In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Speaking of Congressional Budget Committee Ranking Members Who Write Op-Eds, Paul Ryan, Judd Gregg's House counterpart, has a piece of his own in the Wall Street Journal. In it, he summarizes the bottom line of the budget (or the counter-part to the non-budget budget) he plans to release today. More on that very soon, but here's what to expect:

  • A budget that nixes all non-military federal discretionary spending for five years amid a recession.
  • A budget that deploys "more clean and renewable energy sources free of greenhouse opening exploration on our nation's oil and gas fields, and by investing the proceeds in a new clean energy trust fund, infrastructure and further deficit reduction.
  • A budget that creates two tax brackets--10 percent for income below $100,000 and 25 percent for every dollar above that--and that cuts corporate income tax rate to 25 percent.
As this budget was supposed to be released a week ago, the House and White House are already well prepared with talking points.

Late update: At the end of his op-ed, Ryan writes, "[i]n the recent past, the Republican Party failed to offer the nation an inspiring vision and a concrete plan to tackle our problems with innovative and principled solutions. We do not intend to repeat that mistake." Hmmm. He wouldn't be talking about this and this, would he?

Judd Gregg (R-NH), Barack Obama's erstwhile Commerce Secretary designate, is also the Senate Budget committee's ranking member, and has taken to the pages of the Washington Post to criticize his former almost-boss for authoring what his headline calls "a budget to beggar us".

Gregg writes, "all American families will get stuck with a new 'light-switch tax' on electricity bills that is in the president's budget." The Post seems to be doubling down on its policy of letting op-ed writers lie in its pages. There is, of course, no such tax in the president's proposal or the budget resolution, and nor could there be. Obama's proposal contemplates revenue from a cap-and-trade bill, and there is a deficit neutral reserve fund for future climate change legislation in the resolution, but even that section was amended last night to provide that any increased energy costs would be offset by cap-and-trade revenue.

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The NRCC has has sent out a fundraising e-mail suggesting a full-scale legal fight in the NY-20 special election, with the subject header, "Don't Let'em Pull A Franken." Key quote:

We need your support to ensure we can overcome the Democrats' legal maneuvers.

Democrats have almost succeeded in stealing the election in Minnesota and seating Al Franken. We cannot allow them to manipulate electoral results to seat another tax-troubled liberal.

We need your support to make sure the will of the residents of New York's 20th district prevails in the final outcome.

Full e-mail after the jump.

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The Baltimore Sun reports that Michael Steele told a GOP fundraising event in his home state of Maryland that the Republican Party needs to stop all the infighting -- and be more like himself.

Steele told the crowd that Republicans should be "unconventional, do from time to time the unexpected."

Steele also noted the flack he's taken as chairman. "Someone told me this whole chairmanship thing would be a cakewalk," he said, adding that he's managed to "tick off" a lot of people.

Both national party chairmen have issued statements predicting victory for their guy in the NY-20 special election, and an affirmation of their party's policies.

Here's last night's statement from DNC chairman Tim Kaine:

"Scott Murphy embraced President Obama's message of change and his plans to fix our economy and create jobs, and as a result he stormed from more than 20 points down to winning a majority of votes cast tonight. Scott's performance tonight in an overwhelmingly Republican district, where Republicans enjoy a registration advantage over Democrats of more than 70,000, represents a repudiation of the failed politics and policies that Republicans continue to embrace. We are confident that when all the ballots are counted, Scott will expand his lead and become an ally to President Obama in Congress who will help the President create jobs and turn our economy around."

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Obama And Brown Point To Unity In Economic Crisis During their joint press conference earlier today, President Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown assured the public that the world would not fall into the trap of protectionism that exacerbated the Great Depression: "That is a mistake that we cannot afford to repeat." Brown also pointed to the G-20 summit itself as a sign of consensus among world leaders: "As President Obama has said, never before has the world come together in this way to deal with an economic crisis."

