The House is only scheduled to work eight days between now and January 7, when members return for the second session of the 113th Congress.
The House had 239 days off scheduled during 2013, and they have even more off days scheduled for next year.
The 2014 calendar for the House, released in October by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), shows members will only work only 113 days. That’s down from 2013, when House lawmakers were scheduled to meet for 126 days. Only 107 days were scheduled in 2012.
As HuffPost reported in July, the 113th Congress is on pace to be the least productivein modern history. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has been defensive of that report.
“We should not be judged on how many new laws we create,” Boehner told CBS News’ Bob Schieffer in July. “We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal. We’ve got more laws than the administration could ever enforce.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told his Democratic caucus last week in a private meeting that a top House Republican said to President Barack Obama, “I cannot even stand to look at you,” according to two Democratic senators who were present.
The account was confirmed by two Senate Democratic aides who said they independently learned of the exchange from other senators.
A White House official said Thursday that the administration did relay such a message to Reid, but that it was the result of a miscommunication.
“While the quote attributed to a Republican lawmaker in the House GOP meeting with the President is not accurate, there was a miscommunication when the White House read out that meeting to Senate Democrats, and we regret the misunderstanding,” the official said in a statement.
Asked to clarify, then, what the White House originally told Senate Democratic leaders about Obama’s meeting with House Republicans, the official said only, “Not going to read out the details of private meetings with the President, or private meetings between WH and Dem leaders.”
The two senators who spoke to HuffPost did not hear the Republican make the remark, but said a top White House aide who was present later told Senate Democratic leaders that the lawmaker who made the remark was Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Rules Committee.
Reid then told the caucus about the incident on Tuesday and named Sessions, according to one of the two Democratic senators who spoke to HuffPost. Reid also told the caucus that he was “sorry” to have to tell them about it, per this senator, but gave Obama credit for his “dignified” response to Sessions. Reid reportedly told the caucus that Obama responded to Sessions by saying he understood that they disagreed on many issues and he respected their differences.
The revelation from the senators sheds new light on a Capitol Hill whodunit that burst into the public sphere when Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) shared the exchange onhis Facebook page on Sunday. The alleged incident took place in the throes of the government shutdown, when Obama was meeting with different factions of lawmakers to try to find a resolution to the debacle. (Neither of the two senators who spoke to HuffPost are Durbin.)
“I looked into this and spoke with somebody who was in that meeting and it did not happen,” Carney said during his daily briefing.
Sessions spokeswoman Torrie Miller said Thursday that the lawmaker never made those comments.
“He did not,” Miller said. “I think it was made clear yesterday from Jay Carney that the exchange you are referring to did not happen.”
Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), has been demanding an apology from Durbin.
“Senator Durbin’s accusation is a serious one, and it appears to have been invented out of thin air,” Buck said in a Wednesday statement. “The senator should disclose who told him this account of events, retract his reckless allegation immediately, and apologize.”
But Durbin isn’t backing down from his original claims.
“Sen. Durbin stands by his comments,” Durbin spokesman Max Gleischman told HuffPost Wednesday.
A request for comment from a spokesman for Reid was not returned.
This story has been updated with comment from a senior White House official.
A violent crime spree across Greater Boston that took the lives of a campus police officer and one of the suspects in the Marathon bombings morphed into a desperate door-to-door search for a man believed to be the second bomber in Monday’s dual blasts.
After a string of explosions and volleys of gunfire that seriously injured a transit officer, police cordoned off much of Watertown, Mass. Residents were ordered to “shelter in place” and not trust anyone they might see other than uniformed officers.
A Massachusetts State Police public information officer told HuffPost reporter Michael McLaughlin, “We believe this to be a terrorist, we believe he came here to kill people.”
At daybreak, law enforcement planned to launch a house-to house search through much of Watertown as they sought one half of the duo believed to have killed three and wounded more than 170 at the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday.
A chaotic Thursday night across Cambridge and Watertown started at 10:30 p.m. with a convenience store holdup that led to the shooting of an MIT campus officer who died later from multiple gunshot wounds.
Police sped away from the campus crime scene amid reports of an armed carjacking of a Mercedes SUV nearby.
The breakneck pursuit of the stolen car led to Watertown, where suspects detonated explosives in the direction of officers before exchanging gunfire.
“I heard three loud bangs,” a witness told HuffPost. “It sounded like a car being dropped on the ground.”
The threat to anyone in the area was so serious that the police planned robocalls to warn residents, CNN reported.
Hundreds of officers drawn from many departments spent hours looking for additional explosives, criminal evidence and, perhaps most importantly, a man deemed to be armed and dangerous.
One suspect died in the exchange of gunfire with police in Watertown. Neither suspects’ identity was released.
The long night followed a day in which the FBI released video footage and photos of the baseball cap-wearing pair seen carrying suspicious backpacks which they dropped at the Boylston Street finish line.
President Barack Obama will announce a bipartisan presidential voting commission to focus on improving the Election Day experience, The Huffington Post has learned from two sources outside the White House with knowledge of the plans.
