ThinkFast: March 25, 2010

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"ThinkFast: March 25, 2010"

Senate gavel

The Senate “held 10 hours of continuous, marathon voting starting at 5 p.m.” yesterday, defeating 29 Republican amendments to the health care reconciliation bill. However, the Senate parliamentarian “sustained two GOP objections to two minor sections” of the legislation, which means the measure will have to go back to the House for another vote before heading to the President for his signature.

The Obama administration will issue regulations to clarify a provision in the Affordable Care Act that stipulates “insurers must cover sick children.” The insurance industry’s lobby says the bill’s language only mandates covering the “cost of care for children with pre-existing conditions who already have insurance, not that insurers must accept new young customers who are already sick.”

At least 10 House Democrats” have reported being subjected to death threats, harassment, or vandalism at their district offices over the past week. Asked whether members are endangered, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said, “Yes. [There are] very serious incidents that have occurred.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) whined that the “well has been poisoned” by the way the Democrats passed health reform. Graham said he will “no longer work with the majority party on an immigration overhaul…because of the Democrats’ tactics in passing the package,” and may pull out of discussions on energy reform as well.

In recent weeks, FreedomWorks chairman and Tea Party profiteer Dick Armey “has found himself targeted by a quiet, but concerted campaign from fellow conservatives challenging — and seeking to undermine — his status as a leader of the tea party movement.” Critics are questioning his lobbying work, stances on immigration and social issues, and candidate endorsements.

“With Israeli officials saying that construction on a contentious Jewish housing project in East Jerusalem could begin at any time,” President Obama appeared to “have failed on Wednesday to persuade” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “to give a written commitment to rein in any further building and to move ahead on peace talks with the Palestinians.”

Defense Secretary Robert Gates today will announce measures “to make it more difficult for the military to expel openly gay service members, an interim plan while the Pentagon examines repeal of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.” The move will include “a requirement that only a general or admiral could initiate action” in cases involving suspected DADT violation.

The U.S. and Russia have agreed to sign a treaty to cut their respective nuclear arsenals “to the lowest levels in half a century.” Both sides “have agreed to lower the limit on deployed strategic warheads by more than one-quarter and launchers by half.” The agreement will include a new inspection regime and will not restrict U.S. missile defense plans for Europe.

A South Dakota doctor will challenge Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in the Democratic primary” with the support of former Obama campaign adviser Steve Hildebrand. Hildebrand told CNN that Dr. Kevin Weiland “supported the Democratic health care reform bill including a public option and was also frustrated by Herseth Sandlin’s decision to vote against the bill.”

And finally: Former White House adviser Karl Rove thinks MSNBC host Chuck Todd is ugly — and he told him so yesterday on air. Watch it here.

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