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 latest effort by Congressional Republicans to repeal Obamacare is hitting all sorts of speed bumps, as the Senate GOP is in disagreement as to how far to go, even though their bill stands no chance of being signed by President Obama.

The inability of Senate Republicans to settle on a plan reflects yet again how challenging repealing Obamacare would be, both in terms of policy and politics. It also exposes the gap between the GOP's anti-Obamacare political rhetoric, and the political and practical realities. Further complicating the issue is an attached measure to defund Planned Parenthood, that is also putting in a difficult spot some moderates facing tough re-election bids.

The Senate is currently considering its next steps in advancing a repeal bill through the so-called budget reconciliation process, a complex maneuver that requires only 51 votes and thus would be free of a Democratic filibuster threat. The House passed its version last month which would only repeal some aspects of Obamacare, mainly the employer and individual mandates.

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While other GOP candidates participating in the Fox Business Network debate dodged the question as to whether they would bail out major banks in a financial crisis, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) made his opposition to "cronyism" position clear.

"The opening question [moderator Jerry Seib] asked -- would you bailout the big banks again -- nobody gave you an answer to that. I will give you an answer," Cruz said. "Absolutely not."

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Ben Carson insisted scrutiny of his personal backstory was biased and that people who know him know that he's honest.

"We have to start treating people the same. And finding out what people really think and what they're made of," Carson said during the Fox Business Network debate Tuesday. "People who know me know that I'm an honest person."

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The candidates in Tuesday's Fox Business Network undercard debate deserve a participation ribbon and a juice box for collectively refusing to answer a question asking them to name one Democratic lawmaker they admire.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) kicked off the trend: "This is why people are so frustrated with the last debate with these kinds of silly questions."

He instead used his time to rail against lawmakers of both parties in Washington.

"I want to fire everybody in D.C." he said.

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An appeals court delivered a major if not expected blow to President Obama's immigration policies Monday.

If there was a silver lining for supporters of Obama's immigration actions, it was that the court decided the case in way that made it more likely that the Supreme Court will ultimately rule in their favor. Legal experts said that was so broad as to change the fundamental role of the judicial branch in intervening in disagreements between states and the federal government.

The administration is also likely breathing a sigh of relief that the decision gives the White House enough of a window -- if just barely -- to appeal the decision in time for Supreme Court decision at the end of the 2015-2016 term, ahead of November's elections.

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Criminal justice advocates have done an impressive job amassing a broad coalition to support initiatives to curb mass incarceration. Their next challenge? Keeping it together as the 2016 race picks up and candidates are tempted to revert to “tough on crime” rhetoric to attack their opponents.

Already, some conservatives are flirting with the old “Willie Horton”-style politics, invoking racially-charged crime fears. While Donald Trump is often blamed for raising the temperature on crime, even lawmakers who previously have aligned themselves with the movement to overhaul the country's prison system have backed off from some of the efforts.

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Ben Carson rose to fame as an acclaimed neurosurgeon with an remarkable backstory. Now defending backstory has become the focus of his presidential campaign, as outlets scrutinize his tales of being a violent youth who rose from poverty to achieve an impressive resume that included a West Point scholarship offer before he attended Yale.

In addition to spinning the questions raised by reporters to attack what he says his media bias, Team Carson has also used his public Facebook page to offer up three pieces of "evidence" to back up the stories now under scrutiny.

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Democratic 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton used a question about Wall Street at Friday's MSNBC Democratic Candidates Forum to call the Koch brothers "some of the biggest deck stackers you can find."

"They are protecting their corporate interest, the fossil fuel industry. They're protecting the continuation of pumping carbon into the atmosphere," she said.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) called Republicans "political cowards" for their efforts to restrict voting rights and suggested a constitutional amendment might be necessary to protect the franchise.

"Maybe this is personal because I run for office. Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win," Sanders said, when Rachel Maddow brought the topic up at Friday's MSNBC Democratic 2016 Forum."It has never occurred to me as a candidate to figure out a way to deny the vote to people because they might vote against me. People who do that are political cowards. They're afraid of a fair election."

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Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley took a swing at Democratic 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton, by suggesting her opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline was politically driven.

"Secretary Clinton got there just last week. And I was there a year ago," O'Malley said at the MSNBC Democratic Forum, when Rachel Maddow brought up that all three Democratic candidates opposed the pipeline.

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