POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Maybe The Speaker's Office Is Just Really Dusty

John Boehner cried in an interview with the Golf Channel, probably because golf ignites his passion for grass. Marco Rubio has missed a lot of Senate votes, but he's still serving the people of Florida by hanging out in Iowa. And the highway bill has Congress in metaphor purgatory, with lawmakers forced to choose whether they'll bypass gridlock or kick the can down the road. Or they could just do nothing and go on vacation. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, July 27th, 2015:

HOUSE AND SENATE IN GAME OF CHICKEN OVER HIGHWAY BILL - Sorry. Laura Barron-Lopez: "Congress will fall off a fiscal cliff in four days if it fails to come to a consensus on how to fund the nation's transportation infrastructure. House Republicans are urging the Senate to take up legislation they passed three weeks ago that would extend the Highway Trust Fund for five months, while the upper chamber continues to push forward with a three-year funding fix. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Monday warned the Senate not to send over its 1,030-page bill, which would authorize spending levels for six years and pay for three of those years through a variety of offsets. 'We are not taking up the Senate bill,' McCarthy said. 'We are set to depart on Thursday,' he added. 'We did this three weeks ahead of time ... How do you bring up a more than 1,000-page bill that deals with it and send it to the House on the day of departure?' McCarthy's comments didn't sit well with Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who are leading the push for the longer-term bill. 'If we have a bill we are sending it,' Boxer said on the Senate floor, scoffing audibly at McCarthy's statement." [HuffPost]

Introducing HuffPost Arabi.

EVERYONE HATES TED CRUZ - It's almost as if Cruz alienated his colleagues by constantly insulting them. Manu Raju and Burgess Everett: "Ted Cruz just wanted a roll-call vote on Sunday. Instead, he got a smackdown. Republican leaders, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), delivered what senators described as punishment for Cruz’s brazen floor tactics -- the Texas senator first accused McConnell of lying and later sought to change Senate procedures in order to push for an Iran-related amendment…. 'You learn that in kindergarten: You learn to work well together and play by the rules,' said Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, a close McConnell ally who was beaming after Cruz and Lee were handed such lopsided defeats. 'Another thing you learn in kindergarten is to respect one another.' [Politico]

JOHN BOEHNER HAS A GODDAMN HEART OF GOLD - Jen Bendery: "If there's one constant in the United States House of Representatives, it is Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) crying. He cried at an event honoring painter Constantino Brumidi. He bawled through a congressional award ceremony honoring an astronaut. He wept during a Taco Bell event. Why not cry in a Golf Channel interview? Golf Channel host David Feherty landed an interview with Boehner that's set to air Aug. 3, and a preview shows his waterworks in full effect. 'I wanted to make sure that every kid had the same chance I did,' Boehner tells Feherty, with tears falling down his cheeks. 'An opportunity.'" [HuffPost]

Here's to you, John.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Much like Donald Trump today, at one point Newt Gingrich held the frontrunner position in the 2012 Republican primary election. His campaign plodded on using borrowed money for months after most people realized Gingrich didn't have a chance, and when Newt 2012 finally ended, it crashed in a heap of debt that may never be repaid. The campaign still owes $4.6 million to dozens of businesses that provided things like transportation, voter canvassing and yard signs…. FEC forms show that Newt 2012 owes $127,727 to Gordon James' public relations company, which employs 14 people and handled event planning, media outreach and logistics for the campaign. James said it wasn't easy to absorb the loss. 'My life was upended. I had to make a lot of financial adjustments to survive,' he said. He added that he stopped paying himself a salary and used savings to cover his bills." [w/ HuffPost's Paul Blumenthal]

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MALAYSIA GETS FISHY HUMAN TRAFFICKING UPGRADE- Zach Carter: "The Obama administration outraged human rights advocates on Monday by removing Malaysia from its list of the world's worst human trafficking offenders -- a move that the activists said damages U.S. credibility -- simply to boost the president's trade agenda. 'The Administration has turned its back on the victims of trafficking,' Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said in a written statement. 'They have elevated politics over the most basic principles of human rights.' Hundreds of Democrats and a handful of Republicans had previously urged the State Department to maintain Malaysia's ranking as a 'Tier 3' human trafficking violator….Nevertheless, the State Department officially upgraded Malaysia's status to Tier 2 on Monday…. The country's new status effectively makes it eligible for inclusion in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a major trade deal between the U.S. and 11 other nations." [HuffPost]

What would Derek Zoolander do?

