A salacious day all around. House GOP inserted anti-porn riders into a noncontroversial bill. Folks couldn't keep to themselves about Obama's toned physique. Wall Street bankers are complaining that they can't get laid anymore. To top it off, Hill staffers will assemble at the National Democratic Club this evening to do what they do best: rub up against each other and drink. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, May 13th, 2010:
EXCLUSIVE: HEDGE FUND TAX WILL HAPPEN - House and Senate negotiators agree that in order to pay for the tax-extenders-slash-jobs bill that's on-deck after Wall Street reform, they're gonna need to tax hedge fund managers like regular rich people. That means they're gonna have to close the "carried interest" loophole. And it looks like they're really gonna do it. No, really. (That's the loophole where hedge fund managers pay only a 15 percent tax, less than their secretaries and janitors.)
Details are sparse, and it's possible there could be a phase-in or carveout of some kind as hedge funds and lobbyists from groups like the Real Estate Roundtable try to persuade the Senate to go easy. But according to HuffPost Hill's Hill sources, the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees, which are negotiating the bill, have agreed to use carried interest as a payfor.
"It started off as a dead issue. Like dead-on-arrival in the Senate," said US PIRG's Nicole Tichon, who's been lobbying to close the loophole but hasn't been briefed on the latest (other than by HuffPost Hill). "Then it evolved as they ran out of payfors and in the Senate, it became 'on the table.' If it's being served up, I couldn't be more thrilled." (Tip o' the hat to Arthur Delaney.)
COLLINS BUCKS GEITHNER, BIG BANKS MIGHT LOSE ONE - Tim Geithner called Susan Collins today, pushing her to back off an amendment that would require big, risky banks to hold more capital reserves than small banks, a source briefed on the call tells HuffPost Hill. She's pushing ahead regardless and, said the source, has won Chris Dodd's support for the amendment. It's a BFD to Collins and on Tuesday on the floor she implied it could be enough to win her vote. It's also a BFD overall and pits the big banks against the little ones. The current bill leaves it up to regulators to decide whether to require higher capital reserves, which they've shown no appetite to do. Collins would write the higher requirements directly into law. "The tension in this bill is between the folks who say, 'Give regulators authority,'" says Steve Verdier, a community bank lobbyist, "versus those who say, 'No, it's not enough to have the regulators to have the authority to do it, we in Congress need to require them to do it. This is a theme running through the debate." Collins amendment is expected to pass if it gets a vote.
Geithner called her to offer technical assistance to help ensure that it worked, a Treasury official told HuffPost Hill, denying that he opposes the idea in general..
HUFFPOST HILL THINKS: It's insane to have two banking systems regulated in two different ways, but if you accept the reality that we do have two different systems, one made up of giant banks with implicit government support and the other of little banks without it -- and there's no political will to break up the big ones -- then amendments like Collins become reasonable.
No votes in the Senate tomorrow or Monday, but two planned for tonight: A Durbin amendment to ban credit card swipe fees and a Thune amendment that would sunset the consumer financial protection laws. A vote on a Brownback amendment to exempt auto-dealers from consumer financial protection laws -- because, you know, a car dealer would never rip you off -- had been planned for tonight but was punted.
JUST IN: OBAMA DROPS IN ON NYPD - From Sheryl Stolberg's pool report: "POTUS made an unannounced stop at One Police Plaza, where he visited the Real Time Crime Center to thank New York City police officers for their work in uncovering the Times Square plot... Mr. Obama walked in and about three dozen officers, all seated quietly at desks with computer terminals, rose as he walked in the door, trailed by Bloomberg and Kelly. 'Look I know folks are busy but I just wanted to come by and say thank you . I'm telling the mayor and the commissioner that the work that nypd does in coordination with state local federal officials when it comes to counterterrism is a model. It has been for some time... The country is proud of you, I know the mayor and the commissioner are proud of you. The president is proud of you.'"
