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

Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis (D) reported raising $1.2 million in a six week period.

Davis, the state senator that gained national prominence after waging a more than 11-hour filibuster against a 20-week abortion ban bill in the state's legislature, raised roughly 40 percent of the haul from donors outside Texas, according to the Dallas Morning News.

From June 25 to July 30, Davis raised $793,800 inside Texas and about $470,000 from outside here state according to her finance report. The states with the biggest donations were California, where Davis raised $103,694, New York where she raised $68,764 and the Washington D.C. region where she raised $59,000.

The donations were mostly small contributions. The biggest donations came from Planned Parenthood and labor unions.

Davis is currently mulling whether to run for reelection or run for governor. She plans to announce her decision in September.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said he plans to be involved in the 2016 Republican presidential race but probably not as a presidential candidate.

"I am not an active candidate for president of the United States," King told The Des Moines Register on Thursday. "I am laying plans to try to move the country in the right direction."

King had recently visited early primary states South Carolina and New Hampshire prompting speculation that he had begun planning to run for president in 2016. King has not totally shot down the prospect but he said his goal, right now, is to serve as a "guardrail of constitutional conservatism."

The Iowa Republican also said he plans to host Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) at a pheasant hunt in Iowa in October. King said he's impressed with Cruz, who has also been mentioned a possible presidential candidate in 2016.

"I think he has a very good, deep and sound constitutional understanding and he has a good feel for the direction and the culture and the character of Americans," King said. "We wanted to bring him here to Iowa and help him get introduced."

During the 2012 Iowa caucus campaign in 2012 King hosted Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) at pheasant hunts.

The Register was unable to confirm the Cruz pheasant hunt with the senator's office. A spokeswoman said Cruz's scheduling staff was not available when the Register reached out to the senator's office Thursday night.

In July, King raised eyebrows and made national headlines for saying that for every illegal immigrant "who's a valedictorian, there's another hundred out there that weigh 130 pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."

Tea Party groups have begun directing their fire in recent weeks at a counterintuitive target: Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

On paper, the Republican minority whip is an unusual target for Tea Party guns. Cornyn has been one of the most conservative members of the Senate since he was first elected to the chamber in 2002. National Journal ranks Cornyn the second most conservative member of the Senate. He has an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association, has won multiple awards from the anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform, has a 0 percent rating from the pro-choice NARAL and a 100 percent rating from the National Right To Life Committee.

That's not good enough for some Tea Partiers now.

Read More →

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) said members of Congress should be part of the "discussion" on military action in Syria.

"Congress needs to be involved in this process," Rogers said Thursday during an interview on MSNBC.

President Barack Obama has a legal and political obligation to involve Congress in considering military action in Syria, Rogers said. But Rogers added that there does not necessarily need to be a vote in Congress for Obama to take action.

"Under the Wars Powers Act, I don't believe there has to be a vote," Rogers said. 

A number of congressional lawmakers have urged Obama to confer with Congress before taking any military action in Syria in response to chemical weapons use. On Wednesday, Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA) collected over 50 signatures urging President Obama to first go to Congress before taking military action.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) is endorsing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the 2014 Republican primary against businessman Matt Bevin, according to a report.

Huckabee will endorse McConnell in an email to his supporters on Thursday, according to The Weekly Standard.

"I’m proud to endorse Mitch today and stand next to him for the next fifteen months until he is re-elected in Kentucky and then elected the next Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate," Huckabee will say in the email. A draft of the email was obtained by The Weekly Standard. "Mitch has a 100% Right to Life score, an 'A' from the NRA, a perfect 100% from the American Conservative Union, and he’s the one man primarily responsible for uniting Senate Republicans against Obamacare."

Meanwhile Bevin's campaign announced Thursday that it had won the endorsement of Louisville Tea Party Founder and President Wendy Caswell. The Bevin campaign's announcement of Caswell's endorsement describes the Louisville Tea Party as "one of Kentucky's largest Tea Party groups."


