TPM News

WaPo: White House To Steer G.M. Into Bankruptcy The Washington Post reports that the Obama Administration is preparing to send General Motors into a planned bankruptcy as the end of next week, with the intention to give the company nearly $30 billion more in aid to help them restructure.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will sign the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act, at 9 a.m. ET in the Rose Garden. At 10 a.m. ET, he will deliver the commencement at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. At 3 p.m. ET, he will return to the Rose Garden to sign the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act.

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The American Clean Energy and Security Act--also known as the Waxman-Markey bill--was reported out of the Energy and Commerce Committee last night. The vote was split almost perfectly down party lines, with 33 in favor and 24 opposed.

Now Democratic leaders faces a dilemma. Normally they would move the bill on to the floor of the House and it would receive an up or down vote (subject to various stall tactics, and so forth). But yesterday, The Hill reported that Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN)--House Agriculture chairman--is threatening to whip all of the Democrats on his panel into voting no on passage unless that committee is given equal jurisdiction over the legislation and is allowed to mark it up on its own. If he gets his way, the legislation could lose yet more of its teeth. If he doesn't (and if he's able to make good on his threat) then it may not pass at all.

We'll see how this shakes out.

President Obama talks with Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward at a community service event on the South Lawn of the White House with the Superbowl champions, May 21, 2009.

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Steelers President Art Rooney II presents President Obama with a team jersey.

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President Obama joined the team to fill care packages for soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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May 21, 2009

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TPMDC's daily update on the biggest legislative initiatives on the Hill:

  • Climate Change: The marathon mark up of the Waxman-Markey climate change bill continued today, with at least one moment of levity as a speed reader, hired by Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats to motor through Republican delay tactics, was called before the panel to read part of an amendment. Incidentally, if you want to track changes to the bill amendment by amendment, you can do so here. The committee's work may be done as soon as tonight.


  • Defense Spending: The Senate invoked cloture on the supplemental war-spending bill, now bereft of funds for closing down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It's unclear why cloture had to be filed--the final tally was 94-1, the lone dissent being a protest vote by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI)--but I guess if the GOP didn't insist on cloture, government might get things done quickly, and that would be dispositive of the whole philosophy of conservatism

That GOP effort to get a congressional investigation into Nancy Pelosi's claim that the CIA lied to her about torture? Looks like it didn't get too far.

The Associated Press reports that the House voted by 252-172 to block the measure, which was sponsored by Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah. Two GOPers, Ron Paul of Texas and Walter Jones of North Carolina, joined Democrats in voting against it.

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When the California government decided to address his state's budget crisis by slashing pay for home health care workers, and cutting three-quarters of a billion dollars in Medi-Cal healthcare programs for the poor, the White House was furious. So was the SEIU. This is a recession, they reasoned, and those are poor and working class people. Citing the terms of the American Recovery and Reinvestment act, the Obama administration threatened to withhold $6.8 billion in federal stimulus funds unless the California legislature revoked the wage cut.

Obama "went straight for the most direct way to leverage California from the federal government," writes a source with knowledge of deliberations, "it was a big play, no question."

The right was furious about SEIU's involvement in negotiations, as were California government officials. But their concerns were laid to rest today when Washington decided to back down.

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Earlier today, we reported that Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have taken an extraordinary measure to combat nefarious Republican stall tactics. Faced with the possibility that the GOP minority might require the committee's clerks to read aloud the 900-page Waxman-Markey climate change bill, or many of its 400-plus proposed amendments, the committee's chairman, Henry Waxman (D-CA), hired a speed reader. A quick tongued, acting-clerk, if you will.

His services may ultimately not be necessary, but earlier today, to break the tension between battling factions, the committee's ranking member Joe Barton (R-TX) asked the "speed reader clerk" to read part of one measly little amendment. Watch:



That amendment ultimately went down in flames. The overall bill may have gained a little bit of steam today. But presumably a bunch of Capitol Hill clerks are now worried about job security.

TPMLivewire