HUFFPOST HILL - Government Was Solution: John Boehner

Joni Ernst will deliver the GOP’s rebuttal to the State of the Union, though we don’t know how well austere couches and fireplaces go with pig castration anecdotes. Sarah Palin decided to let the world know her thoughts about Mitt Romney on “Inside Edition” — so, no, she hasn’t changed one bit. And Matt Salmon thinks the president should be impeached for his immigration order, putting “Obama’s impeachable offenses” ahead of “places John McCain wants to bomb” and “votes defunding ACORN” on our Washington scoreboard. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, January 15th, 2015:

BOEHNER CREDITS FISA FOR FOILING CAPITOL TERROR PLOT - Associated Press: "Speaker John Boehner says a controversial government surveillance program is responsible for alerting authorities to an alleged threat to bomb the Capitol and kill government officials. At a news conference in Hershey, Pa., Boehner specifically mentioned FISA, an acronym for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a program that gives the government authority to eavesdrop under certain conditions." [AP]

The kid was working with an FBI informant the entire time. The kid, a 20-year-old dork from Ohio, came to the FBI's attention because he was tweeting his love of ISIS, so it's great that FISA allows the government to read Twitter.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The great state of Maine is moving forward with drug tests for people on welfare. Some poor people will have to pee in a cup to get benefits. Not that anyone has even bothered to claim there is a big drug problem among Maine's TANF recipients. It's the principle. [HuffPost]

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WHITE HOUSE INVOLVED WITH CIA’S SENATE SPYING - Might explain why Joe Biden was dropping all sorts of knowledge about John Cornyn’s Seamless orders during the last congressional leadership meeting. Ali Watkins: “Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan consulted the White House before directing agency personnel to sift through a walled-off computer drive being used by the Senate Intelligence Committee to construct its investigation of the agency’s torture program, according to a recently released report by the CIA’s Office of the Inspector General. The Inspector General’s report, which was completed in July but only released by the agency on Wednesday, reveals that Brennan spoke with White House chief of staff Denis McDonough before ordering CIA employees to’“use whatever means necessary’ to determine how certain sensitive internal documents had wound up in Senate investigators’ hands. Brennan’s consultation with McDonough also came before the CIA revealed the search to then-Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), whose staff was the target of the snooping.” [

LOINS GIRDING AHEAD OF KEYSTONE VOTE - The Hill: “Senate fault lines on the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline appear set as lawmakers begin their debate on authorizing the controversial energy project...Sixty-three senators — the entire 54-member GOP conference and nine Democrats, are widely expected to vote in favor of building the pipeline. Thirty-five Democrats and two Independents who caucus with the party are widely expected to oppose it. Within those 37 "no" votes, there are perhaps four members who could switch sides.” [The Hill]

EVERYONE HATES MITT ROMNEY - Especially Seamus. Politico: “Leading the anti-Romney charge was the voice of the GOP establishment wing, the Wall Street Journal editorial page. ‘The question the former Massachusetts Governor will have to answer,” the newspaper wrote, ‘is why he would be a better candidate than he was in 2012. … The answer is not obvious.’ The Journal’s owner, News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, piled on: ‘He had his chance, he mishandled it, you know? I thought Romney was a terrible candidate.’... An opinion piece titled ‘The problem with Romney nostalgia,’ by the conservative writer Jonah Goldberg, was typical of the backlash...Former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating told The New York Times, “People say he is a very fine man, but he had his chance.” Even Sarah Palin took a shot. ‘We need new energy,” the former vice presidential nominee told ‘Inside Edition.’ ‘We need new blood. We need new ideas.’” [Politico]

We’ll never forget you, Seamus.

