TPM News

The anti-rape amendment introduced by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) may be stripped from the defense appropriations bill by Appropriations chairman Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), the Huffington Post reports.

Multiple sources told reporter Sam Stein that the provision -- which would prohibit the Pentagon from hiring contractors whose employment contracts prevent employees from taking work-related allegations of rape and discrimination to court -- is being targeted by defense contractors. Their lobbyists have reportedly flooded Inouye's office, worried they may lose contracts or open themselves up to lawsuits.

One source said it "looks increasingly likely" that Inouye will remove the amendment.

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A Tea Party activist today used a U.S. military email address to call for "civil disobedience" in opposition to the policies of the Obama administration.

In a message sent this morning to fellow members of the Tea Party Patriots, who had been discussing movement strategy, Richard A. Correa Sr., who identifies himself as a retired sergeant, wrote:

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Here's an important question on the NY-23 race: Now that the Republican Party's 2008 Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has broken with the party to support a third party Conservative over the moderate GOP candidate, who does her former running mate and ex-presidential nominee John McCain support?

I have placed multiple messages with McCain's office, asking which candidate he supports in the special election, and whether he agrees with Palin's denunciation of the GOP for putting up a moderate nominee. They have not gotten back to me.

In a tense, closed door caucus meeting this morning, during which House Democrats were made to go on the record on the question of whether they'd vote for a health care bill with a robust public option, some of the caucus' most nervous members got a bit of perspective from its longest serving members.

"It was really fairly simple speech," said Rep. John Dingell (D-MI). "All I did was to remind the members that the Republicans are out there to beat us by seeing to it that we accomplish nothing during this Congress especially on health care. It's exactly the same tactic, the same strategy they used in 1993. And I reminded them that that tactic took control of the House from us, because, one of the principal reasons was, we were not able to pass a health insurance bill."

Dingell tells me, "I reminded them that Democrats were divided on the issue. And I told them that if they want to come back and control the Congress they should get behind this bill."

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The Chamber of Commerce is trying to raise money off of that hoax press conference organized this week by a group of activist pranksters.

In an email to supporters, obtained by TPMmuckraker, Chamber exec Bill Miller writes that his organization is "under attack" and claims " and other extremist groups are harassing our members."

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Members of the progressive lobby are calling on White House Chief Of Staff Rahm Emanuel put some of his legendary pressure on Congress to pass the public option.

The NAACP, the Campaign For America's Future and dispatched a letter to Emanuel's office today asking backup in the fight for a public option. From the letter, as reported by The Hill:

"We respectfully ask that the Office of the President take a stronger stand on a robust public option in order to enact true health care reform this year."

Multiple sources tell TPMDC that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is very close to rounding up 60 members in support of a public option with an opt out clause, and are continuing to push skeptical members. But they also say that the White House is pushing back against the idea, in a bid to retain the support of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

"They're skeptical of opt out and are generally deferential to the Snowe strategy that involves the trigger," said one source close to negotiations between the Senate and the White House. "they're certainly not calming moderates' concerns on opt out."

This new development, which casts the White House as an opponent of all but the most watered down form of public option, is likely to yield backlash from progressives, especially those in the House who have been pushing for a more maximal version of reform.

It also suggests, for perhaps the first time, that the White House's supposed hands off approach, to ostensibly allow the two chambers in Congress to craft their own bills, has been discarded.

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A new CNN poll has some really bad news for the Republican Party, with their favorability number reaching its lowest in a decade.

Only 36% of people view the GOP favorably, with an outright majority of 54% viewing them unfavorably. By comparison, the Democratic Party is at 53% favorable to 41% unfavorable -- hardly a good omen for the Republicans if they want to make significant gains in 2010.

The last time the GOP was this bad in CNN's polling was in December 1998, in the heat of the impeachment battles, when they were at 31%-57%.

From the pollster's analysis: "The Republican party may still be battling the legacy left to them by George W. Bush. They have also spent a lot of time in 2009 working against Democratic proposals. That hasn't left them a lot of time so far this year to present a positive, post-Bush message. Of course, there is still plenty of time for them to do so before the 2010 midterms."

In an interview with MSNBC broadcast this afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she may one day address the "put her in her place" remarks made by a Republican group.

"It's so old, it's so tired, it's so ridiculous," Pelosi said. "Poor babies."

Earlier this month, the National Republican Congressional Committee said of Pelosi that Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, should "put her in her place." The remark caused outrage among some women, including those in Congress. The group has not backed away from the statement.

But Pelosi isn't impressed.

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Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) will double-down this weekend on the rejection of a public option she told Brian about yesterday.

In an interview set to air on Bloomberg, Snowe tells the network's Al Hunt that she's opposed to any public option's inclusion in a health care bill because it gives the government too much control of the health care industry:

"A public option at the forefront really does put the government in a disproportionate position with respect to the industry," she says in the interview.