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

The Senate confirmed President Barack Obama's two Federal Election Commission nominees on Monday.

Republican Lee Goodman and Democrat Ann Ravel were confirmed by voice vote on Monday. The two fill the vacancies left by former Democratic commissioner Cynthia Bauerly and Republican Donald McGahn.

Goodman works at a Washington law firm and Ravel is the chairwoman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, according to the Associated Press.

The two join a six-member panel charged with regulating spending on elections and campaigns. The confirmations also mean there are no vacancies on the panel (four are serving on terms that have expired though).

Obama nominated Goodman and Ravel in June. They were confirmed a week after the Senate Rules Committee approved their nomination.

E.W. Jackson, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in Virginia, criticized Pope Francis for suggesting the Catholic Church is "obsessed" with opposing certain issues like gay marriage.

Jackson's comments came a few days after Pope Francis criticized the Catholic Church for being unnecessarily "obsessed" with gay marriage. Francis subsequently seemed to offer a partial walk back a few days later, saying that doctors should refuse to conduct abortions, which he called a part of "throw-away culture." 

"I know even the pope has said when we talk about these things, we imply a kind of intolerance. That is not the point at all," Jackson said Sunday during an event at the Restoration Fellowship Church in Strasburg, Virginia according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "The point is to be true to the word of God. The point is to stand up and tell the truth. There is no better way found, ever, to raise children than with a mother and a father in the home. Even sociologically, you can make the argument."

On Thursday the Pope offered a pointed crititque of his church, saying that the "church's pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently."

"We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel," Francis said. 

The comments were seen as a pointed response to critical bishops who have said Francis has not sufficiently expressed opposition to topics like homosexuality, contraception, and abortion.

Jackson has been even more direct in his criticism of gay marriage. He has previously referred to gay people as "sick and perverted."

After strongly suggesting that he planned to jump into the Senate race for Sen. Kay Hagan's (D-NC) seat, North Carolina Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R) announced Monday that he is simply seeking re-election.

"Over the past several months, I've heard from numerous people across North Carolina asking me to declare my candidacy for the United States Senate. I am humbled and grateful for the kind words of encouragement," Berger said in a statement released on Monday. "Like many, I understand that one of the most important political tasks before us is to replace Kay Hagan as North Carolina's junior United States Senator.

"Senator Hagan's tenure in Washington has been a disappointment in countless ways," Berger continued. "Her record does not reflect the conservative values of most North Carolinians or the strong leadership we deserve from our elected representatives. I understand that winning this seat has tremendous implications not only for control of the U.S. Senate in the final two years of the Obama presidency, but also for the direction of our nation."

"However, after careful consideration and consultation with family, friends and supporters, I have decided now is not the time for me to undertake such a campaign."

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Democrat Sean Eldridge, the husband of Facebook co-founder and editor-in-chief and publisher of the New Republic Chris Hughes, announced on Sunday night that he is running for Congress.

Eldridge announced that he was running for New York's 19th district in a web video posted on his campaign website. 

"Right now the voices of every day New Yorkers are being drowned out by the special interests and party politics, causing gridlock in Washington. We need an independent voice who will fight for us," Eldridge said in the video.

Expect the race to be competitive against Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY). According to the Albany Times-Union, Eldridge has already invested $215,000 in his campaign.

In the video, Eldridge vows to fight budget cuts to Medicare and Social Security. He also touted businesses that his investment fund, Hudson River Ventures, loaned money to. 

"We all know that we need to grow our economy and I know first hand what it takes to support small businesses and create good jobs," Eldridge said. 

Eldridge's announcement has been expected. He has been suggesting a run for some time now and Republicans had already begun attacking him in anticipation of Eldridge formally entering the race. Also, earlier in the year Hughes and Eldridge bought a home in the district.

"I'm running for Congress because I know that we can do better. I hope that you'll join me," Eldridge concludes in the web video. 

Louisiana State Rep. Jeff Thompson (R) is urging conservatives to boycott Starbucks and instead go to coffee shops that have "gun friendly" owners.

Thompson's call, made Friday on the Defend Louisiana website, is in response to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz asking customers to not "bring fire arms" into Starbucks coffee shops. Defend Louisiana is a campaign Thompson founded in opposition to new gun laws.

"The home of the most expensive cup of coffee is apparently now the home of one of the most dangerous as well," Thompson said in the statement.

