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Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) has taken a lot of heat for negotiating the "Cornhusker Kickback"--a deal he struck during the Senate health care debate under which the federal government would cover the entire cost of expanding Medicaid coverage in his state of Nebraska. But now that Democrats are proposing that the federal government cover the cost of a Medicaid expansion in every state, Nelson wants a little bit of credit. And he has a cute little name for it, too!

"Now I want them to start calling this the Cornhusker Kickoff," Nelson joked on KLIN Radio's Jack & John in the Morning" show. "It kicks off for everybody, which is what I sought in the first place. And now, if there is anything passed of this sort, it will apply in all the states."

"My theme has always been: Nebraska first, Nebraska always, not Nebraska only," Nelson said. So, you see, this was his plan all along. Asked by the host if he feels vindicated for negotiating the original deal, Nelson answered simply: "I do. In a word, I do." (That's two words.)

Republicans are doing everything they can to convince the media and the public that using the budget reconciliation process to finish health care would be a grave crime against democracy.

But reconciliation is part of the Senate rules. And there's perhaps no better person to make that point than Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH)--the Senate Republicans' top budget guy--who vociferously defended the use of reconciliation when his party tried to use it in 2005 to allow drilling in Alaska.

"The representation by the Senator from Massachusetts that somehow that this is outside the rules--to proceed within the rules--is a very unique view of the rules," Gregg said on the Senate floor back when he was part of the majority. "We are using the rules of the Senate here, that's what they are senator. Reconciliation is a rule of the Senate set up under the Budget Act. It has been used before for purposes exactly like this on numerous occasions."

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SEIU President Andy Stern made the following statement today on his appointment to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility. Here's the full text:

I am honored to have been asked to serve on the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and thank President Obama for ensuring that the voice of ordinary working Americans will be heard.

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The National Archives has written to the Justice Department, looking for answers on the question of John Yoo's missing emails -- and has given the department 30 days to respond.

In a letter to Jeannette Plante, the director of DOJ's Office of Records Management Policy, NARA director Paul Wester wrote:

In accordance with 36 CFR 1230.16(b), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is writing to the Department of Justice (DOJ) with a request for a response within 30 days of the date of this letter. If DOJ determines that an unauthorized destruction has occurred, then DOJ needs to submit a report to NARA as described in 36 CFR 1230.14.

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White House senior adviser David Axelrod called out Republicans who complain about the possibility of using reconciliation for health care reform, saying on CNN last night that the GOP has done the same thing.

"Every single Republican Senator in that room I believe has cast votes for reconciliation, including for the largest tax cut in history that dwarfed this legislation," Axelrod said, an exchange which comes about 4 minutes in to the video below.

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For all the happy talk, it looks like yesterday's health care summit didn't entirely end disagreements between House and Senate Democrats over how to finish up health care reform.

"It's up to them," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at her weekly press conference today, referring to the Senate.

Pelosi wants the answer to a few questions before she can proceed. "One, what is the substance. Secondly, what is the Senate able to do with a simple majority. And then we will act on that," she said.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters today that Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), the chair of the Ways and Means Committee, did not violate House rules by accepting two trips to the Caribbean that were paid for by corporations.

But last night, the House Ethics Committee released an official report admonishing Rangel for taking the junkets and finding that he did, in fact, violate House rules.

"What I understand -- and I haven't seen the report ... [is] that he did not violate the rules of the House and I think that's an important statement," Pelosi said.

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At the hearing on the Justice Department torture memos report today, Sen. Patrick Leahy demanded to know whether the DOJ would investigate the missing John Yoo emails -- and determine whether criminal charges are warranted.

Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler told Leahy that he would get back to the committee after looking into the technical aspects of what happened to the emails.

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The new, satirical ad specifically goes after this week's vote on antitrust legislation related to insurance companies - Boehner (R-OH) opposed the bill. The ad is running on television in Boehner's district, MoveOn said.

"As House Minority Leader and a favorite of the insurance industry, John's shown the courage to stand up for the big guy," MoveOn charges in the ad.

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The two top Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee went after the DOJ's ethics office today, blasting the torture memo report produced by the Office of Professional Responsibility.

"The first report was filled with gaping holes, shoddy legal analysis .. and a clear desire to punish Mr. Yoo and Mr. Bybee even if the facts didn't support it," said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) in his opening statement.

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