Obama In London For G-20 President Obama is in London for the G-20 summit. At 3:05 a.m. ET he met with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and the two held a press conference at 5:15 a.m. ET. At 6:45 a.m. ET he met with Russian leaders. At 8 a.m. ET he met with British Conservative Party Leader David Cameron. At 9 a.m. ET he is meeting with Chinese leaders, and at 12:35 p.m. ET he will meet with the Queen of England. At 1 p.m. ET he will attend a reception for G-20 leaders, and at 3:30 p.m. ET they will hold a working dinner.

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NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions just put out a statement looking forward optimistically in NY-20 and playing the spin game, boasting that their man Jim Tedisco has closed the gap in a tough, Democratic-held district:

"As the latest vote totals reflect, there still remain thousands of absentee and military ballots that have to be counted. Rest assured that Republicans will ensure that the integrity of the election is protected and every vote is counted. As it stands now, there is a Republican advantage in the number of absentee and military ballots that have been returned.

"With that being said, Jim Tedisco has closed the gap in a district that has come to exemplify Democratic dominance in the Northeast in recent elections. That is a testament to the strength of Jim's campaign and the effectiveness of the Republican message of fiscal responsibility and accountability that Americans are demanding in the wake of the AIG scandal.

"Less than 150 days ago, President Obama carried New York's 20th District, and former Congresswoman Gillibrand was handily reelected in this district by a margin of 62-38 percent, despite the fact that her Republican opponent spent $6 million trying to defeat her. For the first time in a long time, a Republican candidate went toe-to-toe with a Democrat in a hard-fought battle over independent voters. This was hardly a common phenomenon in 2008, particularly in the Northeast."

The claim that more Republicans have turned in absentee ballots could very well be true -- but it's not quite complete, either. The unaffiliated voters in this district have leaned heavily Democratic in recent elections -- thus the Dem wins in a district where the GOP has a big registration advantage on paper. And if that pattern continues, it won't be good news for them.

As for Tedisco closing the gap, it needs to be remembered that he led in all the polls against his lesser-known opponent, until very late in the race.

But it really is too early to know how this will all turn out.

DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen has put out this statement regarding tonight's deadlocked special election for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's former House seat -- predicting that Murphy will only expand his lead as the absentee ballots are counted, and pretty much declaring victory:

"From 21 points down to securing a majority of the vote tonight, congratulations to Scott Murphy who ran an extraordinary campaign focused on his record as a successful businessman who helped to create jobs and his strong support for President Obama's economic recovery act. As votes continue to be counted, we're confident that Scott Murphy will expand his lead.

"Scott Murphy's strong showing in this district where Republicans outnumber Democrats by more than 70,000 represents a rejection of the obstructionist agenda and scare tactics that have become the hallmark of House Republicans."

At this point, the race really comes down to which party had the better absentee ballot operation. Van Hollen is voicing a confident tone here.

Frequent readers of this site might recognize the next steps in New York's 20th Congressional District, where tonight's special election for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's old House seat has left Democratic candidate Scott Murphy leading Republican Jim Tedisco by 65 votes with 100% of precincts in: Courtroom proceedings, as the lawyers sort their way through absentee ballots.

The key issues here is that the Republican Party filed a legal complaint today to contest the election results, before the polls even closed -- which is not actually unheard of in New York, I've been told by state board of elections spokesman Bob Brehm.

Ballots have already been impounded tonight, for safekeeping. A hearing has been scheduled for this coming Monday, at which the candidates and the government will hammer out the procedures for counting, challenging and resolving ballots -- and you can bet the absentees will play a major part in this.

"There are statutory processes for canvassing and re-canvassing," Brehm explained, "and basically they're on hold until the court can set up a calendar that is mutually agreeable."

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The national parties are giving their reactions to today's big legal developments in Minnesota.

Jim Manley, the spokesman for Harry Reid, issued this statement:

"Sen. Reid is looking forward to the final resolution of this case by the Minnesota courts so that Al Franken can finally be seated as the new senator from Minnesota."

Pay close attention to the specific mention here of the Minnesota courts. This would appear to say that Reid believes Franken should be seated after his expected victory at the Minnesota Supreme Court -- and that this shouldn't wait for federal appeals.

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