In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Alabama now faces a federal lawsuit over its voter ID law after closing 30 or so driver's licenses offices, many of them in areas with high African-American populations.

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund is bringing the suit on behalf of Greater Birmingham Ministries and the Alabama NAACP. It was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Alabama.

"The Photo ID Law was conceived and operates as a purposeful device to further racial discrimination, and results in Alabama’s African-American and Latino (or Hispanic) voters having less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate effectively in the political process and to elect candidates of their choice," the complaint says, alleging the law violates the Voting Rights Act as well as the 14th and 15th Amendments of the Constitution.

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Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told reporters Tuesday that Republicans and Democrats had a lot of work to do before the holiday break. Not on the list? Making it harder for Syrian refugees to come to America.

“We have a lot to do and a lot of things to worry about, but refugees is not one," Reid said in response to a question about whether or not inserting language to slow the flow of Syrian refugees could be a poison pill for the omnibus bill.

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The Republican-controlled Senate is moving forward with plans to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood and gut Obamacare despite a deadly shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs that left three dead and nine injured.

"It's not like it's new around here," the Senate's No. 3 Republican John Thune told reporters late Monday when asked how the shooting may change the political calculus. "It's a vote we expected to have."

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While political outsiders Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson continue to lead the 2016 GOP field in the polls, attention is beginning to shift to a growing rivalry between two congressional Republicans: Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Rubio and Cruz are both serving their first terms in the U.S. Senate, having been elected with Tea Party support, and each now seeks to differentiate himself from the other. The tensions began when Cruz started taking subtle jabs at Rubio. The Texas senator has described himself as the conservative alternative to the "moderate" Rubio and, unprompted, bashed a sugar subsidy program Rubio supports in the last Republican presidential debate.

Now the two candidates have begun calling each other out by name. Here are three of the areas where the Cruz-Rubio battle lines are being drawn.

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The Obama administration announced Monday it was taking steps to crack down on security shortcomings in the visa waiver program that allows visitors from 38 countries around the world to come to the U.S. with ease.

While much of the American political scrutiny after the Paris terrorist attacks has revolved around the dangers of admitting Syrian refugees, many of the attackers in Paris were citizens of Western countries who would have been eligible to travel to the U.S. without much scrutiny. Refugees, meanwhile, undergo a rigorous background check process that can take up to two years. Democrats in Congress tried to refocus legislative changes from barring refugees to increasing scrutiny on the visa waiver program.

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More than a quarter million Louisiana residents will soon be eligible for health coverage when Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards (pictured) fulfills his promise to expand Medicaid.

Louisiana is just the latest example of a state that has changed its tune on the federal program. Only unlike other states where a Republican-held legislature inevitably came around to expansion, the shift in Louisiana is a remarkably rare instance where a Democrat won control of the governor's mansion and transformed the health care politics of the deeply red state essentially over night.

That state's outgoing Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal had resisted expansion even as his state held one of the highest uninsured rates in the country at 16.3 percent.

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Additional reporting by Caitlin MacNeal

Donald Trump wants to create a national registry to track American Muslims. Sen. Marco Rubio is prepared to close “any place where radicals are being inspired," including mosques. Ted Cruz has sponsored a bill in the Senate barring some Muslim refugees – a majority from Syria – and a Democratic mayor in Roanoke used the internment of Japanese Americans in the 1940s as justification to stop the flow of Syrian refugees to his community.

A terrorist attack 3,828 miles away from Washington has sparked a raw and visceral political reaction across the country to Islam and refugees that hasn't been front and center since 9/11. In the years since, other major attacks have rocked Western countries -- the Madrid commuter rail system (191 dead in 2004), the London Underground (56 dead in 2005), the Boston Marathon (6 dead in 2013) -- but have not spawned the kind of reflexively anti-Muslim and anti-refugee outcry in America that the Paris attacks have.

Why this dramatic of a reaction and why now?

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After Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) gave an impassioned speech on the House floor Wednesday condemning the "xenophobic" backlash against Syrian refugees, a strange thing happened. Russell proceeded to vote for the bill clamping down on Syrian refugees entering the United States, which Russell had just called a "knee-jerk" reaction to the attacks in Paris.

So what happened? Why the change of heart?

In an exclusive interview Friday with TPM, Russell revealed what transpired.

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