In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Could peer pressure from other Republicans be the secret ingredient in the Obama administration's push to get the 20-plus states that have not expanded Medicaid under Obamacare to change their minds?

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell suggested to TPM on Wednesday that it might be. Some staunch conservatives like Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (above right) have entered into negotiations with HHS to craft their own Medicaid expansion plan; but others like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (above left) have steadfastly refused to even consider it.

Perhaps more than any argument from the Obama White House, the former group could help convince the latter that Medicaid expansion makes sense, Burwell told reporters at a Wednesday briefing in response to a question from TPM.

"People are influenced by people who are like them," Burwell said. "I think the more that we are able to attract conservative Republican governors, the more that those who have very strong feelings will perhaps listen. They all talk to each other."

The Obama administration is also putting out new estimates to make the case for Medicaid expansion. HHS is projecting that in 2014, hospitals in states that expanded Medicaid will save up to $4.2 billion on uncompensated care as more people are covered through Obamacare. Hospitals in non-expanding states, by comparison, are saving $1.5 billion.

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John Boehner is "all in" to be Speaker of the House again next year. But as usual, he has his share of dissidents who want to oust him — disenchantment remains strong with some of the Republican conference.

But for all the grumbling, they have a tough battle on their hands if they want a new Speaker in January.

A new article in The Hill points to stirrings a coup attempt by some members against the Ohio Republican, who has served in the House's top job since 2011. The piece centers around a less-than-organized push by Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), who told the paper he's meeting with members to chart out "a new direction" for the House.

According to numerous conservative House lawmakers, as well as aides who declined to be named, Boehner's gavel is safe. Here are four reasons why.

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They wear camouflaged uniforms, bearing military-style insignia. They ride helicopters over the forests of Mendocino County, Calif., on the state's north coast, equipped with firearms, where they cut down illegal marijuana. But they aren't the army. They aren't even the police. They are Lear Asset Management, a private security firm that is attracting a lot of attention for the work it's doing -- and even perhaps some work it hasn't done

KCBS in San Francisco described them as "mysterious men dropping from helicopters to chop down" pot plants. Rumors swirl in the area's marijuana community about heavily armed men choppering onto their private land and cutting down their marijuana plants without identifying themselves or answering questions about who they are. Lear has become a boogeyman of sorts for a certain population in northern California.

But they aren't hiding. Paul Trouette, Lear Asset Management's 55-year-old founder, spoke with TPM for more than 30 minutes earlier this week to describe what his company does and why they do it. They see themselves filling a void that law enforcement cannot. Trouette at one point invoked the Pinkertons -- the private detective agency notorious for, among other things, violently busting unions and chasing Wild West outlaws -- to demonstrate the historical precedent for what they're now doing in this county of 88,000 on the edge of the California Redwoods.

"Law enforcement just doesn't have the means to take care of it any longer," Trouette told TPM. The 2011 murder of Fort Bragg, Calif. city councilman Jere Melo by an illegal trespasser tending poppy plants as Melo patrolled private land for a timber company made a big impression on Trouette, he said. Lear was incorporated the same year, and the company has worked with a non-profit founded in Melo's memory.

"That's when the hole began to be filled in my understanding of how to put together a cohesive, legal, organized private security firm that is now dealing with these types of issues," Trouette said, explaining that he sees Lear "on the cutting edge of citizens becoming involved in their communities and utilizing their legal rights to affect positive change in their communities."

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A new ad by Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes seeks to pit Republican supporters of immigration reform against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), whose allies are attacking her for backing "amnesty."

It comes in response to a spot by the pro-McConnell super PAC Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, in which a narrator says, "Alison Grimes, proud supporter of Obama's amnesty plan."

Grimes' 36-second web ad splices video of Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) touting their support for the same immigration bill. McCain insists, "This is not amnesty." It quotes Glenn Kessler, a fact checker for the Washington Post, calling the Republican group's attack "bizarre and hypocritical."

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After the 2010 elections, the American Legislative Exchange Council was arguably at the height of its power. Though it had been around since the 1970s (President George W. Bush is pictured at ALEC's 2005 annual meeting above), Republican wins in statehouses across the nation that year gave the group an outsized influence in policymaking. Its model legislation covered everything from Stand Your Ground laws to new voter ID requirements and popped up everywhere.

But these few years of prominence seem to be catching up to ALEC as it has enthusiastically pursued its mission to, in the words of one liberal watchdog to the New York Times: "Bring together corporations and state legislators to draft profit-driven, anti-public-interest legislation."

Starting in 2012, less than two years after ALEC allies seized power in state legislatures, the group's corporate partners have undergone a mass exodus, at times for their own ideological reasons, other times under public pressure. And by some counts, more than two dozen companies have severed their ties.

That exodus has continued into this week, as Google chairman Eric Schmidt said Monday that his company would leave ALEC over climate change. Below is an exhaustive -- but likely not comprehensive -- list of the major businesses that have left the group and why.

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Update: 12:42 PM EST

A judge in Louisiana on Monday struck down the state's gay marriage ban, declaring that it violates the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection, due process and "full faith and credit" between states.

State Judge Edward D. Rubin ruled Monday in favor of a lesbian couple's petition to both be recognized as their son's parents, holding that "Louisiana cannot define and regulate marriage to the extent that it infringes upon the constitutional rights of its petitioners."

"This court finds that there is no rational connection between Louisiana's laws prohibiting same sex marriage and its goals of linking children to intact families formed by their biological parents," he wrote.

Buddy Caldwell, Louisiana's Republican attorney general, plans to appeal the ruling.

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Whither the Obamacare truther?

Last week, top administration official Marilyn Tavenner announced that 7.3 million Obamacare enrollees had paid their premiums, as they must to receive and continue receiving their coverage. On its face, it was a relatively minor news event, a reminder that millions of people did sign up for insurance.

But it was also the end of one of the GOP's favorite anti-Obamacare memes. Those 7.3 million paying customers meant that more than 90 percent of the 8 million people who President Obama himself said had enrolled in coverage had paid for it. That might not seem surprising. But it was just a few months ago that Republicans were routinely questioning the official enrollment story being told by the White House, theorizing that a third or more of Obamacare sign-ups weren't paying their bills and that the successes being sold by the administration were a sham.

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One month ago, the Obama administration tweaked its birth control mandate to address concerns of religious nonprofits who said filling out a form to opt out of paying for contraceptives would still make them complicit in sin.

Since then, various entities that sued have made clear they aren't satisfied with the new accommodation, and will keep fighting for a complete exemption so that they can block off insurance coverage for contraceptives, which they view as sin, for their women employees.

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A federal appeals court threw out a lawsuit by a group of conservative doctors who sued the Obama administration for violating the Obamacare statute by delaying the employer mandate.

A three-judge panel on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday unanimously affirmed a lower court decision that the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons lacked standing to sue because they failed to prove that the administration's move would harm them.

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