TPM News

House Republicans slammed the new Democratic health care reform bill this morning, but didn't say when or if they'll be offering a reform package of their own.

GOP leader John Boehner led a press conference to voice his concerns about the bill an hour or so after Pelosi was done presenting it outside. He walked carrying the nearly 2,000 page house bill, which he dropped with a thud onto the podium.

"Through August and September, the American people made it clear they want know part of a government-run system for providing health care," he said. "[But] this bill amounts to a government takeover of our health care system."

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Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)--co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus--was not in attendance at today's health care bill unveiling. But his office sends over the following quote, suggesting that he plans to continue his push for a strong public option, even though the base House bill doesn't go as far as he'd like.

"I am not rolling over. I will insist on a Medicare-plus-five amendment on the Floor so that the full Caucus can vote on it. We are hopeful that the Rules Committee will allow this amendment, which has tremendous public support, to be voted on for the record."

Grijalva has been leading the charge in the House for a robust public option, suggesting that progressives might defect from the final bill if the plan isn't tied to Medicare reimbursement rates. We'll keep an eye out for his next move.

President Obama made a surprise visit overnight to Dover Air Force Base to witness the return of the bodies of 18 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan. The unscheduled, unannounced trip took place just before 4 a.m. on October 29. Read the TPMDC report here.

Obama went into the chapel at Dover to meet with the families of the fallen before participating in a 15-minute traditional ceremony known as a transfer. The pool reporter was told that during the transfer, Air Force Chaplain Maj. Richard S. Bach, would offer a prayer. Here, Obama stands with military dignitaries and Attorney General Eric Holder during the dignified transfer of Sgt. Dale R. Griffin of Terre Haute, Indiana. Griffin was one of 18 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan on October 26.


The dignified transfer of Sgt. Dale R. Griffin of Terre Haute, Indiana.


The solemn visit -- Obama's first such experience since taking office and lifting the ban on photographing war dead -- comes as he's wrestling with a decision to send up to 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan. The White House pool was summoned just before midnight to witness the moment.


The White House said the group with Obama at Dover included Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, travel director Marvin Nicholson, Denis McDonough of his national security team, Attorney General Eric Holder, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, DEA Acting Administrator Michele Leonhart, U.S. Army Assistant Judge Advocate Maj Gen Daniel Wright, U.S. Army Special Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Michael Repass, and Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center Col. Robert Edmondson, who will serve as the Dignified Transfer Host Officer.


"You get a real sense of gravity when you see the faces of those there to grieve for a loved one," Gibbs said, of his own experience.



A U.S. District Court judge has dismissed one of Orly Taitz's birther lawsuits, saying it would be unconstitutional for the courts to "effectively overthrow a sitting president."

In his ruling, Judge David O. Carter said the plaintiffs, represented by Taitz, had asked the courts to go outside their constitutional power by demanding President Obama produce further documentation proving he was born in the United States, and if he couldn't, shutting down the federal government and holding an election.

"Plaintiffs have attacked the judiciary, including every prior court that has dismissed their claim, as unpatriotic and even treasonous for refusing to grant their requests and for adhering to the terms of the Constitution which set forth its jurisdiction," Carter wrote. "Respecting the constitutional role and jurisdiction of this Court is not unpatriotic."

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Anti-abortion groups regularly station morning protesters at the Capitol South Metro stop on the House side of the Capitol building as staffers head into work. Today they went with a Halloween theme, dressed as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Harry Reid covered in blood and chained together.

TPMDC was on the scene and captured some video of the group as they orchestrated a scene of Pelosi and Reid being tortured by demons thanks to (presumably) supporting abortion. They also were opposed to the health care bill revealed today.

"Staffers, Hill rats, join Nancy Pelosi in hell!" they shouted as Metro riders walked by. They also shouted they wanted to "Kill the bill, not babies."

I took a few photos and shot the video you can watch after the jump.

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Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman has a new ad in the NY-23 special election, attacking Democrat Bill Owens for being supported by Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- and presenting himself as the alternative to the Democrats.

The on-screen text declares that "Bill owes Nancy," and the announcer asks: "So when Pelosi wants Owens' vote for her massive energy taxes, government-run medicine, and a trillion-dollar deficit, where would Bill Owens stand -- with you, or with her?"

It's interesting to see Hoffman going after Owens now, and not the moderate Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava that he's been focusing on for most of this race but isn't even mentioned in this ad. With polling data increasingly showing Scozzafava in third place, Hoffman is now acting less like a third-party candidate and more like a conventional Republican nominee, sticking it to the Democrats.

The health insurance lobby says it's worried about the health care bill proposed by Nancy Pelosi this morning, but says it's willing to work with Democrats to find a solution the industry says "will cover all Americans, make coverage more affordable, and improve quality."

AHIP CEO Karen Ignagni offered the industry's take on the House bill shortly after it was announced by Pelosi on the steps of the Capitol.

"The promise of health care reform has been that if you like your current coverage, you can keep it," she said. "We are concerned that this proposal will break this promise by increasing health care costs for families and employers across the country and significantly disrupting the quality coverage on which millions of Americans rely today."

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The candidates met last night for a debate in the NY-23 special election -- two of the candidates anyway. Only Democrat Bill Owens and Republican Dede Scozzafava were there for the public radio debate, with Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman skipping the event.

Hoffman spokesman Rob Ryan told the Plattsburgh Press Republican that the radio station's involvement was the reason for the refusal: "North Country Public Radio is the perfect venue to decide who is the most liberal candidate in the race."

At the beginning of the debate (audio here), the moderator said that multiple invitations were extended to Hoffman, and that as far as they knew he would have been available.

All three candidates, however, are meeting today for one debate, hosted by the local ABC affiliate. The debate is being taped at 2:30 p.m., and will be broadcast and streamed online at 7 p.m.