TPM News

The fighting's over. For the next several days, at least.

Following the House's lead, the Senate voted Thursday 81-19 to fund the government through September. The government shutdown that many observers expected -- and that nearly came to pass -- will not happen. For now.

Though the fight over government funding has been resolved, Republicans and Democrats will now fight overlapping battles to raise the national debt limit and fund the government next year. Each of those fights could result in government shutdowns, too. A default on U.S. obligations would have much farther-reaching consequences.

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Update: Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-SC) spokesman accuses Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) of being a johnny-come-lately to securing funds for the Port of Charleston. He says "era of earmarks is over" and earmarks are backlogged at Army Corps of Engineers, exacerbating the problem with the port funding. Instead of trying to directing the Army Corp to fund the study, he wants to create a commission to ensure projects are funded on their merits. More developments, including DeMint spokesman's full statement.





Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), or Senator Tea Party as he's sometimes known, has found himself between a bit of a rock and a hard place over spending for a job-dependent project in his district and his role as the leading anti-earmark crusader in the upper chamber.

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), a prominent House Democrat, on Thursday issued a scathing indictment of DeMint, his GOP South Carolina colleague, for effectively killing jobs in the state by refusing to back money for a study on deepening the Port of Charleston.

But others, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who is threatening to "tie the Senate in knots" over the funds, have said DeMint supports federal funds for the port and is privately helping to secure them.

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The last 24 hours saw an erosion of GOP support for Speaker John Boehner's spending deal, which required Democratic votes to pass on Thursday after 59 Republicans defected, thanks in no small part to confusion over just how much it cut.

The topline number heralded in the press after a deal was reached last week was $38.5 billion below current spending levels. But an analysis of CBO numbers by Politico's David Rogers on Wednesday, confirmed by TPM, showed the bill only reduced direct spending by about $350 million. The news rallied conservatives already skeptical of the deal, caused the National Review to reverse its endorsement of the deal, and sent Boehner scrambling to explain the bill's cuts to his base.

"It's fair to say it wasn't just constituents that were confused about all that was being published," Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) told TPM after voting against the bill. "I hope we get better at that and better at really drilling down and making sure people are all comparing apples to apples rather than applies, cherries, bananas, and oranges."

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Donald Trump recently granted an interview with NY Post editor Fred Dicker in which he most notably denied reports that he'd be announcing his presidential plans during the season finale of his reality show Celebrity Apprentice. But perhaps the other noteworthy bon mot to come from the lengthy and candid interview was Trump's assertion that he's always enjoyed a great relationship with "the blacks." Efforts to confirm Trump's statement were fruitless as we could not find one individual who could speak on behalf of "the blacks."

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President Obama comfortably led a slate of potential Republican challengers in a PPP poll released Thursday, even though a slim plurality of voters disapproved of his job performance.

That's likely because while voters weren't too thrilled with Obama, they were even less excited about his potential challengers. Every Republican tested in the poll posted a net negative favorability rating, the most extreme example being Sarah Palin, whom 61% of respondents viewed unfavorably.

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Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Vents Program at Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and Oregon State University didn't feel the massive earthquake that struck off Japan on March 11. But they did hear it.

An underwater microphone located near the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, 900 miles from the quake epicenter, captured the sound of the disaster on tape, and a portion of the recording has now been put up on YouTube.

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With the help of 81 Democrats,the House passed legislation Thursday to fund the government through September and avoid a government shutdown. Fifty-nine Republicans defected from GOP leadership, leaving Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) woefully short of the necessary majority to pass the bill without Democratic help. The final vote was 260-167.

The fact that Boehner needed nearly 40 Democratic votes to pass the resolution and avoid a government shutdown was a stunning blow to his leadership, especially after he shut House Democrats out of budget negotiations and just a few days ago dismissed the need to secure any Democratic votes.

The GOP defections came after news reports revealed that the legislation will only cut $350 million in immediate spending -- not the $38 billion that had been advertised. Indeed, the defections may have been worse if Republican leaders hadn't enlisted the help of Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of George W. Bush's budget office, to explain the massive discrepancy to skeptical members Thursday morning. Holtz-Eakin ran through his presentation again Thursday afternoon on a conference call with bloggers.

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Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be headlining a Tea Party rally this weekend, at a venue that has served as the stage for some very high-profile protests of late: The Wisconsin state Capitol building in Madison.

The state Capitol, of course, was the site of massive protests both outside and inside the building, as tens of thousands of people gathered to show (and shout) their opposition to Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union agenda. But now, as the Wisconsin State Journal reports, Palin will be coming to town to rally the other side.

And check out this nugget from the paper's report:

Americans for Prosperity is organizing busses to the event. Last year's gathering featured former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson and others.


Americans for Prosperity is, of course, a Koch financed group. The Koch name has popped up quite a bit in the Wisconsin protests -- most notably after Walker's 20-minute phone call in late February with blogger Ian Murphy, who was posing as David Koch. During that call, Walker discussed his ideas for tricking the Democrats into coming back by pretending to negotiate, his ambition to bust the public employee unions in the mold of President Reagan firing the air traffic controllers -- an event that Walker said had led to the downfall of the Soviet Union -- and that he had considered (but ruled out) planting troublemakers in the crowds of protesters.

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