POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Guy Who Rides Around Shirtless On Horse Endorses Trump

The guy arrested for flying a gyrocopter onto the Capitol grounds wants to run for Congress, though his whistlestop tours are probably going to be pretty weird. A C-SPAN caller asked if he could defecate into Dave Brat’s mouth, which is just the sort of vile discussion you get when you lean too heavily on the independent line. And Martin Shkreli got arrested. Our prayers go out to all of Shkreli’s fellow inmates who will soon be charged ten million cigarettes for a bottle of hooch. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, December 17th, 2015:

TAX EXTENDERS EXTENDED - Naomi Jagoda and Cristina Marcos: "The House on Thursday passed a sweeping $622 billion tax package, the first of two massive end-of-year measures Congress is rushing to conclude this week. The 'tax extenders' bill was approved in a 318-109 vote, with 241 Republicans joining 77 Democrats in backing the measure. Only 3 Republicans voted against the bill, which permanently renews a range of tax provisions following years of short-term extensions while extending other tax breaks through 2016 or 2019. The House is expected to vote Friday on a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending measure that would fund the government through September 2016." [The Hill]

A C-SPAN caller asked if he could shit in Dave Brat's mouth.

PELOSI PRETTY LUKEWARM ABOUT OMNIBUS' PASSAGE - Her support wasn't exactly full-throated, either. There was some throat, but not much. Laura Barron-Lopez: "Minutes after throwing her support behind a sweeping year-end bill to fund the government, which Congress needs to pass before it leaves for the holidays, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi cast doubt on whether it would have the votes to pass. The California Democrat sent a shiver through the Capital when she gave a resounding 'No' when asked if she's confident she has the votes within her Democratic caucus to help push the omnibus spending bill over the finish line. Republican leadership knew they weren't going to be able to count on House Democrats to help pass a more than $600 billion tax extenders package, which became a key piece in weeks-long negotiations between the two parties over the omnibus. Instead, the understanding among Republican and Democrats in the House was that Pelosi and her caucus would help carry the spending bill -- a more bipartisan product than the extenders package. 'We are talking it through,' Pelosi said of conversations with her caucus over the omnibus. 'Members are reviewing it. There are people who have very serious concerns.'" [HuffPost]

Reid Dana Liebelson's epic story on the Nevada Department of Corrections' unusual habit of shooting prisoners with shotguns on a routine basis.

HARRY REID AND MITCH MCCONNELL SMILING IN CHRISTMAS CARD - Like nothing's wrong at all. Laura Barron-Lopez: "Reid ended his morning remarks on Thursday by adamantly defending his friendship with McConnell, after a report published in Politico said their relationship was on the rocks. 'I want the record to reflect -- people write all these things they want to write -- but Mitch McConnell and I are friends,' Reid said on the floor in a roughly two-minute speech refuting the story. 'The Reid-McConnell relationship hasn't hit a new low.'" [HuffPost]

DELANEY DOWNER - Dave Sherwood: "Maine residents on public assistance have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on lottery tickets -- enough to win more than $22 million in prizes between 2010 and 2014, including eight jackpots worth at least $500,000 each." The rest of the story is about what Maine can do to stop poor people from dreaming of the better future shown in lottery advertising. [mpbn.net]

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RICHARD SHELBY BRAVELY TAKES COWARDLY STANCE - It's amazing what people will do so they can have a job where a 23-year-old staff assistant drives them around in their 2003 Toyota Corolla. John Bresnahan: "Sen. Richard Shelby loaded up the $1.1 trillion spending bill with pet provisions, including one measure worth hundreds of millions to a rocket manufacturer with operations in his home state. But in an only-in-Congress twist, Shelby, a very senior member on the appropriations committee, still plans to vote against the sprawling omnibus package. He's citing the lack of language to restrict Syrian refugees as the reason. The move, however, could make the Republican senator the unofficial chairman of the 'hope yes, vote no' caucus on Capitol Hill. It also demonstrates the potency of immigration as an electoral issue in Alabama and the power of Shelby’s fellow home-state senator, Republican Jeff Sessions, over the controversial topic in the Southern state. GOP insiders note that Alabama's Republican primary is on March 1, and Shelby is loath to do anything that would create distance between him and Sessions on immigration before that date." [Politico]

Awful person Martin Shkreil was arrested today for securities fraud.

