TPM News

The Congressional Budget Office delivers good, but unsurprising news to the Senate Finance Committee. They say the panel's health care reform legislation will require $829 billion in new spending--but that every penny will be covered, and, moreover, that it will reduce the deficit by $81 billion over 10 years, and then continue to reap even greater savings.

Director Doug Elmendorf writes, "According to CBO and JCT's assessment, enacting the Chairman's mark, as amended, would result in a net reduction in federal budget deficits of $81 billion over the 2010-2019 period.

All told, the proposal would reduce the federal deficit by $12 billion in 2019, CBO and JCT estimate. After that, the added revenues and cost savings are projected to grow more rapidly than the cost of the coverage expansion.

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White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters today that President Obama is getting closer to a decision on troop levels in Afghanistan.

"We're getting there," Gibbs said.

As I laid out earlier, Obama is in the Situation Room this afternoon talking Pakistan, and has another meeting Friday.

Gibbs wouldn't give a timeline, saying only that Obama has six hours of meetings scheduled over the next few days.

"It's not just a military question. It has to be looked at and focused on a number of different areas at a number of different levels. And that's what the president's intent on doing," Gibbs said. "We're still in the process of -- of working through this. I don't -- if the president's come to a decision, he hasn't told me."

That Republican resolution demanding that Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) give up his committee chairmanship was referred to the ethics committee in a 246-153 vote this afternoon.

The roll call of the largely party-line vote is here. Six Republicans voted yes, and two Democrats voted no. The ethics committee is already probing Rangel. The vote today represents the failure of the GOP effort to formally demand he step down from his chairmanship.

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Organizing For America has sent out an e-mail to its Virginia list -- which contains a very large number of Obama supporters in the state -- seeking to mobilize support for Creigh Deeds in the gubernatorial race.

The e-mail attacks Republican nominee Bob McDonnell's right-wing grad school thesis, which denounced working women:

In his masters thesis, written when he was 34, McDonnell clearly spelled out his regressive vision for life in Virginia -- including his view that women working outside the home are "detrimental" to the family, that couples should not have access to contraception and that the government should "restrain, punish, and deter" homosexuality.


In the 2008 election we faced a choice between fear and division, or coming together to build a stronger future. We chose that path forward last year, and if you're able to help now, it will make a huge difference in making sure Virginia says no to Bob McDonnell's destructive vision for the Commonwealth.

The full e-mail is available after the jump.

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Notorious anti-immigrant sheriff Joe Arpaio is working with a husband-and-wife GOP lawyer team that was one of Bill Clinton's biggest tormentors during the 90s, to go after a local Arizona official. But critics are calling the effort a politically motivated fishing expedition. And the defense lawyer on the case knows something about politicized justice: he was one of the US attorneys improperly fired by Alberto Gonzales.

Here's the back-story. It's got a few twists and turns. But stay with us -- it's worth it:

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Two men were arrested when police found a pipe bomb, two shotguns, bomb-making materials, ammunition, a can of propane and SWAT costumes in their car Tuesday night in New Haven, Conn.

So far the police don't have a clear sense of what the pair were planning to do, New Haven Police spokesman Officer Joe Avery told TPM.

"They're not talking much," Avery said.

Police received a call just before midnight about a suspicious car with weapons on the backseat, he said. Police surrounded the car, a Mercedes, and pulled the two men out. A bomb squad detonated the pipe bomb.

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Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is about to embark on a major fundraising push, with several top dollar events scheduled in the coming weeks, but one in particular caught TPMDC's eye.

That's an Oct. 30 fundraiser hosted by former Arizona Gov. Fife Symington in the state's Camelback Mountain. Symington was convicted of bank and wire fraud and resigned in 1997, but the conviction was overturned and President Clinton pardoned him in 2001.

The event is listed on a document circulated among donors and obtained by TPMDC listing several upcoming fundraisers for Republican Senate candidates.

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In today's White House press briefing, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced that President Obama will be traveling to multiple countries in Asia in November.

Here's the itinerary according to Gibbs:

November 12-13: Tokyo, Japan November 13-15: Singapore, for a meeting of 10 Southeast Asian nations November 15-18: Beijing and Shanghai, China November 18-19: Seoul, South Korea

Gibbs noted that while Obama is not visiting Indonesia on this trip, he spoke with President Susilo Yudhoyono at the recent G20 summit in Pittsburgh about his intention to visit the country next year.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) will have at least one Republican opponent soon, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Armando Gutierrez Jr., a 28-year old South Florida real-estate developer, is expected to announce soon that he's running against the freshman Democrat. Gutierrez's father has had a major presence in the Cuban-American political scene, though that has more to do with Miami than Grayson's district Orlando.

Gutierrez could bring money to the table, to compete with Grayson's own deep pockets, but he would also face the accusation of being a carpetbagger -- he only registered to vote in the district last month.

Other possible GOP candidates could also be on the horizon.

Late Update: It should be noted that the St. Petersburg Times reported yesterday that former state Sen. Dan Webster, one of the GOP's top prospects for the race, has registered a Web address at, but has not officially become a candidate at this time.