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ThinkFast: December 17, 2010

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"ThinkFast: December 17, 2010"

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At midnight last night, the House approved the White House tax cut deal, sending the bill to President Obama, who is expected to sign it today. The deal, already approved by Senate, extends the Bush tax cuts and unemployment benefits, and was hailed by both sides as a rare bipartisan achievement and “a prototype” for future bargains in the new Congress.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) withdrew the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill from Senate consideration yesterday after Republicans mounted a strident campaign against it. “I’m proud of our team for holding together,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gloated afterwards. After pulling the omnibus, Reid immediately filed cloture on DADT repeal and the DREAM Act, suggesting both could receive votes this weekend.

Yesterday, Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) said he’ll support a “stand-alone repeal bill”of DADT. His support helps secure the 60 Senate votes needed to block a GOP filibuster and pass a bill.

PolitiFact awarded its “Lie of the Year” yesterday to the GOP refrain that the Affordable Care Act was a “government takeover of health care.” While conceding that the talking point played “an important role in shaping public opinion,” PolitiFact concludes “it is inaccurate to call the plan a government takeover because it relies largely on the existing system of health coverage provided by employers.”

Yesterday, the House GOP transition team recommended “a change to the lower chamber’s rules that would require all members to prove legislation is constitutional” in the 112th Congress. GOP leaders sent out a memo members providing guidance to members on how to deal with the new requirement and “resources they can go to assist.”

Incoming House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-NY) said he is planning to open an investigation into what he calls “the radicalization” of the Muslim community. “When I meet with law enforcement, they are constantly telling me how little cooperation they get from Muslim leaders,” he said. In reailty, many of recent thwarted terror plots were disrupted because of intelligence provided by Muslims.

After meeting with some of the nation’s leading CEOs earlier this week, President Obama will meet with union leaders at the White House today to discuss the economy and job creation. “Twelve union groups are expected to send representatives to the White House including United Steelworkers, American Federation of Teachers and United Auto Workers.”

A new report from the commission investigating the BP oil spill found that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R) sand berms stopped only a “minuscule” amount of oil, despite a $220 million pricetag. Jindal repeatedly blasted the Obama administration for not providing more money for the berms, but they “trapped only about 1,000 barrels of oil out of the approximately 5 million barrels spilled.”

And finally: New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) is considering pardoning iconic Wild West outlaw Billy the Kid. Many believe New Mexico Territorial Governor Lew Wallace had promised Kid — who is reputed to have killed 21 men in various heists and robberies — a pardon in exchange for his testimony in a murder trial, but later reneged on the deal.

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