TPM News

The AARP is planning a major announcement on health care tomorrow, an official told TPMDC tonight. But the group won't confirm today's AP story that AARP is ready to endorse the health care reform bill presented by House Democrats this week.

AARP's announcement will come at a press conference scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the group's D.C. headquarters, the official said. Should it be the subject of the briefing, an AARP endorsement of the House bill would be a big victory for supporters of the Democratic reform package. AARP is second to none when it comes to influence on policies related to seniors, and the backing would give the bill a stamp of approval from one of the most powerful non-partisan groups in the country.

Read More →

The Republican boycott of Senate climate change legislation continues today. But yesterday, Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), whose objections sparked the boycott, insisted, in a tense, almost tearful moment, that his concerns were sincere, and implored Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)--chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee--to humor him.



Voinovich himself sounds pretty earnest. But at the same time, It's hard to fault Boxer, who, after years worth of hearings on the issue, knows that all the additional EPA studies and GOP placating in the world won't win her a single minority vote in committee. So why not move ahead?

Has the tea party movement gotten so boring that it's holding conventions now?

Apparently. Tea Party Nation, a Nashville-based group with an online social network, is holding the first-ever "National Tea Party Convention" in February.

We don't have many details, and the organizers declined to divulge anything before their official announcement. But in the original announcement on their site and on Twitter, the group disclosed that the keynote speaker is ... Sarah Palin!

Read More →

The White House could probably laugh off the House Republicans' health care bill. But when the Democrats' bill comes to the floor conservatives will no doubt complain that their, better proposal is getting short shrift, so the Obama administration is getting out in front of that.

"House Republican Health Care "Plan": Putting Families at Risk," is the title of White House talking points, hitting a number of key aspects of the GOP plan.

"Unlike the House Leadership bill, the Republicans' bill takes us backwards rather than forwards."

"No Elimination of Discrimination Based on Pre-existing Conditions."

"The Republicans' bill leaves affordable health insurance out of reach for millions of Americans."

You get the idea. Read the entire sheet below the fold. It'll give you a sense of the plans failings, and the line Dems will be taking against it in the days (and possibly weeks) ahead.

Read More →

Sen. Jim DeMint says Republicans must be "rock solid" conservatives to win in 2010, and predicted a national "army" will rise up next year.

TPMDC listened in last night on a call run by DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund as they ticked off the races they are watching and detailed the conservative direction they think Republicans need to head toward.

DeMint said he wanted to "harness the energy" he saw during the tea parties.

He said he wants to show that "anywhere in the country," a "principled Republican with conservative principles" can win.

"That is going to change politics in America," he said. "You're going to see an army of Americans fighting for freedom in this next election."

Read More →

Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) chief of staff Michelle Marston, a long-time veteran of Capitol Hill who has guided Bachmann in her much-increased national TV presence this year, has quit her post.

The Politico reports:

In an e-mail exchange with POLITICO, Marston declined to say why she's going.

"I'm just not talking about it, and frankly I don't think there's a story here," Marston wrote. "Now, the thousands of people calling our office to tell us [they're] coming to Capitol Hill tomorrow - that's a story."

...

A conservative Republican House member, speaking on the condition of anonymity, suggested that Bachman's views - and her willingness to state them - make it hard for her to keep staff.

"When your captain's crazy, it's time to find a new ship," the lawmaker said.

The House will likely vote on its health care reform bill at 6 p.m. Saturday, although the time is not yet official.

The Rules Committee, which will meet at 2 p.m. Friday to prepare the bill for debate, is not expected to allow amendments.

The committee has, however, been working to secure votes for the bill by adjusting the language. Chairwoman Louise Slaughter told CQ Politics that she'd added anti-abortion language put forward by Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN).

Read More →

The Republican fratricide that cost the GOP the NY-23 special election is only going to keep on going, with the Minuteman PAC -- the anti-illegal immigration group that endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman -- vowing to keep up the fight in a new e-mail to their supporter list:

And, the vote totals revealed that reality late last night when it appeared that Bill Owen's margin of victory was the same percentage of votes cast for Scozzafava.

The moral of the story? Had Scozzafava not run, Hoffman would have easily won the election!!!

STOP MORE SCOZZAFAVA SPOILERS! HELP MINUTEMAN PAC RE-ARM FOR 2010!

...

After Minuteman PAC stepped into the race on behalf of Hoffman to expose Scozzafava and Owens' liberal records, Scozzafava was forced to abandon her campaign and her true colors were exposed to the entire country. . .

And Minuteman PAC will continue aiming at key races where brave patriot candidates have enlisted to unseat or defeat anti-American candidates! That's why we cannot sulk, we cannot rest, we must keep fighting. . .


The full e-mail is available after the jump.

Read More →

When he was hauled before Congress last week for sending those forged letters to lawmakers on climate change, astroturf lobbyist Jack Bonner pledged to make sure that no similar event ever happened again. As a centerpiece of that effort, Bonner announced that his firm had retained James Thurber, an American University political science professor, to act as an "independent ethics adviser."

Bonner assured lawmakers that the new adviser "is well-regarded as maintaining the highest ethical standards and independence," and "will review our policies and work with us to continue to improve our internal quality control system to the highest standards." All in all, it sounded like a good idea.

Read More →

In response to this scientific post by TPMDC, a Republican House leadership aide sends over a link to Bill Owens' campaign website to suggest that Owens ought to oppose "the Pelosi health care bill". Here are the key bullet points.

Bill Owens is opposed to:
  • Opposes: Medicare benefit cuts. We can all agree that there are inefficiencies and waste in the system, but any savings should be used to strengthen Medicare.


  • Opposes: Taxing health care benefits.


  • Opposes: Increasing taxes on the middle class in any way.


Of these, the only one that could legitimately cause Owens any grief is the first. The House bill doesn't tax health care benefits or the middle class. It does extract waste from Medicare, in part by reining in over-payments by Medicare Advantage plans, and those savings are not rerouted back into Medicare. But does that mean he should oppose the bill. It doesn't sound like he thinks he should, but we have a call in to his campaign staff for some clarity.

TPMLivewire