That other pool report people are buzzing about: "'You're a hottie with a smokin' little body.' Yes indeed, some people will say just about anything to get a hug from Barack Obama. Those words were spoken by Luann Haley, 45, to the president, during his unannounced visit to this local landmark. He replied by giving her a big hug. ('He gave me a squeeze,' she said afterward.) She swooned and he said Michelle would be watching on television. 'That's alright,' Ms. Haley said as the cameras rolled. 'Hi Michelle, eat your heart out.'" http://huff.to/axmkMh
@PourMeCoffee's tweet: "POTUS survives cougar attack" http://bit.ly/d28eCb
HOW THE DEMS PASSED HEALTHCARE - If you haven't already, check out Sam Stein's inside account of the Democrats' yearlong effort to enact healthcare reform. One free excerpt: "Also en route to the Capitol -- at the summoning of Reid -- was Lieberman, a Senator who once stood in line to be the party's vice presidential nominee but now found himself on the outskirts of his own caucus. The Senate Majority Leader wanted to call Lieberman's bluff, bring the bill to the floor and force him to vote it down. Dare him to be the one to kill reform, the thinking went. But before it could happen, Emanuel stepped in. 'We need to get it done,' he told Reid, according to multiple sources briefed on the exchange. The end game was clear: the Medicare buy-in or any other iteration of a public plan would not get in the way of legislative progress. When Lieberman finally arrived at the office, Emanuel spoke to him just as directly. 'Find a way to get to yes,' he said, before insisting that if the objectionable provision was dropped, Lieberman would have to get off the fence. A deal was reached. Health care reform survived." http://huff.to/9ezv3X
We regret to inform you: Sarah Feinberg's last day at the White House is tomorrow ... and NBC has cancelled "Law & Order" http://huff.to/cjZWGo
KAGAN VISITS SENATE, DAY 2 - The SCOTUS nominee continued her tour of the Capitol, dropping in on seven senators. After their meeting Arlen Specter, the for-now Pennsylvania Senator, said Kagan stood by her criticism of the SCOTUS confirmation process as a "charade." Susan Collins reported Kagan believes Roe v. Wade is "settled law."
What Brown can do for you - AP headline, "Republican Brown Calls Kagan Pro-Military" - "Brown says Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan has persuaded him that she supports the military, despite her decision as dean of Harvard Law School to ban its recruiters from campus. The first-termer from Massachusetts says he asked Kagan about the recruitment flap, and her answer made it clear that she backs the military."
The Solicitor General also met with John Kerry, Chuck Schumer, Ben Cardin and Amy Klobuchar. http://bit.ly/d1jbCZ
(Klobuchar, looking unusually out of sorts after lunch with her colleagues: "I have to give a speech and I can't find the speech." UPDATE: She found it.)
This as Goodwin Liu finally made it through the Judiciary Committee 12-7. ''I'm in the camp that you can be an active Democrat ... and still sit on the bench,'' Lindsey Graham said. ''But this guy's a bridge too far for me. He should take those views and run for office.'' Liu still faces the rest of the Republican caucus which has threatened to block his nomination in the Senate. http://nyti.ms/aZEZn8
ProPublica has a handy rundown of all the on financial industry investigations underway: http://bit.ly/bfzA47
2010 WATCH - Democrat Mark Critz LEADS 44-38 vs. Tim Burns in Murtha's old PA-12 district. http://bit.ly/9Xor4g ... Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle surges to within 5 of frontrunning chicken-barterer Sue Lowden in NV-Sen GOP primary. http://bit.ly/bPdapx Up-and-comer Jack Conway now 1 point behind Dan Mongiardo in KY-Sen Dem primary (Rand Paul still way out in front of Grayson on the GOP side) http://bit.ly/9NyNCE In Pennsylvania, Joe Sestak still ahead of Specter and has now bumped to within two of GOPer Pat Toomey http://bit.ly/aXhtaz Scroll down for much more...