The Koch’s got their Congress and goddamnit they’ll make sure their kids can buy 45 different houses after they die: “ Leaders of the the flagship organization of the political network backed by industrialist billionaires Charles and David Koch presented a surprisingly modest policy wish-list at a press conference Thursday. Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips said the group's three tax-related priorities were a return to regular budget order, a repeal of the "death tax," and tax-free repatriation of U.S. profits held abroad. ‘On the budget, with Republicans in control of both chambers and with the threshold in the Senate lower to get a budget through, it's incumbent on Republicans, candidly, to do the job done here and to not fall back into what they did in the early 2000s when they lost their way on spending,’ Phillips said.” [HuffPost’s Samantha Lachman]

RICK SNYDER BUCKS NRA - Laura Bassett: “Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) bucked the National Rifle Association on Thursday and vetoed a concealed carry gun bill that would have allowed some people with restraining orders issued against them for domestic violence to carry a concealed pistol. ‘We simply can't and won't take the chance of exposing domestic abuse victims to additional violence or intimidation,’ Snyder said. ‘There are certainly some reforms that can improve the way Michigan issues concealed pistol licenses and we support the rights of law-abiding firearm owners, but it's crucial that we leave in place protections for people who already have endured challenges and abuse.’ The controversial legislation, which was proposed to streamline the process for issuing concealed pistol licenses in Michigan, was strongly opposed by gun violence and domestic violence prevention advocates.” [HuffPost]

Joni Ernst will deliver the GOP rebuttal to the State of the Union. Make your own water bottle joke.

REP INVOLUNTARILY SPONSORS ANTI-ABORTION BILL - Amber Ferguson: “Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) has reason to be a little upset with his colleague Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), who listed Smith’s name as a co-sponsor for a bill after she got his name confused with another member. Smith denied ever being a co-signer of a bill that would prohibit Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell from providing federal family planning grants to abortion clinics, airing his grievances on the House floor Wednesday. ‘I just rise about a particular issue that happened to me, and I’m sure has happened to other members that you might not be aware of’” Smith said. ‘Other members can sign you on to a piece of legislation without your consent.’ Last week, Black confused Smith with a Republican who shares a very similar name. ‘Regrettably, there’s an — well not, regrettably, he’s a nice man — but there’s an Adrian Smith,’ Smith said.” [HuffPost]

The more things change… “Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) on Friday invoked a high-profile conservative commentator to argue that President Barack Obama's planned executive action on immigration would constitute an ‘impeachable offense.’ ‘Well, Charles Krauthammer was asked that same question, I think, just recently on one of the news programs and I have to agree with him of course it would be,’ Salmon said in a Newsmax video flagged by BuzzFeed. Krauthammer, a pundit who appears regularly on Fox News, on Wednesday night was the first to declare Obama's anticipated action as worthy of impeachment.” [HuffPost’s Igor Bobic]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a dog who hates being in cars.

TAXES SUCK WORSE THAN USUAL- More like W-NIEN, amirite? WaPo: “Taxpayers will face the worst levels of service in more than a decade from the Internal Revenue Service this filing season, with as few as 43 percent of callers getting through to an agent and then only after waits of 30 minutes or more, according to a report released Wednesday. In her annual report to Congress, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson paints a grim picture of an agency crippled by five years of congressional budget cuts and forced to tolerate a ‘devastating erosion of taxpayer service.’ In addition to being unable to answer the phone, the IRS will be unable to provide answers to anything but “basic” tax-law questions. After the filing season, it will answer no tax-law questions at all. And the agency has halted its longstanding practice of preparing returns for elderly, disabled and low-income taxpayers.” [WaPo]


- The 2015 Oscar nominees you can watch from home right now.

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- Environmentally conscious bulldog puppy does battle with a water bottle.


@anamariecox: Balls to the wall! RT @moody: Joni Ernst will deliver GOP response to Obama State of the Union.

@davidfrum: Is anyone surprised that Lyndon Johnson turns out to control a big block of votes at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences?

@markleibovich: I'm convinced that even if Romney doesn't win in 2016, it will still make him a better candidate for the next time he runs..

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