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Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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Maine Gov. Paul LePage has made amends with the 17-year-old boy whose cartoonist father he said jokingly he would like to shoot.

LePage sent Nick Danby, son of a well-known Maine cartoonist George Danby, a personally-penned apology note addressing the comments, a governor spokesman confirmed to the Maine Sun Journal. LePage's office did not provide the governor's letter to Danby, but offered the Sun Journal a copy of the letter Danby wrote in response.

"Thank you for the warm and thoughtful note — I appreciate your concern and frankness," Danby wrote. "I wanted to respond by telling you that I was not offended — I thought they were quite humorous — nor was I the one who reported the incident — I think in many respects you were simply representing the feelings of many Mainers."

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A number of undocumented immigrants and their children have filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Texas for what they say is a policy designed to deny their U.S.-born children birth certificates.

"Defendants have acted with the intent to discriminate against the Texas-born children on the basis of their parents' immigrations status, depriving the children of their rights, benefits and privileges granted to all other citizen children," the complaint says. "Defendants have also acted with the intent of discriminating against undocumented parents on the basis of their immigration status, penalizing them and making their personal/family lives near untenable."

Lawyers from Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, the Texas Civil Rights Project, and the South Texas Civil Rights Project are representing the challengers in the lawsuit, which is being brought against Kirk Cole, the Texas Department of State Health Service's Vital Statistics Unit commissioner, and Geraldine Harris, the unit chief. The suit started with four mothers, according to the Texas Observer, but has now expanded to well over a dozen parents who say they were denied birth certificates for their U.S. born children.

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Yet again, abortion politics threaten the fate of a well-intentioned piece of legislation in Congress.

House GOP leadership cancelled a vote scheduled Tuesday on a bill to mint a commemorative coin for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, as conservatives raised concerns about the organization's ties to Planned Parenthood, National Journal reported. The coin would have raised money for the foundation's breast cancer research, and the legislation had bipartisan support, having initially been backed by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).

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The Republican-controlled Congress can still kill President Obama's Iran deal, but to do so, it faces an uphill battle.

Now that the historic deal, which would lift international sanctions in return for new limits on the Iranian nuclear program, has been announced, Congress has the ability to weigh in on it under the legislation signed by the president in May.

Under the process outlined by the legislation, Obama will report the details of the negotiation to Congress, upon which a 60-day clock will start ticking for Congress to act. It can vote to approve the deal, vote to disapprove it, or simply do nothing. If it votes against the deal, it would have the legal effect of maintaing U.S. sanctions on Iran, which would effectively kill the deal.

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Republican Maine Gov. Paul LePage's efforts to stop a batch of bills he intended to veto from becoming law were dealt another blow late last week when Maine Attorney General Janet Mills (D) released a letter siding with Democratic lawmakers who say the governor missed his deadline to veto the legislation.

Under the Democrats' and Mills' reading of the Maine constitution, since LePage did not return the 19 bills passed last month in the 10-day period he had to veto them, they have already become law. Since the Bangor Daily News reported on the lapse last week, LePage has dug in and insisted he could return the bills when the legislature reconvenes this week.

Another 51 bills are set to become law, the Portland Press Herald reported, as LePage refused to act on them by the 10-day deadline that expired Saturday at midnight.

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A class action on behalf of gay and lesbian Wal-Mart workers nationwide was filed against the retailer Tuesday, accusing Wal-Mart of denying same-sex couples spousal health benefits under its policies prior to 2014.

The suit is being led by Jaqueline Cote, who according to the complaint has worked for Wal-Marts in Maine and Massachusetts since 1999. She said in the suit that she was unable to put her spouse, Diana “Dee” Smithson, who eventually developed cancer, on her Wal-Mart plan because company policy discriminated against same-sex couples.

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The timing of last week’s unexpected fight in Congress over the Confederate flag could not have been much worse for congressional Republicans. If GOP leaders don’t get a handle on the issue soon, the debate could undermine their position on their major agenda issues, particularly in the high stakes budget battle expected this fall.

Their plan was to strengthen their position in the budget standoff by passing a series of conservative spending bills to show that they could govern and to put negotiating pressure on Obama and Democrats in the budget process. But with the standoff over the Confederate flag, none of the spending bills are going anywhere immediately. That has created a roadblock with no clear way around it for Republicans, all due to the party's reluctance to abandon the flag entirely.

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Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) put some daylight between himself and other 2016 contenders who are calling for a constitutional amendment to scale back the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decision. Unlike Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) -- who are calling for a constitutional amendment that would allow states to decide whether they would like to ban gay marriage -- Santorum is calling for an amendment that would prohibit gay marriage nationwide.

"I believe we need a national standard for marriage. I don't think we can have a standard from one state to another on what marriage is," Santorum told reporters at a breakfast event Monday in Washington hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

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After days of attempting to stay mum on Wisconsin Republicans' failed effort to dismantle the state's government transparency laws, Gov. Scott Walker (R) weighed in on the controversy Friday morning, calling it "a huge mistake."

In a radio interview with Charlie Sykes, the soon-to-be GOP presidential candidate played down his office's role in crafting a budget provision that would have put new limits on what government documents would be covered by open records law.

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Not only did GOP House leadership create possibly days' worth of controversy by trying to sneak some language protecting the display of the Confederate flag into a larger spending bill. They did it while keeping most of their rank-and-file in the dark about it, including the Republican lawmakers tasked with pulling together the appropriations bill, which was pulled from the floor Thursday due to the Confederate flag fracas.

A report by CQ Roll Call details which Republican lawmakers knew what when Wednesday night, as Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) introduced the disastrous amendment that would have reversed previously approved measures banning the display of the Confederate flag on certain federal lands. The failed gambit appeared to be a last-minute attempt by leadership to save the Interior appropriations bill -- the first major spending bill Republican lawmakers were hoping to pass this session -- which was facing opposition from the caucus' right flank over the Confederate flag prohibitions, as well as for going too soft, in their view, on the EPA.

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