TPM News

Late last year, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), now the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent letters to hundreds of businesses to solicit feedback on government regulations that they felt impede job creation. Today, he posted the submissions he received -- a collection of almost 2,000 pages from 160 industry groups, ranging from the American Meat Institute to the Chamber of Commerce.

Even with just a cursory scan of the documents, it's clear there's at least one government agency that industry wants reigned in, immediately: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). More than 100 responses point to EPA rules as an obstacle to job creation.

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Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is expected to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, according to one advisor who told CNN: "We have definitely shifted gears, there is no question about that. He's running until he says he's not."

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The resignation of Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) will provide an interesting political science test case -- for a new electoral system in California.

In a referendum held during last year's primary, California's voters approved Proposition 14, which replaced the conventional party primaries with a different system known as Top Two, which has already been in use in Washington state for the past few years. (A similar system has been used for a long time in Louisiana, sometimes called the "jungle primary," but Washington state's version was the model used for California -- and in fact, Louisiana has scrapped the use of the jungle primary for federal races.)

Under this system, which took effect in January this year, all candidates will appear on the same ballot, with their respective party labels next to their names, and the top two voter-getters advancing to the general election. This system allows for the possibility of two Democrats or two Republicans facing off in very safe districts, which is thought to benefit more moderate candidates, though in statewide races and swing districts there will likely be one Dem vs. one GOPer.

A key feature of California's implementation of this system is that in regularly-scheduled elections, there will be a second round regardless of whether somebody were to get over 50% of the vote in the primary. For a special election such as this one to fill Harman's seat, however, a candidate who wins over 50% in the first round will not face a runoff, but will be elected immediately.

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The American Muslim community knows that Islamic extremism is a threat -- and several panelists at a forum hosted by a Muslim-American group on Capitol Hill today said that a community policing approach in partnership with the intelligence community was the best way to counter radicalization.

"Law enforcement can neither go in alone or arrest its way out of this challenge," the Muslim Public Affairs Council's Alejandro J. Beutel said.

"Our heads aren't in the sand, the threat clearly exists," Beutel said. "The threat exists, but it is not a pandemic."

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In a letter sent to her constituents earlier today, Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) confirmed reports that she'll likely be stepping from the seat she's held since 2000 to take over as president of a Washington think tank.

"Earlier today, I filed paperwork notifying the House of Representatives that I am in discussions to succeed former Rep. Lee Hamilton [D-IN] as President and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars," Harman wrote. "I send this note because a decision is imminent and I wanted you to hear the news from me first."

Harman says the talks with the Wilson center are "ongoing" and she expects to remain in Congress "for some weeks and do everything possible to ensure an orderly transition."

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Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, one of the many not-yet-running-officially Republicans running for President, is doing what most Republicans in his position are doing these days: bashing the Democratic health care reforms, and suggesting that the law that codified them is one of the worst pieces of legislation in American history.

Daniels, whose GOP cred comes mostly from his budget-cutting ways in Indiana and his time as President Bush's budget director, took a stab at leveraging his policy wonkiness to offer up his own solutions to what his party sees as the Obamacare mess. His plan? Drop those pesky mandates and send the states more federal money.

Of course the best fix, Daniels says, would be for someone to just put an end to this whole health care reform thing.

From an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal:

"Many of us governors are hoping for either a judicial or legislative rescue from this impending disaster, and recent court decisions suggest there's a chance of that," he wrote. "But we can't count on a miracle -- that's only permitted in Washington policy making."

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Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) recently proposed a stop-gap measure to prioritize paying off interest on U.S. debt in the event that the country reaches its debt ceiling. Democrats have attacked this plan as a "pay China first" proposal, which will disadvantage American retirees and veterans who are also owed money by the Treasury.

But who would really get the money? Well, yes, China. But so too would many other countries, institutions, and individuals in the United States. The Christian Science Monitor has a handy breakdown here.

About 53 percent of U.S. debt held by the public was held domestically. Says CSM, "Within this slice, the largest category is individuals - Treasury notes are good solid additions to any portfolio. US individuals hold 12 percent of the country's debt. Next under the domestic category comes the Federal Reserve, which holds 9 percent of US debt, then pension and retirement funds, mutual funds, and state and local governments."

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Just before the midterm elections, a poll of California voters found that more people disapproved of President Obama's job performance than approved of it. Yet a new PPP poll shows that Obama's approval rating has rebounded, and he now holds commanding leads in all the potention 2012 matchups against the current frontrunners for the Republican presidential nomination.

Mike Huckabee was the most competitive challenger in the poll, trailing Obama 54% to 39%. Mitt Romney fared second best of the GOP contenders, lagging the President 56% to 36%. Both results are slightly tighter than the 24 point margin by which Obama won the state in the 2008 election.

The poll also showed Obama beating Newt Gingrich 58% to 34%, and blowing out Sarah Palin 62% to 31%.

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