TPM News

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) released the following statement today in response to news that Republicans will allow debate on financial reform:

For the last year and a half, I have worked with Senator Shelby as I crafted the bill to reform Wall Street. They have been productive talks, but I cannot agree to his desire to weaken consumer protections given the enormous abuses we have seen.

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Senate Republicans announced this afternoon that they will allow financial reform legislation onto the chamber floor for a debate after bipartisan talks hit an impasse.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee who has been in bipartisan negotiations with chairman Chris Dodd, released a statement announcing talks could go no further.

"We have been unable, however, to make any meaningful progress on other important components of the legislation. It is now my belief that further negotiations will not produce additional results," Shelby wrote.

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A man who was on the scene of the deadly police shootings of unarmed civilians on Danziger Bridge in the days after Hurricane Katrina pleaded guilty today to lying to an FBI agent about what happened that day, and for illegally possessing a firearm.

The guilty plea from David Ryder, 45, follows several guilty pleas from police officers who were involved in covering up the shooting, which left two unarmed civilians dead and four seriously injured. The Justice Department press release on the case describes how Ryder misled an FBI agent in the case:

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Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) wants to start deporting American citizens.

Not all American citizens, mind you. Just the natural-born American citizens that are the children of illegal immigrants.

At a tea party rally in Ramona in San Diego County over the weekend, Hunter fielded a question about the issue.

"Would you support deportation of natural born American citizens that are the children of illegal aliens?" a man in the audience asked.

"I would have to, yes," Hunter said.

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According to a statement released by CA-SEN candidate Chuck DeVore's (R) campaign today, Huck PAC, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee's political action committee, has endorsed DeVore. Here's the statement:

Governor Huckabee said, "Chuck DeVore has a clear pro-life record, with a 100% pro-life, pro-family rating from the Capitol Resource Institute in Sacramento and a 100% rating from the pro-life, conservative California Republican Assembly. We need people like Chuck Devore in the U.S. Senate because he'll work to bring some common sense back to Washington."

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Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis said on the local Peter Boyles radio show this morning that if he were elected, he'd aim for the sort of tough immigration law that Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) just signed into law in her state.

"I'm gonna wave the magic wand," Boyles said. "You're governor. What would you do?"

"I would do something very similar" to what Brewer did, McInnis said.

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The Ohio Republican Party is being lampooned on both liberal and conservative blogs and message boards, over a mailer featuring a sign Photoshopped into a Tea Party rally -- a very big sign.

The sign shows a Tea Party rally, along with a sign "Vote Steve Stivers May 4th," referring to a candidate in next week's House primaries. Stivers has the party's endorsement for the GOP nomination to run against freshman Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy, who narrowly defeated Stivers in the 2008 open-seat race.

The sign is added in. It is also very large, relative to the people and other protest signs in the rest of the photo. As has been pointed out elsewhere, the sign would have to be 30-50 feet high. The liberal Plunderbund site gave it a satirical news headline: "58 Tea Party protesters killed by falling giant Stivers sign."

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Earlier this afternoon, Republicans voted, for the third straight day, to block Democrats' financial reform bill from getting a hearing on the Senate floor. But starting last night, Republicans began to hint that they'd ultimately relent, and none more candidly than Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH). If a bipartisan agreement can't be reached, Voinovich said last night, "we'll just get it out there and move on with it."

Voinovich has long been considered a swing vote on financial reform, and a number of Republican sources, both on the Hill and off, told me weeks ago that they viewed him as, in some ways, the weakest link.

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As Republicans and Democrats bicker over playing politics with immigration, the math doesn't quite add up for it to be possible to pass legislation in this senate either. The closest Congress came to any comprehensive immigration reform was in 2006 when the Senate passed a bipartisan plan with 62-36. (It died in the House.) That Senate vote was thanks to 22 Republicans -- may of whom were later defeated or who now say they won't support immigration today.

Based on that vote and changes that have come since, we did the math and it looks like there is are 56 votes for immigration. But with the political winds having shifted, a whole new crop of conservative Democrats and the midterm elections looming, those 56 votes are far from solid. Besides, 60 is the most important number for the Senate to even bring a bill to the floor.

The top Republican negotiators from the 2006 (and 2007) failed efforts Sen. Lindsey Graham and John McCain have signaled they have no interest in immigration this year. Sens. Larry Craig (R-ID), Bill Frist (R-TN), Mel Martinez (R-FL) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) have been replaced by conservative GOPers unlikely to support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants that critics dub "amnesty." Immigration champion Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) is gone, and President Obama is phoning Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) on the topic to try and win him over.

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House Democrats took to the grounds of the Capitol today to condemn the Arizona's controversial new immigration law and call on Congress and the White House to take action to fix the nation's immigration problems before more states attempt to take the law into their own hands.

The House group, led by Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) was joined by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who joined the speakers in calling for action on comprehensive immigration reform now. The speakers used strong rhetoric to condemn the Arizona law, calling it "legalized racial profiling" and comparing it to the apartheid system in South Africa.

"This law panders to the worst elements of our national dialogue," Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) said.

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