TPM News

The labor-backed group We Are Wisconsin has a new round of ads in the state Senate recalls - including one spot that might raise some eyebrows, targeting Republican state Sen. Randy Hopper.

In addition to the backlash against Gov. Scott Walker's ultra-conservative policies, Hopper is also facing his own political headaches due to a messy divorce -- and claims by his estranged wife that he "now lives mostly in Madison" after having an affair.

"When it comes to standing up for Wisconsin families, Randy Hopper is leaving us behind," the announcer says. "Hopper supported Governor Walker's budget that slashed nearly 800 million from our schools. He supported devastating cuts to seniors' health care. And Hopper voted to raise taxes on middle-class families.

"But who didn't get left behind by Senator Hopper? Big corporations and the super-rich, who got 200 million in tax breaks.

"Put middle-class families first, and send Hopper home."

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Congressional leaders failed Sunday to reach agreement on a plausible path to raise the country's borrowing limit ahead of international market openings on Monday. At least publicly.

According to sources in both parties, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) are likely to introduce separate debt packages in their respective chambers Monday, each with a different approach to avoiding a catastrophic default, and the key question now is whether the two plans can be reconciled in some way -- whether the trains are moving in the same direction or set to collide head on.

Reid sought to answer that question in a late Sunday statement, ripping the GOP for its continued insistence that the debt limit fight be raised in two condition-laden steps, forcing Congress to replay this same fight in several months.

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Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in a conference call Sunday afternoon urged his rank-and-file to accept a debt deal that "has a shot" of passing both chambers of Congress and being signed by President Obama.

"The White House has never gotten serious about tackling the serious issues our nation faces - not without tax hikes - and I don't think they ever will," he told rank-and-file GOP members on the call, according to excerpts of the comments circulated among the conference and obtained by TPM.

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With just hours to go before the Asian financial markets open -- a waypoint set by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) yesterday -- Boehner promised to propose a new framework to raise the debt ceiling by the end of Sunday. But he couldn't promise a bipartisan deal after a day of talks Saturday that seemed to be unsuccessful.

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Boehner said a framework is coming Sunday. But where it goes after that is anyone's guess.

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After a full day of negotiations at the White House and on Capitol Hill, it appears Washington is no closer to raising the debt ceiling than it was when the day began. If anything, the situation may be worse.

The day began with a meeting at the White House led by President Obama and featuring House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The congressional leaders then left for Capitol Hill, where they held another hour-long session in Boehner's office. Finally, just Reid and Pelosi met in Pelosi's office.

The White House meeting ended with little progress toward getting the debt ceiling raised. The news from the Capitol Hill meetings is the same story.

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As Congressional leaders huddle this weekend to hammer out a deal to increase the debt limit before the nation defaults, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reaffirmed that he won't accept the solution some Republicans have been pushing as default gets close.

"I will not support any short-term agreement, and neither will President Obama nor Leader Pelosi," Reid said in a statement. "We seek an extension of the debt ceiling through at least the end of 2012. We will not send a message of uncertainty to the world."

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As the debt crisis inches ever closer to default, Democrats are hitting the campaign trail to tie the crisis to the GOP.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching robocall attacks on 60 Republicans across the country, promising dire consequences if the debt limit doesn't rise -- and pinning the crisis on the GOP.

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An urgent Saturday morning White House debt talks meeting between President Obama and Congressional leaders ended after less than an hour, with both sides remaining in a stand-off and pledging to keep working through the weekend.

President Obama continued to press the leaders for a grander bargain rather than a short-term extension of the debt ceiling so the nation would not default, arguing that such a stopgap step could cause the country's credit rating to be downgraded, harming the economy and causing every American to pay higher credit cards rates and more for home and car loans.

"As the current situation makes clear, it would be irresponsible to put our country and economy at risk again in just a few short months with another battle over raising the debt ceiling," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement after the meeting. "Congress should refrain from playing reckless political games with our economy. Instead, it should be responsible and do its job, avoiding default and cutting the deficit."

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) held a conference call with rank-and-file Republicans in which he said he was hoping to forge a deal to wrangle between $3 trillion and $5 trilion in savings and would prefer to avoid falling back on the so-called "McConnell Plan" that would hand over authority to raise the debt ceiling to the President with Congress able to disapprove only with a two-thirds majority vote, according to a breaking news alert from Politico.

During the call, the Speaker also pledged to help avert a crisis in the Asian markets by making a statement within 24 hours about the status of raising the debt limit.

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President Obama and White House officials earnestly believed they were closing in on a deficit-reduction deal with only three remaining sticking points until Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) pulled the rug out from under them and walked away from the negotiating table late Friday afternoon, White House officials said Friday night.

As of Thursday, Obama and Boehner had been working on a grand bargain that would produce roughly $3 trillion in savings over 10 years, the officials confirmed. But talks broke down along three major differences: the two sides were $400 billion apart on taxes, Obama rejected a last minute demand from the GOP that the deal include a repeal of the individual mandate in healthcare reform, and the two sides were still haggling over a difference of $40 billion in cuts to Medicaid, according to the White House.

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