ACORN MUST DIE A THOUSAND DEATHS -Zach Carter: "Democrats in Congress are thrilled that they were able to fight off conservative riders in a must-pass spending bill to avert a government shutdown. The so-called omnibus bill will not defund Planned Parenthood, prohibit Syrian refugees from finding asylum in America, make it harder for fast food workers to unionize, or help retirement fund managers gouge their clients for personal profit. But Republicans did totally roll Democrats on one issue: defunding ACORN. No matter that the anti-poverty group officially folded more than five years ago. Republicans have relentlessly beaten this dead horse in spending bills ever since, and they show no signs of stopping now...Most subcommittees have stopped including ACORN riders on their legislation, but apparently the appropriators for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education refuse to surrender." [HuffPost]

FITZGIBBON MEDIA CLOSING - And yeesh [tugs collar]. itsthatseanguy Before you hear any different, @fitzgibbonmedia closed because we would no longer follow the leadership of a serial sexual harasser. Ryan Grim has Trevor Fitzgibbon's statement HERE.

RUBIO VOWS TO DO THING THAT IS QUITE LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE - After stalling the bill, he will then chug five gallons of milk without vomiting and fold a piece of paper 25 times over. Sarah Ferris: "Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Thursday said he plans to try to delay the passage of a $1.8 trillion government spending package that he argues is too lax on foreign worker visas. But any efforts to slow down the bill would not be possible at this point under Senate rules, leadership aides said shortly after the remarks. 'We can most certainly slow this process down and force them to go back and make changes to it. There's no doubt that we can and we should and we will,' Rubio, who is running for president, said in an interview with Fox News on Thursday." [The Hill]

PUTIN ENDORSES TRUMP - Not surprising given the guy leads the country that brought us the Millionaire Fair. Andrew E. Kramer: "With his customary swagger and salty language, PresidentVladimir V. Putin held forth on a sweeping array of topics in his traditional year-end news conference on Thursday, even throwing in a glowing assessment of Donald J. Trump...[H]e even inserted himself into the Republican presidential primary contest in the United States, speaking highly of Mr. Trump in remarks after the news conference ended. 'There is no doubt that he is a very bright and talented man,” the Russian leader said. 'It is not our business to assess his merits; that is up to the U.S. voters. But he is an absolute leader of the presidential race.' Beneath the pyrotechnics, Mr. Putin seemed most concerned with driving home the point to his domestic audience that Russia’s battered economy had bottomed out, an indication that Russia’s recession had his full attention." [NYT]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a cat destroying a box.

GYROCOPTER GUY RUNNING FOR CONGRESS - Still has a better shot at elected office than George Pataki, so there's that. Bridget Bowman: "Douglas Hughes, who pleaded guilty in November to a felony charge related to his April 15 flight, said he plans to run for a seat in the House, but is not yet announcing which Democrat he plans to challenge. Hughes faces a maximum of three years in prison with his guilty plea, which means he could be running for Congress from behind bars depending on his sentencing in April. 'I fully intend to get the money out of politics. It’s very much the reason that I flew,' Hughes said in a Thursday phone interview. 'I know where I want to run but I’m an old traditionalist.' Hughes said he wants to announce his candidacy, which was first reported by The Associated Press, in the district where he plans to run. But that presents a legal issue since he is confined to his home county of Hillsborough as his trial proceeds." [Roll Call]

COMFORT FOOD

- Donald Trump as NFL logos.

- Star Wars meets the Bay Area

- Kevin's experience in the "Home Alone" franchise caused some serious problems later in life.

TWITTERAMA

@tomgara: Say what you will about Shkreli but he did just cause the FBI to issue a public statement denying seizure of a Wu-Tang album.

@MEPFuller: He died doing what he loved: Accusing aides of not having the votes to pass a major piece of legislation

@broderick: "Um Actually" -- Nine intertwined stories about women at Christmas time in London being corrected on Twitter by men they've never met before.

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