TPM News

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) tried to issue assurances on MSNBC this morning that today's House Financial Services Committee mark up of a bill regulating derivatives trading will include requirements for an exchange where derivatives are traded openly. Such a firm requirement has not been included in early drafts of the bill.

"Everything they do in the derivative area will be forced onto an exchange," said Frank, who chairs the committee. "There'll be amendments adopted today."

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White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel won't be alone today when he huddles with senators about health care, as Brian noted earlier.

The White House says he's part of a 5-person team leading the charge for meetings expected to last from 2:30 to 4:15 p.m. The focus is merging the bill passed by the Senate Finance Committee yesterday with the one passed earlier in the year by the Senate Health Education and Labor Committee.

A White House official told TPMDC Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called for the meeting.

"As we've said throughout this process, the White House stands ready to assist Leader Reid and Chairmen Baucus and Dodd in moving the reform effort forward. White House and HHS staff have regularly been present for legislative action so far, and they'll continue to play a similar advisory role," the official said.

The group of visitors after the jump.

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Astroturf lobbyist Jack Bonner will testify tomorrow in front of a Congressional panel investigating the forged letters his firm sent this summer, according to a witness list for the hearing obtained by TPMmuckraker. Also testifying will be Steve Miller, the CEO of the coal industry group that had hired Bonner to gin up opposition to climate-change legislation.

This summer, Bonner & Associates sent forged letters to several lawmakers, urging them to oppose the legislation. The letters, sent on behalf of Bonner's client, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, purported to come from local minority, senior, women, and veterans groups. Bonner has blamed the letters on a temporary employee, but as we've shown, his firm's modus operandi makes such occurrences all but inevitable.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is hoping to make today a special message to the left -- especially "Big Sister Pelosi and Big Brother Reid" -- through a mega-fundraising drive for her campaign.

The intention is send a message from the American people: "You're saying that you don't want this Gangster Government supersized!"

"We can show them that we mean business by raising money from patriots like you across the nation in a one-day fundraising blitz," said an e-mail from Bachmann's campaign. "There will be no dismissing our efforts as Astroturf -- this is the power of the People taking back their government!"

So far, she's not exactly in Ron Paul money-bomb territory, with only about $22,000 to show for it so far. But hey, the day is young, so let's see what happens. Check out the full-email after the jump.

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At 2:30 this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will host Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in the first of several meetings presaging the merger of two major health care bills. The foursome is expected to discuss key issues at the heart of the reform process--affordability, Medicare, the public option, revenues--but no decisions are expected today.

The meeting kicks off a process that may be the most important of the entire health care debate. Reid, in consultation with Senate health care leaders and White House officials will crib from the Senate HELP Committee's health care bill, and the more conservative Senate Finance Committee health care bill, which was voted favorably out of committee after multiple delays yesterday.

Reid and the White House will be the focus of a great deal of attention in the coming days from the liberal base, which is adamant that health care reform include a public option, and that party leaders prevent rank and file senators from joining Republicans in a filibuster of the final bill. If Reid decides that the legislation he brings to the floor will include a public option it would be a game changer--and public option supporters within his own party aren't being shy about their preference.

Additional reporting by Christina Bellantoni

Things are looking worse and worse for Texas governor Rick Perry, accused of stifling a state panel's probe into that flawed arson investigation that may have led to the execution of an innocent man.

Sam Bassett, the former chair of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, has now told the Houston Chronicle that lawyers for Perry told him the case was inappropriate, and that the hiring of a nationally known fire expert was a "waste of state money."

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Chris Christie appeared today on Morning Joe, where he got a great reception as he and the hosts slammed Democratic Jon Corzine's ads saying that Christie "threw his weight around" to get out of trouble in traffic violations.

"Listen, it's silly," said Christie. "But if you had Jon Corzine's record -- highest unemployment in 33 years, highest tax burden state in America, highest property taxes in America, I mean, you'd want to talk about anything but that. And so -- you know, but the great thing about it is they deny they're talking about my weight."

Jim Cramer, chimed in, slamming Corzine for attacking Christie as "a fat, sleazy guy with a corrupt family who's against mammograms."

Interestingly, this comes a week after Joe Scarborough attacked Christie for being afraid to come on the show. What did he have to worry about?

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) said on CNN a few moments ago that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will have to be a magician to please everyone when he mergers multiple Senate committee health reform bills into one that'll reach the Senate floor.

"Now the task is to the majority leader," Nelson said. "He's almost got to be Houdini to put together a package that can get 60 votes."

Nelson also said he expects "some version of the public option" to be in the final bill, though he said it may hinge on Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

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Vice President Joe Biden will travel to St. Louis, MO, on Thursday "to discuss how Recovery Act investments are creating jobs and aiding law enforcement in keeping our communities safe," the White House announced. Biden will be joined Thursday afternoon by Gov. Jay Nixon (D-MO) at the St. Louis County Police and Fire Training Center, where they'll deliver remarks.

On Friday morning, Biden will travel to Reno, NV, where he'll appear with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) at the University of Nevada, Reno, "to discuss the progress of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," the White House announced.