House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called on President Barack Obama to explain his reasoning and legal authority for taking military action against Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons there. 

"I respectfully request that you, as our country’s commander-in-chief, personally make the case to the American people and Congress for how potential military action will secure American national security interests, preserve America’s credibility, deter the future use of chemical weapons, and, critically, be a part of our broader policy and strategy," Boehner wrote in the letter to Obama sent Wednesday afternoon. "In addition, it is essential you address on what basis any use of force would be legally justified and how the justification comports with the exclusive authority of Congressional authorization under Article I of the Constitution."

Boehner goes on to list a series of questions that should first be answered including:

What standard did the Administration use to determine that this scope of chemical weapons use warrants potential military action? 

Does the Administration consider such a response to be precedent-setting, should further humanitarian atrocities occur?

What result is the Administration seeking from its response?

What is the intended effect of the potential military strikes?

Boehner's letter comes as a number of lawmakers urge Obama to first get congressional permission before taking  military action in Syria. The lawmakers are urging Obama in a letter circulated by Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA.). Rigell plans to deliver the letter Wednesday evening. He had planned to deliver the letter earlier in the day but then pushed back the deadline. 

Read Boehner's full letter here



Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) urged the Obama administration to first acquire more information about the use of chemical weapons in Syria and then seek congressional approval before taking any possible military action. 

"The United States should condemn the use of chemical weapons. We should ascertain who used the weapons and we should have an open debate in Congress over whether the situation warrants U.S. involvement," Paul said in a statement on Wednesday. "The Constitution grants the power to declare war to Congress not the President.

"The war in Syria has no clear national security connection to the United States and victory by either side will not necessarily bring in to power people friendly to the United States," he added.

A number of House lawmakers have signed a letter urging President Barack Obama to seek congressional approval before taking military action against Syria. Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA) plans to deliver the letter Wednesday evening. He had been planning to send the letter to the White House earlier in the day but later extended the deadline for signatures.

The Republican New Mexico state senator leading the charge against same-sex marriage wrote a blog post in which he suggested gay couples in the state should stop "whoring" and marry local women instead.

State Sen. William Sharer wrote the blog post last Friday as county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the state. He argued that defining marriage as something other than a union between a man and a woman could damage the basic foundation of society.

"Procreation through the natural acts of men and women is the unique aspect of marriage," Sharer wrote in the post.

Sharer stressed to TPM on Wednesday that while he opposes defining gay marriage as anything other than between one man and one woman, he does not harbor any animosity toward gay couples and used the Alexander reference to argue his point that marriage should remain between a man and a woman.

Read More →

Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA) plans to deliver a letter to the White House Wednesday afternoon urging President Obama to get congressional authorization before taking military action against Syria.

Rigell has been collecting signatures from his colleagues before his noon deadline for delivering the letter. As of mid-Wednesday morning Rigell had collected 58 signatures, which include nine Democrats and House Homeland Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-TX).

"We strongly urge you to consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria," the letter reads. "Your responsibility to do so is prescribed in the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

Rigell plans to keep collecting signatures after the letter is delivered to the White House.

Read the letter below:

Rigell Letter to Obama administration on Syria by tpmdocs

New Mexico's Taos County became the sixth county to offer marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Tuesday after State District Judge Jeff McElroy ordered Taos County Clerk Anna Martinez to issue a license to a same-sex couple.

McElroy's order came after a lawsuit brought by Dale Schuette and Reg Stark who were denied a license at the clerk's office on Monday. Besides Taos County, Doña Ana, Santa Fe, Valencia, San Miguel and Bernalillo counties are currently offering licenses to same-sex couples. Bernalillo county is especially notable because it's the largest county in the state.

Meanwhile, the New Mexico San Juan County Clerk has said she's waiting for a court order to start offering licenses to same-sex couples.

"I'm waiting for someone to sue me, and that's certainly something they can do," San Juan County clerk Debbie Holmes said according to The Daily Times of Farmington, New Mexico. "I feel like I need to follow the law as I've been told how to do it."