TPM News

Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, has announced that the union is officially endorsing the health care legislation released today.

The AFL-CIO is "putting all we have into this landmark legislation, and it will pass," Trumka said during an afternoon conference call. The call came after the executive council voted to endorse the legislation, with a nearly unanimous vote, Trumka said.

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Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) has written a letter to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) saying he is "appalled" that Boehner told bankers not to "let those little punk staffers take advantage of you, and stand up for yourselves" when it comes to financial reform.

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The new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll finds Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) continuing to collapse in his Republican primary for Senate against former state House Speaker Marco Rubio. And what is more, the poll finds that switching parties might not be a viable option for Crist, either, with current Democratic candidate Rep. Kendrick meek performing solidly against Rubio.

In the Republican primary, Rubio now leads Crist by 58%-30%, compared to a Crist lead of 47%-37% in November 2009. Rubio has run a conservative insurgency based mainly on Crist's support for President Obama's stimulus bill, and it's worked so far.

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It's official: Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) is switching his health care vote from "no" to "yes."

That's a big pickup for Democrats -- Gordon is just the second Democrat who voted "no" on the House health care bill in November to say he'll vote "yes" on the Senate bill now. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) was the first switcher.

Gordon was a key target for Democratic leadership after announcing his retirement last fall. And Democrats still don't seem to have secured the 216 votes they need to pass health care reform -- so every pickup counts.

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A pair of anti-choice Representatives joining several Catholic health care experts and theologians to dismiss claims by some in the anti-abortion community that a vote for the Senate health care reform bill is a vote to invite government funding of abortion.

On the call, organized by the group Faith In Public Life, Reps. Charlie Wilson (D-OH) and Dale Kildee (D-MI) said that a vote for the bill would not run afoul of their anti-choice views. In fact, they and the experts said, the bill is likely to decrease the number of abortions performed in America and make insurance coverage for the procedure less common.

"I will be 81 years old in September," Kildee, who announced yesterday that he'll vote yes on the Senate bill, said. "Certainly at this point in my life I'm not going to change my mind and support abortion and I'm not going to risk my eternal salvation."

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Sen. John Ensign's office is declining to say whether it has been subpoenaed by federal investigators probing the aftermath of the senator's sex-and-lobbying scandal.

Asked whether Ensign or his office had received subpoenas, Rebecca Fisher, a spokeswoman for the senator, responded:

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Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), who had previously said he would vote against the health care bill based on restrictive immigration provisions, has now switched again -- saying he will vote yes.

Gutierrez made the announcement at a press conference with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Gutierrez had previously been a yes vote already on the House bill back in November, so his decision to vote for the bill is not a gain for the Democrats -- but it is the avoidance of a loss of one vote, in their fight to reach the magic number of 216.

Longtime CNN foreign correspondent Christiane Amanpour will become the new anchor on ABC's political Sunday Show "This Week," the network announced this afternoon. She replaces former host George Stephanopoulos, who joined ABC's "Good Morning America" show.

In an email, ABC News president David Westin told the network's staff that Amanpour will begin in August. "A highly respected journalist recognized around the world for her reporting, she brings to her new position a wealth of experience and knowledge, as well as a deep commitment to bringing news of the world to the American people," Westin wrote.

The network also posted the details here.

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The National Catholic Reporter today endorsed the Democrats' health care reform legislation, another signal to pro-life Democrats that they are free to back the bill on Sunday. "Congress, and its Catholics, should say yes to health care reform," the magazine editorialized today.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs posted the editorial on his Twitter feed, calling it "another very important health care development." The editors wrote that the debate has gotten "nasty" but insisted that pro-life Democrats have nothing to worry about.

"Bottom line: The current legislation is not 'pro-abortion,' and there is no, repeat no, federal funding of abortion in the bill," National Catholic Reporter wrote. "In any event, what is being debated is not the morality of abortion but the politics of abortion, and there is plenty of room for honest and respectful disagreement among Catholics about politics."

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