TPM News

The Virginia primary will be on March 6, as part of a multi-state Super Tuesday event. And as the Richmond Times Dispatch reports, a whole bunch of candidates won't be on the ballot:

Four Republican presidential candidates - Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Ron Paul -- submitted paper work in time to qualify for Virginia's March 6 primary ballot.

No other GOP contender will be on the Virginia ballot. Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Sen. Rick Santorum and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman did not submit signatures with Virginia's State Board of Elections by today's 5 p.m. deadline.

It should also be noted that Gingrich's signature count, gathered in a big push over the past week, was 11,050 -- a buffer of 10.5% over the 10,000 minimum, cutting it a little bit close. Keep an eye on whether these petitions will withstand any disqualifications.

In a conference call with House Republicans early Thursday evening, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) took no questions after making it clear to his members that the game was up and they would have to swallow the Democratic payroll tax extension.

Boehner laid out the agreement he forged to temporarily renew the payroll tax holiday -- one his members will hate -- and said the goal is to pass the new bill by unanimous consent on Friday morning. That means if even a single recalcitrant Republican objects to his plan, the chaos will drag on for several days.

At a press conference with reporters just after the call, Boehner admitted he has no assurances that the unanimous consent request will fly -- but in a sign that he's finally laying down the law with his unruly members, he vowed to force them to take an up-or-down vote on the issue next week if they cause any trouble.

Asked if all his members would muffle their grievances and allow the bill to move ahead, Boehner admitted, "I don't know that but our goal is to do this by unanimous consent."

Read More →

House Speaker John Boehner made it official moments ago in a written statement. After blowing up an agreement to prevent this year's payroll tax cut from lapsing on January 1, House Republicans will adopt legislation nearly identical to the stopgap bill the Senate passed on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis this past Saturday.

"Senator Reid and I have reached an agreement that will ensure taxes do not increase for working families on January 1 while ensuring that a complex new reporting burden is not unintentionally imposed on small business job creators," Boehner says. "Under the terms of our agreement, a new bill will be approved by the House that reflects the bipartisan agreement in the Senate along with new language that allows job creators to process and withhold payroll taxation under the same accounting structure that is currently in place. The Senate will join the House in immediately appointing conferees, with instructions to reach agreement in the weeks ahead on a full-year payroll tax extension. We will ask the House and Senate to approve this agreement by unanimous consent before Christmas. I thank our Members - particularly those who have remained here in the Capitol with the holidays approaching - for their efforts to enact a full-year extension of the payroll tax cut for working families."

The Senate's payroll bill included a provision to prorate the payroll tax cap. Payroll taxes only apply to the first $110,000 of income, after which the rate falls to zero. To adjust for that, the Senate bill created a new cap at just over $18,000, to reflect the two month-length of the payroll cut. The technical correction in the new bill will leave the existing $110,000 cap in place.

Boehner will discuss the deal in a 5:30 Capitol press conference.

The head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced his resignation on Thursday, less than two years after being appointed to the job by President Obama.

Commissioner Alan Bersin, who was one of 15 administration officials given recess appointments on March 27, 2010, said he sent his resignation to the president earlier in the day. It will be effective Dec. 30.

Read More →

The latest to ascend to the top of the GOP pile in Iowa is Ron Paul and with the role of front runner comes added scrutiny.

The issue that is getting the most attention is an old one, but one that still has the potential to put a drag on a candidate seen as having a more broad appeal than most.

Benjy Sarlin goes a little deeper in to Paul's past and puts it in to perspective:

Read More →

A top Senate Democratic aide says House Republicans have privately offered up the terms of their surrender on the payroll tax cut, pending sign off from their notoriously unwieldy caucus.

As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) suggested Thursday morning, it will involve House Republicans passing a temporary extension of the payroll tax cut (and unemployment insurance and reimbursement rates for Medicare physicians) in exchange for Senate Dems agreeing to a formal conference committee to work out a year-long extension of all items.

The temporary extension won't be identical to the one Senate Dems passed. It will differ in very minor technical ways. House Republicans have already rejected the bipartisan Senate compromise bill, so they'll have to draw up essentially the same bill from scratch, pass it in the House and then have the Senate readopt it by unanimous consent.

Read More →

In the midst of the Fast and Furious scandal, the Obama administration just made it easier for immigrants in the United States legally to purchase weapons from licensed firearms dealers.

Under the Gun Control Act (GCA), individuals are generally prohibited from transferring firearms to "any unlicensed person who they know or have reasonable cause to believe does not reside in the State in which the transferor resides."

Read More →