HUFFPOST HILL – Congress Poisoned By Partisanship, Actual Poison

The average GOP “Young Gun” is quite old, but they won’t seem so long in the tooth once they take office and we raise the retirement age to 75. The Cannon House Office Building has lead-tainted water, so lawmakers have had to switch back to drinking children’s tears. And the Trump Institute squeezed money out of its enrollees, stole other people’s ideas and provided students no useful skills — though we’re pretty sure that’s what most undergraduate programs do. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, June 29th, 2016:

HILLARY MAYBE NOT LIKEABLE ENOUGH, WHITE HOUSE WORRIES – News cycles are a flat circle. Edward-Isaac Dovere: “Concerned that Hillary Clinton is still struggling to generate excitement, President Barack Obama is preparing to campaign for her by reminding voters there was a time he didn’t like her so much, but he came around — and they should too. That’s the only way, Obama and aides working with him think, that she’ll have the positive mandate she’ll need to govern. Winning the White House by just not being Trump won’t help win House and Senate races, and it won’t give her the support she needs if and when she’s the new president, trying to keep the public and Congress behind her agenda…’The way the president sees it is: there will be a lot of people out there talking about Donald Trump—there’s more than enough material,’ [Jen] Psaki said. ‘He will do that too. But he wants to spend most of his time making the strong, optimistic case for the country under a future President Clinton, and why she presents the best case to be his successor.'” [Politico]

An intro speaker for Donald Trump warmed up the crowd today with some casual racism.

KIM DAVIS, LOOK OUT: OPENLY GAY MAN RUNNING FOR RAND PAUL’S SENATE SEAT – Eliot took a trip to Kentucky to profile Lexington Mayor Jim Gray: “On the trail, [Jim] Gray, the Democratic challenger in the race for Republican Rand Paul’s Senate seat, has made considerable to-do about his Kentucky roots, hoping to draw a contrast with Paul, who moved to the Bluegrass State as an adult. ‘I’m a seventh-generation Kentuckian,’ Gray told a gathering of Democrats in the western part of the state the night before. ‘I will not forget you.’ He described to them his family’s deep ties to Kentucky politics, relaying anecdotes about family members of yore and their work behind the scenes in the state’s public sphere. The stories did double duty as an implicit rebuke of Paul — the kind of oblique shade-casting that only politicians and ‘Real Housewives’ cast members can really pull off. ‘We grew up around a dinner table where my father was talking about business on one end and my mom was talking politics,’ Gray told me during a lengthy and largely nostalgic discussion of his childhood. ‘And my mom would say, ‘It’s not nice to talk about business at the dinner table.’’ Standard political calculus aside, I couldn’t help but wonder if Gray emphasizes his roots so often because of some insecurity about another aspect of his life, one that some Kentucky voters might view with suspicion: his sexual orientation.” [HuffPost]

WHAT’S BERNIE DOING? Sam Stein reports that some establishment Dems are weirded out by Sanders’ continued campaign: “‘So far [Sanders] has been riding a wave of good feelings in the sense he ran an incredible campaign,’ said former Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who served with Sanders and Clinton but has endorsed the latter. ‘But that has a pretty short shelf life and then people start looking at you through a different lens, and that lens is: Are you a team player and do you have the larger picture in mind or are you just focused on yourself?‘ Conrad said. ‘At some point, pretty soon, he crosses the threshold. He may have already crossed it.’ Sanders’ campaign did not return requests for comment. But those who know the senator say that the simplest explanation for his current pursuits is, in his typical fashion, the right one: He wants to change the Democratic Party, from the way it nominates its candidates to the policies it pursues. ‘Bernie is trying to do exactly what he says he is trying to do. It’s in every one of his statements. He is making sure the concerns he has raised are taken into account for the future of the Democratic Party,’ said former Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), who worked with Sanders for a short period of time.” [HuffPost]

DELANEY DOWNER – Groundskeepers have shut off all drinking water sources inside an office building at the U.S. Capitol after routine testing revealed high levels of lead. Mamie Bittner, a spokeswoman for the Architect of the Capitol, said a recent water sample analysis showed that lead concentrations in the Cannon House Office Building’s water exceeded the federal standard of 15 parts per billion. “While these tests continue, in an abundance of caution, we have turned off all drinking water sources and office-provided water filtration units in the Cannon House Office Building,” Bittner said in an email… Lead is a poisonous metal that can cause miscarriages if pregnant women ingest it, and can damage the brains of young children…. Cannon is one of three large buildings on the Capitol’s south side, where members of the House of Representatives keep offices. One member with an office there is Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) — the congressman from Flint, Michigan, where lead has poisoned the water since 2014. “Congress has so far failed to act on Flint aid and now some Members of Congress have had their own water shut off due to high lead levels in their Washington offices,” he said in an emailed statement. [HuffPost]

