TPM News

A major climate change bill passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee amid a Republican boycott this morning, setting the stage for other panels to amend the legislation. The final vote was 11-1. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)--whose Senate Finance Committee probably have its own crack at the bill--was the lone hold out. No Republicans showed up to vote.

Baucus says he wants near-term emissions targets softened, and to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from stepping in to regulate carbon emissions on its own, pursuant to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling.

After the vote, ranking member James Inhofe (R-OK) appeared on Fox News and, in predictable fashion, lambasted the legislation, calling the committee's actions "unprecedented." He also claimed that the bill is "dead."

Chair Barbara Boxer wasn't nearly so glum.

"We found, after questioning the EPA extensively, that the Republicans' demand for another EPA analysis now would be duplicative and a waste of taxpayer dollars," Boxer said.

The absence of the Republicans during the EPA's presentation was a clear message that their criticism of the EPA analysis was not a substantive one....

We are pleased that despite the Republican boycott, we have been able to move the bill.

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Earlier this week, a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner made a prediction. The Republican health care plan, he said, "will cover millions more Americans" than the Democrats' plan. Bold. But here's what the experts say:

By 2019, CBO and JCT estimate, the number of nonelderly people without health insurance would be reduced by about 3 million relative to current law, leaving about 52 million nonelderly residents uninsured. The share of legal nonelderly residents with insurance coverage in 2019 would be about 83 percent, roughly in line with the current share.

Oops. You can read the entire analysis here (PDF).

To Boehner's dismay, the GOP bill was leaked to the media earlier this week, and quickly became a focus of derision for experts and activists who noted that, among other failings, the bill didn't include some of the most popular insurance regulations in the Democrats' bill, including a ban on pre-existing condition discrimination.

What else does CBO find?

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Pawlenty, Romney And Pataki Call New Mayor Of Manchester, New Hampshire Ted Gatsas, the new Republican mayor-elect of Manchester, New Hampshire, told ABC News that he's already received congratulatory phone calls from Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney and George Pataki. "I don't know who is running for president but I don't mind telling you who has called," said Gatsas.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will speak at 9:30 a.m. ET, delivering opening remarks and participating in an interactive discussion with tribal leaders at the White House Tribal Nations Conference. He will meet with senior advisers at 11 a.m. ET, and receive his daily briefing at 11:40 a.m. ET. At 12:30 p.m. ET, he will have lunch with Vice President Biden. He will meet at 1:40 p.m. ET with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. He will meet at 3 p.m. ET with President Ian Khama of Botswana. He will meet at 3:40 p.m. ET with representatives of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and at 4 p.m. ET with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. At 4:50 p.m. ET, he will deliver closing remarks at the White House Tribal Nations Conference.

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Politico snagged an email from the RNC Republican Study Committee last night revealing that the GOP caucus in Congress will be joining Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) Tea Party event on Capitol Hill today.

RNCRepublican Study Committee communications director Brendan Buck sent the email, which tells GOP congressional aides to expect somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000 health care reform protesters today. Buck also calls on the aides to send their members to the Capitol Steps for the event hosted by Michele Bachmann at noon. But Buck offered a word of warning about the gathering of speakers and protesters, too.


Editor's Note: This post has been revised since it was first published.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and the Tea Party Patriots are not expecting a warm reception on Capitol Hill Thursday. In a series of conference calls Wednesday night, representatives of the "thousands" of tea partiers who have promised to heed Bachmann's call to make a "last stand" against Democratic-led health care reform told their members to expect the worst from the members of Congress they plan to lobby.

"The attitude we're facing right now is very hostile," Tea Party Patriot national organizer Jenny Beth Martin said on a conference call for regional leaders TPMDC sat in on Wednesday night. "The [members] don't even want to hear from us on these issues."

Martin, Bachmann and's Erick Erickson told regional organizers on the calls that Thursday's rally and storm through the halls of Congress were the tea partiers last chance to stop what Bachmann called the Democrats' plan to "literally have the power of life and death over you."

"There are no other rabbits to pull out of the hat," Bachmann said. "This is the only thing I can think to do."

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) just finished up a conference call with conservative bloggers in preparation for tomorrow's Tea Party Patriot anti-health care reform rally she's hosting at the Capitol. TPMDC joined the call and asked Bachmann about the big story coming out of her office today: the resignation of her chief of staff, which some Republicans speculated was due to media stunts like the one she's hosting tomorrow.

Bachmann refused to answer questions about the resignation, saying tersely, "out of respect for privacy, I don't comment on personnel matters."

Pressed on whether her staff has been upheaval over the Bachmann-led Tea Party Rally tomorrow, Bachmann again refused to respond. "I've already given my answer," she said.

Something is rotten in the state of Florida?

With the accusations this week that Scott Rothstein, fast-living Fort Lauderdale attorney and friend and donor to Gov. Charlie Crist, orchestrated a massive fraud out of his law firm, there are now three Crist moneymen caught up in alleged criminal or extremely shady activity.

Crist, whose career has been fueled by his skill as a fundraiser, finds himself entangled with the trio of scandals just as his U.S. Senate primary campaign against conservative Marco Rubio is attracting national attention. And there's already talk down in Florida that the Crist-linked scandals may become a factor in the primary contest.

So what's it all about? Let's go to the tape.

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Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL), who some see as a target of the conservative movement that backed Doug Hoffman in NY-23, called the race there "kind of a funky situation."

"I don't know if we can really tell exactly what that race meant. I mean, that was kind of a funky situation, to put it mildly," Crist said today on CNN. "And I think that it'll take a little time to analyze what happened there. But what did it happen there is that, unfortunately, a Democrat won in a district that's been held by a Republican for 140 years."

Conservatives are targeting Crist over his credentials, especially his support of the stimulus. Some are turning to Mark Rubio, Crist's opponent in the Republican primary for a Senate seat in Florida.

Crist is, not surprisingly, distancing himself from the stimulus.

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