TPM News

With the looming prospect of a government shutdown growing larger every day, two recent polls show that Americans overwhelmingly want Congress and Obama to reach a budget deal before the March 4 deadline.

According to a Gallup poll, six in ten Americans would rather see a compromise than see Senators who represent their interests hold out for a sweeter deal, even if it leads to a government shutdown. And in a PPP poll released earlier this week, 62% said they thought a government shutdown would be bad for the country, while only 26% said it would be a good thing.

If a federal budget isn't passed by the March 4 deadline, the government will cease all non-essential spending until a budget is be passed.

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MADISON, WI -- The Wisconsin state Senate has just recessed, after the 19 Republicans "debated" and voted on amendments to a strict Voter ID bill, while the Democrats who fled the state in order to stop a budget quorum for Governor Scott Walker's anti-public employee union proposals remain in hiding in Illinois.

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) may have more than his own embarrassment to deal with in the wake of the prank call from from a progressive blogger claiming to be David Koch.

The police chief in Madison, Wisc. -- site of the protests at the state Capitol -- tells the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel the he found parts of the recorded call between Walker and "Koch" "very unsettling and troubling."

Specifically, Chief Noble Wray says that Walker's claim that he considered sending infiltrators into the crowd (prompted by a suggestion by "Koch," played by blogger Ian Murphy) made him nervous.

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Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) defended Nevada's legal prostitution industry on Wednesday -- putting him at odds with Sen. Harry Reid's (D-NV) call this week to end the brothel business.

"You know, that's a county by county issue and I think and it should be left to the counties," Ensign told local station after a town hall meeting.

On Tuesday, Reid delivered a speech to the Nevada legislature in which he declared "the time has come for us to outlaw prostitution." Many state lawmakers defended the current brothel system after and it's unclear whether Reid's position has enough support to move forward. Governor Brian Sandoval (R) has said the issue should be left to the counties as well.

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Steve Israel promised to take on Congressional Republicans over their push to tighten abortion laws. Now, the DCCC chair is making good on that pledge.

With the 2012 elections well over a year away, Democrats are already up with paid advertising aimed at five Republican members of Congress they hope to defeat in 2012. The program is part of a larger targeted web, radio and email ad program taking on 19 Republicans Democrats say are vulnerable next year.

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Life was more fun for Republicans when they could vote "no" on job-creating bills like the stimulus, then go to ribbon-cutting ceremonies for stimulus projects in their districts.

Now that they're voting "yes" on bills that will slash, delay or eliminate those projects, life's pretty rough.

Check out, for instance, this interview with freshman Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-IL), who's tied in knots over his recent vote to kill a transportation project in his district. Specifically, he voted for the House spending legislation, which would eliminate a $230 million federal grant to build an Amtrak line from Chicago to Iowa City, if it goes into effect.

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No matter how sensible the protesters in Wisconsin seem, Stephen Colbert is sure that they're downright evil. And if they won't live up to the stereotype of the thuggish union member, he's going to do it for them -- even if it means killing an adorable puppy.

"We know that government workers are greedy goons because we keep saying that they are," Colbert said. "But because they keep refusing to live up to our stereotypes, we must do it for them."

"Then the American people will despise us, by which I mean them," he added.

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