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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Newly elected House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) kicked off his first GOP leadership conference Tuesday by holding his firm line on advancing immigration reform while President Obama is in office.

Ryan was asked if he would consider moving forward with reform once a new president is elected.

"My positions are very well known and unchanged on this issue," Ryan said, referring to his previous openness to creating a pathway citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

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A new round of chaos in the 2016 presidential primary has erupted, with a full-on revolt by GOP 2016ers against this cycle’s debate structures.

After widespread frustration with the tough questioning candidates faced in last week’s CNBC debate, a shake-up at the Republican National Committee has been ordered. A draft letter is being circulating with candidates making their own demands of the networks in return for participating in debates. And Donald Trump -- the most volatile element in the entire field -- has defected from his rival candidates to set up his own set of conditions.

The idea of a candidate-controlled debate cycle is not just causing the media concern for its loss of influence. It is prompting new headaches for the already exhausted GOP elites, and some Republicans are worried that too much coddling will harm their party in the long run.

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Federal officials Monday approved Montana's application to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, the AP reported.

"This agreement will bring much needed access to health care coverage to more than 70,000 low-income Montanans,” said Health and Human Service Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement. “The administration looks forward to working with other states to expand Medicaid by designing programs that meet state’s needs while providing needed services to residents and significant economic benefits to states.”

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A letter threatening a lawsuit has made the Obama administration an unlikely target of voting rights groups, as the president is typically seen as an ally in efforts to expand the franchise.

The groups' concerns are colliding with another priority of Obama's presidency: his sweeping health care law. Voting rights activists say that in rolling out Obamacare -- specifically its federally operated health care exchanges -- the administration hasn't done enough to comply with the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. They are threatening to sue the administration over the alleged violations, according to a letter sent by Demos, ProjectVote and League of Women Voters of the U.S. to the White House Wednesday.

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Voting rights groups sent a letter to the Obama administration Wednesday expressing their concern with what they say is a failure to comply with a voting registration law. The groups accused the administration of violating the National Voter Registration Act -- a 1993 law that expanded the opportunities for Americans to register to vote -- by not offering the proper voting registration services through the federal healthcare exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act. The letter suggested potential for a lawsuit.

"We hope to avoid litigation, but we note that the NVRA includes a private right of action," the letter -- signed by the presidents of Demos, ProjectVote and League of Women Voters of the U.S -- states.

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Jeb Bush's attempt to confront Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was foreshadowed by Florida-based Republican strategist Rick Wilson, who tweeted prior to Wednesday's CNBC main debate "the dumb, pre-planned move a certain campaign is about to make in the big debate is campaign-ending stupid."

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While his GOP 2016 rivals used their closing statements in Wednesday's CNBC debate to lay out their vision for the country, Trump bragged about his reported hardball negotiations with the network to limit the debate to two hours.

"I went out and said, 'It's ridiculous, I could stand up here all night. Nobody wants to watch three and a half or three hours,'" Trump said.

He recounted: "In about two minutes I renegotiated it down to two hours so we can get the hell out of here. Not bad."

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CNBC's Carl Quintanilla kicked off Wednesday's GOP debate with a simple question for all the participants: What's your biggest weakness?

He stipulated that candidates should answer "without telling us that you tried too hard or that you're a perfectionist." But that didn't stop the candidates from playing fast and loose with the meaning of the word "weakness." Here's how almost all of them awkwardly avoided answering:

Gov. John Kasich (R-OH): My biggest weakness is the other candidates.

"I want to tell you my great concern is we're on the verge of perhaps picking someone who cannot do this job."

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Former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) slammed the GOP for its refusal to admit the existence of climate change and said that Republicans too often "question science that everyone accepts."

"One of the things that troubles me about the Republican Party is too often we question science that everyone accepts," Pataki said at Wednesday's GOP undercard debate, when asked about his belief that climate change is caused by human activity.

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