POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Joe Biden To Spend More Time With Not Being President

The House is poised to pass a bill that will let the federal government incur new debt only to pay bondholders and Social Security beneficiaries, because Republicans would like to test whether stiffing active-duty troops is good politics. Joe Biden decided against running for president, instantly and gloriously ending the careers of every pundit who said he's running and everyone who said he's been "Biden his time." And everyone's making fun of Paul Ryan for actually wanting to spend more time with with his family, because needing to "spend more time with family" is supposed to mean "I had an affair" or "I want money." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, October 21, 2015

HOUSE NOT INTO RAISING THE ROOF - Mike McAuliff: "The battle over raising the nation’s debt ceiling that starts Wednesday in the House has the potential to do worldwide economic damage if Congress ultimately fails to hike Uncle Sam’s borrowing authority even for a short time, according to a range of economists. The struggle is beginning in earnest with the advancement on the House floor Wednesday of a measure designed to soften the blow in case Congress fails to extend the limit, which stands at $18.1 trillion. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has warned repeatedly that the limit has already been reached and that by Nov. 3, the Treasury Department will only have about $30 billion in cash on hand -- not enough to pay all the nation’s bills on a typical day. As a contingency, Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) Ways and Means Committee drew up the 'Default Prevention Act,' which is expected to pass with Republican support Wednesday afternoon. The bill lets the Treasury Department incur new debt only to pay for Social Security and satisfy obligations to bondholders. Other bills, such as for Medicare or defense contractors, would have to wait, even though they are for items and programs that Congress has already authorized." [HuffPost]

NO JOE - For some reason the vice president wants to keep his reputation as a kindly old guy instead of having heaps of garbage dumped on him every day for months. Mollie Reilly: "Biden announced his decision in a statement given from the White House Rose Garden on Wednesday. 'Unfortunately, I believe we're out of time, the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination,' Biden said. 'While I will not be a candidate, I will not be silent.' He urged the Democratic candidates to run on President Barack Obama's accomplishments. 'This party, our nation, will be making a tragic mistake if we walk away or attempt to undo the Obama legacy,' he said." [HuffPost]

NO, JOE - "I know you in the press love to call me 'Middle Class Joe,'" Biden said. Scanning the archives, we found a dozen instances of Joe Biden calling himself "Middle Class Joe" and a couple items from CNN that seemed to be referring to Biden using the name for himself. Maybe you can be "Amtrak Joe," if you want.

Minutes before Biden announced his decision, Sam Stein and Ryan Grim reported that Biden has been making questionable claims about his support for the Bin Laden raid.

SO MANY BAD SOURCES OUT THERE - Michael Calderone: "Vice President Joe Biden's announcement Wednesday that he will not run for president put an end to months of frothy speculation in the press, in which a seemingly endless supply of anonymous 'friends,' 'confidants,' 'advisers,' 'sources,' and 'Democrats' told journalists he was likely getting in the race." [HuffPost]

AT LEAST THIS CONGRESSMAN HAS AN EXCUSE - It's not his day job to predict whether Joe Biden will run for president or not, see? @RepBrendanBoyle I'm surprised. Clearly something changed. Like many, I admire & respect VP Biden. In the meantime I'll stick to my day job!

PAUL RYAN WILLING TO SPEAKER IF EVERYONE NICE TO HIM - And amazingly, several House Freedom Caucus members seem unwilling to go along with this idea. Jen Bendery: "To the delight of GOP leaders, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has finally come around and agreed to run for speaker -- as long as a few conditions are met. He wants the weekends with his family. He wants an endorsement from all major caucuses. And he wants the House to change its rules so disgruntled lawmakers can't easily remove him as speaker if they don't like the job he's doing. Party leaders and moderates, who see Ryan as the only one who can unify a GOP conference in disarray, say his terms are fine with them. But tea party lawmakers say he's asking for way too much -- especially for a guy who doesn't really want the job. 'I'm troubled by an insistence of so many members that we put him in a position that he has shown a reluctance to take,' said Rep. Mo Brooks (R-S.C.), a member of the socially conservative House Freedom Caucus. 'He is a father. He has young children. He does not have time to do the speaker job as it's been done in the past.' 'He said that he wanted every caucus in the GOP to vote for him. But I'd like to remind him, the chairman of the Tea Party Caucus and the chairman of the Liberty Caucus are two guys he kicked off the budget committee,' Rep. Thomas Massie (R-W.Va.) said on MSNBC….[Ryan's] biggest obstacle is the Freedom Caucus. The 42-member group already endorsed one of their own, Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), for speaker, and some conservatives aren't budging. 'I respect him,' Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said of Ryan. 'But I'm going to be supporting Dan Webster.'" [HuffPost]

@ChadPergram: Ryan to meet with House Freedom Caucus at 4:15 pm et in the Capitol. Meeting could go an hour.

Haircuts: Zach Carter, AJ Vicens, Elise Foley (belated).

DELANEY DOWNER - The 4-year-old shot to death in a New Mexico road rage incident this week is actually the second little kid to die from road rage gunfire this year; someone murdered a 1-year-old in a road rage incident in Washington in April. Only in America!