The commission is one of a number of efforts the Obama administration is making to address the problems that plagued voting on Election Day 2012. The commission, which will focus specifically on Election Day issues and not broader voting reform, will likely be co-chaired by one Republican and one Democratic lawyer, according to one of the sources.
The White House announced Tuesday that 102-year-old Miami resident Desiline Victor will be a guest of first lady Michelle Obama during the president’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, during which Obama is expected to discuss voting reforms. Victor is a naturalized U.S. citizen who stood in line for three hours at a local library on the first Sunday of early voting until workers told her to come back later that evening. A crowd of thousands of people erupted in applause when she emerged with an “I Voted” sticker, the White House said.
Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in an interview with HuffPost last week that the administration was considering a wide range of options in response to the voting problems of the 2012 election.
“What we’re doing right now is evaluating what are the options out there, what are the ideas, and trying to come to consensus about what can be done, whether it’s supporting legislation that has been offered or will be offered, regulatory or other executive actions,” Perez said. “We’re trying to assess right now, so I really can’t get too specific.”
Perez said voting reforms were a top priority for the Obama administration in its second term. He said he had spoken with Attorney General Eric Holder in the early morning the day after the election.
“He was actively engaged, and I’ve had many meetings and conversations with him about this,” Perez said. “So if you’re asking, looking ahead, what are the things we want to do within the department, making sure we don’t repeat the shock and somnolence cycle in voting is certainly a top priority.”
That “shock and somnolence cycle” to which Perez is referring has been seen in the past several elections, with voting problems getting plenty of attention around election time but not receiving much once those troubles fade in memory.
“One of our goals here is to insure that the shock-somnolence cycle is not repeated, and that’s an issue of priority for this administration,” Perez said. “I’ve given a number of speeches in this regard, and many stakeholders are taking us up on our desire to get input.”
* According to the Second Circuit, the long arm of the law doesn’t extend to the middle finger. You can’t just go around arresting dudes for flipping you the bird. [U.S. Second Circuit / FindLaw]
* President Obama jetted off to Hawaii before he could sign the fiscal cliff bill, so he ordered it be signed by autopen. Of course, people are losing their minds over it. [Volokh Conspiracy]
* Should we scrap the Constitution? Georgetown Law professor Louis Seidman continues to advocate for constitutional disobedience in this epic ConLaw throwdown. [HuffPost Live]
* Don’t celebrate your increase in California bar passage points yet. The state bar changed its tune, and a 40% pass rate is the new standard. That shouldn’t be hard, eh TJSL? [California Bar Journal]
* One of our former columnists, Jay Shepherd, has a great way to calculate what your actual hourly rate should be, if you don’t mind working for just pennies a day. Most lawyers would mind. [jayshep]
* For the love of God, even Gawker knows that going to law school these days is a fool’s errand, or in their own words: “IT’S A SUCKER’S BET. A CLEAR SUCKER’S BET.” Come on, stop being suckers. [Gawker]
* If you’d like to hear Dean Lawrence Mitchell of NYT op-ed fame sound off on why there isn’t a lawyer oversupply problem, and why it isn’t his job to get law students jobs, we’ve got a video for you to watch….
Between the gun shots, swastika graffiti and Romney’s total lack of deference to the POTUS in the last debate, it appears that some far-right fringe nut jobs seem to think it’s open season on President Obama.
I still have to wonder about the mindset of people who have no respect for the Office of the Presidency or the man holding that office.
Shame on all those who wish to do harm to our country and our POTUS in the name of hatred.
A swastika was found painted on the window of President Barack Obama’s campaign office in a Denver, Colo., suburb late Thursday.
The black Nazi symbol was found by building owners painted outside a window of the office, located in the Denver suburb of Conifer, 9News.com reported. The office opened recently in the Jefferson County hamlet.
The Jefferson County sheriff’s office did not immediately return a request for comment. 9News.com reports that Obama’s campaign has not commented on the incident, which comes a week after a shot was fired into a window of Obama’s Denver campaign office.
In 2009 during a Tea Party rally held to oppose the stimulus package on the day Obama signed the bill, a participant waved a sign bearing a swastika in the “O” of Obama’s name. The sign holder had a picture taken with conservative activist Michelle Malkin and was reportedly on stage when then-state Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry (R-Grand Junction) spoke.
The swastika incident occurs two weeks after an Obama supporter in Tulsa, Okla., who had an Obama sign on his lawn reported receiving a death threat from a neighbor. Kyle Counts, a 27-year-old law student, told HuffPost that the neighbor engaged him an argument after seeing the sign and then yelled the threat, which was captured on video.
UPDATE: 7:55 p.m. — Scott Lorditch, a volunteer at the Conifer office, told The Huffington Post that when he arrived at the office on Friday, staffers told him the vandalism occurred overnight. Lorditch said that Obama lawn signs in front of the office were also shredded. He said that while he did not see the damaged signs, when he arrived the signs were no longer in front of the office.
Paul Ryan’s supporters punish a soup kitchen. Wow!
