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Senate Progresses on Immigration Deal, GOP Official Makes Racist Remarks, and More

Posted on Jun 20, 2013

Farm Failure: The GOP-controlled House has rejected a bill that would have cut $2 billion in food stamps because many congressional Republicans didn’t believe those cuts were deep enough. Additionally, the legislation also would have imposed new work requirements on those who receive food stamps. The vote to defeat the half-trillion-dollar legislation was 234-195, with 62 Republicans voting against it. Just 24 Democrats cast their vote in favor of the bill. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the legislation’s failure a “major amateur hour” while House Majority Leader Eric Cantor countered that it was Pelosi’s fault the legislation didn’t pass. (Read more)

Getting the Green Light: The Senate’s bipartisan “Gang of Eight” came to an alternative agreement on a breakthrough deal to strengthen border security that it’s calling the “border surge” plan. The deal, announced Thursday, would double the number of border patrol agents while requiring 700 miles of border fencing. It comes on the same day that the Senate nixed a more stringent border security plan set forth by Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas that Vice President Joe Biden called “one of the meanest amendments that will come up in the Senate.” Cornyn’s amendment to the immigration reform bill would essentially have tied the building of a border fence to the ability of undocumented immigrants to obtain green cards. (Read more)

In Hot Water: The tea party has scorned one of its former favorites. On Wednesday, a crowd of tea partyers gathered outside the Capitol for an event where they voiced their displeasure at Florida Sen. Marco Rubio—a onetime darling of the group who, thanks largely to its support, was elected to office in 2010—with a chorus of boos over his amnesty plan for undocumented immigrants. The gathering was put on by a number of tea party standouts, including Republican Reps. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) Steve King (Iowa) and Louie Gohmert (Texas). As Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank reports, “Rubio antagonism became a main theme of the event,” with many holding up anti-Rubio signs and chanting that he was a liar. Milbank later wrote in his column: “The speed with which the tea party turned on Rubio is stunning, beginning earlier this year with complaints from conservative commentators and now open mockery at a Capitol Hill rally.” (Read more)

An Ugly Attack: Jim Allen, a county Republican chairman in Illinois, has apologized for a racially charged email in which he referred to a female black GOP congressional candidate as a “love child, “a street walker” and other derogatory names. The candidate he was talking about is Erika Harold, a former Miss America and Harvard Law graduate who is mounting a primary challenge against Congressman Rodney Davis. After being accused of going on a “racist rant,” Allen said he was sorry. “My comments are very inappropriate and wrong, and I apologize to Miss Harold and her campaign and her supporters,” he said. Davis has called the remarks “misguided and wrong,” and has removed Allen’s name from a list of “Team 2014” members on his campaign website. (Read more)

Video of the Day: Former CIA agent Valerie Plame, whose cover was famously leaked to the media by the Bush administration, told HuffPost Live on Wednesday that NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden should be viewed neither as a hero nor a traitor, but said that Americans owe him “a thank you for having brought this issue to the forefront and so that we can begin to have a serious and genuine conversation about these issues.” She also criticized former Vice President Dick Cheney for calling Snowden a traitor. “The irony of people like Dick Cheney or Karl Rove whining and bemoaning the fact of the leak of intelligence—given my history and certainly Dick Cheney’s intimate involvement with the betrayal of my CIA identity—is really something,” Plame said. She added that National Intelligence Director James Clapper should resign.

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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