In it, but not of it. TPM DC

The Senate reached a bipartisan deal on Thursday to revive emergency jobless benefits for five months and permits retroactive payments to those who lost it on Dec. 28, according to top aides familiar with the agreement.

It's paid for with a policy known as "pension smoothing" (which both parties have supported in the past but critics have bashed as a budgetary sleight of hand), an extension of custom user fees through 2024 and a provision that lets single-employer pension plans prepay their premiums.

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Updated: March 13, 2014, 10:39 AM

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) announced Wednesday that she would not seek a third term in office, ending a tenure that included falsely very publicly wagging her finger in President Barack Obama's face (to the delight of tea partiers everywhere) to later bucking Arizona conservatives and pushing to expand Medicaid through Obamacare. It's been an interesting tenure but, as Brewer said, "there does come a time to pass the torch of leadership."

Fortunately, the Arizona gubernatorial field has its share of interesting characters that could succeed Brewer. Polling has also shown a wide open field. Here's a guide to the crowded field of candidates running to be the next governor of Arizona:

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House Republicans expect to vote this Friday on legislation that would risk steep, destabilizing Medicare cuts at the end of the month unless Democrats agree to a five-year delay of Obamacare's individual mandate.

It mirrors some of the brinkmanship in the government shutdown fight last fall in that the GOP is using a must-pass bill as a vehicle to chop the Affordable Care Act. Democratic leaders have repeatedly rejected proposals to tinker with the mandate to buy insurance and have warned Republicans not to tie a physician payment fix to their partisan quest to unravel Obamacare.

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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) announced Wednesday that she won't seek reelection.

Brewer made the announcement at a press conference at Park Meadows Elementary School in Glendale, Arizona, according to the Arizona Republic.

"There does come a time to pass the torch of leadership," Brewer said. "After completing this year in office, I will do just that."

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Welcome to a brave new era of trolling in the post-nuclear Senate.

Senate Republicans voted unanimously to confirm three judicial nominees on Wednesday after nearly all of them attempted -- and failed -- to filibuster the nominees the previous day.

The final votes were 98-0, 98-0 and 97-0, respectively, on Carolyn B. McHugh to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Matthew Leitman to be a Michigan district judge, and Judith Ellen Levy to be a Michigan district judge. If Republicans hadn't objected to up-or-down votes on the nominees on Tuesday, the Senate wouldn't have had to waste a day to confirm the three picks.

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The cast of characters waiting in the wings to chair powerful Senate committees if Republicans win the majority this November would radically shift the direction of the chamber and probably make life miserable for the White House.

It wouldn't be the majority leader's choice. GOP committee members would vote on them, although sources say senators tend to negotiate and agree upon the assignments ahead of time. Based on seniority, conversations with Republican sources and the quirks of internal conference rules with regard to committees, here's who is best positioned to chair the various panels under a GOP majority.

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Candidate A has applauded her state's decision to expand Medicaid under Obamacare and endorsed some of its insurance market reforms. Candidate B has recently voted to delay the law's individual mandate.

Who is the Democrat and who is the Republican? You'd be forgiven for being confident that Candidate A must be a Democrat and Candidate B must be the Republican. But in the Michigan Senate race, you'd be wrong.

No, in that hotly contested campaign, likely to be one of a handful that will determine control of the Senate next year, GOP nominee Terri Lynn Land has spent the last few weeks subtly walking back from her "full repeal" stance. She expressed support for her state's decision to expand Medicaid under the law and said Monday that she could back some other parts of Obamacare, too.

Meanwhile, the Democratic nominee, Rep. Gary Peters, voted alongside House Republicans last week to delay the individual mandate for one year, bucking party leadership by approving a bill that, even if only symbolically, is intended by House Republicans to significantly undermine the law.

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Updated: March 12, 2014, 9:44 AM

Lobbyist David Jolly (R) beat former Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink (D) in the Florida special election for the late Rep. C. W. Young's (R-FL) House seat.

The race was called by the Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal less than an hour after polls closed.

Jolly in the end won with 89,099 votes (48.43 percent) to Sink's 85,642 (46.55 percent). Libertarian candidate Lucas Overby got 8,893 votes or 4.83 percent.

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