What is it about the far right-wing fringe that actually makes them outraged at Brian J. Antal, president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society speaking out about Paul Ryan’s photo op at the soup kitchen recently?
In what alternative universe do these people live?
In the wake of Rep. Paul Ryan’s embarrassing soup kitchen photo-op last week, the organization that runs the facility tells The Huffington Post that donors have begun pulling their money out of the Youngstown, Ohio charity.
Ryan may have suffered a few late-night jokes, but the fallout for the soup kitchen appears to be far more bruising. Brian J. Antal, president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, confirmed that donors have begun an exodus in protest over Ryan’s embarrassment. The monetary losses have been big. “It appears to be a substantial amount,” Antal said. “You can rest assured there has been a substantial backlash.”
Antal says he can’t give an actual dollar amount. “I can’t say how much [in] donations we lost,” he said. “Donations are a private matter with our organization.”
Antal’s charity represents the kind of organization that conservative Republicans might champion. But that was before the Ryan incident went viral a few days ago. According to The Washington Post, Antal said that the moment should never have happened. He told the newspaper that the photo-op was not authorized and that the campaign had “ramrodded their way” inside.
Ryan supporters have now targeted Antal and his soup kitchen, Antal said, including making hundreds of angry phone calls. Some members of Antal’s volunteer staff have had to endure the barrage as well, he said. “The sad part is a lot of [the callers] want to hide behind anonymity,” he said, adding that if someone leaves their name and number he has tried to return their call. In addition to phone calls, people have posted a few choice words on the charity’s Facebook wall, including statements like “I hope you lose your tax [sic] emempt status,” Anyone who is thinking about donations to you should think twice” and “Shame on you Brian Antal!”
On the phone with HuffPost, Antal seemed worn out by all the vitriol. “Honesty, I really don’t need any more attention,” he said. “I really just want this to go away.”
Tennessee state Rep. Kelly Keisling (R) is spreading a conspiracy theory to his constituents that claims that President Obama will fake his own assassination to avoid an election against Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
In an email sent from a government email address in his office, Keisling forwarded along a warning that the President and the Department of Homeland Security are potentially working together to try to implement martial law, heading off an election by pretending the President has been killed.
Keisling’s assistant, Frankie Anderson, confirmed that the email was sent “at Keisling’s request” from a state account under the name of Holt Whitt, who is identified in the email as Keisling’s assistant. Anderson said he is filling in for Whitt.[…]
Janet Moore, one of the recipients of Keisling’s email, said she called the lawmaker Tuesday morning to express her disagreement with his decision to send the email. Moore, who lives in an adjoining legislative district in rural Tennessee, told HuffPost that Keisling told her that the rumor was “pretty ridiculous, isn’t it?”
When she asked Keisling why he sent the email, if he found it ridiculous, she said that Keisling told her, “I wouldn’t put anything past anybody.”
It’s unclear why Keisling would send to voters such a conspiracy theory based on race-baitingand paranoia, and his office would not offer any comment to the Huffington Post.
Here’s Mitt Romney’s explanation for why he’s not out of touch for having mocked President Obama’s plan to help state and local governments hire more firefighters, police officers and teachers:
Well, that’s a very strange accusation. Of course teachers and firemen and policemen are hired at the local level and also by states. The federal government doesn’t pay for teachers, firefighters, or policemen. So obviously that’s completely absurd.
But as HuffPost’s Michael McAuliff writes, the federal government actually does exactly what Romney says it does not: It provides billions to fund the hiring of the firefighters, cops and teachers that Romney wants to see laid off.
Roughly $1 out of every $9 spent on public schools comes from the federal government—that’s a lot of teachers.
More than one hundred thousand cops have been hired thanks to federal funding.
In the past two fiscal years, Congress has spent more than $600 million each year on fighting fires. (And Republicans love that money: You may recall Rick Perry beggedPresident Obama for fire fighting aid last year after cutting the Texas fire fighting budget.)
The only absurd thing here is that Mitt Romney thinks it’s a good idea to keep on letting good public servants lose their jobs.
The effigy is suspended from a makeshift gallows with a noose of yellow rope, has a doll in its right hand and a rainbow-colored gay pride flag in its left.
In a telephone interview with The Huffington Post, Jones said the flag was meant to call attention to Obama’s stance on same-sex marriage and that the baby doll is there because the president is “favorable toward abortion.”
Jones also said that radical Islam is “the most dangerous threat to life and national security in America.”
There is also an Uncle Sam dummy standing at the base of the gallows outside the DWOC. Jones told HuffPost that the Obama effigy had originally been positioned to be hanging Uncle Sam when the display went up two weeks ago, but that the church changed the display on Wednesday.
The words “Obama is Killing America” are printed on a trailer nearby.
In 2009, a Kentucky grand jury refused to indict two men who hanged an Obama effigy on the campus of the University of Kentucky. The men had been charged with burglary and disorderly conduct, the latter count associated with hanging the effigy. The lawyer for the two men said that the disorderly conduct charge violated his clients’ rights under the First Amendment.