One more poll from NBC/WSJ - Goldman Sachs' approval rating: 4 percent http://bit.ly/93AgOv
MEASURING THE DRAPES-WATCH - Boehner says the S-word: "'If we're fortunate enough to earn back the majority and I'm fortunate enough to be the next Speaker of the House, we're going to run the House differently than it's being done today' and differently than it was run under Republicans in the past, Boehner said." http://bit.ly/9uQUCn
WHERE'S THE OIL? NO ONE KNOWS - HuffPost's Dan Froomkin scares us all. "For more than three weeks now, at least 200,000 gallons of crude oil a day has been erupting out of a pipe a mile underneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. And nobody really knows where it is, or where it's headed. Federal officials are carefully tracking the trajectory of the oil that's made it to the water's surface and, increasingly, on shore. They even put out a daily map. But there's never been an oil spill this big and this deep before. Nor have authorities ever used chemical dispersants so widely. As a result, some scientists suspect that a lot, if not most, of the oil is lurking below the surface rather than on it, in a gigantic underwater plume the size and trajectory of which remain largely a mystery."http://huff.to/9M3v2Z
FIRST LOOK - Oil rig survivor gives first interview to 60 Minutes: Michael Williams, chief electronics technician on the oil platform, talks to CBS's Scott Pelley in an interview airing Sunday. He shares the signs of the coming explosion as natural gas from the well was escaping onto the platform, then was sucked into the vessel's generators, which began to burn it and run out of control. "I'm hearing hissing. Engines are over-revving and then all of a sudden, all the lights in my shop just started getting brighter and brighter and brighter," says Williams, "and I knew something bad was getting ready to happen."
Video: Undersea robot tries, fails to plug Gulf oil gusher http://huff.to/cskXe2
GOP'S NEW ANTI-HEALTH CARE CAMPAIGN - In Roll Call tonight, David M. Drucker writes, "A group of Republican Senators who played key roles in the yearlong fight over health care legislation met Thursday in Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (Ky.) office to discuss the strategy. Under the slogan 'second opinion,' Republicans plan to communicate their message on multiple fronts, including on the Senate floor, in press conferences, via the Internet and through television and radio appearances." http://bit.ly/bxWaTQ
AND WOOOSH GOES THE REVOLVING DOOR - Superlobbyist Heather Podesta today announced her firm hired "veteran Congressional staffer and health care expert" Ben Klein, who most recently served as LD for the retiring Byron Dorgan. Before working for Dorgan in 2005, Klein was a lobbyist for the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society.
DEM DANCE NIGHT - As if staffers needed another excuse to get drunk and hook up with one another now that softball season has started. Head over to the National Democratic Club this evening for "Dem Dance Night." Pelosi's Catlin O'Neill and Perriello's Jessica Barba guest DJ. The invite looks forward to seeing you "at 'da club." Softball attire acceptable. 6:30 pm - 10:00 pm 30 Ivy Street SE.
Sarah Palin will announce her presidential bid in Obama's home state on Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday (2/6/11), according to Conservatives4Palin's analysis. http://bit.ly/aD9Y9h
HOLDER HONORS FALLEN COPS TONIGHT - The AG pays respects to 324 officers who died in the line, 116 who were killed in 2009 -- tonight at 8. The vigil will be at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on E Street.
Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to email@example.com
FRANKEN, LEMIEUX AMENDMENTS PASS - Franken's measure
Credit rating agency Moody's stock nosedived after the vote but quickly rebounded. http://bit.ly/cAzNj0
LeMieux's proposal lifts the federal government's seal of approval from investment rating agencies. LeMieux's statement: "An investment rating should mean something, but today it doesn't. Removing their federal endorsement will end the dangerous over-reliance on these ratings and allow sound measures of risk to re-emerge in the marketplace-giving investors confidence an investment's true risk is known."
Every amendment added to the bill has taken it in a more progressive direction (with the debatable exception of LeMieux's, which is strongly backed by the big rating agencies) -- just what the GOP feared while it filibustered debate.
