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

Shortly after the Senate passed a government funding bill that does not include a provision defunding Obamacare, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said he hoped his lawmakers in his chamber would change their mind after the legislation went through the House of Representatives again.

"I very much hope that when the House bill comes back all 46 Republicans stand together, stand united against Obamacare," Cruz said at a press availability while he was flanked by Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Marco Rubio (R-FL). "And I hope at the same time that some of the Democrats who decided today not to listen to their constituents hear the voices of the millions of Americans who are hurting and do the right thing and stand up and stop this train wreck, this nightmare of a law that is Obamacare."

Cruz said while Senate Republicans were not united, House Republicans have been. He added that he hoped that opposition would spillover into the Senate soon.

"The House was always in a position where it was going to lead," Cruz said. "And I know from my perspective and Sen. Lee's perspective we look forward to helping and supporting the House, standing up and doing the right thing for the American people."

Even after the Senate passed legislation that continues to fund the federal government (but not defund Obamacare), the legislative back-and-forth is likely to continue. House Speaker Boehner (R-OH) said he did not think the House would embrace the Senate's bill. 

"I don't see that happening," Boehner said Thursday. 

Kentucky Republican Matt Bevin's campaign was quick to criticize Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for voting aye on cloture on a government funding bill on Friday.

The vote preceded another vote that would remove a provision of the bill that also defunds Obamacare, one that McConnnell voted against. McConnell also voted against final passage of the bill. 

"Conservatives like Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have clearly illustrated that a vote for cloture is a vote for Obamacare," Bevin spokeswoman Sarah Durand told TPM in an email. "Once again, McConnell has broken his promises about fighting Obamacare, and instead voted to fund it. Voters in Kentucky will not forgive or forget that in this crucial moment in American history, McConnell sided with Barack Obama and Harry Reid, and against Kentucky."

The cloture vote passed 79-19 with only Republicans voting against it. 

In less than a week, Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis (D) is expected to formally jump into the Texas gubernatorial race.

On Thursday, the Associated Press reported two individuals close to Davis confirmed that she would be running. Though her campaign has been mum on the subject, she's widely expected to announce on Oct. 3 that she's running for governor.

Davis, a rising star in the Democratic Party, has been eying the governor's race since her filibuster of a Republican-backed abortion bill in the state legislature. That filibuster helped raise her profile and now Democrats see her as a possible vanguard for turning the Lone Star state blue. But Davis's path to the Texas governor's mansion is a steep one. Here are five things Davis will need to do to actually clinch that governorship in Texas.

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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is sending out attack emails targeting more than five dozen House Republicans for creating a "manufactured crisis" by voting for legislation that funds the government only if Obamacare is defunded.  

The emails, which the House Democrats' campaign arm is sending out Thursday, are something of a counter to the GOP's attempts to label a vote against the continuing resolution legislation as essentially a vote to shutdown the government. 

Here's one email, targeting Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY): 

4 Days Until Congressman Tom Reed’s Government Shutdown – But House Republicans Are Offering Only Chaos

With just four days until Congressman Tom Reed’s government shutdown, he and his Republican Congress have no solution to their manufactured crisis – but continue to jeopardize the entire economy just to give insurance companies free rein to charge the people of New York more for their health care. 


According to The Hill newspaper: “GOP leaders have not put forward any clear plan for a spending measure, and some Republicans said they wanted to see what the leadership hoped to do.”  

And while Congressman Reed will get a paycheck for his failure and chaos, hardworking families around the country will pay the price:

  • If  Congressman Reed gets his government shutdown, he will still get paid, but millions of middle class workers whose jobs depend on the government operating could not get paid for as long as the shutdown lasts.
  • If Congressman Reed succeeds in defunding the Affordable Care Act, the deficit would increase by $109 billion over 10 years.

“While Congressman Tom Reed plays political games in Washington, the clock is ticking for thousands of New York jobs – which he is risking all so that insurance companies can have free rein again,” said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Congressman Reed’s priorities are completely out-of-touch with the people of New York because he is willing to risk the livelihoods and financial stability of hardworking families, all to pad insurance companies’ profits.”