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ADDITIONAL CIRCLE OF HELL LOCATED UNDER RAYBURN - It's somewhere between "anger" and "treachery," reports Politico's Darren Samuelsohn on the: "The deal closed in Washington on Sept. 30 seemed, in the moment, like the end of a drama. Just as the fiscal calendar ran out, Congress voted for a last-minute agreement to keep the government from shutting down. Lawmakers agreed on a temporary funding patch, the president signed it, and America’s attention quickly moved on to the next political showdown. In official terms, they passed a continuing resolution, and it felt like a crisis averted. It wasn’t. In the more than 100 federal offices, agencies and departments that actually use the money, the crisis was only beginning. With a real spending deal for fiscal year 2016 still uncertain, they started to run a drill that has become depressingly familiar. Under the continuing resolution, multi-year projects like constructing new Coast Guard ships and launching weather satellites faced new delays. Hiring departments closed. Budget officials began to tally losses as their typically powerful purchasing power dwindled. For pretty much the rest of this year, and perhaps 2016, too, the U.S. government will effectively be in a state of suspended animation. Call it CR hell. We’ve been living in it for 21 days and counting." [Politico]

ABSTINENCE-ONLY DOESN'T WORK ON DRUGS, EITHER - Jason Cherkis and Ryan Grim: "President Barack Obama tackled the opioid epidemic on Wednesday by telling health care providers across the country that access to medication-assisted treatment must be expanded. For decades, those treating opioid addiction ignored the scientific consensus that the best approach involved medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration, coupled with counseling. Instead, the treatment industry insisted on a model known as 'abstinence,' in which any prescription medication aimed at addressing a patient's opioid use disorder was forbidden. Ahead of a Wednesday speech in West Virginia, which has been hit particularly hard by the opioid crisis, Obama essentially said that will end. He released an order giving federal agencies with health care responsibilities 90 days to identify barriers to MAT and to come up with ways to remove them. 'Only a small minority of Americans who might benefit from this treatment are receiving it,' the order notes." [HuffPost]

BOEHNER BLUFF IN EFFECT - It sure would be "difficult" for the House to pass a clean debt ceiling bill with Democratic votes since the speaker has already said he's resigning… we guess. Sam Stein: "Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on Tuesday that it would be difficult for his chamber to move a clean bill to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. The comments, delivered in an interview with Fox News moments before his fellow party members met to discuss who would be their next speaker, suggest that Boehner may invite some political drama in his last few weeks on the job. 'I don't like the idea of doing a clean debt ceiling,' Boehner said. 'But we're going to talk to our members and we'll find a way forward here in the next couple of days.'" [HuffPost]

The Des Moines Register interviewed the one person in Iowa who donated money to Jim Webb's campaign.

HILLARY LOOKING FORWARD TO GRAND OLD PARTY TOMORROW - Amanda Terkel: "Hillary Clinton's testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi was supposed to be her chance to clear the air surrounding her use of a private email server as secretary of state. She had been facing constant questions from the media all summer as Republicans hammered away at the related issues of the emails and her role in the 2012 terrorist attack in Libya. But heading into her testimony scheduled for Thursday morning, Republicans are the ones playing defense, while Clinton is in a much stronger political position. 'I think it is pretty clear that whatever they might have thought they were doing,' Clinton said in a CNN interview last week, 'they ended up becoming a partisan arm of the Republican National Committee with an overwhelming focus on trying to, as they admitted, drive down my poll numbers.'" [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Back to the Future screenwriter Bob Gale confirmed that Donald Trump served as template for Biff Tannen.

OH LOOK, THE CIA DIRECTOR'S EMAILS ARE PUBLIC NOW - Sam Stein: "Wikileaks on Wednesday released the contents of CIA Director John Brennan’s private email account. The transparency advocacy group said in a tweet earlier in the day that it had obtained Brennan's emails, but did not elaborate on how it had done so. Earlier this week, however, a teenager alleged that he had hacked into Brennan's AOL email account and uncovered files dealing with the CIA chief's security clearance application. Both the FBI and Secret Service have said they are investigating those allegations." [HuffPost]

NEIL CAVUTO MADE ME DO IT - Mike McAuliff: "Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) may have just violated ethics rules that prohibit soliciting campaign funds while on Senate property. Rubio gave an interview to Fox News' Neil Cavuto on Tuesday, speaking from the Russell Senate Office Building. When asked about lagging behind some of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, the senator attempted to tout the strength of his fundraising. In doing so, however, Rubio made a direct appeal for donations. 'I knew we wouldn't be the leading fundraiser in this race, because we are not the top choice of the entrenched political establishment,' Rubio told Cavuto. 'But I’m confident we have the resources and continue to build the resources to be able to communicate our message. And obviously if somebody watching this program wants to help us, they should go to marcorubio.com and chip in.' According to Senate ethics rules, 'Senate Members and staff may not receive or solicit campaign contributions in any federal building.'" [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- Watch Bernie Sanders play the bongos.

- Be mesmerized by this floating dog head.

- Baby deer plays with ball.

TWITTERAMA

@rebleber: Somewhere, Draft Biden is out drinking heavily with Draft Warren.

@SamanthaJoRoth .@JoeBiden says his window has closed [to run for president]

@PaulRyanGosling: Hey girl, Canada's Prime Minister is pretty hot. But never forget: America has the guns.

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