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Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA)--chairs of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Environment and Public Works Committee respectively--have unveiled a draft of a climate change bill calling for significant reductions in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in both the near and short term. The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act.

Though the draft will change considerably over the coming weeks, it is the basis for the upper chamber's coming legislative push, which, if successful, will, when combined with an already-completed House climate bill, become the most significant piece of energy legislation in the nation's history.

But between now and then, it will meet the many machetes of the Senate--an institution that hasn't been too kind to previous, failed climate change bills.

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As we reported earlier, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) said on the House floor yesterday that the Republican plan for health care reform was little more than "don't get sick," and if you do, "die quickly." Grayson has since refused to apologize.

Now Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) has introduced a resolution calling on the House to officially "disapprove" of Grayson's comments. Here's the full text:

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In a statement sent to TPM, Newsmax spokeswoman Paula Pradines said that John L. Perry -- the columnist who claimed a military coup to "resolve the Obama problem" was increasingly possible -- is just an "unpaid blogger" for the magazine.

"He has no official relationship with Newsmax other than as an unpaid blogger," she said.

On his Newsmax bio page, Perry is described as someone who "contributes a regular column to Newsmax.com." On the site's "Blogs" page, he's listed alongside other contributors including Ben Stein, Grover Norquist and Christopher Ruddy, the owner and editor-in-chief on Newsmax.

He has also written a column nearly every week since late 1999.

Pradines said Newsmax pulled the column after several reader complaints "to insure that this article was not misinterpreted."

"Newsmax strongly believes in the principles of Constitutional government," she added, "and would never advocate or insinuate any suggestion of an activity that would undermine our democracy or democratic institutions."

Besides, Perry "clearly stated that he was not advocating such a scenario but simply describing one," she wrote.

President Barack Obama announced at the National Institute of Health this morning that his administration will commit $5 billion in grant money -- taken from the $787 billion stimulus package -- to medical research.

"This represents the single largest boost to biomedical research in history," the President said.

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A lobbyist who's a close ally of Florida governor Charlie Crist has been indicted for allegedly orchestrating a fraudulent fund-raising and lobbying scheme.

Federal prosecutors say that Alan Mendelsohn funneled to himself over $350,000 from contributions to political organizations he controlled. They also allege that, in order to get around lobbying disclosure rules, Mendelsohn had his lobbying clients make $274,000 in payments to third parties -- including tuition payments to his children's schools -- on his behalf.

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The White House issued a press release today announcing $5 billion in stimulus money for 12,000 grants to fund "groundbreaking medical research." President Obama is scheduled to make a speech announcing the grants at 11 a.m. ET at the National Institutes of Health.

Here is the full text of the release:

In a visit to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus, President Barack Obama announced $5 billion in grant awards under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) to fund cutting-edge medical research in every state across America. The more than 12,000 grant awards are expected to create tens of thousands of jobs over the next two years and are part of an overall $100 billion Recovery Act investment in science and technology to lay the foundation for the innovation economy of the future.

"We know that this kind of investment will also lead to new jobs: tens of thousands of jobs conducting research, manufacturing and supplying medical equipment, and building and modernizing laboratories and research facilities," said President Obama. "I've long said, the goal of the Recovery Act was not to create make-work jobs, but jobs making a difference for our future. There is no better example than the jobs we will produce or preserve through the grants we are announcing this morning."

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Moments after the Senate Finance Committee rejected two public option amendments yesterday, two groups that have been targeting the panel's chairman Max Baucus, and key Republican Olympia Snowe latched on to their votes in a fundraising bid to turn up the heat on both senators.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America have been running hard hitting ads in Montana, Maine, and Washington, DC, targeting Baucus and Snowe for failing to support a public option. With their votes registered, the groups are now seeking to extend the ad buys:

"Today, we are raising our fundraising goal to $200,000 to PUMMEL Baucus and Snowe with ads in their home states featuring the voices of their constituents," reads an email from PCCC to members.

You can see the ads here and here. And you can read the entire letter below the fold.

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The office in charge of auditing Pentagon contracts is beset by incompetence and possibly malfeasance that has allowed big defense contractors to line their pockets at taxpayer expense, according to two new government oversight reports.

Last year, the obscure but important arm of the federal government called the Defense Contract Audit Agency looked at $501 billion in contractor costs.

Which is, as it sounds, a pretty important job. But the DCAA isn't doing the job so well, concludes the Defense Department's Inspector General, whose 96-page report on the DCAA was unsealed yesterday and can be read here (.pdf), and the Government Accountability Office, whose own damning report is here.

Let's look at a case that shows how auditor malfeasance can line the pockets of big defense contractors with millions in taxpayer dollars.

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Salon has a lengthy profile of Rick Scott, the head of Conservatives for Patients Rights and the public face of the anti-healthcare-reform movement.

At this point, Scott's track record as a zealous promoter of for-profit health-care -- including the fact that the company he founded paid an almost $2-billion fine for Medicare fraud -- has been well-documented. But Salon compellingly frames the central fact of Scott's role in the current debate over reform:

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The new Quinnipiac poll in New Jersey finds that Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine has narrowed the gap against Republican former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie -- and that independent candidate Chris Daggett could be playing a key spoiler role in this.

The numbers: Christie 43%, Corzine 39%, Daggett 12%, with a ±2.8% margin of error. A month ago, Christie led by 47%-37%-9%. The poll also finds that Christie favorable-unfavorable rating is now split at 38%-38%, compared to 41%-33% a month ago.

From the pollster's analysis: "This race looks as if it will go down to the wire. Does Christopher Daggett's impressive climb measure a swing to him or simply a distaste for the two guys hollering at each other? Will Daggett fade on Election Day? At this stage, his numbers matter."

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