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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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GOP 2016 candidate Ben Carson appeared unable to give a straight answer when asked repeatedly about whether he would raise the debt ceiling during a Marketplace interview posted Thursday.

At one point, Carson said he would urge his administration to "cut where you need to cut" when asked if he would let the government default on its debt, suggesting he didn't understand that the debt ceiling authorizes payments on debts the government has already incurred.

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As Republican hardliners express their resistance to having House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as their speaker, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has stepped up to give a speech in support of McCarthy at Thursday's nominating conference, Politico reported.

The 40-or-so member House Freedom Caucus has endorsed McCarthy's challenger, Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL). Although Webster is viewed as a long-shot in today's nomination conference, which is only among Republicans, the conservative group's refusal to support McCarthy could pose a problem once the speaker voter hits the full floor, where the GOP nominee will need 218 votes to become speaker.

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When House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced his resignation earlier this month, the likelihood that his successor would be able to navigate a series of high stakes deadlines looked uncertain at best. Since then, the leadership succession has erupted into full-out chaos.

What was supposed to be a relatively smooth ascension for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has been rocked by his own gaffes, outsider challengers, and the threat of an unprecedented floor fight that could undermine efforts to avoid a government shutdown and a historic default on the national debt before the year's end.

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The House Freedom Caucus -- the group of conservatives hardliners whose shutdown antics led to House Speaker John Boehner's resignation -- has endorsed Rep. Daniel Webster for to be the GOP nominee for the next speaker, caucus member Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) told CNN. The move is a rebuke to Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Boehner's presumed successor.

While it's unlikely that the 40-or-so member caucus will be enough to thwart McCarthy's selection in the closed-door GOP conference Thursday, their refusal to support him spells trouble for when the issue comes to the full House, where 218 votes will be required to elect the next speaker.

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A House Democrat will offer an amendment to abolish Congress' special committee on the Benghazi, in a move that simultaneously hits Republicans on Planned Parenthood and on House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's (R-CA) Benghazi "gaffe."

According to a spokesperson for Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the ranking member of the House Rules Committee, Slaughter will offer the amendment Tuesday evening while the committee debates a bill to form a special committee to further investigate Planned Parenthood. The amendment would strike through the Planned Parenthood language and replace it with language dismantling the Benghazi Committee, the spokesperson said in an email.

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A representative for Vice President Joe Biden pushed back on a Politico report Tuesday that suggested Biden had told New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd his dying son's wish that he run for president to "trial balloon" a potential campaign.

"The bottom line on the Politico story is that it is categorically false and the characterization is offensive," a Biden spokesperson told NBC News. Biden's team, however, did not confirm or deny that the vice president told Dowd that story.

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In a lengthy blog post published on his presidential campaign website Tuesday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) claimed the father of Oregon gunman Chris Harper Mercer was a "complete failure" and demanded that he apologize for the shooting.

In the blog post -- titled "We fill Our Culture With Garbage, And We Reap The Result" -- Jindal blamed the prevalence of mass shootings in America on "deep and serious cultural decay in our society," jumping from a condemnation of violence in media and a reference to abortion to a discussion of the reported absence of the father of the Harper Mercer in the young man's life.

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House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) renewed his call for the restoration of the Voting Rights Act, suggesting Monday that it would have stopped Alabama from implementing a law requiring a photo ID at the ballot box.

Scrutiny of the voter ID law has increased with the announcement that Alabama will close 31 driver's licenses offices in the state – many in rural counties with a high percentage of black residents – which voting rights advocates fear will make it harder for African-Americans to obtain the IDs required vote.

“The Voting Rights Act was born from the bloody actions in Selma, Alabama, in March 1965, and since the Supreme Court struck down one of its most important protections – the federal Justice Department’s ability to prevent discriminatory rules like Alabama’s photo identification requirement – our democracy has been weakened," Hoyer said in a statement Monday evening.

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The details of Maureen Dowd's Aug. 1 New York Times column recounting the dying wish of Beau Biden that his father Joe Biden run for President came from the vice president himself, according to a Politico report.

Anonymous sources close to Biden told Politico the vice president conveyed the anecdote in what the article called a "trial balloon." The column kicked off renewed speculation about a Biden candidacy.

Beau died of brain cancer in May.

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Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) -- who is challenging House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as the conservative alternative to replace House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) -- said he would be willing to risk a default on the national debt or a government shutdown to extract demands from President Obama.

"I have no interest in just simply raising the debt ceiling without changing the trajectory of spending," Chaffetz told CNN Monday. "It's a time where we should be reflecting on, what are we going to do so that we don't have to keep changing the debt ceiling and raising it."

The Treasury Department has signaled a Nov. 5 deadline for raising the debt ceiling, which is only days after Boehner is set to step down from the speakership. In 2011, Standard & Poors downgraded the U.S.'s credit rating after Republicans seemed willing to blow past the debt ceiling deadline.

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