TPM News

House Republicans are turning to old friends on K Street to lead their legislative attempts to repeal the new health care law.

Three recently hired Republican aides -- two set to work in senior positions on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, and one for soon-to-be Speaker John Boehner -- spent the past years lobbying on behalf of insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and other corporate interest groups with a vested interest in weakening or repealing the law.

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Since 1993, the Center for Military Readiness has been fighting to keep gay men and lesbians from infiltrating the United States military. So now that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has been repealed, what's next for the group that fought so hard to prevent the open service of gay and lesbian members of the armed forces?

They have no big plans yet, Elaine Donnelly, founder and President of the Center for Military Readiness, told TPM in an interview Monday.

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Sen. John Thune (R-SD), one of the many Republican politicians viewed as being a potential presidential candidate, is now set to make a trip to the stomping ground of another possible contender: Gov. Tim Pawlenty's home state of Minnesota.

As the Star Tribune reports, Thune will be headlining the Minnesota GOP's Lincoln Reagan dinner, this coming February 25.

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Tom Tancredo will no longer need to depend on the whims of Fox News schedulers for opportunities to spout off on immigrants and terrorism. The inflammatory former Republican Congressman, fresh off a surprisingly close loss as a third-party candidate in Colorado's gubernatorial race, is getting his own radio show: 'Tea Party Radio with Tom Tancredo.'

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today condemned the conviction of former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, saying the case "raises serious questions about selective prosecution -- and about the rule of law being overshadowed by political considerations."

Khodorkovsky on Monday was found guilty of money laundering and theft of billions of dollars. He told Reuters he plans to repeal the verdict. Khodorkovsky is nearing the end of his current eight-year prison term.

Here is Clinton's full statement:

Today's conviction in the second trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev on charges of embezzlement and money laundering raises serious questions about selective prosecution -- and about the rule of law being overshadowed by political considerations. This and similar cases have a negative impact on Russia's reputation for fulfilling its international human rights obligations and improving its investment climate. We welcome President Medvedev's modernization plans, but their fulfillment requires the development of a climate where due process and judicial independence are respected. We will monitor the appeals process.

by Karen Weise ProPublica, Dec. 27, 2010, 11:30 a.m.

It's been over three years since credit markets started shaking with the early tremors of the subprime crisis, and two years since that spread into a marketwide collapse. Prosecutors, regulators, Congress and journalists have spent the year uncovering the financial shenanigans that brought the market to its knees. It's been marked by a few blockbuster settlements and more revealing investigations -- as well as by some noticeable inaction in the reckoning.

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In the nearly two months since the November midterms, the conventional wisdom has centered on the idea that President Obama's agenda will be largely protected from an influx of Republicans by the Senate's arcane rules and his own veto pen. With 47 members in the 112th Congress, the GOP will lack a majority, let alone a supermajority, to pass the legislation they'd need to pass to undo Obama's accomplishments and blunt his progress -- as if he'd sign those bills anyway.

But Republicans are all too aware of this conundrum, and have been looking for ways around it. What they found is an obscure authority provided by a 1996 law called the Congressional Review Act. It provides Congress with an expedited process by which to evaluate executive branch regulations, and then give the President a chance to agree or disagree.

House Republicans will have carte blanche next year, and will be able to pass as many of these "resolutions of disapproval" as they want. The key is that a small minority in the Senate can force votes on them as well, and they require only simple-majority support to pass. If they can find four conservative Democrats to vote with them on these resolutions, they can force Obama to serially veto politically potent measures to block unpopular regulations, and create a chilling effect on the federal agencies charged with writing them.

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Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL), who is leaving Congress after a failed run in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, has an interesting suggestion for moderate Democratic politicians in the wake of the party's near-total wipeout in the South: Forget the Dems, run as an independent.

As The Hill reports:

Southern voters "see the Democratic Party as a liberal institution that wants to spend their money recklessly, that doesn't honor their social values and that has a very different view of the world," said Alabama Rep. Artur Davis (D).

"It's hard for local Democratic candidates to break clear of that," Davis added. "Some [of those candidates] who are thinking about competing in the South may have to look at running as Independents."

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