TPM News

The 12 members of the deficit Super Committee have been so tight lipped about their negotiations, that most of the clues about their progress come from Congressional colleagues -- most of whom are also in the dark about specifics.

At his weekly Capitol briefing Tuesday, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) had a hard time pegging the panel's chances for reaching an agreement to achieve trillions of dollars in deficit reduction. But he insisted that if the panel failed to achieve significant savings, Congress will have to keep chipping away.

"People ask me, 'Are you optimistic?' I say, 'Look, I'm not optimistic -- I'm hopeful,'" Hoyer said. "I hope, because I think it's absolutely essential that we do so, that we succeed. Producing a product that is a big deal, not a small deal -- if we do a small deal, we'll have to revisit that."

Read More →

CNN reports that President Obama will announce efforts to help students who are crippled by student debt:

One of the proposals would push up the start date for more favorable terms on a special loan repayment program based on income, sources tell CNNMoney. Another measure would encourage graduates with two or more different kinds of federal loans to consolidate them.

Obama is expected to unveil the proposals during a Denver speech Wednesday.

The coveted new gadget of the moment isn't a tablet, a new smartphone or anything of the sort. In fact, it's none other than a programmable home thermostat.

At least, that's the hope of the much-hyped Learning Thermostat unveiled Monday by Nest Labs, a new company founded by Tony Fadell, former senior VP of the iPod division at Apple, and the man credited with being the lead designer of the device and its corresponding iTunes service.

As Nest CEO Fadell wrote in a blog post announcing his new venture:

Read More →

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign Communications Director Ray Sullivan sends along the following statement on former Mass Gov. Mitt Romney’s failure to endorse conservative efforts to keep SB 5, Ohio’s new anti-union law.

“Mitt Romney’s finger-in-the-wind politics continued today when he refused to support right-to-work reforms signed by Ohio Governor John Kasich – reforms Romney supported in June. Americans are tired of politicians who change their beliefs to match public opinion polls. Mitt Romney has a long record of doing this on issues like government-mandated health care and the Obama stimulus. Mitt Romney needs to realize that when you try to stand on both sides of an issue, you stand for nothing.”

U.S. law enforcement demands for Google users' personal information surged in the past six months by 29 percent over the previous six months according to new data released Tuesday by Google, the only online company to release such statistics.

"We believe that providing this level of detail highlights the need to modernize laws like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which regulates government access to user information and was written 25 years ago--long before the average person had ever heard of email," wrote Dorothy Chou, a senior policy analyst at Google in a Tuesday blog post. "Yet at the end of the day, the information that we're disclosing offers only a limited snapshot. We hope others join us in the effort to provide more transparency, so we'll be better able to see the bigger picture of how regulatory environments affect the entire web."

Read More →

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has now weighed in on former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney’s non-endorsement of a GOP-backed effort to keep SB 5, the Ohio law that curtails collective bargaining rights.

Via CNN: “As a true conservative, I stand with Gov. Kasich in promoting S.B.5 for fiscal responsibility and job creation in Ohio,” Perry said in a statement to CNN. “Gov. Kasich and the Republican leadership of Ohio are to be commended for their efforts.”

Added Perry, “My record as a pro-jobs governor is clear and you don’t have to wonder where I stand.”

As part of its new "We Can't Wait" for Congress theme, the White House has announced an initiative to help veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars get back to work. The latest effort, part of a comprehensive plan to transition veterans from the battlefield to the workplace, challenges community health centers around the country to hire 8,000 veterans over the next three years.

Read More →

Rick Perry gave a major speech in South Carolina on Tuesday, laying out his "Cut, Balance and Grow" economic plan -- the centerpiece of which is a tax reform proposal that would give people the choice of filing their taxes under the current code, or a 20% flat tax.

"It neither reshuffles the status quo, nor does it expand the ways that Washington can reach into your pocketbooks," said Perry -- in an apparent swipe at both Mitt Romney's relatively modest tax proposals, and Herman Cain's "9-9-9" plan and its national sales tax. "It re-orders the way they do business in Washington, by reinventing the tax code and restoring our nation to fiscal health through balanced budgets and entitlement reform."

Perry showed a huge stack of many reams of paper, comparing it with a simple postcard in his hand.

"The size of the current code is more than 72,000 pages. that's represented by this pallet, over here, and the reams of paper. That's what the current code looks like. The best representation of my plan is this postcard. That's what we're talking about right here. Taxpayers will be able to fill out their taxes, and file their taxes, on that."

Read More →