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TRUMP INSTITUTE ALSO A SHAM – We can’t wait to publish our 20,000-word expose of Trump A&M. Jonathan Martin: “As with Trump University, the Trump Institute promised falsely that its teachers would be handpicked by Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump did little, interviews show, besides appear in an infomercial — one that promised customers access to his vast accumulated knowledge. ‘I put all of my concepts that have worked so well for me, new and old, into our seminar,’ he said in the 2005 video, adding, ‘I’m teaching what I’ve learned.’ Reality fell far short. In fact, the institute was run by a couple who had run afoul of regulators in dozens of states and been dogged by accusations of deceptive business practices and fraud for decades. Similar complaints soon emerged about the Trump Institute. Yet there was an even more fundamental deceit to the business, unreported until now: Extensive portions of the materials that students received after forking over their seminar fees, supposedly containing Mr. Trump’s special wisdom, had been plagiarized from an obscure real estate manual published a decade earlier.” [NYT]

LET TRUMP BE TRUMP – Not that he’d really let it be any other way. S.V. Date: “If last week was Trump’s ‘pivot’ to becoming a more serious presidential candidate, it’s been followed by a pivot right back. [Tuesday’s] 48-minute speech to several thousand supporters crowding the Ohio University Eastern Campus’s gym was trademark Trump, meandering across topics ranging from his various successes, to the ‘stupidity’ of the country’s leaders, to his views of torture in the fight against ISIS. On waterboarding — a technique that makes subjects feel they’re drowning — for example, Trump recounted what he’d said at a Republican primary debate. ‘I like it a lot, but I don’t think it’s tough enough,’ he said to cheers and laughter. Trump spoke hours after suicide bombers struck Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, an attack that has left at least 41 people dead. He mentioned the incident near the start of his speech by pointing out that ‘something very bad’ was going on in the world, and that America had to wake up to it.” [HuffPost]

We highly recommend you check out Lauren Weber’s piece on childhood malnutrition and the impact it’s having on global development.

WHY HAVE A GOP CONVENTION WHEN YOU CAN HAVE A SECOND ALTAMONT? – The music probably won’t be as good though. Ryan Grenoble: “At least one group of white nationalists has pledged to attend next month’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, for the stated purpose of protecting Donald Trump supporters from… well, almost everyone else. ‘We’re essentially just going to show up and make sure that the Donald Trump supporters are defended from the leftist thugs,’ Matt Parrott, a spokesman for the Traditionalist Worker Party, told McClatchy. Parrott said the party expects around 30 members will be in Cleveland during the convention, which runs July 18 – 21. On Sunday, the party hosted a rally in Sacramento, California, in conjunction with a group of skinheads. In addition to voicing support for Trump, organizers said they also wanted to “make a statement about the precarious situation our race is in.” The event quickly turned violent, seven people were stabbed and nine hospitalized.” [HuffPost]

GOP OLD, WHITE – “Hey, why don’t you, me, and the other youths go down to the old mill and play some Spotify while talking about ways to simplify the tax code?” Amanda Terkel: “The National Republican Congressional Committee’s ‘Young Guns’ program represents the best of the best the party has to offer. The candidates who make it into this elite program are the next generation — the freshest, most promising candidates.  This year, the average age of those Young Guns is 49, and the 11 candidates still largely look like the old guard: mostly white, mostly male… the program also includes Amie Hoeber, a former Pentagon official in Ronald Reagan’s administration who at 74 is making her first run for office in Maryland’s 6th district. Republican John Faso, 63, won his primary in New York’s 19th district Tuesday night and will face off against progressive favorite Zephyr Teachout. [HuffPost]

CONGRESS BRAVELY BAILS PUERTO RICO OUT A LITTLE TOO LATE – Laura Barron-Lopez: “With two days left before Puerto Rico defaults on $2 billion in debt, the Senate on Wednesday advanced legislation meant to stave off the creditors and hedge funds now circling the island. While the bill — which would establish an oversight board to aid Puerto Rico in restructuring its $70 billion in debt — comes too late to prevent the commonwealth from defaulting on its payment due on July 1, it would put an immediate pause on any lawsuits filed against the island for a year and half. After Wednesday’s 68-32 vote, the bill, which passed in the House earlier this month, is now headed for a final vote, expected no later than Thursday. President Barack Obama is widely expected to sign the legislation if and when it reaches his desk, at which point the stay on litigation would go into effect — shielding Puerto Rico from having to make deeper cuts to hospitals, schools and other vital services in order to pay back the constitutionally prioritized debt that comes due on Friday. Much of that debt is owned by creditors.” [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR – Here are a lot of dogs.

BASEBALL TOO SOCIALIST, LAWMAKERS WORRY – The peanuts and Crackerjacks you buy might end up being sold by a player just hoping to afford rent. Travis Waldron” “Two members of Congress introduced legislation this week that would protect minor league baseball teams from having to pay their players the federal minimum wage. The new bill, dramatically dubbed the Save America’s Pastime Act and introduced by Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) and Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), would amend the federal Fair Labor Standards Act to specifically exempt minor leaguers from overtime and minimum wage standards that apply to most workers.” [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

 

– Viewing a rocket launch from an airplane window.

 

– A+ Swedish cattle herding.

 

– Breaking down the CGI from the season finale of “Game of Thrones.”

 

TWITTERAMA

 

@daveweigel: Is there a less attractive nickname for a city than Sacramento’s “Sac-town”?

 

@anamriecox: If someone can prove to me that Trump actually wants to be president I will give you a handsome framed fake degree.

 

@MEPFuller: I’m voting LEAVE on the 2016 presidential campaign.

 

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