TPM News

The new push to take up immigration in the Senate has more to do with voters in Nevada, California and Colorado -- and a new law in Arizona that's sparked uproar -- than it does with what's politically possible in Washington. The legislative battle -- no matter how unlikely to reach a conclusion in 2010 -- will give critical face time and an electoral boost to vulnerable Democratic incumbents from Western states that have long asked for Congressional leadership on how to handle the millions of illegal immigrants coming across the border.

Making a genuine attempt at a comprehensive immigration plan that includes a pathway to citizenship has dual potential to help Democrats politically -- they motivate Latino voters and labor unions who have long championed the issue, and they can portray unwilling Republicans as anti-Hispanic. Demographic shifts in the West have helped Democrats scoop up more Congressional seats and win electoral college battles in recent years.

With Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid among those on the ropes in this fall's midterm elections, fighting for an issue that voters and political activists in Nevada are passionate about can't hurt. The same goes for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO).

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Are the Goldman Sachs executives testifying at today's governmental affairs hearing sorry? Do they have regrets about their role in the financial crisis?

Sure doesn't sound like it.

"Regret to me means something that you feel that you did wrong," said former Goldman partner Dan Sparks. "And I don't have that."

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Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) is working on new legislation that would close any loopholes in the law banning deceptive fundraising mailers of the sort sent recently by the RNC, according to his office.

"We're gonna do everything we can to protect the integrity of the census," Kurt Bardella, a spokesman for the California Republican, told TPMmuckraker. "If there is a loophole, we want to close it." Bardella said he expected the legislation would be introduced today and marked up next week.

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Democratic representatives are calling on America's health insurance companies to adopt more of the new consumer protections contained in the health care reform law ahead of schedule. Following the decision by several insurers to voluntarily adopt legally required coverage for children on their parents' insurance up to age 26, Democrats are hoping the industry will go one step further and end the practice of revoking medical coverage when a policy holder gets sick.

In a letter obtained by TPMDC, the committee chairs and subcommittee chairs of the three house committees dealing with health reform are calling on seven big insurance companies -- WellPoint, Kaiser Permanente, Assurant, United Health, Humana, Blue Cross and Aetna -- to take the step to keep sick people insured on their own.

"These rescissions hurt patients who need coverage the most, such as women diagnosed with breast cancer," the letter reads. "We are writing to ask all of your companies to end any such abusive practices immediately."

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Fabrice Tourre, the Goldman Sachs executive named in an SEC civil fraud suit that charges that the firm knowingly sold a mortgage-related security that was designed to fail, said during a governmental affairs hearing moments ago that he deeply regrets sending a series of emails released by Goldman Sachs. In one, he boasted about selling shoddy products to a "widow and orphans."

"These emails were personal emails that I deeply regret," Tourre said.

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The shady anti-financial reform group Stop Too Big To Fail today announced a new TV advertising push in three key states that features an out-of-context quote from former Labor Secretary Robert Reich to bolster its case to kill financial reform.

As TPMmuckraker has reported, Stop Too Big To Fail is the project of a veteran astroturf operation called Consumers for Competitive Choice, and it's using the services of an ad agency that worked with the Swift Boat Vets For Truth in 2004. It has already spent $1.6 million on anti-reform ads and won't say who's funding the group's efforts.

Stop Too Big To Fail previously featured progressive economist Simon Johnson on one of its media conference calls before he realized the goals of the outfit and demanded it stop using his name. Now, Stop Too Big To Fail has turned to using Reich to add credibility to a message designed to sound progressive, while in fact advocating to kill the financial reform legislation.

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A day after Republicans voted in lockstep to block debate on financial reform, Dem-friendly interest groups are beginning, slowly, to target GOP members--highlighting their obstruction, and pushing them to break the filibuster. But though it would be a stretch to call these actions an onslaught, the filibuster itself is earning the GOP plenty of negative attention, with or without a coordinated messaging strategy.

The Service Employees International Union is asking members and supporters to pressure several Republicans, including Richard Burr (R-NC), Kit Bond (R-MO), David Vitter (R-LA), George LeMieux (R-FL), Bob Corker (R-TN), George Voinovich (R-OH), Scott Brown (R-MA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), via phone call and online petition.

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The outrage over that RNC "Census" fundraising mailer -- sent just weeks after Congress passed a law to ban such mailers -- has gone bipartisan.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), a co-sponsor of the legislation passed last month, told The PlumLine's Greg Sargent that the mailer is intended to "deceive people," and added that he and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) will send a letter to RNC chair Michael Steele urging him to put a stop to the missives.

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Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio (R) today commented on the new Arizona law that targets illegal immigrants by requiring law enforcement officers to ask for the papers of anyone they have a "reasonable suspicion" is in the country illegally.

Rubio, who is the son of Cuban immigrants, said he has some "concerns" about the law.

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