Bankers aren't getting laid as much as they used to. This guy has no idea why. http://bit.ly/9JfNAW
TPM says Dems will likely wait to weaken Blanche Lincoln's derivatives portion until after her primary this Tuesday so she can keep playing populist just long enough to make it into the general election.. Be mindful of circling wagons. "And, of course, [Republicans] know how to play this game too: last week a vote on the Fed audit amendment was delayed for several days to accommodate Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT), whose primary contest ended this weekend." Bennett had pledged to back the audit, but lost in the primary. Screw it, he said. His fate sealed, he voted agasint it. http://bit.ly/9XMZdJ
LINCOLN RUNOFF? The best hope to keep the progressive Blanche Lincoln around as long as possible is to drag the primary out. As she's tacked left to battle Bill Halter, a relatively unknown conservative has picked up some of her backers, putting her under the 50 she'd need to avoid a runoff -- which wouldn't come until June 8. http://bit.ly/bPNtmB
Lincoln will not receive 50% of the vote in Tuesday's primary and thus be forced into a runoff according to a poll by Kos. http://bit.ly/aZUdlV
AND: If Lincoln does pull off a victory, she'll have to win the general without the SEIU. They'll sit it out, says Sam Stein: http://huff.to/cJcOa2 The AFL-CIO has been savaging Lincoln and hasn't officially decided if it'll back her if she wins. It'll be up to the state federation. (Don't count on it.)
Nouriel Roubini supports the Lincoln amendment. He tells Zach Carter: "Whenever you have a dealer market, there is no price transparency. For the same security, you get ten different quotes, bid-ask spreads are wide, there is not enough liquidity in situations of stress and we've seen problems. During the recent financial crisis, things that were traded on exchanges like equities--there was tumult, there was noise, but there was never a freeze-up of these markets. But in dealer's markets, we had totally frozen markets for bonds, for derivatives, for credit derivatives, for lots of stuff. So I think market-making and dealing is actually only a source of profit for financial institutions- under the guise of market-making and dealing, they're doing a lot of proprietary trading. I would not just take that away from them, I would also move away from dealers markets altogether to exchanges where there is full transparency." http://bit.ly/aKNgPr
Zach also has a whip count going on Tom Carper's amendment that would bar states from enforcing financial rules that are tougher than federal ones: http://bit.ly/aaUTYH
SESTAK UP 9 OVER SPECTER - Per the latest Suffock poll. The lead is the largest Sestak has had over the freshly-Democratic incumbent. "The key to the Democratic Primary will not only be the get-out-the-vote efforts by both campaigns but also those of other Democratic races across Pennsylvania," said Suffock's David Paleologos. "This Democratic Primary is tricky because there will be higher than usual Democratic primary votes cast in three Congressional districts and in areas like Berks and Lackawanna counties, where a dozen or so state Senate and state rep. candidates will be dragging out their own voters." http://bit.ly/b4OttG
Arlen Specter is not dead, says a Pennsylvania coroner. This will play to sentient wing of the Democratic Party. http://bit.ly/bXq6Yu
ANGLE CLOSING IN ON LOWDEN IN NEVADA - Tea Party-backed Sharon Angle is now just five points back of presumed GOP nominee and poultry enthusiast Sue Lowden. Nick Wing on the tightening race: "Following an injection of Tea Party money and support, Sharon Angle is now within five points of GOP frontrunner Sue Lowden, a new Mason-Dixon poll finds. According to the poll, the top three candidates in the packed GOP primary -- Lowden, Angle and Tarkanian -- would take 30 percent, 25 percent and 22 percent of the vote respectively. A similar Mason-Dixon poll from early April showed Angle with a meager 5 percent of the vote. Lowden led the way with 45 percent and Tarkanian was a distant second with 27 percent. In mid-April however, Tea Party Express came out in favor of Angle, giving her a symbolic Tax Day official endorsement at a news conference in Washington D.C. Since then, she has been sole owner of upward momentum in the Republican primary." http://huff.to/bDAh0h
