TPM News

The end-all-regulation, my-health-insurance-company-is-just-fine-thanks crowd in the Tea Party movement have found an unlikely target for their next national effort: Corporate America.

The Tea Party Patriots group is planning a "National Day of Strike" for Jan. 20, one year to the day after President Obama's inauguration. The goal of the strike, according to the website where it's being planned, is to "financially cripple" the companies across America the group says are "backing the leftist agenda" and "funding socialism."

How can you tell which companies are funding socialism? The answer, according to organizers: they advertise on CNN and/or MSNBC, and they donate money to Democratic candidates.

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The Democratic National Committee's Organizing for America spinoff of the Obama campaign has been bragging about their calling efforts for health care reform for months.

Today, the tally is in.

Per the DNC:

OFA has dropped more than 1 million calls on Congress on health care reform and held nearly 25,000 events on the ground in Congressional districts.

Keeping a close watch on the Senate floor debate, the DNC also "dropped 181 fact checks on Republicans," they tell TPMDC.

Did Sen Jim Inhofe (R-OK) -- the leading global-warming skeptic in Congress, who has repeatedly called man-made global warming or even global warming itself a hoax, and accused scientists of manipulating data -- himself falsely represented poll data on American public opinion?

Earlier this week, Inhofe published an op-ed piece in USA Today, reviewing his visit to the Copenhagen conference. "The bottom line is this: The American people have caught on to the significant flaws of cap-and-trade policy," Inhofe writes. "The Washington Post released a poll on Friday showing 'growing negativity toward the president's handling of the broader global warming issue.' Approval has plummeted from 61% last spring to 45% last week. Given the state of the American economy, it is hardly surprising that the American public is growing restless with policies that would put more Americans out of jobs and raise the cost of energy."

The problem is this: The poll doesn't say that people are against policies that would raise the cost of energy -- in fact, it says quite the opposite. Even odder, there were other numbers in the poll that Inhofe could have picked out, but didn't, if he'd wanted to undermine the political credibility of climate science. And yet he didn't even mention those.

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President Obama called several members of Congress and symbolic figureheads of the health care debate after the Senate passed health care this morning.

The White House said Obama called Vicki Reggie Kennedy, Ted Kennedy's widow, and David Turner of Little Rock, Arkansas. Turner's health insurance was rescinded in January of last year, after his insurance company went back into his record and alleged that he failed to disclose his full medical record at the time he applied for coverage, the White House said.

"Mr. Turner was the First Lady's guest at the President's address to the joint session of Congress in September of 2009," the White House said. "The President told Mr. Turner that stories like his motivate him every day to keep working on health insurance reform, and he assured Mr. Turner that he will continue to work to pass health legislation to ban rescission and other abusive practices."

Obama also phoned: Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Chris Dodd, Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Sen. Max Baucus, Sen. Robert Byrd, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Tom Harkin, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Sen. Patty Murray, Sen. Roland Burris.

Here's one that bears watching in the new year ...

South Carolina's attorney general is leading nine other state AGs -- all Republicans -- in threatening to sue over the provision of the health care bill that exempts Nebraska from new Medicaid costs, a measure secured by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE).

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Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) released the following statement this morning following the Senate's health care vote. Feingold voted for the bill:

"The Senate health care bill is far from perfect. I am deeply disappointed it does not include a public option to help keep down costs and I also don't like the deal making that secured votes with unjustifiable provisions. I will work to improve the bill, including restoring the public option, when the final version is drafted.

"But, while this bill could and should have been much stronger, it includes very important provisions for Wisconsin that I worked to include. The bill will bring more Medicare dollars to Wisconsin by improving the unfair reimbursement formula that has siphoned money away from the state for years, and by rewarding the high-quality, low-cost care practiced at places like Gundersen Lutheran and the Marshfield Clinic. Wisconsin taxpayers also win because we will see a boost in Medicaid funding, so our state isn't harshly penalized for its leadership in expanding coverage. The bill also ends discrimination by insurance companies against people with preexisting conditions, expands coverage to 30 million more Americans and reduces the deficit by an estimated $132 billion. Despite the bill's flaws, it does meet the test of real reform, and the cost of inaction was much too high."

The hard part is over. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid kept his caucus aligned all the way to the final vote. He could have afforded to lose several liberal or conservative members, upset about the concessions they've had to make over the last several weeks, but none of them defected.

Now he'll need them to stay united for several more weeks.

According to Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), Senate health care principals (including himself) and their counterparts in the House will begin working with Democratic leaders and White House officials next week to marry the two chambers' bills. During that process, they'll have to be mindful of just how fragile the coalition in the Senate is, and will likely make no dramatic changes to the legislation that passed this morning.

That means the House will face a vote on a final bill that's likely to be less progressive in a number of ways than the package they passed in November. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is already fielding defection threats from a number of high-profile progressives in her caucus. And given that the first bill passed by an extremely slim margin, for almost every "yes" in her caucus who becomes a "no," she'll have to find a "no" vote, and turn it into a "yes."

That's a precarious balance, and we'll be tracking the Democrats as they try to strike it.

Senate And House In Search Of Health-Care Compromise The Washington Post notes that the health care bill's passage of the Senate this morning is not the end of the story, as the bill but still be negotiated with the more liberal House of Representatives. "We have to be absolutely convinced that this is going to accomplish the goal of holding down the cost of health insurance. The American consumer cannot be left hostage to the whims of private insurance," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who is also chairman of the DCCC. "We're asking every American to share some responsibility in getting health insurance; we need to ensure that every American can afford it."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will deliver brief remarks at 8:45 a.m. ET, on the Senate passage of the health care bill. At 10 a.m. ET, the First Family will depart the White House, arriving at 8:10 p.m. ET (3:10 p.m. local time) in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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