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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) predicted Thursday that the spending cut deal he negotiated with President Obama will pass the House on a bipartisan basis, averting a government shutdown. But he sidestepped questions about how many of his own members will defect because the immediate savings are unexpectedly small.

"It's a bipartisan agreement to cut the spending," Boehner said at his weekly Capitol briefing with reporters. "I believe that it will pass with a bipartisan majority today."

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Wisconsin Democrats are now crying foul over election administration in heavily Republican Waukesha County -- and not just in the recent Supreme Court race, in which County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus (R) announced the discovery of 14,000 untabulated votes from a whole municipality that put conservative Justice David Prosser ahead. In a letter to the state Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections, state Dem chair Mike Tate is now raising doubts about the county's tabulated votes in the narrowly decided 2006 state attorney general race.

Key quote from the letter:

The Waukesha County Clerk website Tuesday said there were 118,342 votes for Van Hollen and 55,608 votes for Falk, a total of 173,950 votes. (There are an additional 97 write-in votes tabulated for a total of 174,047 votes assigned to candidates from Waukesha County.)

However, at the top of the same page, the Waukesha County Clerk, under the heading "BALLOTS CAST - TOTAL," the number of total ballots reported is 156,804. This is an under- reporting of 17,243 votes. I note with serious concern that this discrepancy is more than enough to have swung the statewide election against the Republican and for the Democrat.

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The federal government has asked a judge to throw out the state of Arizona's lawsuit over border security, calling the suit "of a political nature" and coloring it as an attempt to spin the government's own suit against Arizona over its controversial immigration law.

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House Democrats may be back in the minority, but apparently they haven't lost their fundraising touch. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced today that they had raised $19.6 million for the quarter, outpacing their GOP counterparts who raised $18 million.

The National Republican Congressional Committee still has more cash on hand, however, at $9 million to the Democrats' $4.6 million. They each hold about $8 million in debt.

The NRCC touted their March fundraising numbers as their best ever, while the DCCC sought to portray their strong quarter as a sign the House might again be in play in 2012. A recent polling analysis by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling suggested that Democrats were in a position to potentially threaten the Republican majority given the GOP's dwindling approval ratings.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi suggested Thursday that Democratic votes will push the spending compromise over the top -- even if Republicans defect in large numbers over a new report suggesting the bill will cut less than a billion dollars in government spending.

"I have always thought that if he [House Speaker John Boehner] didn't have enough votes -- if he didn't get 218 on his own -- that there would be Democrats who could help put it over the top," Pelosi said at a Capitol press conference. "It's just a question of how big that disparity is."

"I assume they have the votes," she added. "They seem pretty confident. You sound less confident than they do."

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by John Sullivan, Special to ProPublica

In the fall of 2001, inspectors with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission were so concerned about possible corrosion at Ohio's Davis Besse Nuclear Power Station that they prepared an emergency order to shut it down for inspection. But, according to a report from the NRC inspector general, senior officials at the agency held off - in part because they did not want to hurt the plant's bottom line.

When workers finally checked the reactor in February of 2002, they made an astonishing finding: Corrosive fluid from overhead pipes had eaten a football-sized hole in the reactor vessel's steel side. The only thing preventing a leak of radioactive coolant was a pencil-thin layer of stainless steel.

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), on Capitol Hill for a hearing held by the House Oversight Committee on state budgets, had yet to even speak before Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) ripped into the Republican leader's anti-union record.

"I strongly oppose efforts to falsely blame middle-class American workers for these current economic problems," Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said in his opening statement. "This recession was not caused by them. Working America - fire fighters, teachers and nurses - are not responsible for the reckless actions of Wall Street, which led to this crisis in the first place."

Cummings said he also "strongly object[s] to efforts by politicians who try to use the current economic downturn to strip American workers of their rights - the right to negotiate working conditions that are safe, the right to negotiate due process protections against being fired arbitrarily, and the right to negotiate fair pay for an honest day's work."

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According to Jon Stewart, the people Donald Trump sent to Hawaii to investigate President Obama's birth certificate are really just knocking back tropical drinks and checking out women on the beach.

On The Daily Show Wednesday night, Stewart discussed "professional megalomaniac" Trump's announcement that he had investigators in Hawaii who were discovering all sorts of unbelievable things about Obama's background. But Stewart wasn't buying that those investigators were actually finding shocking information.

So, donning a pair of sunglasses, pulling out of a frozen drink, and kicking his feet up on his desk, Stewart offered up an impression of what the investigators were really up to.

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A CBO analysis of the spending cut compromise Democrats and Republicans reached last week that may have avoided a government shutdown has turned into a public relations nightmare for House Speaker John Boehner.

As advertised, when the House and Senate pass the spending bill this afternoon, domestic discretionary appropriations will fall $38 billion from levels set at the beginning of the year. But because some of the cuts will be realized over years, and because some of the savings are culled from left-over money in existing accounts, the bill will only reduce direct spending by about $350 million.

Politico's David Rogers was the first to crunch the numbers, which we've since confirmed. When viewed from this perspective, Boehner appears to have gotten a raw deal, and the White House looks pretty savvy. Conservatives activists and House members were caught off guard, and angry, and now Boehner's making the rounds to calm everyone's nerves and convince members once again that he got the best possible deal.

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The Arizona state Senate passed Wednesday the revised version of a bill that would require candidates to prove their citizenship before they can appear on state ballots.

The bill will now head to the state House for a final vote.

Though President Obama is not named in the bill or specifically by the bill's sponsors, most read it as a directed attack from those who question whether Obama was born in the United States. Last week, lead House sponsor Rep. Carl Seel (R) met with Donald Trump, who's lately become the national spokesperson for skepticism about Obama's legitimacy. Seel told local press Trump gave his bill "the thumbs up."

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