TPM News

Progressive senators are calling on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to use reconciliation to end the health care reform deadlock. In a letter co-signed by Sens. Mike Bennet (D-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) today, the group calls on Reid to use reconciliation to pass health care reform with a public option attached.

"Although we strongly support the important reforms made by the Senate-passed health reform package, including a strong public option would improve both its substance and the public's perception of it," the senators write. "The Senate has an obligation to reform our unworkable health insurance market -- both to reduce costs and to give consumers more choices."

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks this morning in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, at the funeral of Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, who died last week. Read her remarks in full after the jump.

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For years, thousands of donors have poured millions of dollars into Sen. Evan Bayh's (D-IN) coffers, helping him to establish a war chest of contributions that most politicians would give their right arm to have. But now that Bayh's decided not to run for reelection, the decision of what to do with the $13 million in campaign cash he has left will be Bayh's alone. Not surprisingly, people are already lining up to get a piece.

FEC rules dictate what Bayh can do with his campaign money, but within their confines is a lot of leeway for Bayh to reward political allies or establish a beach head for future electoral politics. The choice is his alone.

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RNC chair Michael Steele may be touting his big sitdown today with Tea Party leaders, but a significant swathe of the grassroots movement is not on board with the meeting.

Jenny Beth Martin, a leader of the Tea Party Patriots, which helped organize well-attended rallies in Washington last September, told TPMmuckraker in an email that her group is not involved with the Steele pow-wow, and disavowed other efforts to work closely with the GOP. "One hundred percent of our local coordinators are committed to our core values of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets over any particular political party," said Martin.

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The Indiana Democrats are on the verge of not holding a primary to choose a nominee for the U.S. Senate, something retiring Sen. Evan Bayh seems to have no problem with and which has a longshot candidate crying foul.

Now the Republicans are getting in on the action, with National Republican Senatorial Committee Sen. John Cornyn challenging Bayh to change the process since it seems like an unfair.

This could end up being a key point, especially given how the Republican party faced serious trouble in New York's 23rd Congressional district after selecting a candidate from behind a closed door.

Bayh announced he won't seek reelection yesterday, leaving Democrats with little wiggle room to get a candidate on the primary ballot since 4,500 signatures (500 from each Congressional district) are due today.

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Terry Burns, the Democratic member of the Board of Voter Registration in Marion County, Indiana, informs TPMDC that Tamyra d'Ippolito does not have the required ballot-petition signatures needed to run in the Democratic primary for Senate. In fact, he said, she hardly has any in his area.

In Indiana, petitions are submitted within the county where the signatures upon it were collected. The deadline to do this was noon today. Petitions are then reviewed and certified by the counties, and forwarded on to the state. In order to appear on the primary ballot for Senate, a candidate must have collected 500 signatures within each of the state's nine Congressional districts. Marion County, the home of Indianapolis, has the 7th District located entirely within its borders -- so if d'Ippolito doesn't have at least 500 signatures in this one county alone, getting on the ballot would be out of the question.

"We received this morning three signatures. And that is all we have received, so she will not qualify to be on the ballot," said Burns. He also added: "Once the noon deadline passes, that's it." In addition, only two of the signatures came from the 7th District -- the other was from the 5th District, which is partially located within Marion County.

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The former Braintree, Mass., chief of police who is said to have ordered Amy Bishop released the day she killed her brother -- and then threatened at least two people with a shotgun while frantically searching for a getaway vehicle -- now says he may have made the wrong decision.

John Polio's new comments in an interview with the Boston Globe are a marked shift from his earlier insistence that the process was handled properly. Polio previously rejected that there was any cover-up and that any records were missing in the 1986 case.

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Tamyra d'Ippolito is getting some help she didn't ask for.

A cafe owner who's seeking the Democratic nomination to the Senate seat currently held by Evan Bayh, d'Ippolito can't quite seem to figure out whether she has enough signatures to get on the primary ballot and all but assure herself the Democratic nomination.

But what does seem certain is some conservatives are encouraging their followers to help round up signatures for a candidate they seem to view as not quite ready for prime time.

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The Sierra Club is up with a new radio ad campaign targeting Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) over what the group calls her "her decision to co-sponsor legislation that would undermine the Clean Air Act."

The Club is the second group to take to the airwaves to attack Lincoln over her decision to join an amendment by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) that would block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Last month, ran several TV ads attacking Lincoln for co-sponsoring the measure.

Audio of the new Sierra Club spot and video of MoveOn's ad after the jump.

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