TPM News

Senate Majority Leader Reid says he and House Republicans have reached a deal on FAA funding that will end a partial shutdown, which threatened to drag through the month of August.

"I am pleased to announce that we have been able to broker a bipartisan compromise between the House and the Senate to put 74,000 transportation and construction workers back to work," Reid noted in a Thursday statement. "This agreement does not resolve the important differences that still remain. But I believe we should keep Americans working while Congress settles its differences, and this agreement will do exactly that."

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With comprehensive immigration reform nowhere to be seen, the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday introduced a series of policy tweaks designed to attract and retain immigrant entrepreneurs who would otherwise have trouble getting a visa or staying in the United States.

The changes are based on a reinterpretation of existing policy, so the administration does not need Congressional approval for the adjustments.

Nonetheless, the the policy shift is real: non-citizen founders of U.S. companies, foreigners with special skills, and foreign investors all can expect a smoother process.

Immigration policy for the skilled and well-educated is an area of intense interest in Silicon Valley, where both established firms and start-ups compete to keep top talent in their bullpens -- and in the United States.

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One of the targeted Republican state Senators in this Tuesday's Wisconsin recalls, Alberta Darling, is headed into the home stretch with an interesting message: That the recall should not even be happening, and voters who don't like the policies that have been enacted under Gov. Scott Walker should wait for the 2012 legislative races.

"We have elections. Elections have consequences. If you don't like what's happening, make a change in the next election," Darling said at a debate on Wednesday, WisPolitics reports. "We did. The (2010) election said, 'make a change,' and we did. We flipped the Assembly, the Senate and the governor's house. And you know what? If you don't like what we're doing, go vote in the 2012 elections. We listened to the people in 2010."

Whatever one's attitude is about recalls as an idea, one thing is still certain: The state constitution provides for recalls under a process that was triggered through sufficient signatures, so the election is on. As such, it is unclear whether such an argument will do much to attract voters in a race that will rely heavily on both parties turning out their base.

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In her most candid assessment to date, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Democrats should have fared better in the debt limit fight. And she was unable to defend the final deal from the suggestion that it will cost the country jobs.

But in a new wrinkle, she also said the deal was crafted with the expectation that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) would be able to marshal a majority for the bill on his own -- a mark he fell far short of.

Pelosi convened a handful of new media reporters to discuss the Democrats' plans for legislative action on jobs. I asked whether she believed the new law, which will ultimately result in at least $2.1 trillion worth of austerity measures, would cost jobs, and if so, how many.

Her response is worth quoting in full.

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Watchdog groups are demanding that state and federal officials investigate a $1 million donation from a mysterious firm to an independent political group backing Mitt Romney's campaign in order to determine whether it violates federal campaign laws.

In a letter to Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, the Public Campaign Action Fund claims that the giant contribution to Super PAC "Restore Our Future" from the firm W Spann LLC is out of bounds. As first reported by NBC's Michale Isikoff, records show the firm was incorporated in the state in March and then dissolved in July with little apparent activity besides its donation and virtually no publicly available information on its owners.

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Two dozen public interest, consumer, and government watchdog organizations want to shine a bright light on the activities of the newly established super committee tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in additional deficit reduction this fall.

Specifically, the groups want members of the joint Congressional committee to put a halt to all political fundraising while they conduct their work and provide details of any and all meetings and contacts with with lobbyists and outside parties.

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TPM watched Mike Huckabee's new children's educational video about 9/11 so you don't have to. What's inside? A lot of talk about how "most Muslims" aren't terrorists, a reference or two to The Kite Runner, more than a couple scenes extolling America's commitment to Israel -- and no mention whatsoever of President Obama authorizing the mission that took out bin Laden.

Plus there's a really weird plot-line centering around a pre-teen girl never having known that her mother, with whom she lives in an archetypal American small town, was the town's mayor just a few years ago. But that's not even the strangest hole in Huckabee's telling of the 9/11 story.

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President Obama phoned Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) Wednesday to urge him to pass a bill extending funding for the Federal Aviation Administration and hopes House Republicans and Democrats can resolve their differences and get tens of thousands of FAA and construction workers back on the job by the end of the week.

White House spokesman Jay Carney confirmed Obama's call to Boehner and said the President wants a resolution to the impasse by the end of the week even though the two sides have yet to make any progress resolving their differences.

"Obama called Boehner yesterday, and said this is one thing we can do for job creation pretty instantly," Carney told reporters Thursday. "It's not resolved, and it needs to be resolved, and we're hopeful that it will by the end of the week."

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