TPM News

Rep. Allen Boyd (D-FL) today became the fifth Democrat to flip his vote from "no" to "yes" on health care reform.

Boyd told the Tallahassee Democrat that the final language addresses concerns he had about the first House bill.

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Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: Former Bush White House Adviser Karl Rove, former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS).

• CBS, Face The Nation: House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL).

• CNN, State Of The Union: House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-IN), Rep. John Larson (D-CT), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

• Fox News Sunday: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (R-TX).

• NBC, Meet The Press: House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), DNC Chairman Tim Kaine, RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

Buried under the pile of details that have emerged in the last 48 hours on the John Ensign investigation is one crucial over-arching development: The federal probe into the matter appears to have expanded, and shifted its focus in a way that may could make it an even graver threat to the Nevada senator than before.

In a nutshell: The Justice Department investigation began as an inquiry into whether Ensign flouted a lobbying ban by trying to help Doug Hampton get a lobbying job after Hampton left Ensign's office, and by directing his staff to work with Hampton once he was set up as a lobbyist. But now, it seems, investigators have also moved beyond Hampton, to consider whether the senator illegally tied legislative favors to contributions to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which he chaired.

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If House Democrats still have concerns about the Senate's ability to follow through on their promise to fix the health care bill in the reconciliation process, they'll have a golden opportunity on Saturday to put those fears to rest.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to attend a White House event tomorrow with members of the House Democratic Caucus.

"I'll leave the psychoanalyzing to others. All I know is Senator Reid is there to get this bill done as quickly as possible next week," Reid spokesman Jim Manley tells me.

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Democrats today are accusing Republicans of circulating a fraudulent memo that claims to be sent to "Democratic health and communications staff" and which suggests the majority party leadership wants to make big changes to Medicare next year after health care passes.

A senior Democratic leadership aide told TPMDC in an interview the memo, obtained and printed by Politico and leading the Drudge Report this afternoon a few days ahead of the health care vote Sunday, is "a hoax."


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Could Betsy McCaughey, the former New York lieutenant governor and arch-enemy of liberal health care reformers, be a potential candidate for governor or Senate?

The New York Daily News reports that a reader received polling phone call that tested various candidates in the races against Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as for the open gubernatorial race. Among the names was McCaughey, who served one term as a Republican lieutenant governor in 1990s, then switched to the Democrats after she was dropped from the GOP ticket for the 1998 election. (She failed to win the Dem nomination for governor, and then won 1.65% of the vote as the nominee of the Liberal Party.)

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Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), who is sticking to his "no" vote on health care, said President Obama told him in a meeting yesterday that he might go for the public option next year.

In an interview with Mother Jones, Lynch said Obama told him he can't put progressive provisions, like a public option, into health care reform this year. But next year may be a different story.

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