TPM News

The candidates are all asked to introduce each other in short, 30-second introductions. It’s about as illuminating as you’d imagine.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney joined the GOP's latest anti-union salvo -- reining in the National Labor Relations Board -- at an event in South Carolina Monday.

Romney, and his latest high-profile supporter Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, toured Boeing's new manufacturing plant in North Charleston. The NLRB is suing Boeing for moving an operation to South Carolina, a right-to-work state, from Washington state after unions protested there.

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White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew on Monday outlined plans to pay for President Obama's new jobs bill largely by increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans and closing tax loopholes for businesses.

Most of the new funds, Lew said, would be attained by limiting itemized deductions for individuals making more than $200,000 a year and families making more than $250,000, a plan President Obama has tried to push since his campaign days. Taking these steps would raise roughly $400 billion over 10 years, Lew said.

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Updated 4.06 p.m. E.S.T.

Black and Latino workers collectively account for roughly a quarter of the entire U.S. workforce, but fill only 12 percent of the country's science and technology jobs. Although Asian workers account for only five percent of the total U.S. workforce, they account for 14 percent of the science, technology, engineering and math workforce -- a disproportionally large figure that has actually increased in the last decade. Meanwhile, the share of blacks and Latinos participating in these fields has seen virtually no growth over the same period, according to a new report from the Department of Commerce.

The report, unveiled Monday at the Brookings Institution by Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca M. Blank, concludes that blacks and Latinos remain severely underrepresented in the STEM fields in the United States. Much of the deficit can be attributed to lagging education rates for some minority groups, Blank said.

The report is the third and final one on the current demographics of the U.S. STEM workforce from data gathered by the Economics and Statistic Administration. The first, released in July, profiles STEM workers, and their importance in furthering American competitiveness and innovation. The second, released in August, looks at trends in education and employment of women in the field of STEM.

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European astronomers on Monday announced the discovery of 50 new exoplanets (planets outside the solar system), including 16 so-called "super Earths," planets with a mass higher than Earth's but lower than that of our solar system's gas giants. Five of these are rocky, as opposed to gassy.

One of these planets, 36 light years away, holds the possibility of being watery, thought to be a necessary precondition for life.

"If we are really, really lucky, this planet could be a habitat" for life, said Lisa Kaltenegger of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, according to The Washington Post.

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This post was updated at 4:26 p.m.

How much of President Obama's jobs bill is DOA in the House? According to Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), probably about half of it.

"Anything that is akin to the stimulus bill I think is not going to be acceptable to the American people," Cantor told reporters at his weekly Capitol briefing Monday. "I don't believe that our members are going to be interested in pursuing that. I certainly am not."

Cantor's talking about federal spending here. He has come out in favor of an alternative plan to expedite high-impact infrastructure building, by ending requirements the federal government places on surface transportation funds, and allowing states to reprioritize the money. But this plan would involve no new federal spending, and there remain significant differences between GOP leadership and the White House over how to fund new projects.

Separately, the stimulus bill wasn't nearly all spending. About a third of its cost came from the very sort of tax cuts and credits that Obama's new jobs bill contains, and Republicans are more likely to support. Another big chunk of the $787 billion price tag came from an un-stimulative patch that Congress passes every year to prevent the Alternative Minimum Tax from ensnaring middle class taxpayers.

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Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern (R) argues that homosexuality is "more dangerous" than terrorism because "It's something they have to deal with every day. Fortunately we don't have to deal with a terrorist attack every day, and that's what I mean."

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Here's a rare admission from a top Republican, given how things have unfolded on Capitol Hill all year. It comes from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), in response to a question about whether Republicans will push for deeper spending cuts later this month when Congress has to extend funding for federal programs.

"I think the risk of bringing back brinkmanship or another potential shutdown is not something right now that we need, is not something that would be helpful to create jobs and regain confidence, which is why I've taken the position that I have," Cantor said.

Here's a brief primer on his position. It's worth noting that the country's economic situation was similarly poor in April and July when Republicans forced long fights over, respectively, a six month government funding bill and raising the debt limit.

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson really wants you to know about his views on the issues. Actually, he just really wants you to know he’s still running for the GOP nomination. The candidate, excluded from tonight’s Tea Party debate, has announced that he will tweet his reactions to the proceedings from his account @GovGaryJohnson. That is all.