Former Rep. Allen West (R-FL), the tea party firebrand who lost to Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL) in the last election, is now toying with the idea of running for Senate -- if, and only if, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) decides to run for president in 2016.

"If that became an open seat, of course I would run," West told The Tampa Bay Times. "I have a good statewide appeal and a lot of people would like me to get back on Capitol Hill."

The comments, made in a report published on Thursday, contrast rumors that West had been considering a primary challenge against Rubio. But West said that did not seem like "a viable option" currently.

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The number of Americans who identify as tea party supporters is at a near-record low, according to a new poll.

The Gallup Poll released on Thursday found that just 22 percent of Americans call themselves tea party supporters. Meanwhile, 27 percent identify as tea party opponents. A majority, 51 percent, said they did not have an opinion.

The finding is just one percentage point short of the survey's record low for the question. In 2011 21 percent of Americans identified as tea party supporters and 21 percent identified as opponents.

The poll's findings are also in contrast to late 2010 when, after Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, 32 percent said they supported the tea party. At the time 30 percent identified as opponents of the tea party and 38 percent said they did not have an opinion.

The poll's findings come as lawmakers try to overcome opposition from groups supported by the tea party on passing a continuing resolution bill to keep the government open.

The Gallup Poll was conducted from Sept. 5 to 8 among a random sample of 1,510 adults 18 years and older. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Democrat Terry McAuliffe sought to hone in on issues that might widen the polling gap between him and his opponent, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), among women voters, during a gubernatorial debate on Wednesday night.

During multiple questions by moderator and MSNBC host Chuck Todd, McAuliffe tried to paint Cuccinelli as a conservative extremist who's out of touch on women's issues and gay rights.

"He sponsored personhood legislation that would outlaw most forms of contraception, would make the pill illegal," McAuliffe said. "He's referred to gay Virginians as self-destructive and soulless human beings. He was one of only three attorney generals when the Violence Against Women's was being reauthorized in the United States Congress -- 47 attorney generals signed the letter -- violence against women, not controversial. He is one of three that refused to sign it. It has been a pattern."

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was endorsed by conservative radio host and former George H. W. Bush administration Secretary of Education Bill Bennett on Wednesday, who said McConnell's primary opponent is "not serious" and would likely lose in the general election.

"Mitch McConnell is a conservative stalwart and we have fought alongside each other in many battles over the years," Bennett wrote in an endorsement on his website published Wednesday. "He has a 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union and is one of the most conservative and consistent leaders I have ever worked with."

"I am proud to wholeheartedly endorse Senator McConnell for re-election and call on conservatives across the country to do the same," he concluded.

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"Angels In America" playwright Tony Kushner, Bari Mattes, who has served as a fundraising adviser for Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D),  and Goldman Sachs' first openly gay partner David Dechman are co-hosting a fundraiser for Democrat Sean Eldridge, husband of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, who recently announced his candidacy for Congress.

The fundraiser will be held at Dechman's Park Avenue Penthouse in New York on Wednesday evening. Recommended donations for Eldridge's campaign are $5,200, $2,600, and $1,000.

The fundraiser comes just a few days after Eldridge announced his candidacy for Rep. Chris Gibson's (R-NY) congressional seat.

See the invitation for the fundraiser here

Another battle between mainstream and right-wing Republicans is brewing -- this time in the special election for former Rep. Jo Bonner's (R-AL) congressional seat.

On Tuesday night, the primary election for the seat narrowed the field of nine Republicans to just two: former state Sen. Bradley Byrne, who was widely expected to come out on top, and real estate developer Dean Young. According to unofficial primary results published Wednesday morning, Byrne had gotten 35 percent of the vote and Young had 23 percent.

Because none of the candidates in the primary was able to get more than 50 percent of the vote, Byrne and Young will have to face each other in a runoff election on Nov. 5. The winner of that runoff will face real estate agent Burton Leflore (D) in the special general election on Dec. 17.

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