WEST COAST SENATORS INTRODUCE ANTI-DRILLING MEASURE Take it away, Bloomberg: "The measure would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to impose a permanent ban on drilling off the three states. Offshore drilling was banned for decades after a 1969 spill about five miles off the Santa Barbara coast soaked California beaches in a 35-mile long oil slick. In July 2008, then- President George W. Bush lifted the presidential moratorium. Congress allowed its own drilling ban to expire three months later. Joining Feinstein in sponsoring the bill introduced today were Senators Barbara Boxer of California, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley of Oregon, and Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell of Washington. All are Democrats." http://bit.ly/c1ej8Q
Check out Bill Nelson's feisty Tweet about Murkowski: Senator from Alaska just sandbagged my bill to hold BP accountable for up to $10 billion for the oil spill. You win some, you lose some, Bill. http://bit.ly/bnXoaq
HOUSE YANKS PORN RIDER - Over in the House of Representatives (hey, remember that???), Democrats pulled out their uncontroversial science bill just in time after the GOP attached several hot-button proposals to the measure. Politico has it: "The GOP used a procedural tool to bring up the amendment, which would ban federal funds from being used to pay the salaries of people who have been disciplined for viewing or sending pornography on government computers while conducting government business...The Republican amendment was designed to create yet another politically perilous vote for Democrats in a tough election year. Once it became clear that the GOP procedural motion would pass, dozens of Democrats switched their votes to support it, 292-126. But Democrats also found the more substantive parts of the amendment, including a reduction of its scope from five years to three years, objectionable." http://bit.ly/a3whAt
1-IN-10 LAWMAKERS FORCED TO SPEND EXTRA TIME IN LAVISHLY DECORATED OFFICES - From the AP: "[M]embers of the House of Representatives, perhaps as many as one in 10, also bunk out in their offices, according to estimates. [Mike]Quigley and other House members, who earn $174,000 a year, cite two reasons for taking advantage of this little-known perk. One is frugality. The other is image...But it's not just House newbies such as Quigley who are bedding down where they do business. Two other Illinois Democrats, Reps. Dan Lipinski and Luis Gutierrez, also sleep in their offices. Another, Rep. Bobby Rush, either crashes on his office sofa or a hotel bed 'depending on his schedule, mood or comfort level,' said Sharon Jenkins, his communications director." http://huff.to/9MoBed
HuffPost Hill exclusive photo of standard congressional office-slash-bedroom: http://bit.ly/9Rukrr
CONGRESS HIT W/ UNEMPLOYMENT PETITION - A thousand-page petition demanding an extension of unemployment benefits will be delivered to congress this week. Twenty-six thousand people added their names to the document that will drop next week as both chambers take up a tax extenders bill that will extend eligibility for existing UI programs through the rest of the year. The congressional action will likely do nothing for the "99ers" who've exhausted their benefits. "You should be ashamed of yourselves," writes an unemployed schoolteacher in California in the petition. HuffPost's Arthur Delaney reports: http://huff.to/dx0xYH
ATTENTION ENTIRE D.C. PRESS CORPS - Quit Googling bacne treatments and listen up: You. Are. Nothing. The Times' Thomas Fuller was in Bangkok interviewing an opposition general when said general was SHOT IN THE HEAD. Now that's reportin'. Flip comments aside, we're glad Thomas is doing OK and are grateful for his fearless work. http://nyti.ms/cdaXbZ
OBAMA VISITS BUFFALO, PRESSES FOR SMALL BIZ CREDIT - The president urged congress to move ahead with a measure that would unfreeze credit for small businesses. We suggest the president look up on his way to the event. A group of unemployed Buffalonians posted a billboard urging the Obama to create some "freakin' jobs." HuffPost smarmy highway advertising correspondent Dan Froomkin is on it: http://huff.to/9HmC9P
KARZAI VISITS SENATE FLOOR- For the first time in history, a head of state toured the chamber without addressing it. Looking on from the press gallery, HuffPost Hill couldn't help but notice that Hamid has a really shiny head.
