TPM News

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has the weight of the world -- not to mention the full faith and credit of the United States -- on his shoulders these days.

The House Republicans' second in command has almost single-handedly stymied progress on a grand deal to produce $4 trillion in deficit reductions over the course of the next dozen years by flat-out rejecting any net tax increases be included, leaving no path for Democrats to negotiate a balanced bargain that allows some cuts to programs for seniors and the poor coupled with tax hikes on the wealthy.

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Following up on the ongoing concerns over social networking sites' management of their users' personal information, congressional lawmakers on Thursday questioned whether the government's leading agencies tasked with protecting consumers and regulating the nation's communications systems were doing enough to protect individuals' privacy.

"What is the [Federal Trade Commission] doing to oversee Google+ and the new service that apparently there's some problems with?" demanded Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

"What is the FTC doing in regards to Facebook and the facial recognition technology? Does that pose a threat to privacy?"

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After two weeks of government shutdown, Minnesota is on its way to being open for business. Lawmakers on Thursday evening announced they had reached an budget agreement to end the shutdown.

Earlier Thursday, Dayton agreed to compromise on the GOP's budget offer from June 30, just before the state's government shutdown. But he did so under certain conditions: that the GOP remove its policy issues from the budget, drop a 15 percent reduction to the number of state employees in all agencies and support a $500 million bonding bill.

Now that they have a deal, Dayton said the shutdown will end "very soon," according to local reports.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said the final details are still being worked out, but they have reached a "framework agreement," Minnesota Public radio reported:

Koch said the agreement includes delaying more payments to schools, and borrowing against the state's future tobacco payments. The agreement would raise $1.4 billion in new revenue.


Dayton met with Republican lawmakers for three hours Thursday. Appearing after the meeting with Koch and Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers, Dayton expressed the tough reality of the agreement. "No one's going to be happy with this, which is the essence of compromise," he said. That means, for the time being, the governor will shelve his plan to raise taxes on Minnesota's millionaires.

Read more at MPR.

President Obama told Congressional leaders to reach a final agreement on a path to raise the debt limit in the next 24-36 hours or...he'll call another meeting at the White House.

A Republican aide described today's nearly two hour gathering as "composed and polite" -- probably because, according to a Democratic aide, unlike on Wednesday evening Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) didn't pipe up once.

Democrats and Republicans will now brief their caucuses on potential spending cuts and figure out whether the cuts they've identified are workable, or whether they have to resort to Mitch McConnell's Plan Z. According to a Democratic official familiar with the talks, while the president "appreciates Senators Reid and McConnell trying to solve the immediate problem," in his eyes it "remains a fallback option." We'll find out more when President Obama briefs the media about progress tomorrow.

Following up on the ongoing privacy concerns over social networking sites' management of their users' personal information, congressional lawmakers today questioned whether the government's leading agencies tasked with regulating the nation's communications systems were doing enough to protect users' private information.

"What is the [Federal Trade Commission] doing to oversee Google+ and the new service that apparently there's some problems with?" demanded Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). "What is the FTC doing in regards to Facebook and the facial recognition technology? Does that pose a threat to privacy?"

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Hey, remember when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said President Obama walked out of the debt talks yesterday? So, yeah -- Obama says that never happened.

"No," Obama told Cox TV's Scott McFarlane in an interview Thursday. "At the end of the meeting, what I said to the group was what the American people feel: We have a responsibility to do the right thing. We shouldn't be partisan, we should solve problems."

The interview was one of a few sit-downs Obama did with local television reporters from across the country today. In addition to the interview with McFarlane, he spoke to TV stations in Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

Watch the raw, uncut Cox TV interview below:

Updated at 6:10 p.m.

Sarah Palin may not have decided whether she's running for the president yet, but she's certainly traveling like she is.

Palin's political action committee, SarahPAC, paid $6,999 to a business called "Republican Presidential Travel" that is based out of a Washington, D.C. post office box, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday.

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On the campaign trail today, Mitt Romney picked up on the Republican party line that it's President Obama who's holding up the works on the debt ceiling increase -- and that he can end the fight whenever he wants.

Romney didn't offer any comment on the plan offered by Mitch McConnell that incensed so many conservatives, but he did double-down on his support for the Cut, Cap and Balance plan favored by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and his conservative allies in the GOP.

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