WHITE TRYING TO STACK THE SEC? - Big Labor and Wall Street reformers are getting increasingly worried that SEC chair Mary Jo White, who they do not like, not one little bit, is trying hard to muscle through a flunky to fill the open seat on the panel. "Mary Jo White keeps suggesting names for the SEC vacancy. The WH should learn from its mistakes and ignore her," said one. "Mary Jo White appears eager to find a new fellow commissioner who, unlike Luis Aguilar, shares her deferential approach to enforcing the law against the big banks she used to, and may soon again, represent," the Center for Effective Government's Jeff Hauser said in an email. "That might be why her team seems to have jumped the gun and indicated that she was about to have a new ally for her fight against the 'Elizabeth Warren of the SEC,' Kara Stein." Thanks, Jeff!

BARACK OBAMA, MIKE HUCKABEE HAVE HITLER ARGUMENT - Igor Bobic: "President Barack Obama fired back at former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) on Monday after the 2016 Republican presidential candidate invoked the specter of the Holocaust in comments regarding the Iran nuclear deal. 'The particular comments of Mr. Huckabee are, I think, part of just a general pattern that we’ve seen would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad,' Obama said during a press conference in Ethiopia. In an interview on Saturday, Huckabee, who is a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, said the president would 'take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.' The former governor has since been trumpeting his comments on social media, even making a graphic that highlighted the quote in bold." [HuffPost]

GET A LOAD OF MIKE HUCKABEE IN 2008 - "We cannot live with al Qaeda, but we might be able to live with a contained Iran. Iran will not acquire nuclear weapons on my watch. But before I look parents in the eye to explain why I put their son's or daughter's life at risk, I want to do everything possible to avoid conflict. We have substantive issues to discuss with Tehran." Chamberlain at Munich! [HuffPost's Sam Stein]

You know what's better than Huckabee? The Huck-A-Bucks.

WHAT'S 'DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED?' - Peter Baker and Jacey Fortin: "President Obama twice called the government of Ethiopia 'democratically elected' on Monday as he stood by the country’s prime minister, two months after elections that handed every seat in Parliament to the governing party and its allies. Though human rights groups had called on Mr. Obama to use his visit to press for change, the president took a mild tone in his public remarks. He gently urged the Ethiopian government to make room for opposition, while stressing his respect for the country and its challenges in emerging from a long era of monarchy and autocracy. ... 'The recent election in Ethiopia was anything but a democratic one,' said Sarah Margon, the Washington director of Human Rights Watch. 'There may not have been widespread violence or blatant ballot box stuffing on Election Day,' Ms. Margon said, but 'the systematic repression of basic rights' made it 'extremely unlikely that Ethiopians would feel safe enough to express themselves, particularly if that expression included criticism of the government.'" [NYT]

RUBIO STORY MAKES JOURNALISTS DO MATH - Manu Raju: "As the Florida Republican has catapulted to the top tier of the crowded GOP presidential field, Rubio has been absent more often than other senators seeking the White House. Since announcing his run in mid-April, Rubio has missed 42 votes, more than a third of roll calls on the Senate floor. Trailing not far behind him on the absentee scale are Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas). At the other end of the spectrum is Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has missed just two votes. ... In 2007, the year before three senators ran for president -- John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton -- they all missed scores of Senate votes. McCain voted only 44 percent of the time, compared with Clinton, who made 77 percent of the votes and Obama who showed up 62 percent of the time. Rubio has voted 64 percent of the time since he announced his run April 13. In the same period, Cruz missed 33 votes (attending 72 percent of the time) and Graham missed 37 votes, with a 68 percent attendance rate." [Politico]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR Dog dives off a cliff in Malta.

COMFORT FOOD by: @dmoralesgomez

- Norwegians learn how toair limbo.

- This cat wants to be Trump’s VP.

TWITTERAMA

@Darth: today i learned donald trump has a media handler

@BenjySarlin: Nothing murders your inbox like 20 or so people running for president at once plus PACs. Apologies in advance for missing all your emails.

@KimmyMonte: "You gouda get out there and play like you brie-leve in this team" - Bill Belichick if he was obsessed with cheese.

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