TPM News

President Obama spoke about the economy at the White House today following a meeting with top banking executives.

"America's banks received extraordinary assistance from American taxpayers to rebuild their industry," Obama said. "And now that they're back on their feet, we expect an extraordinary commitment from them to help rebuild our economy."

Here's the full text of the president's remarks:

Read More →

John Podesta, President of the influential Center for American Progress, and head of President Barack Obama's transition effort, says that Sen. Joe Lieberman's filibuster threat likely has Senate Democrats pulling their files on passing health care reform through the 51-vote reconciliation process off the shelves.

"I suspect musty folders on reconciliation got dusted off this morning," Podesta told USA Today's Susan Page. "If you don't have Lieberman and you don't have Nelson, the question is whether you can get Snowe and Collins."

Podesta is, of course, referring to Sens. Ben Nelson (D-NE), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Susan Collins (R-ME).

The Democrats will be discussing this question--how to get 60 votes for a health care bill without Lieberman's support--at a 5:30 p.m. caucus meeting tonight. Emotion's are expected to be very raw.

Progressive Caucus Chairman Rep. Raul Grijalva said today it would be a "serious mistake" if Senate Democrats attempt to "steamroll" their health care bill over through the House without the middle step of a conference committee.

It's an idea that's floated on Capitol Hill lately especially as the Senate is having a tough time uniting the caucus on key elements in the bill.

"Our biggest concern is we won't have the opportunity to go face to face with the Senate," Grijalva (D-AZ) said on the ABC News show Top Line.

He said Speaker Nancy Pelosi has assured them she will insist on a conference committee and "we're counting on that." He said his caucus has told the White House and House leadership there must be a conference committee.

Read More →

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was apparently caught unawares by Sen. Joe Lieberman's latest assault on health care reform, and that's left Democratic leadership scrambling to figure out how to cobble together a bill that can get 60 votes on the Senate floor, without creating a tremendous head ache down the line when the House and Senate meet to tie their bills together.

Assuming that Lieberman can't be persuaded to back down from his threat to filibuster the bill unless all public option compromises are stripped from it, here are the options before the Democrats:

Read More →

At first glance, it certainly looks like the retirement of Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) could set up a strong pick-up opportunity for the Republicans.

Gordon himself has been re-elected by overwhelming margins, but the district's voting patterns have otherwise shown a decided swing to the Republicans. It was an approximate 49%-49% tie between George W. Bush and Al Gore in 2000, but then voted for Bush by 60%-40% in 2004, and for John McCain by 62%-37% in 2008.

"Well, I'm not gonna blow smoke on this. That district has trended Republican for years," a Democratic source bluntly admitted, though he wasn't giving up hope. "But having said that, there are still plenty of folks in that area, they've shown their independent-minded streak before."

NRCC spokesman Ken Spain put out a triumphant statement: "It's official: Democrats now have a retirement problem. After being forced to toe the line for Nancy Pelosi's reckless agenda too many times, Blue Dog Democrats would rather roll over and retire than face the political headwind that is barreling toward them. This is evidence of the fact that the Obama-Pelosi agenda of government takeovers, permanent bailouts, and fewer jobs is taking a political and mental toll even on incumbent Democrats who were once-perceived to be firmly entrenched."

Read More →

Meet Joe Lieberman, Medicare buy-in advocate. It's the winter of 2000, and Lieberman is pressing flesh and kissing babies in Bangor, Maine as the presidential election approaches. After holding a town hall meeting with voters at Bangor's opera house on Main Street, Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, sits down with the local paper to discuss the upcoming election and his ticket's plan to improve the nation's health care system by allowing some younger Americans to "buy in" to the government run program. As his running mate, Al Gore, has been doing on the trail for weeks, Lieberman talks up the value of a buy-in, eloquently arguing that it's a great compromise way to get incremental health care reform past members of Congress wary of a robust health care reform bill.

You know the members he's talking about. The ones that say any government-run health insurance plan, including a Medicare expansion, will bankrupt the country and hurt private insurance companies. The ones that, as of this weekend, count Joe Lieberman as one of their strongest allies.

Joe Lieberman, meet Joe Lieberman.

Read More →

The White House's Council of Economic Advisers released a report today finding, much as you'd expect, that the administration's top analysts believe the Democrats' health care reform initiative will reduce the rate of growth of public and private health care spending, and, as a result, increase GDP and boost employment.

According to CEA Christina Romer, who spoke with reporters by phone this morning, the Senate health care bill would "slow the growth rate of health care costs by one percentage point." That may not sound like a lot, but it translates into many billions of dollars a year in savings over what analysts expect in absence of health care reform.

That, Romer said, could have far-reaching ramifications for other economic indicators, such as GDP, which she said will be "as much as four percent higher than it would have been" in the absence of reform by 2030.

Separately, the report finds that, under the terms of the reform bill, median family income would be $6,800 a year higher than currently projected, the federal budget deficit would be two percent lower than projected by 2030, and unemployment will decrease in the near term.

You can read the entire report here (PDF).

President Obama today is huddling with big bank executives to detail his plans for economic recovery and financial reform and to ask them to help jumpstart small business lending.

Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs will be among those represented.

Representatives of the big banks told Politico they will tell Obama they will "step up and take additional steps to promote economic recovery."

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, adviser Valerie Jarrett and economic team members Christina Romer, Larry Summers and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will be there, along with Vice President Joe Biden.

The full list of financial industry attendees after the jump.

Read More →

Sheriff Joe Arpaio has turned to a heavy-hitting former Bush Justice Department official and veteran Washington lawyer to help thwart a federal civil-rights probe of his controversial law-enforcement tactics.

Since March, investigators with DOJ's Civil Rights Division have been looking into allegations of racial profiling and related issues in connection with Arpaio's enforcement of immigration laws. Between 2004 and 2007, Arpaio reportedly had 2,700 law suits filed against his office -- 50 times the number of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston combined.

Read More →