Thompson plans to host "Guns & Coffee" events in the next few weeks where he will buy supporters a cup of coffee and discuss the current debate over gun laws.

"I hope residents in Bossier and across Louisiana come out for a free cup of coffee," Thompson continued in the statement. "You won’t find me in Starbucks… not when I know they openly try to make villains out of law abiding citizens who own guns. I choose to support small business owners who share a love of our Louisiana heritage, the great outdoors and join in my efforts to defend our right to protect our families."

"Not only will I buy you a cup of coffee,” Thompson added. “You will also have the opportunity to register for a giveaway of a limited edition, engraved 200 years of Louisiana statehood commemorative 12 gauge Browning shotgun."

Two House Republicans announced on Friday that they are leaving a bipartisan group aimed at passing immigration reform.

Reps. Sam Johnson and John Carter, both from Texas, cited "politics" and President Barack Obama as the reasons they are leaving the group.

"After years of hard work and countless meetings, we have reached a tipping point and can no longer continue working on a broad approach to immigration. We want to be clear. The problem is politics," the two congressmen said in a statement. "Instead of doing what’s right for America, President Obama time and again has unilaterally disregarded the U.S. Constitution, the letter of the law and bypassed the Congress – the body most representative of the people - in order to advance his political agenda. We will not tolerate it. Laws passed by Congress are not merely suggestions, regardless of the current atmosphere in Washington. Laws are to be respected and followed by all – particularly by the Commander-in-Chief. "

In June, Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) left the group, which had originally been a "gang of eight." The group had quietly been working on a bipartisan immigration reform proposal for years and over the last few months following the introduction of an immigration reform proposal by a counterpart group of lawmakers in the Senate, said they were close to introducing their own legislation.

The remaining members of the group are Democrats Zoe Lofgren (CA), Luis Gutierrez (IL), John Yarmuth (KY), Xavier Becerra (CA) and Republican Mario Diaz-Balart (FL).

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has decided to run for reelection in 2016.

Grassley made the announcement on the Iowa Press public television show on Friday according to The Des Moines Register.

"I'm planning on running for reelection," Grassley said according to the Iowa newspaper. The Republican senator said he had decided a few months ago and was motivated by Sen. Tom Harkin's (D-IA) decision not to run for reelection.

"If Iowa had to start over two years from now with two very junior senators it would hurt Iowans’ opportunities to get anything done in the Senate," Grassley said.

Grassley is expected to win reelection. If he does, he will be 89 by the time he finishes his next term (which would be his seventh).

In February Grassley said he was undecided about running for reelection. 

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) has canceled a Friday afternoon appearance in support of Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker's (D) Senate campaign and is flying back to Chicago to respond to a shooting that left more than a dozen people wounded.

Emanuel's office confirmed the cancellation to TPM on Friday morning.

The shooting Thursday night resulted in 13 injured, including a 3 year old, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Emanuel had been planning to appear at a campaign rally for Booker in Newark, N.J.

The Democratic Congressional Committee is fundraising off of House Republicans' continuing resolution proposal that would also defund Obamacare.

The campaign arm sent a fundraising email out to supporters warning that House Republicans are putting everything not he line to defund President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.

"Now that Republicans have put everything at stake over Obamacare, the only way to avoid a government shutdown is for us to do the same," the email reads.

The fundraising email also noted that Obama "vowed to stand up to Republicans' extortion tactics."

On Thursday House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said he expects Senate Republicans to go all out to try and defund the healthcare law.

"I expect my Senate colleagues to be up for the battle," Boehner said at a press conference.

The House is expected to pass its continuing resolution that also defunds Obamacare on Friday. That spending bill is unlikely to pass in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

"I expect my Senate colleagues to do everything they can to stop this law," Boehner said. "It's time for them to pick up the mantle and get the job done."

Many Republicans think GOP lawmakers' new continuing resolution budget proposal that would also defund Obamacare is a bad idea, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said Thursday at a press conference alongside Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). 

The New York Democrat said that he believes there's a "widespread view among" Republican lawmakers that the proposal "is a dumb idea." 

Ultra-conservatives don't have the numbers on their own to pass the proposal, Schumer said. 

"The fact is the hard right doesn't have the numbers to stand on their own," Schumer said. 

Schumer added that there's a strong incentive for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to instead push a continuing resolution proposal that does not defund Obamacare. 

"Speaker Boehner will end up doing the right thing sooner or later," Schumer said. "It would be better for him, his party and his country if he did something sooner."