TPM News

Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN) announced today that the Office of Congressional Ethics had closed with no further action a review of his foundation, which came under scrutiny last year for collecting donations from companies seeking to curry favor with Buyer but not giving out anything for its stated purpose of providing scholarships.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) had asked OCE, the independent House ethics office, to look at Buyer's Frontier Foundation in January, citing reporting by TPMmuckraker and other outlets.

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), under fire from the right for not being tough enough on immigration in his Senate primary race, has called on Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to dispatch National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.

In a letter sent to Napolitano's office yesterday, McCain says that rising drug violence across the border in Mexico endangers the lives of American citizens. He says the situation now calls for troops to be sent to the "southern border region."

"The people of Arizona and the United States demand and deserve secure borders," he writes. "I hope that you will take a personal interest in ensuring that Arizonans can feel safe and protected on their own property and not live in fear of the increasing violence along the border."

See a full copy of McCain's letter after the jump.

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Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), the GOP nominee for President Obama's former Senate seat, is refusing to say whether he would work to repeal the health care bill -- after he'd previously pledged to do just that.

The Associated Press reports: "Kirk was asked repeatedly Tuesday whether he wants the legislation repealed. He would only say that he opposes the new taxes and Medicare cuts to pay for it."

"I voted against it, but we lost," Kirk said, NBC Chicago reports. "My job is to explain how this will affect voters."

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement following President Obama's signing of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act earlier today:

Health insurance reform represents remarkable progress for the American people. Today, with President Obama's signature, health care becomes more affordable for the middle class, we begin closing the prescription drug donut hole, and we demand accountability from the insurance industry.

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The new CNN poll finds that Republicans continue to enjoy their advantage in the enthusiasm gap since the signing of the health care bill. Although voter enthusiasm has in fact increased among Democrats, it has also gone up among Republicans, too.

The poll finds that 36% of Democrats are either "very enthusiastic" or "extremely enthusiastic" about voting for Congress this year, a five-point increase from January. However, Republicans have gone up, too, from 49% in January to 55% now.

"The health care vote seems to have made some Democrats more eager to vote in November, but it has also activated more Republican voters, so the Democrats still face the same double-digit 'enthusiasm gap' they had before the vote," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Lawsuits challenging health care reform have popped up in several states and are drawn nearly entirely on partisan lines, in some cases fracturing top state government officials where the governor is a Democrat and attorney general is a Republican who joined the legal challenge. In Missouri, Lt. Gov Peter Kinder (R) so badly wanted to be part of the lawsuit that he bucked his Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and the attorney general to say he'll be joining the other attorneys general on his own.

There are a handful of other splits across the country -- Michigan, Washington state, Pennsylvania and Colorado -- which create a tough political climate for anyone attempting to get something done at the state level. Louisiana is the one bipartisan example, with Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and Attorney General Buddy Caldwell (D) agreeing to join the lawsuit.

The legal challenge has been the latest trend among Republicans, with GOPers trying to one-up each other on the question of whether health care should be repealed, deemed unconstitutional, or left alone. It's become a litmus test for conservatives.

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