July 10, 2013

1. The House Republican Conference met this afternoon on immigration and emerged with a leadership statement that appeared to leave little room for a comprehensive bill. Remember, however: If we believe the surface meaning of their statements, the bill has been dead for weeks. The question, as always, is whether it’s just positioning (or at least how much of it is just positioning).

2. Chuck Todd: “The language seems to suggest that they won’t support anything Obama agrees to on immigration.”

3. But see also The Hill’s story: “Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) urged their House Republican colleagues to pass immigration reform legislation in a closed-door meeting Wednesday, with the Speaker arguing that the party would be ‘in a much weaker position’ if it failed to act.”

4. Sarah Kliff has a nice story about how the states are planning to advertise their health exchanges. Good stuff, but my question is: How many people who hear about and ultimately use, say, “Cover Oregon” to buy private health insurance will realize that they’re using Obamacare? My guess? Practically no one. Which is why I think that “Obamacare” will stay unpopular even if the programs of the Affordable Care Act become untouchable.

5. Speaking of which: Matt Miller argues that Speaker Boehner is getting Orwellian when it comes to health care.

6. Good to know that libertarians are fighting their reputation as a fringe movement by bickering among themselves over the Civil War. Rachel Weiner has the story.

7. Wait, House Republicans are still going nuts about light bulbs? Oh yeah — of course they are. Steve Benen reminds everyone of the facts on this one.

8. Another take on the farm bill: Turns out that splitting the bill in half doesn’t seem to be working, either, Brad Plumer reports. Theory one: The House Republicans are a clown show. Theory two: John Boehner had to float the idea of a split bill to make it clear to those who want a bill that they’ll eventually have to settle for a version that won’t hurt poor people as much as they want to.

9. Is Barack Obama taunting Republican scandalmongers with the selection of James Comey to head the FBI? Francis Wilkinson thinks so.

10. But Scott Lemieux argues that Comey is a terrible choice.

11. Jonathan Chait notices that Republicans have elevated opposition to cutting deals to the level of first principles. Which makes all legislating impossible, if they stick with it. Welcome to post-policy.

12. Paul Waldman is even more pessimistic about where this all leaves policymaking.

13. See also Alec MacGillis, who notes that the war on Obamacare is getting in the way of Republican ability to legislate on immigration.

14. I argue that the problem for immigration reform is the missing Republican strong supporters.

15. New polling may indicate a real shift on civil liberties and national security, Nate Silver thinks.

16. A good catch from Dean Baker: Taxes, too, depend to a large extent on self-reporting. Affordable Care Act subsidies will be no different.

17. Lee Drutman looks back at the House vote and district outcomes from the 2012 elections.

18. Ahead of the news: Ed Kilgore is thinking about the Supreme Court’s next round over abortion, which may come about as early as next year.

19. Smart legislative advice from Kevin Drum.

20. And Alex Pareene takes on Lawrence O’Donnell.