In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Looks like we may soon be learning more about the preferential treatment major banks may have enjoyed in the wake of the AIG bailout.

Last week, we noted Rep. Spencer Bachus's efforts to bring to light the issue of smaller U.S. banks that are allegedly being stiffed on their loans to an AIG subsidiary even as major CDS counterparties (some of them foreign banks) were paid off in full. Bachus is the ranking member on the House Financial Services committee, and he aired his concerns at a hearing and in letters he sent to both Geithner and Barney Frank, the committee chairman.

After we reported this, the Wall Street Journal dug up a couple examples of just this issue, one of which occurred in Bachus' district.

Now, it seems, the committee is taking some steps toward investigating Bachus' complaint.

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The NRCC has just released this statement from New York's GOP Congressional delegation, predicting a win by Jim Tedisco in NY-20:

Washington - Today, the members of New York's Republican Congressional Delegation - Reps. Peter King, John McHugh and Chris Lee - released the following statement regarding the status of the special election in New York's 20th Congressional District:

"With the election not yet certified, and the Republican advantage among absentee ballots not yet counted, we are confident that Jim Tedisco will be the next Congressman from New York's 20th Congressional District. We look forward to welcoming Jim as our colleague and working with him to address the critical issues facing upstate New Yorkers."


It's worth stopping here for a moment and considering the fact that New York, with 29 total House members, only has three Republicans in the bunch. After the 2000 elections, before the GOP brand completely crashed in the Northeast, that number was 12 Republicans out of 31. So obviously, these three guys want to have some company and rebuild their party.

Scott Murphy, the Democratic candidate in the super-close NY-20 special election, has put out this statement predicting victory:

"Eight weeks ago, we were down over twenty points and they said this couldn't be done. The election results proved something very different," said Murphy. "The voters of the 20th Congressional District made clear they want a leader with proven business experience who will work across the aisle to bring common sense solutions to Washington.

"Thanks to our unbelievable grassroots supporters who helped build this amazing campaign in just eight weeks, we've defied the odds and we won a majority of votes cast Tuesday.

"We are confident that once all the absentee ballots are counted, we will expand our lead and we will go to Congress and partner with Senator Gillibrand and President Obama to create jobs and turn our economy around."

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One of the fun little tidbits in the Republican Budget roll out today is here:

The substitute gradually converts the current Medicare program into one in which Medicare beneficiaries choose the most affordable coverage that best suits their individual needs. For individuals 55 or older, Medicare will not be changed (other than income-relating the prescription drug benefit): the budget preserves the existing program for these beneficiaries. To make the program sustainable and dependable, those 54 and younger will enroll in a new Medicare Program with health coverage similar to what is now available to Members of Congress and Federal employees.


This is an idea that's been kicking around in conservative circles for some time, and it's an expensive one. Well, it's expensive unless you're an insurance company, in which case it's extremely lucrative. The goal is to phase out Medicare over time by providing new seniors with the health insurance options available under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. The FEHBP provides relatively high quality care, and most working-aged people would probably prefer its options over the ones provided by their employers. But Medicare provides similar quality of care while containing the costs of administration, and those costs are much higher at private insurance companies.

There's more like this in the GOP's budget report. And, if you're interested in legislative language for some reason, the resolution itself is here.

The DCCC has now released their own fundraising e-mail for the aftermath of the NY-20 special election, preparing for the legal fight ahead. Like the NRCC's e-mail, they too invoke the specter of Al Franken -- but for much different reasons:

We've seen these kinds of tactics before - just look at Al Franken who is still fighting for his seat in the Senate after November's election. We already have a legal team on the ground but we know this is going to be extremely expensive! We need your help again and we wouldn't ask again if it wasn't so critical.


The NRCC referred to Franken as an example of the Democrats stealing an election, in order to bring in some cash. And for the Democrats, Franken is also a useful fundraising theme, as a martyr of the GOP's dirty tricks to keep a rightfully-elected Dem out of office.

Full e-mail after the jump.

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The House Budget Committee Republicans have put out this graph purporting to predict government spending as a percentage of GDP for the next 50 or so years. Unsurprisingly, they presume that spending will skyrocket under Democratic budgets as designed by Democratic presidents and congressional leaders who haven't been elected yet, but that spending will decrease under Republican governance.



This level of detail is remarkable, given that Ryan himself seems to have been unable to say how big near term deficits would be under his plan just two days ago. (Incidentally, Ryan's budget, which we've obtained pegs the 2010 deficit at just under $1 trillion.)

Interestingly, now that the Republican plan has been made into legislation, it can be analyzed by the CBO, so we'll see what they have to say about it. We've just gotten a hold of the GOP's Budget resolution (i.e. the Ryan substitute) and some supplemental information and we'll provide links to PDFs shortly.

Late update: I swapped out the original graph for one that contains a separate "projection" (read arbitrarily drawn line) based on the GOP alternative.

The NRCC released a memo predicting victory in the NY-20 special election, and claiming a major defeat for the Obama agenda:

While the absentee and military vote count will not occur for several more days, we are confident that Jim Tedisco will ultimately become the next congressman from New York's 20th Congressional District. While a "top White House official" (read: Rahm Emanuel) took time off from his busy schedule of dealing with the economic crisis, the G-20 Summit in London, and managing the day-to-day operations of General Motors to claim that the outstanding absentee count somehow favors the Democrats that sounds an awful lot like wishful thinking.


Both parties are publicly predicting that the absentees will favor their candidate. Obviously, one of them will be proven wrong -- and quite frankly, it's not implausible that both sides are engaged in wishful thinking to some degree.

Some more tidbits from the memo, after the jump.

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Our friends at The Uptake have released this video summing up the issues in the Minnesota recount and litigation since Election Night -- condensing five months of legal morass into 16 minutes:



Al Franken is well known to be a Grateful Dead fan, so it's worth saying this: What a long, strange trip it's been.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) appeared on Glenn Beck's TV show yesterday, to talk up her proposed constitutional amendment to stop the Obama administration from replacing the dollar with a global currency:



Bachmann boasted that she's picked up 30 cosponsors so far, to which Beck replied: "I can't believe that you've only got 30 cosponsors. I mean -- how is it you could walk around going, "I just -- this is just, hey, save the dollar.' And only 30 people are willing to say, 'Eh that sounds like a good thing, let's give that a shot.'"

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