David Kurtz

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

Articles by David

House passes stopgap spending bill 230-197: 5 Dems voted for it; 11 Republicans voted against it. Senate passage appears unlikely and so Friday will probably be another day of intra-party brinkmanship.

The Freedom Caucus, after its usual Hamleting, has agreed to support the House GOP leadership’s short-term budget, virtually guaranteeing it’s passage this evening.

There’s goes most of the evening’s drama. Or … was there really genuine drama in the first place?

The dance is so well-rehearsed at this point that maybe the price of Freedom Caucus acquiescence is allowing them to Hamlet. The legislative “concession” they extract is more or less besides the point. The real point is public prancing about being more purely conservative than Ryan et al.

It’s getting tired.

Put me down as thinking Republicans will find a way to avert a unilateral, self-inflicted government shutdown. It’d make Newt Gingrich’s mid-90s shutdown look like an act of political genius by comparison. (It wasn’t and this would be way worse.)

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Tierney Sneed offers this reporter’s notebook (Prime access) on the innumerable ways Paul Manafort’s attorney has already gotten crosswise with the federal judge in the case.

As you may have picked up, the voter fraud bamboozlers have shifted their attentions from voter ID to voter roll purges. That’s where the hot voting rights action is right now (ahead of the big redistricting battles of 2020 and beyond). A lot of the voter roll purge fight is still under the radar, but that may change with the Supreme Court case being argued tomorrow. Here’s Tierney Sneed’s story on that. But I wanted to flag a bit of evidence offered in the case where voting rights advocates are challenging Ohio’s regimen for purging the voter rolls.

The scheme Ohio has in place now calls for a notice to be mailed to a voter if she hasn’t voted in two years. The voter is supposed to respond with confirmation of her mailing address. If she doesn’t, and then doesn’t vote for another four years, she’s struck from the voter rolls.

At issue in the case is whether it’s against federal law to make non-voting a trigger for a purge from the voter rolls. The case will likely be decided on arguments over statutory construction. But let’s look at the practical impact.

In the 2012 cycle, according to federal data presented in the briefs, just shy of 20 percent of the 1.5 million notices sent out in Ohio were responded to by the voters. (In the 2016 cycle, according to the federal data not included in the briefs, it was around 30 percent of the 2.2 million notices Ohio sent out.) The overwhelming percentage of voters who received the notices did not respond and are on track to be purged if they miss two more federal elections.

A number of other states have joined with Ohio in pushing for the Supreme Court to okay this so-called voter roll “maintenance.” So the potential impacts are significant. Tierney will be at the Supreme Court tomorrow reporting on this case.

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Super important story from Tierney Sneed on one particular aspect of this new push by the Justice Department to get the Census Bureau to include a citizenship question on its census form (first reported by TPM alum Justin Elliott, now at ProPublica).

The attack on voting rights has always been a very long game. That’s allowed it to fly more under the radar because the changes are often technical, weedy, and incremental. But the effects can be significant — dramatic even — and longstanding.

So as you read it, push through the technical legal aspects of Tierney’s story because the upshot is critical: A citizenship question on the census would potentially open the door to states drawing their districts based on the population of legal citizens rather than the population of, well, everyone. The effect this would have — diluting minority voting power and advantaging Republicans over Democrats at a structural level — is a serious long-term play for the maps to be drawn in the 2020s. That’s only a couple of years away, but in politics that can seem like forever.

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The extraordinary comments this morning from President Trump – even though they have become par for the course from him – remain extraordinary. He castigated the FBI and dismissed the Russia collusion investigation that the FBI is conducting as a “scam.” He made the remarks to reporters he was leaving the White House to … address the FBI at Quantico.

The key sections (transcript via White House):

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