONE PIPELINE STRATEGIES - Kate Sheppard: “Senate Democrats who oppose the pipeline are trying to figure out what they can do to make it more difficult to pass the legislation -– or, if not, at least score a few points in the process. ‘The first test of the 114th Congress is what kind of fight the Democratic caucus has in them,’ said a Democratic aide, speaking on background in order to be able to talk more freely. ‘Do we want to simply hand over votes to [Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell for his agenda, or do we want to show that Democratic votes need to be earned?’ Those Democrats appear to be doing their best to make the Keystone vote difficult. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee had scheduled a hearing on the bill for Wednesday morning, and a markup of the bill for Thursday morning. But Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) objected to the hearing, noting on the Senate floor Tuesday that legislation providing for the structure of committees was not anticipated until the following day.” [HuffPost]
DEMS TARGETING DOMA - Eventually they’ll stop trying and in 150 years when gay marriage isn’t an issue, Congress will have to address this, like when Mississippi technically abolished slavery 150 years after the Civil War. Jen Bendery: “Democrats kicked off the new congressional session Tuesday by reintroducing legislation to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which allows states to refuse to legally recognize gay and lesbian couples married in other states.
The Supreme Court struck down a portion of DOMA last year that barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. But because the rest of the law is still in effect, states that have banned same-sex marriage are not required to recognize legal marriages performed in other states. Same-sex marriage is now legal in 36 states -- Florida joined the group on Monday -- and in the District of Columbia, while the remaining 14 states have explicitly banned it. The bill introduced Tuesday, called the Respect for Marriage Act, repeals DOMA entirely. If it were to become law, all legally married same-sex couples would have access to federal marriage benefits and protections, even if they moved to states that haven't legalized gay marriage. It wouldn't require states to pass marriage equality laws; it would only require that legally married same-sex couples living in those states receive the same federal benefits as other married couples.” [HuffPost]
MICHAEL GRIMM’S DONORS REGRET NOTHING - Sam Stein and Paul Blumenthal: “There are sound investments. There are risky investments. And then there are investments in individuals facing public disgrace and possible prison time. Nearly 200 people made that last sort of investment in 2014. They're the folks who gave itemized donations (i.e., donations in the aggregate of more than $200) to then-Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) even after he had been indicted on charges of tax fraud. They helped the Staten Island congressman sustain a bid for re-election even as the rest of the political world ran far away and legal threats engulfed his political future. And though he won, they watched as he turned around less than two months later, pleaded guilty to the charges and resigned from his seat. [I]n interviews this past week, none of those reached by The Huffington Post expressed animus toward Grimm for taking their donations to gain another term and then abruptly leaving office. ‘I have no such feelings of that,’ said Steve Schleider, president of Metropolitan Valuation Services. ‘Personally my feeling is that I didn't know how it was going to shake out. But it is better to have a special election now than give up the race at that point.’” [HuffPost]
GOP REP DEFENDS CONTROVERSIAL BANK DEREGULATION - Yoder is still putting the final touches on his Op-Ed defending his carveout for free beer flight samplers at AA meetings. Sam Levine and Zach Carter: “Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) has finally chosen to defend his role in passing a bill to subsidize Wall Street derivatives trades after going politically MIA when the issue exploded in mid-December. The controversial measure eliminated a key rule from the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law that prohibited banks from trading risky derivatives through subsidiaries insured by taxpayers. It was Yoder who first slipped this Wall Street perk into a $1.1 trillion must-pass spending bill, which indeed passed last month. Big banks aggressively supported the measure because such taxpayer-backed trades are more profitable for them. Its language was drafted by Citigroup lobbyists... Ultimately, the congressional leadership of both parties signed off on its inclusion in the spending legislation...In a Kansas City Star op-ed on Sunday, Yoder insisted that his measure makes banking more secure. ‘This fix actually makes banking safer -- specifically, the commodities markets for agriculture and energy producers -- while not exposing the American taxpayer to further liability,’ he wrote. Yoder is simply wrong.” [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a child protecting a monkey
SILICON VALLEY FIRM CLAIMS SONY EMPLOYEE(S) HELPED HACKERS - Dana Liebelson: “A Silicon Valley cybersecurity firm is doubling down on its claim that at least one former Sony employee was involved in hacking Sony. Some former employees of the company are expressing that sentiment as well, even as the U.S. government stands by its conclusion that North Korea orchestrated the massive cyberattack. Kurt Stammberger, senior vice president at Norse, which provides cyber intelligence to customers in financial services, technology and government, told The Huffington Post that the company remains ‘pretty confident’ that ‘at least one ex-employee was involved, probably more’ in the Sony hack. As evidence, Stammberger said that Norse has samples of malware used in the Sony hack that existed as early as July, "completely in English with no Korean whatsoever." Sony credentials, server addresses and digital certificates were already built into the malware, he added.” [HuffPost]
- The women of “Downton Abbey” play Cards Against Humanity.
- Real life Peter Griffin
- For those in tight jeans unable to engage in creative thought, here’s a hipster band name generator.
@daveweigel: Fahrenheit 451, the temperature at which takes burn RT @chrislhayes: We've reached the hot-take hour...
@dceiver: One wonders if a hypothetical TNR subscriber who, say, wakes from a year-long coma in May will notice any difference in the content quality.
@aedwardslevy: senate winter caucus:
former chair, olympia snowe
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