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CNN is reporting that Democrats are dropping the millionaire surtax proposal from their payroll tax cut bill. TPM has not independently confirmed the news.

A provision in this summer's debt limit bill required both the House and Senate to vote on a version -- any version -- of a constitutional amendment requiring the federal government to maintain a balanced budget.

Today was the day in the Senate, and as it turns out two balanced budget amendments went down in flames. One, crafted by Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), was designed to give Dems who wanted to vote for some kind of BBA a vehicle to support. It would have explicitly protected Social Security from being raided to balance the budget, and a ban on cutting taxes for millionaires unless there's a budget surplus. It failed 21-79 -- far short of the two-thirds supermajority required to pass a constitutional amendment.

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Despite a tough editorial board meeting with Mitt Romney recently, the editors at the Washington Examiner have chosen Romney as their pick for GOP nominee.

Why? He’s more electable than Newt Gingrich.

The Washington Examiner believes Romney can defeat Obama, but Gingrich cannot. And Romney the businessman is far better suited to the nation’s highest office — by temperament, experience, and cast of mind — than Gingrich the consummate Washington insider. By fits and starts over the years, Romney has become the reliable conservative that America so badly needs at this crucial moment in her history.

Read the rest here.

The Drug Enforcement Administration needs to keep their undercover aerial operations targeting narcotics trafficking along the Mexican border and in foreign countries a bit more hush-hush, according to a new report from the Justice Department's inspector general.

As of March, DOJ investigators searching the FAA aircraft registration database were able to find records of 25 domestically-based DEA aircraft that "should have been registered covertly to fictitious or cover organizations but that were not." As of Sept. 7, 13 DEA aircraft that should have been registered covertly still weren't (TPM found five planes registered still registered to the DEA in a search of the FAA's database on Wednesday).

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On Sean Hannity’s radio program just now the host asked Romney about Iowa. Romney’s response once again looked towards a long primary. He said “over time we’ve come to see the early states as the be-all-and-end-all… but this is a race to get 1,150 or so delegates.” He noted that the Hillary/ Obama race proved just how long this could go on for, especially under a proportional delegate system that the Republicans have now gone some way towards adopting.

He referred to recent polls from Iowa “that show Speaker Gingrich’s numbers have come down significantly.”

“I’d love to do well in iowa; i’d love to win iowa,” he concluded. “But I’m in this for however long it takes to get the nomination.”

Newt Gingrich dinged Romney earlier in the week for his $10K bet moment from Saturday’s debate. However, speaking on Sean Hannity’s radio programme, Romney told the host that Newt was in effect throwing stones inside a glass house; that he was in no place to criticize given his $500,000 Tiffany’s bill.

On Neil Cavuto’s Fox News show, Michele Bachmann affirmed her opposition to the payroll tax cut based on the fact that “we’re broke” and that the the tax cut will divert money away from Social Security which we can’t afford.

Republicans and Democrats in Washington are currently trying to hammer out a deal to extend the payroll tax cut.

Mitt Romney has been under fire for offering a $10,000 bet to Rick Perry during last weekend’s debate. But in a Wednesday interview with CBS, Romney said his biggest challenger, Newt Gingrich, is also very wealthy. “He’s a wealthy man … a very wealthy man,” Romney said. Watch the clip:

As of Tuesday, the federal government wasn't quite ready to render a verdict on the compromise reached by members of Congress on a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act which guides terrorist suspects into the military justice system. But FBI Director Robert Mueller indicated Wednesday that the administration still has concerns, though it's still unclear if the White House will make good on a previous veto threat.

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