TPM News

Since Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell first unveiled his plan to avoid a debt default, observers and critics have wondered aloud whether it passes Constitutional muster. The Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse, the argument goes, and, by transferring the authority to issue more debt entirely to the President, the plan could fall afoul of it -- or so the argument goes.

This and other concerns have crept from the conservative Heritage Foundation to the Tea Party, and may ultimately call into doubt wither something like the McConnell plan can pass the House of Representatives.

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Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the time is all but up, and Congress must raise the debt limit by August 2, or unleash financial hell.

"There is no way to give Congress more time to solve this problem," Geithner told reporters in brief remarks outside the Senate chamber after meeting with the Democratic caucus.

"We're a country that meets its obligations, we're a country that pays our bills, and that we will act and do what's necessary to make sure that we can maintain that commitment," he added.

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Wisconsin Tea Party activist Kim Simac, the likely Republican nominee against incumbent Dem state Sen. Jim Holperin in the state recalls, is going beyond the immediate issues in the state of the budget and labor unions, and talking about other topics -- such as teaching Christianity in schools.

"If you teach evolution, then why not creationism?" the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. "Why not put a cross in a school? Why not talk about Easter in our schools?"

In fact, the teaching of creationism, school prayer and other religious instructions in school would violate many decades of legal precedents from the Supreme Court and lower courts. But it is nevertheless notable that other issues could be affected in these state Senate recalls, besides the fiscal and labor policies of GOP Gov. Scott Walker.

Federal prosecutors have charged Emerson Begolly, the Nazi uniform wearing Pennsylvania man being held for allegedly biting an FBI agent who tried to question him about his activity on jihadist websites, with inciting violent attacks in the United States.

An indictment announced on Thursday by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia charges that Begolly used an extremist web forum to solicited others to engage in acts of terrorism and disseminated instructions for making different kinds of explosives that could be used in terrorist attacks.

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Could the gridlock which has shut down Minnesota's government for two weeks finally be over?

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday offered to compromise on a Republican budget offer, the Star Tribune and others report, which the GOP submitted June 30 just before the shutdown. While Dayton doesn't like many proposals included in the offer, he said in a letter to Republican legislative leaders, "this is the only viable option that's potentially available."

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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) kept the door wide open Thursday to foregoing a deficit reduction plan and giving President Obama the authority to raise the debt limit unilaterally, with no policy strings attached. But pressed on whether this strategy, first proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, would pass the House if all else failed, he couldn't say.

"Mitch described his proposal as a last ditch effort in case in case we're unable to do anything else," Boehner said at his weekly press availability, "And what may look like something less than optimal today, if we're unable to get to an agreement, might look pretty good a couple of weeks from now."

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The Republican party's last presidential nominee is warning one of its rising 2012 presidential stars that her rhetoric over the debt ceiling is starting to sound a little familiar. And that could blow it for the GOP next year.

"There are Republicans who are committed, like Michele Bachmann, to vote against raising the debt limit under any circumstances," Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told the National Review's Robert Costa.

"Bachmann, [McCain] warns, is acting 'sort of like Senator Obama did.'"

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