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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

A top operative of a conservative caucus who repeatedly proved to be a thorn in the side of establishment Republicans became the latest casualty of the so-called Republican civil war on Wednesday.

Paul Teller was fired from his job as the executive director of the Republican Study Committee (RSC) by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), the group's current chair. The group sees its mission as pushing an increasingly conservative caucus of House Republicans even further to the right.

Officially, the reason Teller was fired was for leaking conversations between RSC members. "Trust between senior staff and RSC members is paramount," a spokesman for the group said according to Politico. "Every decision Chairman Scalise makes is in the best interest of the RSC and advancing conservative causes."

But Teller's far more serious offense seems to be that he had been working with groups now under fire from Republican leaders for speaking out against the two-year budget deal introduced earlier in the week by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA).

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced Thursday that he opposes the two-year Ryan-Murray budget deal.

Cruz released a statement Thursday saying the bill goes in the wrong direction:

The new budget deal moves in the wrong direction: it spends more, taxes more, and allows continued funding for Obamacare. I cannot support it.

"Under the sequester, Congress took a small step forward by reducing spending by 2.4 percent. We should increase that number while protecting the military from disproportionate cuts.

"Instead, this proposal undoes the sequester's modest reforms and pushes us two steps back, deeper into debt. Supporters of this plan are asking for more spending now in exchange for minor changes that may possibly reduce spending later. That may be a fine deal for Washington, but it’s not for the American people.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) praised House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for snapping at conservative outside groups for pushing lawmakers to oppose a two-year bipartisan budget deal introduced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA).

"I think it was a breath of fresh air as far as I'm concerned," Reid said at a press conference where he was flanked by Sens. Dick Durbin (IL), Charles Schumer (NY), and Murray, the other members of the Senate Democratic leadership.

A day earlier, Boehner slammed the groups (which include Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, and Heritage Action) at a press conference for quickly denouncing the budget framework.

"They're using our members and they're using the American people for their own goals. This is ridiculous," Boehner, visibly angry, said. Boehner made similar comments on Thursday.

"Why are they doing this?" Reid continued Thursday. "What is this supposed to accomplish? It is showing the American people why the rules had to be changed."

Reid's rule's comment was a reference to his decision to remove the filibuster option from executive and judicial appointments save the Supreme Court in the chamber.

Rep. Steve Stockman's (R-TX) surprise tea party challenge to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) hasn't gone exactly as planned. Even though some conservatives have been calling for a tea party challenge against Cornyn, prominent conservative groups and supporters didn't exactly flock to the firebrand Republican congressman.

In fact, more than a few tea partiers and prominent conservative groups that usually quickly back far-right challenges to incumbent lawmakers have either held back from endorsing in the race or said they plan to stay out all together.

Here's a list of who isn't endorsing Stockman:

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The budget framework introduced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) is really more Murray's preferred budget plan, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said Thursday.

"I understand what Paul was trying to do. I don't want to shut down the government. It's not the plan he would enact. This is more of a Patty Murray budget," Johnson said in an interview on MSNBC.

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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. 

TPMLivewire