TPM News

Several conservative Democrats have signaled they will vote with the party to bring the health care bill to the Senate floor for debate, but Sen. Mary Landrieu is still on the fence.

TPMDC's Brian Beutler is on the scene at the Department of Health and Human Services, where Landrieu (D-LA) joined an Adoption Day event. "I haven't made a final decision, because I literally have been...reading the bill, and that's going to continue 'til about 6 or 7 tonight, and then after I have all the information in front of me I'm gonna make a final decision."

Landrieu said she had been leaning against voting "yes" on the motion to proceed until a meeting with Majority Leader Harry Reid yesterday, which tilted her into "neutral" territory.

She said she will likely release a statement regarding her final decision in the morning.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) made an interesting move in a series of unilaterally-imposed budget cuts, the Star-Tribune reports, by suspending a tax-refund program that partially reimbursed small political donations -- and, it turns out, was benefitting the state Republicans much more than the Democrats.

The program gave taxpayers a $50 refund if they made a political donation of at least that amount. State records show that donors to Republicans were claiming $2.9 million in these refunds, compared to only $1.1 million in refunds claimed by Democratic donors.

Give Pawlenty some points for consistency. It appears that he isn't just against public financing of campaigns when it helps the Democrats. He's against it when it helps Republicans, too.

This morning on NPR's Morning Edition, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi blasted Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The president of Afghanistan has proven to be an unworthy partner. We cannot fund a mission where we don't have a reliable partner and where whatever civilian investments we want to make, which are so necessary, will be diverted for a corrupt purpose.

Read More →

It's Friday, November 20, 2009, a.k.a. Day Five of Palin-Palooza 2009.

Sarah Palin's week-long book release media blitz continued last night as she went on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor for the very first time to discuss "Going Rogue" (the book), going rogue (the lifestyle choice / McCain campaign and media accusation), and several other roguish things.

Read More →

Republicans may have high hopes for picking up House seats in 2010. But for now, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is easily outpacing the National Republican Congressional Committee in fundraising and cash on hand, for the filing period that ended October 31.

The DCCC raised $3.76 million, spent $3.98 million, and has $14.25 million cash on hand, with $3.3 million in debts.

The NRCC raised $3.44 million, spent $3.59 million, and has $4.17 million on hand, with $2 million in debts.

Subtracting each group's debt from its cash on hand, the DCCC has an effective net worth of $10.95 million, to only $2.17 million for the NRCC.

Both parties spent more than they took in for October, due to the NY-23 special election -- in which the Democrats picked up a Republican-held seat, and activists conservatives forced the moderate Republican nominee out of the race, in favor of a conservative third-party candidate.

If this amendment passes, it could significantly change--and most experts would say improve--the Senate health care reform bill.

As part of an agreement hashed out at the end of the Finance Committee mark up process, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) will join forces to amend the Senate health care bill with Wyden's "Free Choice Act." If it can attract 60 votes, it would give low- and middle-class Americans with employer-provided insurance the option of purchasing subsidized insurance in the exchanges.

Baucus and Wyden have the support of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

"Senator Wyden has worked tirelessly to reform our health system, and I am pleased to have his support for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," Senator Reid said. "I will support the inclusion of his proposal for workers whose employer coverage is unaffordable but are not able to access the exchange."

Sixty is a tough climb. It would have likely been impossible under the original terms of the Wyden amendment, which would have opened the exchanges up to everybody. This is a scaled down version of that, and it will be a hard amendment for Democrats to vote against.

The White House, Democratic National Committee and pro-health care groups are going full force to build support in advance of tomorrow test vote on the Senate health care bill.

President Obama had nothing on his public schedule following a return from his 8-day trip to Asia, and administration sources said they believe he and the White House team are pushing senators to at least vote to bring the bill to the floor. So far, they've had good news today as conservative Democrats agree to that first step.

Vice President Joe Biden, who is celebrating his 67th birthday home in Delaware today, has been on the phone with lawmakers to bend their ears and ask for their support on the health care bill.

The DNC used the Obama Twitter feed today to urge: "The senate has unveiled an excellent health reform bill. Call your senators and ask them to move forward."

Organizing for America is asking supporters to phone Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and OFA volunteers showed up yesterday on Capitol Hill when Reid released the bill.

Read More →

The Republican National Committee, in their continued attacks of the Obama administration's stimulus plan, has created a series of "Wanted" posters -- one for each of 33 states -- showing Vice President Biden in a sheriff's hat alongside the number of jobs lost in that state since the stimulus passed.

The idea is a riff off of a speech President Obama gave back in March.

"Around the White House we call him 'The Sheriff' because if you're misusing taxpayer money, you'll have to answer to him," Obama said to a group of DOT employees.

In a blog post, the RNC encouraged supporters to send the signs around:

So mount up, posse, and send your state's WANTED poster to your friends and family. The way the tumbleweeds are rolling through Stimulus Jobs Valley, Sheriff Biden's going to need all of the help he can get!

The Sarah Palin roadshow rolls into Florida next week, and Democrats want to know if Palin will take any time off from Going Rogue to wade into the state's contentious GOP senate primary.

The DSCC sent Palin and open letter this afternoon calling on the former Alaska governor to take a stand in the race between Gov. Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio. The primary is swiftly becoming the next NY-23, with Rubio taking the role of insurgent Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman and Crist increasingly worried he'll be Scozzafavaed. In the New York race, Palin endorsed Hoffman, helping to lead what eventually became a sprint away from the GOP nominee by most national Republicans.

Now the DSCC wants to know -- will Palin do it again?

Read More →

South Carolina lawmakers will next week take up impeachment proceedings against disgraced governor Mark Sanford.

House Judiciary committee chair Jim Harrison told the AP that an ad hoc panel of four Republicans and three Democrats will begin meeting Tuesday. Harrison said he expects a resolution to impeach will be ready before Christmas. That would then be considered by the full committee.

Read More →

TPMLivewire