TPM News

They're done. For good, this time.

Tonight, the House took Congress' final health care vote, when it passed a reconciliation bill fixing problems with the reforms that President Obama signed into law on Tuesday. The final tally was 220-207. The changes will take effect as soon as Obama signs this sidecar package into law, which could come as early as tomorrow.

Tonight's vote is a capstone to the Democrats' difficult fight over health care--one which took its toll on Obama's young administration, and at times threatened to tear the entire party apart.

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David Frum, the conservative pundit and former Bush White House speechwriter, has left his perch at the American Enterprise Institute -- with some observers wondering whether the move was triggered by his recent criticism of the GOP.

Today, Frum posted on his blog a note he had sent to AEI President Arthur Brooks:

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Despite flat denials earlier this month, the RNC's Young Eagles will be holding an April fundraiser at the headquarters of Blackwater in Moyock, North Carolina, Politico is reporting.

The original report that the young Republican donors would gather at the HQ of Xe, the new name for the armed contractor company formerly known as Blackwater, came from a leaked RNC presentation. The event was listed for April 16.

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In a statement released today, the ACLU urged Congress to pass legislation ending "Dont Ask, Dont Tell." Here's the full statement:

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today announced changes that will raise the standard for discharging gay members of the military under the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. The Obama administration and other high-ranking military leaders, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael G. Mullen, have called for an end to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid delivered remarks after the Senate passed a reconciliation bill reshaping parts of the health care overhaul this afternoon. Here are his complete prepared remarks:

We have worked and waited for this moment for a century. Last year, a supermajority of the Senate passed the most crucial social, economic and moral change in a generation. This week, the President signed it into law. And today we made that good law even better for Nevadans and Americans across the country.

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The new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll of Arkansas finds Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln ahead of her primary challenger, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. But the gap has been closing -- and it's also possible that Halter could be the stronger Democrat for the general election.

The numbers: Lincoln 44%, Halter 31%, with a ±5% margin of error. In the previous poll, from late November and early December 2009 -- before Halter was officially in the race -- Lincoln led by 42%-26%.

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Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) said in a statement to reporters today that his Kew Gardens, New York office is closed until authorities complete their investigation into a suspicious package sent there. It's the latest in a string of incidents threatening members of Congress since health care reform passed over the weekend.

Weiner's statement:

Earlier today an envelope containing white powder and a threatening letter was delivered to my community office in Kew Gardens. The NYPD was immediately alerted and have responded appropriately by sending a Haz-Mat team. Any questions related to their response should be directed to the NYPD. My first priority is the safety of my staff and neighbors, and the authorities are currently taking steps to investigate and resolve the situation.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) had some strong words today for his Republican counterpart, after Eric Cantor (R-VA) claimed earlier that it was Democrats who are fanning the flames of violence.

"Democrats aren't playing with this at all," Clyburn said. "I would remind Mr. Cantor that it was his member who yelled 'baby killer' to Stupak, who the next morning sent out a fundraising letter trying to benefit from that effort."

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At an Iowa City rally promoting the recently signed health care legislation, President Barack Obama confronted both right wing attacks calling his bill "Armageddon," and left wing criticisms that the bill lacks a public option.

"I'm not exaggerating," Obama told the crowd, "leaders of the Republican party, they called the passage of this bill 'Armageddon!' Armageddon. End of freedom as we know it. So after I signed the bill, I looked around to see if there were any asteroids falling, or some cracks opening up in the Earth. Turned out it was a nice day."

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The Richmond Police Department released the following statement Thursday, along with this incident report:

Richmond Police Investigate Cantor Building Vandalism

March 25, 2010

The Richmond Police Department is investigating an act of vandalism at the Reagan Building, 25 E. Main St., Richmond, Virginia. A first floor window was struck by a bullet at approximately 1 a.m. on Tuesday, March 23. The building, which has several tenants including an office used by Congressman Eric Cantor, was unoccupied at the time.

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