TPM News

The GOP contingent on a Senate environmental committee will boycott a hearing aimed at moving a bill limiting carbon emissions toward final passage next week.

Environment and Public Works Committee chair Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has scheduled a markup hearing on the cap-and-trade bill for Tuesday. The markup process is a key step before a bill leaves committee on its way to an eventual floor vote. All seven Republicans on Boxer's committee, led by ranking member Sen. James Inhfe (R-OK) will not attend Boxers hearing, and will instead hold a separate shadow hearing of their own focused on slowing down the cap-and-trade bill.

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Who has bent President Obama's ear? Or huddled with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel?

The White House just posted nearly 500 records. Check it out here, and TPMDC will update readers as we go through the names.

Norm Eisen, special counsel to Obama on ethics, detailed the release in a blog post and said the 110 requests cover from January 20, 2009 to July 31, 2009.

Eisen writes:

There's an important lesson here as well. This unprecedented level of transparency can sometimes be confusing rather than providing clear information.

A lot of people visit the White House, up to 100,000 each month, with many of those folks coming to tour the buildings. Given this large amount of data, the records we are publishing today include a few "false positives" - names that make you think of a well-known person, but are actually someone else. In September, requests were submitted for the names of some famous or controversial figures (for example Michael Jordan, William Ayers, Michael Moore, Jeremiah Wright, Robert Kelly ("R. Kelly"), and Malik Shabazz). The well-known individuals with those names never actually came to the White House. Nevertheless, we were asked for those names and so we have included records for those individuals who were here and share the same names.

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Yesterday, the House ethics committee announced it is forming a special subcommittee to investigate Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) in a case involving the bailout and a bank in which her husband had a stake.

This is separate from the leaked ethics document, and the committee is taking it more seriously than many of the already-dismissed cases outlined in that document. So what is Waters, a ten-term representative and the second ranking Dem on the House Financial Services Committee, accused of?

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In a curt, terse letter delivered today, public option champion, and progressive caucus co-chair Raul Grijalva says he wants to see some major changes to the House's health care bill--reflected in a so-called manager's amendment--before it comes to the floor.

  • Americans in every state in the nation must be able to take advantage of the benefits of the bill; thus the bill shall explicitly state that the public option must be available without any triggers or opt-out provisions.

  • If the Secretary is forced to negotiate provider reimbursement rates in the public plan, a ceiling shall be determined and set for such rates.

  • The bill shall fully repeal the McCarran Ferguson Act for health and medical malpractice insurance, as oppose to merely amending the Act.

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Vice President Biden will be headed to upstate New York this Monday, to campaign for Democratic candidate Bill Owens in the NY-23 special election.

Biden's visit is coming the day before the election, in a final push to get out the Democratic vote against Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman and Republican Dede Scozzafava.

Hoffman will be bringing in his own big name: Country singer John Rich, who will be headlining a GOTV rally on Monday.

The Chamber of Commerce, whose intransigent stance on global warming has lately been in the spotlight, is now being slammed in comments on its own Facebook page.

Many of the comments, which appear on the "Just Fans" setting, accuse the Chamber of vastly inflating its membership numbers. Mother Jones reported earlier this month that the Chamber's claim to represent 3 million members is off by a factor of 10.

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Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) has found a new lever in his primary campaign against Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA). Sestak is hitting Specter for his early (and possibly continuing) opposition to the confirmation of Dawn Johnsen, whom President Obama nominated to head the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel back in February.

"As the administration deals with crucial legal issues from interrogating and prosecuting terrorists to closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Arlen Specter and Senate Republicans have decided to tie the President's hands by denying him a critical advisor," Sestak says in a new statement.

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Chris Christie appeared yesterday on the Don Imus show, and cracked some jokes about his weight. I didn't realize just how funny it was until I saw this YouTube, via Jim Geraghty.

In addition to predicting that he'll be a "big fat winner," and sarcastically giving his weight as 550 pounds, Christie also put forward his accomplishments on economic stimulus: "We gotta spur our economy, Don. Dunkin' Donuts, International House of Pancakes -- those people need to work, too."

Michael Steele told Republican party leaders across the country today that one year after voters handed both houses of Congress and the White House to the Democrats, the GOP is poised to regain prominence on the political landscape.

In his "2009 Political Update," an email sent to the party's list of activists, Steele says the summer's town hall meetings and next week's elections in New Jersey in Virginia prove his first year at the helm of the GOP has been a success. He writes,

"Just one year ago, many political pundits had written the epitaph of the Republican Party. ... Today, Republicans have begun to reestablish the trust of voters on a majority of issues; and, I am proud to say are turning an important corner and are moving forward with strength."

Inside the document, Steele suggests are signs that the GOP still has a few corners to turn before it's back to the ideological unanimity found during its years in absolute power over D.C..

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