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When House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) heard Republicans were going to hold a vote on the extremely conservative Republican Study Committee budget, a lightbulb turned on in his head.

"I thought to myself the Republican leadership is probably thinking we're going to defeat it for them," Hoyer told me in a phone interview Friday. "I said to myself I'm not interested in seeing that happen. I want the Republicans to show what they believe. And if a majority of them believe that that's the kind of budget [they want] the American people need to know that."

The RSC is a very large bloc of conservative Republican House members. They introduced a 10-year plan for America that makes the already far-reaching House budget look fairly moderate. It was supposed to be a symbolic vote -- one that allowed conservative members to go on the record in support of slashing $9 trillion in spending knowing full well it would never be adopted as the official position of the House and the Republican Party. Hoyer figured them out.

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House Republicans voted Friday in favor of a vision of the future without Medicare, with a significantly eroded Medicaid, and with lower taxes on wealthy Americans. By a vote of 235-193, they passed their budget resolution -- an opening bid in a broader partisan fight about spending and taxes that will dominate politics in Washington, DC for the rest of the year.

Four Republicans voted with all Democrats against the so-called "Path to Prosperity." Two Republicans and five Democratsdidn't vote.

It's also political poison. The GOP plan would slowly phase out the current Medicare system and replace it by offering beneficiaries partially subsidized private insurance (ironically, much like Obamacare). It would turn Medicaid into a block-grant program, allowing states to roll back currently guaranteed benefits for the poor and disabled. And it would eliminate most of the savings achieved from cutting these entitlements lowering the tax burden on wealthy Americans.

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Iowa's partially non-partisan redistricting process has now resulted in some musical chairs, as the state adjusts to being reduced from five House seats to four. And in the latest development, Republican Rep. Tom Latham has announced he is moving across the new lines into the district of Democratic Rep. Leonard Boswell, challenging him in the general election -- and avoiding a Republican primary with Tea Partying Congressman Steve King.

The Des Moines Register reports:

Latham, who now lives in Ames in Iowa's 4th Congressional District, would have resided in Iowa's in the same district as Rep. Steve King, a Kiron Republican, under new political boundaries approved Thursday by the Iowa Legislature. His move to the new 3rd District - which covers southwest Iowa - from Des Moines to Council Bluffs, avoids an intra-party primary battle between two GOP incumbents.

Latham sent a letter today to friends and supporters announcing he will move to the 3rd District, saying, "I have never let map boundaries block the great honor I have felt in representing the interests of all Iowans in the United States Congress."


So which one of them won't have a chair when the music stops in November 2012?

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Every one of Detroit's public school teachers is receiving a layoff notice -- but that doesn't mean they will all be fired.

The layoff notices were sent to the 5,466 unionized teachers "in anticipation of a workforce reduction to match the district's declining student enrollment," according to a Detroit Public Schools statement. The layoff notices are required as part of the Detroit Teachers Federation collective-bargaining agreement. Non-Renewal notices have also been sent to 248 administrators, and the layoffs would go into effect by July 29.

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If you're trying to burnish your racial bona fides you probably want somebody other than Pat Buchanan sanding down your rough edges for you.

After setting self-awareness aside this week and telling the world "I've always had a great relationships with the blacks. Some of my best friends are blacks," GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump found himself in the hot seat with the media.

Today on MSNBC, Pat Buchanan leaped to his defense.

"I don't find any malice in what he said in that statement about the black folks," Buchanan said. "I'm a Catholic, and if he said I have a great relationship with the Catholics, I don't think I'd take great offense."

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What was supposed to be a routine vote in the House -- to knock down an amendment authored by conservative Republicans -- turned into pandemonium on the House floor Friday, as Democrats tried to jam the plan through, and hang it around the GOP's necks.

The vote was on the Republican Study Committee's alternative budget -- a radical plan that annihilates the social contract in America by putting the GOP budget on steroids. Deeper tax cuts for the wealthy, more severe entitlement rollbacks.

Normally something like that would fail by a large bipartisan margin in either the House or the Senate. Conservative Republicans would vote for it, but it would be defeated by a coalition of Democrats and more moderate Republicans. But today that formula didn't hold. In an attempt to highlight deep divides in the Republican caucus. Dems switched their votes -- from "no" to "present."

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It didn't take long for Kurt Bardella, the once fast-rising spokesman for House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa who was fired for sharing reporters' e-mails, to land back on his feet.

Bardella, who left his post with Issa early last month, will become the Daily Caller's new communications director.

"Kurt's talent, energy and experience will be an instrumental part of the Daily Caller's evolution from start-up to news staple," Daily Caller founder Tucker Carlson said in a press release announcing the hire. "As we turn our focus towards covering the 2012 election cycle, Kurt is the first of many new hires we expect to announce in the near future."

In an ironic twist, the move almost represents a direct trade between Issa and the Daily Caller. Issa's new spokeswoman on the Oversight Committee, Becca Glover Watkins, previously worked as a spokeswoman for The Daily Caller, the same role Bardella will now hold himself.

"With the 2012 election cycle already taking shape, there are tremendous opportunities for the Daily Caller to continue to expand their brand and I look forward to working with them to do that," Bardella said in a statement.

Turns out Jon Huntsman, still the White House's Ambassador to China for a month or so longer while he sets up an expected presidential run, liked to say nice things about President Obama in the form of letters written in his own hand.

In letters obtained and published today by the Daily Caller, Huntsman calls Obama "a remarkable leader." The word remarkable, as the Caller's Jonathan Strong notes, is underlined.

Good idea if you're trying to suck to the boss. Bad idea if you're hoping to mount a legitimate campaign to remove him from office.

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