TPM News

DSCC Chairman Robert Menendez released a statement following President Obama's signing of health care reform legislation earlier today. Here's the full statement:

"Today marks a historic day for the United States of America. It is not often that lawmakers pass, and a President signs into law, a bill that will profoundly change the lives of millions of Americans.

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AARP CEO A. Barry Rand released a statement today following President Obama's signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Here's the full statement:

"Today's signing of landmark health insurance reform legislation by President Obama represents a milestone in this great country's history. But the work is not done, and we now look to the Senate to help Americans get the care they need by passing the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010.

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Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele issued a statement today in response to President Obama's signing of health care legislation. Here's the full statement:

"We've heard a lot today about how historic this bill is, and it's true. It is an historic betrayal of the clear will of the American people. It is an historic loss of liberty. It is an historic escalation of publicly funded abortions, no matter what executive order President Obama signs. This bill inserts Big Government right into the most personal, life-and-death moments a family can face. It will cause millions of employers to drop health benefits for their workers, hire over 16,000 IRS agents to enforce the government's health care mandates, require small businesses and medical innovators to pay higher taxes and saddles our country with debt we can't afford.

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Did Vice President Biden drop the F-bomb on TV today?

Some, including Fox News, are saying that Biden said the F-word while giving President Obama a hug before the health care signing ceremony. We can't make it out precisely on the feed from CNN, but watch it for yourself.

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Now that President Obama has signed health-care reform into law, opponents of the bill are pinning their hopes of stopping it on a last-ditch legal strategy. A group of 13 state attorneys general has filed suit (pdf), arguing that the law is unconstitutional.

The bid seems far-fetched at first. But the Roberts Court has recently shown a willingness to strike down landmark legislation -- charges of judicial activism be damned. So, given the stakes, it's worth asking: Could health-care reform have made it through the congressional gauntlet, only to end up dying in the courts?

(Late Update: The Justice Department is signaling that it's already gearing up for a fight. "We will vigorously defend the constitutionality of the health care reform statute," a DOJ spokesman says.)

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During the bill-signing for the health care reform law, Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) yelled out his own acknowledgment of the political difficulties that were involved in passage.

In his speech before signing the bill, President Obama said: "It's also a testament to the historic leadership and uncommon courage of the men and women of the United States Congress, who've taken their lumps during this difficult debate."

"Yes we did!" the Congressman shouted, a clear play on Obama's "Yes We Can" campaign slogan, followed by laughter from Obama and the whole audience.

Late Update: ABC News first reported that the Congressman in question was Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY). Ackerman's spokesman Jordan Goldes has confirmed to TPMDC that it was in fact Ackerman. This post has been updated from an earlier version, which did not yet identify the Congressman.

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In a statement today, Carly Fiorina announced that she had received the endorsement of Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Here's the full statement:

"California needs a representative in the U.S. Senate who is prepared to make the tough decisions necessary to address our most pressing challenges, including job creation and national security. Based on my personal experience, I know Carly is the best person to send to Washington to advocate for the people of our great state in the Senate," said Rice. "Carly is an experienced and respected leader who has delivered results for those she has served in the midst of immense challenges. I am proud to endorse her today."

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With much fanfare, dozens of pens and members of Congress beaming at his side, President Obama signed a sweeping health care reform bill this morning.

"Today after almost a century of trying; today after a year of debate; today after all the votes have been tallied health, insurance reform becomes" the law of the land in America, Obama said in the White House East Room. He called the fact that health reform passed "a testament" to the American people and the lawmakers who "took their lumps" this year, to which Rep. Gary Ackerman shouted "Yes, we did" to laughter.

Obama touted the parts of the bill that go into effect this year. The legislation offers tax credits to 4 million small businesses to help them afford health care for their employees, stops insurance companies from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions, eradicates lifetime caps on coverage and allows young adults to stay on their parents insurance longer.

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It's hardly a secret that Republicans are trying to characterize the just-passed health care bill as a product of a bunch of secret, shady backroom deals--the "Cornhusker Kickback," the "Louisiana Purchase," the "Gator-Aid," and so on. But this morning on Fox News, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) came up with a new one--that just happens to be completely false.

"In Utah, a member from Utah that voted on the bill, he was against it and then he was for it. What a coincidence that his brother just got named to be a federal judge," Barrasso said.

Barrasso's referring to Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), whose highly qualified brother Scott was indeed nominated recently to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. But here's the thing: Matheson voted no.

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Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), who is being challenged from the left in her Democratic primary, has a big Democratic name coming to her aide: Former Bill Clinton campaign strategist and current political pundit James Carville, who has written a fundraising e-mail for the incumbent's campaign.

"When I lived in Arkansas during President Clinton's campaign, I learned a lot about the Arkansas spirit. Blanche is an Arkansan through and through - and as you and I both know, Arkansans don't quit, even when the going gets tough. Blanche Lincoln is the real deal," the Ragin' Cajun says in the e-mail. "I've watched her stand face to face with Presidents and leaders from both parties and tell them they were wrong when their proposals didn't benefit Arkansas. She's been standing up for you, but let me tell you, there has never been a better time to stand with her."

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