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Will the House move on its own Blunt Amendment?

Will the House move on its own Blunt Amendment?

03/08/12 04:50PM

Following the Senate's narrow defeat of the Blunt Amendment last week, coupled with the public revulsion towards Rush Limbaugh's misogyny, Republican leaders in Congress had just about had enough with the fight over contraception. But as the GOP is finding, sometimes it's tough for a party to pick a fight, then walk away from it.Rank-and-file House Republicans still want a vote on their own version of the Blunt Amendment, called the "Respect for Rights of Conscience Act," championed by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R) of Nebraska. read more

The House's JOBS Act won't do much for those on the unemployment line.

What passes for a jobs bill in the House

03/08/12 03:41PM

It's hard not to like the name of the bill easily approved by the House today: the "JOBS Act." With high unemployment, the legislation seemingly addresses the nation's most pressing need.Alas, it really isn't worth getting too excited about.The House Thursday afternoon overwhelmingly approved legislation aimed at easing the rules for capital formation for small companies, which Republicans hailed as a major job-creation bill but Democrats said is just a minor fix for the economy.Members approved the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) act in a 390-23 vote that saw 158 Democrats join every v read more

Pic: 'Go probe yourself'

Pic: 'Go probe yourself'

03/08/12 03:11PM

In Virginia, Republicans backed off their vaginal probe ultrasound bill, and the protest just kept coming.Today in Alabama, where Republicans have also backed off the vaginal part of their vaginal probe bill, protesters gathered. From the looks of the crowd in Montgomery, they're not backing down. More on the show tonight.(More photos from Alabama voters opposed to forced ultrasound) read more

Boehner just doesn't have much to smile about lately.

Yet another setback for Speaker Boehner

03/08/12 02:10PM

Following up on a report from last month, the House Republicans' transportation bill, generally considered one of Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) top priorities, has turned into something of a fiasco.Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman, called it "the worst transportation bill I've ever seen during 35 years of public service." A New York Times editorial called the bill "uniquely terrible." The legislation was reviled by nearly everyone, including House Republicans themselves, though various contingents hated it for different reasons.Today, Boehner's bill die read more

More good bills would mean more signing ceremonies.

Republicans for signing ceremonies

03/08/12 01:35PM

President Obama's first two years in office were marked not only be a series of high-profile legislative successes, but also the custom that comes with them: signing ceremonies. The White House was only too pleased to invite the media and large crowds to see the president sign all kinds of bills into law: health care reform, Wall Street reform, DADT repeal, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, etc.Since the start of the 112th Congress, these signing ceremonies have dwindled dramatically. read more

Today in hyperbole: If it's Sandra Fluke and liberals, Sharia law must be at hand

Today in hyperbole: If it's Sandra Fluke and liberals, Sharia law must be at hand

03/08/12 12:49PM

So, just to recap, Georgetown law school student Sandra Fluke testified before Congress on behalf of a gay friend who required prescription birth control to halt the growth of ovarian cysts. As a result, radio host Rush Limbaugh branded Fluke a slut and a prostitute on national radio and said she should be required to make sex tapes so that he could watch.Surely this is as bad as it gets, yes? Oh no.Today, we get an editorial from the American Thinker, written, shockingly, by a man. Compared to this, Alice in Wonderland was a gritty, POV documentary. read more

Thursday's campaign round-up

03/08/12 12:00PM

Today's installment of campaign-related news items that won't necessarily generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers:* With the Alabama and Mississippi Republican presidential primaries turning out to be more important than expected, the Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich super PACs are already buying airtime in both states.* The Romney campaign raised $11.5 million in February, but only has $7.3 million left in the bank.* Gingrich has decided to give up on competing in Kansas, which will hold its presidential caucus on Saturday, and where Santorum is expected to d read more

Romney changes course on minimum wage

03/08/12 11:26AM

When it comes to the Republican presidential race, one of the more notable surprises of the last few months came shortly before the New Hampshire primary. Mitt Romney was asked a simple question about raising the minimum wage.The response sounded more like a previous version of Romney than the current iteration: "My view has been to allow the minimum wage to rise with the or with another index so that it adjusts automatically over time. I already indicated that when I was governor of Massachusetts, and that's my view."Well, it was his view. read more

Two years later, this has been neither repealed nor replaced.

So much for 'repeal and replace'

03/08/12 10:45AM

Shortly after the Affordable Care Act became law two years ago, congressional Republicans adopted a simple, three-word, poll-tested phrase: "repeal and replace." The GOP would repeal the moderate reform law, which is based on a model Republicans used to support, and replace it with something new.Whatever happened to that? It's a funny story, actually.The "replace" part of the slogan is clearly in trouble. Fourteen months after Republicans took over the House, GOP legislation to reform the nation's health care system is nowhere to be found. read more

One more week for the Gingrich campaign?

Why Gingrich's 'must win' declaration matters

03/08/12 10:00AM

It's hardly a secret that Rick Santorum wants and needs Newt Gingrich to exit the Republican presidential race. The longer the former Speaker stays in, the easier it is for Mitt Romney to lead the pack and win the GOP nomination.Gingrich continues to insist he isn't going anywhere, despite his awful Super Tuesday performance everywhere except his home state, but his campaign seemed to lay down an important marker yesterday. Gingrich's campaign spokesman told NBC News that wins in both Alabama and Mississippi next week are essential.The spokesperson, R.C. read more

The fiendishly clever White House

The fiendishly clever White House

03/08/12 09:13AM

After losing dozens of advertisers, Rush Limbaugh has largely decided to direct his attention away from Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke -- indeed, the host seems to have picked a new target -- but some of Limbaugh's allies aren't quite ready to move on.Fox News host Eric Bolling speculated on Tuesday that Sandra Fluke, the law student who has become famous for being attacked by Rush Limbaugh, was part of an elaborate White House plan to distract voters from the economy. President Obama and his "allies in the press" were "trying to pull a fast one on you," he said. read more

Jobless claims tick higher

Jobless claims tick higher

03/08/12 08:40AM

The general trend on initial unemployment claims over the last few months has been largely encouraging, though there have been occasional setbacks. Today's report appears to be one of them.Though still low by recent standards, filings went up over the last week, a little more than expected.Jobless claims in the U.S. rose to the highest level in five weeks, climbing by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 362,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had estimated claims would rise to 355,000 in the week ended March 3. read more

What Bachmann thinks 'isn't far-fetched'

What Bachmann thinks 'isn't far-fetched'

03/08/12 08:00AM

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) is by no means the only member of Congress willing to believe bizarre ideas, but even among her strange colleagues, the right-wing Minnesotan tends to be the most outlandish of the bunch.This week, for example, Bachmann appeared on Glenn Beck's website, complaining about comments from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who recently explained to lawmakers that contraception access helps lower medical costs overall. read more

Morning Maddow, March 8

03/08/12 07:47AM

Speaker Boehner to Republicans: Pleeeeeeease vote for my highway bill. Pretty please?Report: a heck of a lot of Texans could be disenfranchised under Texas' new Voter I.D. law.Also in Texas, healthcare for low-income women gets caught in the crossfire of the war on Planned Parenthood.Santorum's Southern strategy. And why next Tuesday is do or die for Gingrich. And Ron Paul pins his hopes on Hawaii and a convention floor fight.How the new G.I. Bill is failing veterans.The first climate-change-induced human migration?It's International Women's Day. read more