TPM News

The White House Press Office just released the following statement outlining key features of the New START Treaty with Russia that President Obama announced this morning:

Treaty Structure: The New START Treaty is organized in three tiers of increasing level of detail. The first tier is the Treaty text itself. The second tier consists of a Protocol to the Treaty, which contains additional rights and obligations associated with Treaty provisions. The basic rights and obligations are contained in these two documents. The third tier consists of Technical Annexes to the Protocol. All three tiers will be legally binding. The Protocol and Annexes will be integral parts of the Treaty and thus submitted to the U.S. Senate for its advice and consent to ratification.

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Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) promised that he'd be the next Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) if he had to be. And last night, he made good on his threat.

Coburn is blocking unanimous consent on extension of unemployment benefits, just as Bunning did a few weeks ago. Only this time, Coburn's not alone -- the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other members of the Republican caucus have joined with Coburn, promising to block billions in unemployment benefits just as the Senate is set to leave on a two-week recess.

Due to the timing of the blockade, benefits could expire on April 5, a situation that would not be remedied for a week while the Senate is out of town. Senators will return from their Easter break on April 12.

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President Obama spoke at the White House today on a recent breakthrough with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on nuclear non-proliferation. Here are his complete prepared remarks:

Good morning. I just concluded a productive phone call with President Medvedev. And I'm pleased to announce that after a year of intense negotiations, the United States and Russia have agreed to the most comprehensive arms control agreement in nearly two decades.

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Health care's done. Members of Congress are home, or will be soon, and will spend the next two weeks talking to their constituents about the monumental law they just passed. But when Democrats return to Washington they'll have to balance their health care sales job with a completely different, and long-brewing initiative: financial regulatory reform. And despite the complete absence of Republican support, they are confidently predicting success.

Though overshadowed in the media by the twists and turns of the health care saga, the Democrats' efforts to rein in financial industry excess and address the problem of too-big-to-fail institutions have already come a long way. Last year the House passed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, with zero Republican votes. Last week the Senate Banking Committee advanced its bill on a perfectly party-line vote. And now, with health care behind them, Dems are ready to pivot to that legislation, and are even daring Republicans to obstruct and oppose the initiative.

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In an interview with TPM, a Richmond Police Department spokesman said the bullet that penetrated a window in a building that includes a campaign office of Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) was "an act of random gunfire."

"What we were describing yesterday in fact describes an act of random gunfire," said Public Information Manager Gene Lepley.

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Florida Attorney General Bob McCollum, in the midst of a run for governor, is eager to take credit for leading the effort to get health-care reform struck down by the courts.

McCollum and 12 of his fellow state AGs, all but one Republican, filed suit earlier this week in Federal Court in the northern district of Florida, arguing that the law is unconstitutional. (We assessed the lawsuit's slim chances of success here.) And now McCollum's office has explained to TPMmuckraker how he quarterbacked the effort.

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Add Rep. Vic Snyder (D-AR) to the growing list of lawmakers saying they've received death threats in the wake of health care reform becoming law.

The Associated Press reports that Snyder was told about a letter by the Capitol Police on Tuesday saying he's a target for assassination. The police intercepted the letter.

Snyder read from a copy of the original saying: "It is apparent that it will take a few assassinations to stop Obamacare. Militia central has selected you for assassination. If we cannot stalk and find you in Washington, D.C., we will get you in Little Rock."

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