TPM News

The Senate voted 72-23 to extend three provisions of the Patriot Act which were set to expire at midnight. The House subsequently voted to extend the provisions and the bill was sent to President Obama to be signed into law.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) had threatened to hold up the vote and allow three provisions of the act to expire unless he got a debate and a vote on his amendments. Ultimately both amendments failed, but Paul told reporters he was taking a stand.

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Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) confirmed on Thursday that he helped his former domestic partner secure a job at Fannie Mae, an institution that Frank was entrusted with overseeing as a member of the House Financial Services Committee.

The story was first reported in a new book on the 2008 financial crisis by reporter Gretchen Morgensen, Reckless Endangerment. According to Morgensen, Frank talked up then-partner Herb Moses' qualifications to Fannie Mae executives in 1991 to help him score a job with the mortgage giant. Frank later took Fannie Mae's side against claims it had grown dangerously large repeatedly during his time on the committee, which he eventually took over as chairman in 2007.

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Republicans are working on multiple fronts to stop President Barack Obama from making companies bidding on federal contracts disclose their donations to third-party political groups.

The chairmen of the House Oversight Committee and the Small Business Committee have introduced legislation that would ban the federal government from collecting or using information about the political expenditures of federal contractors, allowing them to keep their political donations to third party groups secret. Yesterday, the House passed an amendment to the 2012 defense bill which would prevent federal agencies from collecting such data.

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Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), who has been exploring a run for president, is set to officially announce his candidacy on June 6 in his old stomping grounds of southwestern Pennsylvania.

"This location is significant because when Sen. Santorum's grandfather left fascist Italy, he came to this country for America's freedom and the opportunity our nation afforded him," a source told NBC News.

Santorum has been campaigning heavily in the key early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, so that an announcement isn't happening in any of those places seems notable.

It is also interesting to point out that Santorum lost in southwestern Pennsylvania in 2006, when he was defeated for re-election by a statewide margin of 59%-41%.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle expressed skepticism on Thursday that AT&T's proposed buy of T-Mobile USA would lead to the consumer benefits that the wireless company has promised.

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Newt Gingrich's terrible, horrible, no good very bad campaign roll out just got a little bit worse.

According to a PPP poll released Thursday, Gingrich's own party has rapidly turned against on the former House speaker, as a plurality now say they have an unfavorable opinion of him.

In the poll, 38% of Republican voters said they view Gingrich favorably, versus 45% who view him unfavorably. That's a huge 27 point swing from last month when 52% viewed him favorably, and 32% viewed him unfavorably.

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Until today, Tim Pawlenty's been an expert at weaving between the political liabilities that come with supporting Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) plan to end Medicare (see: Corwin, Jane L.) and the liabilities that come with opposing it (see: Gingrich, Newton L.).

After weeks of praising Ryan personally and the general specifics of his plan -- while also in recent days promising to offer up his own completely different plan to fix Medicare sometime in the future -- Pawlenty has chosen a side. If he had anything to say about it, Ryan's plan to eliminate medicare and replace it with a voucher system would be the law of the land.

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