AFGHAN WAR NOW COSTS $6.7 BILLION A MONTH - USA Today: "The monthly cost of the war in Afghanistan, driven by troop increases and fighting on difficult terrain, has topped Iraq costs for the first time since 2003 and shows no sign of letting up. The shift is occurring because the Pentagon is adding troops in Afghanistan and withdrawing them from Iraq. And it's happening as the cumulative cost of the two wars surpasses $1 trillion, including spending for veterans and foreign aid. Those costs could put increased pressure on President Obama and Congress, given the nation's $12.9 trillion debt."
A reader spots Rep.
- A strip club has offered LeBron James a lifetime of lap dances. http://huff.to/cdO4D9
- The worst wedding singer. EVER. http://bit.ly/dDgdFH
- Cargo pants are back. http://bit.ly/b8tuVp
- Laura Bush is just another homo lovin', abortion providin', Amurrica hatin' librul. But we knew that. http://huff.to/a7kRti
@FakeAPStylebook: Starting every sentence in your health story about conjunctivitis with a conjunction is what they call poeticism. http://bit.ly/ajLiN0
@benpolitico Discharged from jury duty bc case was drug arrest on well-known drug corner near my house. Told them (truly) I'd be biased for prosecution.
@wyskida: Someone was smoking a serious joint outside @thenation's building this morning. #BiggestJointEver #LegalizeIt http://bit.ly/bZsoIL
@pwgavin: Mr. President: Your body is BFD. Love, Joe. http://bit.ly/aafUYv
@denisleary: Just paid my bookie 10 grand. I bet the BP containment dome would cover.
@wolfblitzercnn It's a NO-NO in Buffalo where folks are sensitive about snow jokes. Obama said he was happy it wasn't snowing. Got a silent reaction.
SPECIAL @CONTESSABREWER IS NOT A COUGAR TWITTERAMA
@contessabrewer: It's just not fair. Cougars face a shorter life expectancy than sugar daddies. http://bit.ly/bphhab
@contessabrewer: For the record: I'm not a cougar. I don't think I'm old enough & I'm married. http://bit.ly/9zoVMR
@contessabrewer: @stone2126 Really? What are the cougar rules? http://bit.ly/cnZm0M
Ratigan talked terror with Bill Pascrell and Wall Street reform with Byron Dorgan. Chris Matthews discussed the oil spill's affect on taxpayers with Sherrod Brown. Ed Markey weighs in on the oil slick with Ed Schultz and our own Sam Stein discusses Obama's Buffalo trip.
Chris Van Hollen is on Morning Joe. Ben Cardin on Daily Rundown.
SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY
Meet the Press: Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer
This Week: Patrick Leahy and Jeff Sessions
6:30 pm: Washington City Paper hosts its Summer Music Guide party at Rock and Roll Hotel. The best local bands perform. Free! First 200 guests get their first drink on City Paper [Rock and Roll Hotel, 1353 H Street NE].
7:00 pm: Aqua Teen Hunger Force brings its comedy review to D.C. The voice actors behind your favorite anthropomorphic fast food characters take their trippy and brash brand of humor to the State Theatre [State Theatre, 220 North Washington Street, Falls Church].
9:00 pm: Party like the kids from Saved By The Bell at McFadden's Schools Out party. Dress up like your favorite character for a chance to win cash. They say Mr. Belding will be there but we don't know if that means the actual Mr. Belding or some dude who looks like hi, [McFadden's, 2401 Pennsylvania Ave NW].
10:00 am: Nothing says "Republican fundraisier" quite like golf, right? Tom Lathan (R-Iowa) hopes his polo doesn't highlight his gut too much at his 18-hole event [Country Club at Woodmore, 12320 Pleasant Prospect, Mitcheville, MD].
6:00 pm - 11:00 pm: Support CrisisLink, a suicide prevention group, while drinking away your own sorrows. A $5 donation helps the group do a lot of really good work plus gives you access to some great drink specials [Town Tavern, 2323 18th St. NW].
Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Ryan Grim (email@example.com) or Nico Pitney (firstname.lastname@example.org). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e