In it, but not of it. TPM DC

With House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) seen as a likely to ascend to majority leader after Thursday's scheduled election, his seat as majority whip will open up. The intra-GOP battle to take that job is heating up as three Republicans jockey to lock up the votes.

Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise is making inroads in his bid to rise to the No. 3 leadership position, facing off against Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam, the chief deputy whip, and Indiana Rep. Marlin Stutzman, a conservative upstart.

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In the last few days before the runoff election between incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-MS), Cochran and his supporters are not hyping the senator's conservative bona fides or making clear plays to woo tea partiers who support McDaniel. Rather — the longtime senator who could very well lose in the runoff— is attacking McDaniel as a bit too ready to cut spending everywhere and unpolished to become a U.S. Senator representing Mississippi.

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President Barack Obama is planning on signing an executive order to protect LGBT employees of federal contractors from workplace discrimination, the White House told TPM on Monday.

His move comes after the House has nixed the Senate-passed Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would bar most employers from discriminating on the basis of an employee's sexual orientation or gender identity.

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On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List has standing to challenge a state law in Ohio that prohibits false statements about political candidates.

The unanimous ruling, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, says the group demonstrated a "sufficiently imminent injury" and therefore its First Amendment case against the law may move forward.

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As much as it consumed news headlines after its failed October launch, Obamacare has been conspicuously absent since it eclipsed 8 million sign-ups in April and open enrollment came to an end.

That might be because, instead of the bad news that lends credence to Republican doomsaying and captures media attention, most of the Obamacare news lately has been pretty encouraging about the law's sustainability going into Year Two.

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The Virginia legislature passed a state budget that did not expand Medicaid under Obamacare Thursday night, just days after the resignation of a Democratic lawmaker that cleared the way for its passage.

The Washington Post reported that the budget did not include Medicaid expansion -- and would make it more difficult for the program to be expanded through other means. It would prevent Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe or an independent panel from expanding Medicaid unilaterally under the health reform law.

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