TPM News

On Thursday, while House Republicans were dealing with a small Medicare privatization snafu, their Senate counterparts laid down an impossible marker. Forty four of their 47 members have signed on to a letter threatening to filibuster any nominee to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unless it is dramatically weakened.

"We will not support the consideration of any nominee, regardless of party affiliation, to be the CFPB director until the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is reformed," reads a letter, co-authored by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), ranking member of the Banking Committee.

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President Obama flew to Fort Campbell, Ky., Friday to personally congratulate the special operations team responsible for the killing of Osama bin Laden, telling them and the rest of the troops on the base "job well done."

Vice President Joe Biden joined Obama in privately thanking the Navy SEAL team just hours after bin Laden's terror network al Qaeda confirmed the death of their leader and vowed to avenge it and retaliate against Americans.

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The Texas legislature passed a bill on Thursday requiring doctors to conduct a sonogram before performing an abortion, and to describe to the woman seeking an abortion what the sonogram shows before moving ahead with the procedure.

The bill, which passed the Texas House on Thursday by a 94-41 vote, forces doctors to perform a sonogram at least 24 hours before performing an abortion, and to show the resulting images to a woman if she requests to view them. And even if the woman declines to view the sonogram, the bill mandates that she must still listen to the doctor describe the images before going ahead with the abortion.

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House Republican leaders see the political writing on the wall and won't be making a hard push for their plan to privatize Medicare.

That's a bitter pill to swallow for rank and file members who already voted for the GOP budget. Now the official position of the House of Representatives, it has won praise from conservatives -- and even many mainstream media figures -- for making "hard choices" to tackle long-term debt and deficit. But crucially, a huge chunk of the savings in the plan came from ... the now-withered plan to privatize Medicare -- to shift a significant portion of Medicare costs on to consumers.

It turns out that if you strike the Medicare plan from the GOP budget -- authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) -- it doesn't achieve fiscal balance anymore.

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Monica Goodling, a key figure in the politicization of the Justice Department during the Bush administration, has received a public reprimand from the Virginia State Bar, Virginia Lawyers Weekly reports.

The state bar found that Goodling committed "a criminal or deliberately wrongful act" that reflected poorly on her "honesty, trustworthiness or fitness to practice law," the publication reports. The decision was reached in March but was made public Thursday.

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Jon Stewart isn't having any of top social conservative David Barton's views on the separation of church and state.

In an extended segment of The Daily Show on Wednesday, Stewart and Barton argued over the Founders' views of religion, and how religion is reconciled in American culture. Barton is known for preaching a somewhat revisionist version of American history, which focuses on the religious beliefs of the Founders, arguing that the country has mistakenly ignored those beliefs when it comes to teaching American history. Among his arguments is that "the Declaration of Independence is nothing more than a listing of all of the sermons that folks had been hearing in church in the decades leading up to the American Revolution."

But Stewart isn't impressed. "You seem to be taking your religious views," he told Barton, "channeling them through sort of a faux-scientific or historical method for use in political and curriculum activities. And that's where I think it creates some trouble."

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Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) is still a very popular politician in Arizona despite his false claim that abortions make up 90% of Planned Parenthood's services. Actually, that's not intended to be a factual statement.

In reality, Kyl's approval rating has gotten markedly worse since January, according to a PPP poll released on Friday, perhaps not coincidentally because of the false claim he made on the Senate floor last month, and the negative press attention it generated.

In the same PPP poll that showed Kyl's approval rating slipping, a majority of Arizonans said they opposed cutting funding for Planned Parenthood. Further, while Republicans' opinion of Kyl hasn't changed much since January, large numbers of Democrats and independents -- who both strongly opposed cutting funding for Planned Parenthood, according to the survey -- have soured on Kyl over the same period.

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John Yoo says President Obama is too afraid of the politics of Guantanamo Bay to capture and interrogate terrorists.

The former George W. Bush administration lawyer, Yoo wrote the infamous torture memos used to justify the "enhanced interrogation techniques" that were a central legacy of Bush's Global War On Terror. He now says that the killing of Osama bin Laden will go down in history as one of President Obama's biggest national security fails.

Yoo told CNN on Thursday night that the special forces team sent to kill bin Laden should have instead taken him alive and kept him as a source of future intelligence. Failing to do that, Yoo says, cost the U.S. a valuable asset. That was a mistake, Yoo says.

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A Cambridge, Massachusetts consulting firm acknowledged Friday that some of its work on behalf of Muammar Qaddafi and Libya from 2006 to 2008 should have been registered with the U.S. Department of Justice in accordance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). In a statement, Monitor Group said it will now register "some of its past work in Libya, as well as recent work with Jordan" and "take all appropriate measures to remediate these errors."

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Not only is the House GOP's Medicare plan in jeopardy, a key Republican committee chair says that repealing President Obama's health care plan is also a dead end for now.

"Is the repeal dead? I don't think the Senate is going to do it, so I guess yes," Dave Camp (R-MI), chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, said yesterday at a policy breakfast in Washington.

Camp made a splash at the same event yesterday when he said that he would not advance the House Republican's proposal to privatize and cut Medicare in his committee based on its lack of support in the Senate.

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