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Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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The Alabama state official in charge of overseeing elections insisted that the closure of 31 driver's license offices -- many in majority black counties -- will not get in the way of residents' ability to vote in a state the requires government-issued photo IDs at the ballot box.

“The closure of 31 DMV offices will not leave citizens without a place to receive the required I.D. card to vote,” said Alabama’s Secretary of State John Merrill said in a statement Thursday. He pointed to the free state-issued voter ID cards that residents can apply for if they do no have any of the other approved photo IDs.

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Shirley Sherrod has settled her lawsuit over the deeply flawed 2010 Breitbart story that cost Sherrod her job at the USDA over ultimately false allegations that she discriminated against a white farmer, The National Law Journal reported. The suit had been brought against Andrew Breitbart -- who died in 2012 and was represented by his estate -- and Larry O’Connor, head of Breitbart.tv at the time.

Sherrod, O’Connor and Breitbart's estate released a joint statement Thursday announcing the settlement: "In a gesture they hope will inspire others to engage in the difficult but critically important process of bridging racial divides, the parties have agreed to resolve this lawsuit on confidential terms."

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Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, was booed by the audience at the Washington Ideas Forum Thursday while defending the GOP's congressional investigations into the Benghazi attack, The Huffington Post reported.

According to The Huffington Post, the audience booed, hissed and yelled "You're lying!" while McMorris Rodgers attempted to deny that the Benghazi committee was politically-motivated. She had been asked by ABC's Jonathan Karl to weigh in on comments made by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in which he boasted that the committee's investigation had taken a toll on Hillary Clinton's poll numbers.

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Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) reiterated his call that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) apologize for comments suggesting a political motivation behind the congressional Benghazi Committee.

"Those statements are just absolutely inappropriate. They should be withdrawn. Mr. McCarthy should apologize. I think it was absolutely wrong," Chaffetz said on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports Thursday. As chairman of of the House Oversight Committee, Chaffetz led an investigation into the attack, which has also been scrutinized by a select community chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC).

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What happens when a state with a tough voter ID law suddenly makes it much harder for minorities to get driver's licenses? We are about to find out in Alabama.

Facing a budget crisis, Alabama has shuttered 31 driver's license offices, many of them in counties with a high proportion of black residents. Coming after the state recently put into effect a tougher voter ID law, the closures will cut off access -- particularly for minorities -- to one of the few types of IDs accepted.

According to a tally by AL.com columnist John Archibald, eight of the 10 Alabama counties with the highest percentage of non-white registered voters saw their driver's license offices closed.

"Every single county in which blacks make up more than 75 percent of registered voters will see their driver license office closed. Every one," Archibald wrote.

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Jeb Bush pushed back at comments made by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who suggested Republicans were successful in using the Benghazi Committee to put political pressure on Hillary Clinton. Bush told Morning Joe Thursday, "I don't quite understand why he said that."

"The Benghazi Committee exists because there should be an analysis of what actually happened, and what the response was, and if there was a cover up afterwards," Bush said. "This isn't to try to damage Hillary Clinton, and I don't quite understand why he said that."

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The Obama administration is moving forward with a plan that could bring a sea change to how retirement advisors must treat their clients, while financial industry-allies in Congress engage in another round of push back.

The new rules for retirement advisors that the President and consumer advocates are pushing address a conflict of interest the White House estimates costs retirement savers $17 billion annually. The problem? Contrary to what many investors believe, the advisors who direct them to retirement funds are not always required to act in their clients' best interests.

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With one potential government shutdown close to being averted and another one on the horizon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) signaled a renewed effort to break Congress' habit of budget brinkmanship.

McConnell told reporters Tuesday that he would like to settle on a topline budget number for the next two years and that he, House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama spoke last week about getting those negotiations started.

"I would expect them to start very soon," McConnell said, according to video posted by Roll Call. A two-year deal would allow lawmakers to get back to the typical appropriations process, McConnell said.

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On the day a House panel heard testimony from the CEO of Planned Parenthood, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) compared the reproductive health organization and the Benghazi attack, another controversy known for prompting fireworks on Capitol Hill.

"#PlannedParenthood isn’t a 'healthcare provider' any more than #Benghazi was a 'spontaneous protest,'" the 2016 candidate tweeted.

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