POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - House GOP Wishes Zika Victims Would Stop Being Such Takers

Donald Trump keeps saying we don’t have any good trade deals, but tell that to the guy in Massachusetts who just got a penis transplant. Trump and David Cameron are in the midst of a trans-Atlantic feud, exhibiting the sort of intra floppy-haired-white-guy hostility usually only found during a prep school lacrosse match. And the House offered up a meager response to the Zika virus -- less than half what the administration asked for but definitely enough to lecture women in tropical climates to practice abstinence and tell their immune systems to buck up and get a job. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, May 16th, 2016:

HARRY REID FUNDRAISING OFF SPAT WITH ALAN GRAYSON - Amanda Terkel: "Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was unusually candid about his feelings toward Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) in a fundraising appeal for Grayson’s Senate opponent. 'I will be blunt. I want Alan Grayson to lose,' Reid wrote in an email sent out Monday. For anyone who wasn’t clear about where Reid stands, the subject line of the email was: 'I want Grayson to lose.'" [HuffPost]

CONGRESS INTRODUCES SLIMMED DOWN ZIKA BILL - Mike McAuliff: "Congress is finally moving to supply the nation’s disease control experts with funding to prevent the spread of Zika in the United States, but the House of Representatives is offering only about a third of the money sought by the Obama administration. After the Senate put three competing bills on its calendar for this week — with minimum funding of $1.1 billion — the House Appropriations Committee announced plans for a $622 million measure. In February, President Barack Obama asked lawmakers for $1.9 billion to ramp up a host of efforts, from mosquito mitigation to education and vaccine research." [HuffPost]

'SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP' DOWNGRADED. . . to something closer to 'neighbors who tolerate one another and maybe, just maybe, lend out their pruning shears.' Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton: "Donald Trump said he was unlikely to have a good relationship with David Cameron because the British prime minister cast the U.S. presidential candidate as 'divisive, stupid and wrong' for proposing a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States. Cameron criticised Trump in the British parliament over his call for the ban on Muslims and suggested that the New York billionaire, who is now the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, would unite Britain against him if he visited. 'It looks like we’re not going to have a very good relationship, who knows?' Trump told Britain’s ITV television station in an interview aired on Monday when asked how ties would fare if he won the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8." [Reuters]

TRUMP BRUSHES OFF DATA - Good God, Donald Trump's TED talk would undoubtedly be a thing of beauty. Bill Barrow: "Donald Trump says he plans to win the White House largely on the strength of his personality, brushing off the need for a heavy investment in what he calls the 'overrated' use of data to shape campaign strategy and get out the vote. Should he hold to that approach, which he outlined last week in an interview with The Associated Press, Trump will flout all conventions of what it takes to win a modern presidential campaign...In his AP interview, Trump discounted the value of data: The 'candidate is by far the most important thing,' he said. He said he plans a 'limited' use of data in his general election campaign and suggested Obama's victories — universally viewed by political professionals as groundbreaking in the way data steered the campaign to voters — are misunderstood." [AP]

This week's Candidate Confidential features a veritable rainbow coalition with Jason Cherkis and Sam Stein sitting down with Jesse Jackson.

DELANEY DOWNER - A diverse coalition's taking issue with the Obama administration's efforts to improve nutrition among food stamp recipients. A letter signed by 161 lawmakers of all stripes casts side-eye at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's proposal to require small stores to stock healthier foods if they want to accept food stamps. "This proposal contains several provisions that restrict the ability of small format retailers to participate in SNAP and in turn jeopardize access to food for the more than 45 million low income SNAP beneficiaries, including more than 20 million children," the letter says. The USDA is trying to do what Congress told it to do with the 2014 farm bill. Womp womp.

DOUBLE DOWNER - Mark Ruffalo and his nonprofit, Water Defense, have been warning Flint residents that their water might be unsafe for bathing. Virginia Tech civil engineering professor Marc Edwards says the data behind these warnings is bunk — and that the warnings themselves might be hurting public health. “I have moms calling me saying that because of this group they are not letting their children take baths or wash their hands,” Edwards told The Huffington Post on Monday. Edwards says hand-washing and bathing fears probably contributed to a recent spike in gastrointestinal illness in and around Flint. Womp womp womp. [HuffPost]

Does somebody keep forwarding you this newsletter? Get your own copy. It's free! Sign up here. Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

SCOTUS HOT POTATOES CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE CASE - Cristian Farias: "The Supreme Court on Monday failed to reach a definitive ruling in one of its biggest cases of the year — a challenge to an accommodation under the Affordable Care Act that allowed certain religious nonprofits to opt out of contraceptive coverage for their employees. The court’s decision in the case, Zubik v. Burwell, was unsigned, only three pages long, and issued in the name of the whole court, perhaps underscoring how divisive the issue was for the justices. The rift was evident during oral arguments in the case...Zubik reached the Supreme Court as a set of seven consolidated cases — all brought by Christian institutions, colleges and associated nonprofits. The groups challenged an opt-out mechanism the Obama administration devised for organizations that otherwise didn’t quite qualify for automatic exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement, as churches and synagogues do." [HuffPost]

