TPM News

Republicans from across the conservative spectrum are swatting down a proposal from Democrat Chuck Schumer to resolve the tax cut dispute by ending tax cuts to millionaires only.

"The answer is no," said Sen. John Thune (R-SC) -- the fourth ranking Republican in the Senate -- on Fox News last night. "What you want to do if you believe the best ways to grow jobs and to grow the economy in this country is to keep taxes low and to allow small get out and do that, then the worst thing you can do is raise taxes on them, which, if you raise them on those higher-income levels is what happens.

Thune is a contender for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, and his position is reflective of the fact that he'll be guarding his right flank for the next many months.

Moderate Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), however, agrees with Thune.

Read More →

A member of the White House's fiscal commission has released her own progressive plan for deficit reduction, after the commission's chairmen unveiled recommendations she vehemently opposes.

"Their proposal would have serious consequences for lower and middle class Americans, and that is why I cannot support it," says Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) in a statement. "I am releasing my own plan today because I believe that there is a better way to achieve our goal - one that protects the poor and the middle-class."

Her plan, which she claims would achieve fiscal balance by 2015, includes a host of ideas that were not included in the report released last week by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles. It makes provision for another $200 billion worth of stimulus to take the form of unemployment insurance extensions and additional aid to states.

Read More →

Rep. Louie Gohmert co-opted President Obama's old campaign slogan to talk about shutting down the government yesterday, saying that "if it takes a shutdown of government to stop the runaway spending, we owe that to our children."

"If you can't get it under control, then we just stop government 'til you realize, you know, 'yes we can,'" said Gohmert.

Read More →

Senate Republicans are expected to join their House colleagues in banning the time-honored practice of earmarking in a behind-closed-doors meeting later today. Much has been made in recent days of the proposed moratorium on porking up a Congressional spending bill with federally-funded goodies for your home state or district (or seeing to it that your constituents get their fair piece of the government money pie, depending on your point of view). The president wants earmarks gone. The tea party -- led by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) -- wants earmarks gone. And now, the Republicans want them gone, too.

But what will the GOP's proposed ban actually do?

Read More →

A key moderate Republican today indicated she might be open to the idea of a permanent extension of middle-income tax cuts, even if tax cuts on the top income brackets are only extended temporarily.

In response to questions from TPM, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) said she hasn't reached any conclusions about whether she might support such a compromise, but did acknowledge that she has no objection to the idea of a permanent tax cut for middle-class Americans.

"I don't know. I'm not prepared to say that at this point, frankly. I'd like to see all the tax rates extended for the time being, the next two or three years at the minimum probably, given where we are today," Snowe said.

Pressed, though, Snowe acknowledged that she has no objection to extending some of the tax cuts permanently.

Read More →

The scandal started with a check flushed down the toilet and a bra stuffed with cash. But in the days since Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson and his wife Leslie were arrested and charged with allegedly trying to destroy or hide evidence, additional arrests have exposed a wide-ranging corruption probe in the D.C. suburbs.

Nine people -- including three police officers -- were arrested on Monday, accused by the federal government of running drugs, guns, and black-market alcohol and cigarettes. FBI agents also moved to seize more than 30 homes, businesses and vehicles as part of the probe of corruption in the county.

Read More →

The ethics committee has found that Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) violated congressional ethics rules.

The committee ruled that Rangel was guilty on 11 counts. Rangel had been accused of 13 violations. On one, the committee was deadlocked. The committee dismissed another charge, rolling it into one of the others.

The subcommittee that found the violations will now forward the convictions to the full ethics committee. The full committee will then hold another hearing, during which it will vote on whether to recommend a punishment for Rangel. If they do, they will send that recommendation -- be it admonishment, censuring, expulsion or otherwise -- to the full House for a vote.

Read More →