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Daniel Strauss

Daniel Strauss is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He was previously a breaking news reporter for The Hill newspaper and has written for Politico, Roll Call, The American Prospect, and Gaper's Block. He has also interned at Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and The New Yorker. Daniel grew up in Chicago and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in History. At Michigan he helped edit Consider, a weekly opinion magazine. He can be reached at daniel@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Daniel

One of the Republican primary challengers to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) argued that recipients of unemployment benefits shouldn't be be allowed to eat.

At a fundraising event in Tulsa Oklahoma, state Sen. Lee Bright (R-SC), one of a handful of Republicans challenging Graham said that "folks in government" aren't looking out for the best interests of the country. Bright went on to offer unemployment benefits as an example of how elected officials are failing.

"We've got a lot of people who won't work. And they won't work because we'll provide their food, and we'll provide their housing and we'll provide them their spending money and we'll provide them their spending money," Bright said at a fundraising event in Tulsa, Oklahoma. "We’ve all seen it, the folks in line who are using [food stamps], yet they’ve got the nicest nails and the nicest pocketbook and they get the nicest car."

Bright's comments were first flagged by Right Wing Watch.

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House Democrats are urging lawmakers to include a vote on unemployment insurance alongside a budget deal if Republican lawmakers insist on including a short-term fix to the Medicare payment system as well.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, standing along side Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI), said Republican lawmakers have begun pushing to include a Sustainable Growth Rate fix (often called a short term doc fix that addresses a Medicare payment problem) alongside the budget proposal introduced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA).

Physicians who treat patients under Medicare are scheduled to take a huge pay cut in the new year if Congress doesn't enact this "doc fix." Many lawmakers have expressed support for reversing the pay cuts baked into current law should, but such a fix is costly.

"What came out at the [House] Rules Committee, what we made clear to our colleagues is the so-called SGR fix or so-called 'doc fix' while it's something we support, was never part of the agreement," Van Hollen said. "Chairman Ryan acknowledged that during part of the rules committee. Senator Murray has made clear that that was never part of the overall agreement and yet right now in the rules committee they're going to adopt a rule that essentially merges the SGR fix for a three month period into the budget agreement and that does put the overall effort at risk. And the reason for that is that we have been trying very hard to try and get an extension of unemployment compensation. Mr. Levin has been our leader in that effort and we see no reason why we should have support on the SGR fix which we support and want to have but not have a vote on unemployment compensation that's extended for three months."

Van Hollen's comments indicate that Democratic lawmakers see House Republicans' push to end emergency unemployment benefits that expire on Dec. 28 as leverage for including unemployment insurance alongside the budget framework introduced in the Ryan-Murray deal. Van Hollen said Democrats are interested in seeing a vote on the doc fix but only if such a vote was accompanied by one on unemployment insurance.

"So yes we support the doc fix but my goodness it would be unconscionable to not allow the House to also have a vote on extending unemployment compensation," Van Hollen said.

A trio of Republican lawmakers who have strongly hinted at plans to run for president in 2016 are all opposing the budget framework unveiled by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.

The opposition is notable also because Ryan himself has been mentioned as a 2016 presidential candidate and was the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee.

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rand Paul (R-KY) have both quickly come out in opposition of the budget deal.

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State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R), the tea party candidate challenging Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) is calling on the incumbent Mississippi senator to state his position on the budget deal unveiled by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) and her House counterpart, Paul Ryan (R-WI).

McDaniel's call comes less than 24 hours after the top budget lawmakers unveiled the proposal. In an email titled "Chris McDaniel Calls On Thad Cochran To State Position On Ryan-Murray Deal" McDaniel said "the Ryan-Murray budget deal shows how out of touch Washington politicians are with the American people."

"Despite a $17 trillion national debt, Washington politicians on both sides of the aisle just agreed to increase federal spending and eliminate spending cuts already in place," McDaniel continued. "Mississippi taxpayers deserve to know where Sen. Cochran stands on this disastrous deal."

McDaniel's call came shortly after tea party candidate Matt Bevin urged Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to oppose the deal. Shortly after Bevin's call, McConnell reportedly decided to oppose the deal. 

Sen. John Cornyn's (R-TX) re-election campaign is straight out mocking Rep. Steve Stockman's (R-TX) accusation that the incumbent senator is a "liberal."

Stockman, who on Monday filed to run in the Republican primary against Cornyn, sent out a rambling fundraising email on Tuesday accusing Cornyn of being a backstabbing liberal.

"You are in a foxhole fighting to save our constitutional Republic ... and the last thing you need is a Republican bayonet in your back. But that's what liberal John Cornyn has been doing to you every day. And we have less than 90 days to stop him. I'm conservative Congressman Steve Stockman, and I am running for United States Senate against liberal John Cornyn."

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said on Wednesday the prospect of lawmakers leaving Washington, D.C. for the holidays without tackling unemployment benefits is "absolutely unconscionable."

Pelosi's comments at a Democratic press conference came less than 24 hours after House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and his Senate counterpart, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), unveiled a new budget deal. The $1.014 trillion deal does not include an extension of unemployment benefits. Democrats on Wednesday suggested the deal seemed more on the better side of what they could get.

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Rep. Steve Stockman's (R-TX) decision to challenge Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in the Republican primary shows how far to the right the Republican party is, the chairman of the Texas Democratic Party told TPM.

"I think this race with Cornyn and Stockman tells you everything," Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa told TPM on Tuesday. "That even when you moved to the right, like John Cornyn has moved to the right, it is never far enough to the right for the Republican Party. I mean this guy voted against the Violence Against Women's Act. He voted against Sonya Sotomayor."

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