In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Tens of thousands of Americans descended on Washington for the annual March For Life on Thursday only to see House Republicans melt down over their signature issue: abortion.

A symbolic messaging bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy threw the party into disarray and was abruptly pulled at the last minute after a group of GOP women and swing-district lawmakers raised hackles over a rape-exception provision that required victims of sexual assault to report the crime to authorities before they could get an abortion.

"None of us saw it coming," Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) told reporters on Thursday.

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President Barack Obama will not meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when Netanyahu comes to Washington, D.C., in March to address a joint session of Congress at House Speaker John Boehner's invitation.

Boehner's invitation for Netanyahu to address Congress on Iran was described by experts as an "unprecedented" rebuke of Obama, but White House spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said that the president would not meet personally with Netanyahu because of the upcoming elections in Israel.

“As a matter of long-standing practice and principle, we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country," she said in an email to TPM. "Accordingly, the President will not be meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu because of the proximity to the Israeli election, which is just two weeks after his planned address to the U.S. Congress."

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House Speaker John Boehner's invitation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress on Iran is an unprecedented rebuke of President Barack Obama as he and Congress are preparing for a battle over Iran sanctions, experts told TPM.

The move came the day after Obama threatened in his State of the Union address to veto legislation putting new sanctions on Iran. He warned that new sanctions by Congress would disrupt the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) acknowledged the week before that ending negotiations "is very much an intended consequence" of a new sanctions bill that has been put forward with some Democratic support.

Although the US and Israel maintain a "special relationship," the discord between the Obama administration and Netanyahu's government has been well documented. Netanyahu welcomed 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in a visit Israel in the midst of the campaign. And anonymous Obama administration officials have been quoted calling the Israeli prime minster "a chickenshit."

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A routine anti-abortion messaging bill is causing consternation among House Republicans as some GOP women rebel against rape-related language.

As a result, House Republicans are discussing ways to tweak the legislation, which bans abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the bill's author Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) told TPM.

"My heart is open if we can find some way to make it better," Franks said in an interview just off the House floor on Wednesday. "But at this point I don't know what that is. There seems to be no consensus as to how we could make it better."

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House Republicans intend to vote this week on legislation to ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, a move to lay down their marker in the 114th Congress on a controversy that has roiled the nation for decades.

In an unusual move, some Republican women are rebelling against language that requires women to report a sexual assault to authorities in order to legally terminate a pregnancy resulting from rape.

Tuesday on the House floor, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) asked to remove their names as cosponsors of the bill.

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Sen. Marco Rubio told reporters on Wednesday he doesn’t plan to run for president and reelection to the Senate at the same time in 2016.

If he seeks the presidency, the Florida Republican said, “I won’t be able to run for reelect.”

“If I decide that I want to be president of the United States then that’s what I’m going to run for,” he said at a Washington breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “I think if you want to be president, that’s what you want to be and that’s what you run for, what you focus on.”

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Wisconsin's Republican-led legislature is pushing through a constitutional amendment that in-state observers say is a thinly veiled attack on the current liberal Wisconsin Supreme Court chief justice.

The amendment, which cleared the Senate on party lines Tuesday, would change how the court's chief justice is chosen. The position would no longer be the most senior judge on the court -- which is currently Shirley Abrahamson, a liberal -- and instead the chief justice would be elected by the other members of the court.

Four conservatives and three liberals, including Abrahamson, are sitting at the bench now. That leaves little doubt that, if the amendment were to be adopted, Abrahamson would be ousted.

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