TPM News

A federal appeals court has asked the California Supreme Court to help answer a question about who has standing to fight same sex marriage in the courts.

At issue is whether the anti-gay groups who put Proposition 8 on the ballot in California have the legal standing to appeal a decision that Prop 8 -- which outlaws same sex marriage in the state -- is unconstitutional. Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is hearing that appeal, asked the California high court to decide whether the proponents have standing under state law.

Read More →

You might have seen that Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) has been rated by CQ as the Democratic Senator most likely to cross party lines. And if you haven't heard about it, it turns out that his office is also stepping in to publicize it.

The ratings found that Nelson voted with the Democrats on just under 54% of "party unity" votes -- Senate motions where a majority of the Democratic caucus votes opposite to a majority of Republicans. The runner-up was Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), who has retired, and who sided with the Dems on 68% of party unity votes.

Today, Nelson's Senate office reproduced on their "Nelson In The News" section an article from the Omaha World-Herald, the state's largest newspaper, which picked up on the story.

I asked Nelson's communications director Jake Thompson, was the office trying to send a particular message by reposting that article on their site? "No, not really," said Thompson. "If you look, it's really just case by case, I thought it was an interesting article. CQ is something you have to subscribe to, so people might not have access to the numbers. I thought it was a way to let people know about it."

Read More →

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) sounds like an old commercial for pasta sauce these days. With less than 24 hours to go before the Republicans take over in the House and begin their quest to repeal and replace the Democrats' landmark health care reform law, Cuellar -- a new member of the House minority leadership -- told reporters today that whatever reforms the Republicans want to put in place as part of the "replace" portion of their agenda, the Democrats have already done it.

In essence, to paraphrase Prego, "it's in there."

At the House Democratic majority leadership's final press conference before Speaker Boehner and company are sworn in tomorrow, Cuellar read through the succinct health care "replace" bill House Republicans are planning to introduce this week. The bill is essentially a list of instructions for newly Republican-run committees to take up health care reform once (in theory) the Democratic law is repealed.

For each directive on the bill -- "preserve a patient's ability to keep his or her health plan if he or she likes it" is one example -- Cuellar had a simple response: we already did that.

Read More →

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) has made an interesting public admission: That the upcoming effort by House Republicans to completely repeal health care reform -- which is set to be voted on in the House on January 12 -- will not actually succeed and become law. But with that said, he explained that the vote is still an important step.

Price was interviewed last night on Fox News by Greta Van Susteren, who asked him: "What's the likelihood you'd pass this, and you could even override a veto from the White House? I mean -- and to what extent is this show-and-tell?"

"It's not show-and-tell," Price replied, saying that it would be "fulfilling a promise to the American people," that they would vote to repeal it.

Read More →

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who was recently tasked by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) with leading the Senate Democrats' newly combined policy-and-messaging operations, told Politico today that the Republicans who oppose health care reform should give up their own government health benefits.

He said: "It seems unfair that House Republicans want to deprive middle-class Americans of the same health care as members of Congress but to keep it for themselves."

Read More →

When House Republicans use their first days in the majority to push for a repeal of the landmark health care reform law signed back in March, they're likely to have a few Democrats stand with them. Around a dozen Democrats who voted against the law the first time survived the bloodbath election back in November, giving House Republicans a small Democratic caucus to work with when trying to cast the repeal effort as at least nominally bipartisan.

House Democrats are gearing up to fight the repeal battle hard, as Greg Sargent reported yesterday. Progressive leaders in the soon-to-be Democratic minority are hoping to cast the repeal vote as an attack on the more popular elements of reform, including the banning of preexisting condition discrimination and the closure of the so-called Medicare "donut hole." Democrats plan to push Republicans to take a stand on those elements, Sargent reports, by pressuring them to cast unpopular votes against them.

The same pressure will not be applied to fellow Democrats, however. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), former chair of the DCCC and incoming ranking member on the Budget Committee, told reporters on Capitol Hill today that there's not a concerted effort to push reform-opposing Democrats to stick with their caucus when it comes to the Republican repeal vote.

"No one is pressuring anybody to do anything," Van Hollen said.

Read More →

A right-wing blog that tracks networks of Islamic extremists online says it was them, not Fox News, that brought a video of a woman the network later labeled "Terror Grandma" to the attention of authorities.

"Fox did not drop the dime, we did," writes blogger Howie on the Jawa Report. "Given the quick death of the video and its nature, which Ill elaborate on more later, we sent it along through the proper channels. Just to be sure." TPM was unable to independently verify Howie's claims.

Read More →

Outgoing Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-MO) is becoming a partner at Thompson Coburn LLP, where he'll advise clients on issues including international trade, biotechnology, agriculture, cyberlaw and transportation, the firm said in a statement.

Bond will also consult with clients to bring economic development and job opportunities to Missouri, and he'll work from both Missouri and Washington, D.C.

Read More →