KOCHS RATCHETING DOWN POLITICAL SPENDING - Don't worry, ALEC paranoia is the exposed brick of liberal politics, it cycles in and out of vogue every few years. It'll be back. Tim Alberta and Eliana Johnson: "[T]here was an unwelcome surprise awaiting the Freedom Partners delegation inside a conference room at Koch Industries headquarters: A number of top executives and advisers from across the Koch enterprise had been invited to attend the meeting, too. They represented the so-called 'corporate side' of Koch World, which had long warred with the 'political side' of the empire, particularly over the consequences of the brothers’ campaign-related activities…the brothers’ political decision-making was increasingly being influenced by their business and public-relations interests, and that as a result, their investments in electoral politics at the federal level were diminishing...Concerned about the damage being done to their corporate brand, increasingly bothered by their public vilification, and convinced after Republicans’ 2014 Senate takeover that even significant victories were having a negligible impact on federal policymaking, the Kochs began signaling to their closest allies that they were reevaluating their approach to politics." [National Review]

CONSULTANT CLASS STILL TERRIBLE - Isaac Arnsdorf and Ken Vogel: "An increasing number of unauthorized groups are invoking [Donald Trump's] name to raise money, suggesting that they’ll use the cash to support his campaign, even as some appear to be spending most of their money on contracts with favored consultants. Trump’s campaign and its allies worry that the groups are doing little to help the campaign and may be doing more harm than good by siphoning off cash that would otherwise go to the campaign’s fledgling fundraising effort. The campaign has disavowed several of the groups, demanding they stop using the candidate’s name in fundraising appeals and calling at least one super PAC founded by a Trump adviser a 'big-league scam.' But appeals keep coming from other groups, with more now joining the scrum, and rival groups accusing one another of being scams." [Politico]

LARGE NUMBER OF YOUTHS LET DOWN BY SANDERS' FAILURE - No, not him. The other one. Nick Anderson: "Burlington College, a small Vermont private school once led by the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, said Monday it will close later this month, citing 'the crushing weight' of debt incurred during her presidency. The college, which enrolled 224 students as of fall 2014, faced insurmountable financial troubles connected to its 2010 purchase of 32 acres of lakefront property from the Archdiocese of Burlington, according to the Burlington Free Press. Jane Sanders was president of the college from 2004 to 2011." [WaPo]

Secretary of impassioned lower lip biting: "During a visit to Little Castle diner in Paducah, Kentucky, Hillary Clinton was asked twice to expand on what Bill Clinton's role in the White House would be. Clinton ignored it each time, but when asked if her husband would be in her cabinet, she shook her head and mouthed, 'No.'" [ABC News]

THE MOST TRUMPIAN SECOND-DAY STORY EVER - Now we're waiting for John Miller to call up a reporter and clarify all the stories about him. Reuters: "Rowanne Brewer Lane, a former model who dated Trump for several months starting in the late 1990, said her words were mischaracterized in the Times article, which used dozens of interviews to show a pattern of unsettling personal behavior by the presidential candidate with women. The Times story said Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for the Nov. 8 election, asked Lane to change into a bikini shortly after meeting her at a pool party at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. According to the article, he then introduced her to the crowd outside, saying, 'That is a stunning Trump girl, isn’t it?' On Monday, Lane told the same story but said she had been flattered by his comment. 'They spun it to where it appeared negative,' Lane said on Fox News. 'I did not have a negative experience with Donald Trump.'" [Reuters]

Everytime we hear "renegade Jew," the guitar solo from the opening of "Purple Rain" plays in our head ("Join us at Temple Emanuel on Saturday, April 17th as we celebrate Jacob Rosenbaum's RENEGADE New York Knicks-themed entrance into manhood!"): "The term 'Renegade Jew' trended on Twitter on Sunday night after a Breitbart article used the phrase to describe conservative commentator William Kristol. 'Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew Prepares Third Party Effort to block Trump’s Path to White House,' read the headline of the article by Jewish writer David Horowitz. The article was about efforts by Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, to back a third-party bid for the White House over presumed Republican nominee Donald Trump, and did not directly address Kristol’s faith. " [HuffPost's Ed Mazza]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a house-trained bison.

COMFORT FOOD

- Cellphone rings played on the piano.

- Poor, poor George Lucas.

- Most of your friends don't think you're a friend.

TWITTERAMA

@paigelav: I've said it before but I'll say it again: there is no need to say someone "needs no introduction" while you are introducing that person

@elisefoley: I always want to say “needs no introduction” and then just stop talking and stare blankly, never saying their name.

@pourmecoffee: I bet it's pretty insane on Dothraki talk radio today.

@SonnyBunch: Has anyone written the “Why Dany’s awesome moment last night was actually totes racist” piece yet?

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com) or Arthur Delaney (arthur@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill).

CONVERSATIONS