In it, but not of it. TPM DC

As a Nov. 3 deadline to raise the debt ceiling looms, the House is set to vote on a bill this week that critics have labeled a cop out on Congress’ duty to raise the debt limit and avoid defaulting on the national debt.

The bill -- dubbed the “Default Prevention Act” -- would direct the Treasury Department, in the event of a debt ceiling breach, to continue to borrow in order to keep paying Social Security, as well the principal and interest on public debt. But the government would not be able to borrow for any of its other functions until the debt ceiling was raised.

The bill is moving forward even though Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is reportedly signaling privately that he will advance a clean debt ceiling hike with the help of Democratic votes before he leaves office, thereby avoiding a debt default.

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With Hilary Clinton scheduled to testify later this week, partisan infighting on the House Select Committee on Benghazi has reached a fever pitch. The ranking Democratic member called out Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) on Sunday for mischaracterizing Clinton's handling of classified information on her private email account, and Gowdy spent the day again defending the committee's work against charges of political gamesmanship. On Monday, Democrats on the committee ratcheted up the pressure on Gowdy again, releasing a report that aimed to debunk "wild Republican conspiracy theories" about Clinton's response to the 2012 attacks.

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It is looking more and more likely that Speaker John Boehner will stiff House conservatives and push through an increase in the debt limit with the help of Democratic votes before he steps down. It would be a fitting parting shot to end his speakership.

If the last few years of budget brinkmanship and debt ceiling showdowns were theater, then a standalone, drama-free debt ceiling vote arranged by Boehner on his way out would be the play's denouement. It was Boehner after all, who starting in 2011, escalated the strategy of using debt ceiling votes to seek concessions on spending from Democrats.

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While the first Democratic debate was, in theory, intended to create contrast among the party’s candidates, frontrunner Hillary Clinton wanted viewers to walk away with another message: Republicans are the real enemy and she is the one to take them on.

Time and time again on the Las Vegas stage, the former secretary of state pivoted from the nuanced differences between her and her Democratic foes to slam the GOP for being far behind where she and progressives want to lead the country.

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The epic GOP meltdown of 2015 should not come as a surprise.

The modern Republican Party had been careening toward this kind of wheels-off-the-track moment for a long time. Its knee-jerk rejectionism, high-stakes brinksmanship, strict demands for ideological purity, and willingness to take hostages had been on display in one form or another in a series of political clashes since the 1990s.

But you knew that already if you read the 2012 book "It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism." While not predicting the current GOP leadership crisis, it sounded the alarm that the party was on a dangerous course and taking the country with it. The book argued that responsible governance had been severely crippled by the Republican Party's push to the right and its adoption of take-no-prisoners politicking.

TPM asked one of the co-authors if he was feeling any vindication.

“Damn straight I do,” Norman Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said in an interview with TPM late last week. “But I would have rather been proven wrong -- honest to God -- because we're talking about the fucking country that is at stake here.”

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Since House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) dropped from the speaker race, Republicans have coalesced around the idea of Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan as their knight in shining armor, even as Ryan himself has expressed reluctance to enter the race.

However, while some of the hardliners who pushed back at McCarthy have expressed their support of Ryan, other conservatives are already begin to raise their concerns about Ryan's record. The question is not just whether Ryan would have the votes necessary to win the speakership on the House floor, but also his ability if elected to bring the hardliners in line and avoid shutdowns, debt defaults, and the array of looming government crises.

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The revolt by conservatives to push out House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) may have the opposite effect, some Republicans are suggesting. With House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's (R-CA) shocking decision to drop out of the speaker's race -- due to resistance from the same group of conservative hardliners -- many are suggesting that Boehner will have no choice but to stick out the rest of the term, despite his desire to step down by Oct. 30.

"John Boehner has served the state of Ohio and the American people for a very long time, and I think he deserves the right to go out on his own terms, and so I don't know what that will mean," Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) said on Fox News. "But I do know John's heart and I'm confident he will do whatever is best for the American people and the institution until we do find a Speaker."

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When House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced his resignation earlier this month, the likelihood that his successor would be able to navigate a series of high stakes deadlines looked uncertain at best. Since then, the leadership succession has erupted into full-out chaos.

What was supposed to be a relatively smooth ascension for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has been rocked by his own gaffes, outsider challengers, and the threat of an unprecedented floor fight that could undermine efforts to avoid a government shutdown and a historic default on the national debt before the year's end.

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The Obama administration is moving forward with a plan that could bring a sea change to how retirement advisors must treat their clients, while financial industry-allies in Congress engage in another round of push back.

The new rules for retirement advisors that the President and consumer advocates are pushing address a conflict of interest the White House estimates costs retirement savers $17 billion annually. The problem? Contrary to what many investors believe, the advisors who direct them to retirement funds are not always required to act in their clients' best interests.

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