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The House of Representatives just passed stopgap legislation to prevent the government from shutting down when funds expire on Friday by vote of 271-158.

The spending measure, known as a "continuing resolution," will keep the federal lights on for three weeks, while congressional leaders and the White House hammer out a compromise package that can pass both the House and the Senate. This continuing resolution lost nearly 70 votes compared to the last stopgap, and could not have passed without Democratic support.

House conservatives staged a mini-rebellion over the CR, which they say doesn't sufficiently slash discretionary spending, and doesn't contain key Republican policy measures -- including abortion restrictions and a rescission of funds to implement the health care law.

Overall, 54 Republicans broke ranks with GOP leadership and voted against the measure. A total of 85 Democrats voted for the measure. It is expected to pass the Senate late this week.

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The Wisconsin state Senate Republicans backed away Tuesday afternoon from a controversial sanction they handed down against state Senate Democrats, who had fled the state in an attempt to block passage of Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union proposals. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Senate President Mike Ellis will not enforce the contempt declaration handed down against the Dems -- which, as Fitzgerald said Monday, stripped the Dems of the right to vote in committee proceedings.

In addition, Republicans will not enforce the fines, of $100 for each additional missed session day, that they handed down late during the Dems' absence,

"The name of the game is moving this state forward, putting this stuff behind us," Ellis said. "Let's get on with the people's business. Let's stop all the bickering."

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House Republican leaders are mounting their own legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act following President Obama's decision to drop support for portions of the bill, slamming the White House for abandoning legislation that passed with overwhelming support under President Clinton. But according to one poll commissioned by a gay rights group, the Human Rights Campaign, the White House is on the right side of public opinion today.

According to the poll, which was conducted by Democratic firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, Americans oppose DOMA 51%-34%, including a similar 52%-34% split among independents. A similar proportion disagree with the Republican decision to defend the law, 54% to 32%.

DOMA prevents the federal government from recognizing gay marriage in states where it is legal, a provision of the law the Department of Justice says is unconstitutional.

Of all the undeclared candidates presumed to be running for the Republican presidential nomination, four names continue to cluster at the top of the field: Huckabee, Palin, Romney, and Gingrich.

That trend continued Tuesday with the release of a new PPP poll of registered Republican voters that shows those four candidates still bunched closely at the front of the pack. And while there has been some shifting of percentages, there is no significant movement to show anyone considerably pulling ahead or slipping behind.

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Lobbying expenditures from the payday loan industry more than doubled from $2,045,000 in the 109th Congress to $4,182,550 in the 110th Congress, according to a new report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

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Correction: This post originally attributed the op-ed critical of Sen. Snowe to the editors of the Portland Press Herald. In fact, the op-ed was penned by former Snowe rival and ex-Rep. Tom Andrews (D-ME). As such, the op-ed is not evidence of Snowe losing support from moderate Republicans as this post initially suggested. We regret the error.


Recent polling suggests Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) would have much better luck running for re-election as an independent than as a Republican, to avoid a tea party-backed candidate from the right. But that would mean abandoning her party, its institutional support, her seniority in the Senate and so on. In a Tuesday op-ed in the Portland Press Herald -- an influential newspaper in Southern Maine -- former Rep. Tom Andrews (D-ME), who lost to Snowe in the 1994 race in which she was first elected to the Senate, takes Snowe to task for what he claims is her pandering to tea partiers in her party.

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Gen. David Petraeus urged the American people to remember the reasons why U.S. forces continue to fight in Afghanistan in the face of a new poll showing the lowest level of American support for the longest war in U.S. history.

Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday that he understands the level of American frustration with the Afghan war, but warned of the growth of al Qaeda in the country and region if the U.S. abandons its mission and allows the Taliban to regain control.

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The political consequences for Republicans in Wisconsin are paying dividends for Democrats in DC.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is now pressuring House Speaker John Boehner to make a choice: negotiate with us, or side with the conservatives in your party, whom he described on a conference call with reporters Tuesday as "Scott Walker Republicans... using the budget to try and shoot the moon on [right wing] policy measures."

This is of a piece with Schumer's heads-you-lose, tails-you-lose offer to Boehner Monday, to dismiss the tea party constituency in his caucus and reach a bipartisan spending agreement with Democrats. Now he's citing Republican defectors as evidence that the real goal in this spending fight is to impose a conservative agenda via the budget process, just like in Wisconsin.

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