TPM News

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius this afternoon invited key Congressional leaders to the Feb. 25 health care summit, an event that will be broadcast live in its entirety.

"The President will offer opening remarks at the beginning of the meeting, followed by remarks from a Republican leader chosen by the Republican leadership and a Democratic leader chosen by the Democratic leadership," Emanuel and Sebelius wrote in their letter, which you can read in full here.

"The President will then open and moderate discussion on four critical topics: insurance reforms, cost containment, expanding coverage, and the impact health reform legislation will have on deficit reduction," they added.

The administration will post online the text of a proposed health insurance reform package, Emanuel and Sebelius wrote.

The invitees - leadership from both parties - were asked to attend the all-day summit at the Blair House, which has been used for Cabinet retreats.

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Former Vice President Dan Quayle announced on Fox News today that his son, Ben Quayle, is running for Congress.

Ben Quayle took out papers today to run for the 3rd district seat in Arizona, his father said. The seat is currently held by Rep. John Shadegg (R), who announced last month that he is retiring at the end of the year.

Ben Quayle is an attorney and director of a capital markets firm near Phoenix.

Former Vice President Dan Quayle appeared on Fox News this afternoon to chip in his two cents on the health care debate. Namely, he warned that using the reconciliation process would set a "very bad precedent" because a simple majority is just unconstitutional.

"They're gonna go to budget reconciliation, which I believe would set a very bad precedent, because essentially -- if they could do it, and I don't know if they can do it, but if they could do it -- what you have done, effectively, is to take away the filibuster in the United States Senate," Quayle said. "So, therefore, you have 51 votes in the House and 51 votes in the Senate. That is not what our Founding Fathers had in mind. That is not the constitutional process."


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Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN) spokesman is strongly denying that she wants to end Social Security and Medicare, in the wake of comments by the Congresswoman that she wanted to "wean everybody off" those programs, and take their liabilities off the government's balance sheet because "we can't do it."

"Rep. Bachmann does not want to end Social Security and Medicare. Absolutely not," Bachmann spokesman Dave Dziok told the Star Tribune. "But the truth is, they need to be fixed in how they're administered because under their current structure, they can't be maintained without increasing the debt burden placed on future generations. Further, she stated clearly that people who are receiving these benefits now should continue to do so in their current form. We made a promise to them and we need to keep it."

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Who will be the lucky beneficiary of the hefty fee Sarah Palin received for her Tea Party Convention address?

Mark Skoda, a spokesman for the convention, tells TPMmuckraker that when he called Palin's office in the days after the speech to thank her for appearing and inquire about the money, "at that point they had no disposition at all. I do know that she's committed to providing that honorarium to conservative causes."

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In an interview just published in Esquire, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) presents himself as a true conservative -- but not too mean-spirited, either.

Pawlenty points to his success as a conservative in a liberal state. "But on the broader issue of Minnesota: This is also the state of Eugene McCarthy, Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Paul Wellstone, and now Senator Al Franken. Minnesota has evolved and ebbed and flowed a little bit in its politics, but it is fair to say that, with few exceptions, it's been one of the more liberal states in the country," said Pawlenty. "It's the history, the tradition, the culture here. I'm someone who has confronted that in a way that for some is refreshing and for some is quite dramatic, in a way that is viewed as quite a departure from the normal trajectory here. Most of the Republicans who have succeeded here have been mostly very moderate, Democrat lite. I'm somewhat an exception to that. I'm more of a mainstream conservative governing in a liberal state."

However, he did back away from some key GOP attack points against President Obama. While strenuously disagreeing with Obama's policies, he did not agree with calling Obama a socialist. And interestingly, he also said he would have supported the Medicare prescription drug benefit passed by President George W. Bush in 2003 -- one of the largest expansions of government involvement in social welfare since the Great Society.

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Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: Former Vice President Dick Cheney.

• CBS, Face The Nation: Vice President Joe Biden.

• CNN, State Of The Union: National Security Adviser James Jones, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN).

• Fox News Sunday: National Security Adviser James Jones, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

• NBC, Meet The Press: Vice President Joe Biden.

In a big world, how can one person make a difference? How can one person, who sees the path to economic salvation in tax cuts for corporations and businessmen, have an effect when he's not in public office?

If that person is Harold Ford Jr., he does what he can: Cuts his own taxes.

Ford, who's considering a primary challenge of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), has never paid New York State income tax, a spokeswoman confirmed to Gawker today.

Ford's residency has been hazy. In interviews, Ford has said he's been commuting between Tennessee and New York since starting at Merrill. He says he's been an official New York resident since last year. But as Gawker points out, New York requires that even non-residents and partial residents pay income taxes. Tennessee, on the other hand, does not tax wages.

The spokeswoman said Ford, a former Congressman from Tennessee who works for Merrill Lynch, has never filed a return here, although he plans to do so this year.

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