TPM News

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) spoke with Nebraska radio station KLIN earlier today, and said a new abortion compromise, authored by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), doesn't quite satisfy him, and, if it doesn't change more, he will filibuster health care reform.

"As it is right now, I can't and don't" support the bill, Nelson said.

"We've been talking to a number of people to get their input," Nelson added. "I'll make the decision. I'm not asking other people to make the decision for me, but I do seek input."

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A good government group is slamming the Securities and Exchange Commission for ignoring or delaying on hundreds of recommendations made by the agency's internal watchdog. Many of these recommendations were made in the wake of the SEC's failure to detect Bernie Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme, a misstep for which the agency was widely derided earlier this year.

Two documents obtained through a FOIA by the Project on Government Oversight show that hundreds of recommendations made since December 2007 by the SEC's Office of the Inspector General have gone unimplemented.

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House Minority Leader John Boehner told reporters today his party is pumped for campaign season. As the calendar ticks down on 2009, Boehner says he likes his party's chances at making significant gains against what he sees as a fractured Democratic majority.

"The Democrats seems to be having a field day tearing each other apart," he said. "I think 2010 will be a stormy year."

Boehner criticized Speaker Nancy Pelosi over her comment yesterday that House Democrats are in "campaign mode" already, saying that voters will take the comment as an abandonment of key priorities.

"Tell that to the millions of Americans without jobs," Boehner said. Despite the decidedly campaign tone to this rhetoric, Boehner said his caucus hasn't begun its campaigning yet.

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Democratic Congressional Campaign Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said today the political battle on health care is just starting since the 2010 elections hinge on members being able to clearly explain what is -- and isn't -- in the final legislation.

"Once the to-and-froing and giving-and-taking in Washington is finally settled," Van Hollen told reporters in a briefing at the DNC headquarters, "it's very important we go out and very clearly explain the benefits of the bill."

Van Hollen said people will "need to understand" the specifics and repeatedly stressed Congress isn't done with the debate, saying "we haven't passed a bill yet."

"Our challenge will be to make it clear the status quo of rising premiums is the problem," he said.

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The Associated Press is reporting that, in an interview with a Lincoln, Nebraska radio station, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) rejected a new abortion compromise, aimed at securing his support for Senate health care legislation.

Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson - the moderate Democrat whose opposition is holding up the Senate's health care bill - says new language on abortion doesn't satisfy his concerns.

Nelson told KLIN radio in Lincoln, Nebraska, Thursday that an attempt at compromise doesn't get to the fundamental issue of barring federal funding for abortions.

Nelson says without further changes the compromise isn't sufficient.

If this report is confirmed, and Nelson reiterates his filibuster threat, Democrats will have to win over one Republican or the health care bill will likely not survive.

According to AP Nelson said he doesn't see how this bill can be completed by Christmas. We'll be monitoring closely.

Former Ohio Rep. Jim Traficant, who was recently released from prison following a seven-year sentence on corruption charges, announced today that he is circulating nomination petitions in three Ohio districts for the U.S. House.

Traficant, who was a Democrat when he was expelled from the House in 2002, will make a decision on whether to run -- and in what district, and under which party affiliation -- based on the response he receives. He plans to decide next month, the Youngstown Vindicator reports.

He did not say which districts he is considering. But his advisers have said in the past that they were looking at the 17th and 6th districts, which are both currently represented by Democrats.

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A Democratic staffer has been convicted of assault after decking a man who confronted the staffer for cutting a long bathroom line at a Washington sports bar.

Marc Goldberg, communications director for Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL), was found guilty of simple assault in D.C. Superior Court in October for the August incident at Public Bar.

The altercation came to light this week after Roll Call reported that the matter was reviewed by the House ethics panel, which, under a new rule, is supposed to look at any incident in which a member of staffer is charged with a crime.

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President Obama went on ABC's World News with Charles Gibson last night and warned that without the passage of health care reform the federal government will go bankrupt.

"If we don't pass it, here's the guarantee," Obama said. "Your premiums will go up, your employers are going to load up more costs on you. Potentially they're going to drop your coverage, because they just can't afford an increase of 25 percent, 30 percent in terms of the costs of providing health care to employees each and every year, and the federal government will go bankrupt, because Medicare and Medicaid are on a trajectory that are unsustainable. And this actually provides us the best chance of starting to bend the cost curve on the government expenditures in Medicare and Medicaid."

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