The Briefing: Earmarks, Hastert Rule, Obama’s Gun Control Plan, Michele Bachmann

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Businessweek: Earmarks: The Reluctant Case for Ending the Ban

Political hacks used to say pork was the political grease that lubricated legislative deals. Only now do we see how true that was. Would it really be so terrible to reintroduce some congressionally sanctioned bribery? That would let members lay claim to the odd million in the interest of striking a deal worth much more.

Chicago Tribune: Obama’s sweeping gun control agenda: Assault weapons ban, mandatory background checks

He also announced 23 steps he intends to take immediately without congressional approval. These include improving the existing system for background checks, lifting the ban on federal research on gun violence, putting more counselors and “resource officers” in schools and better access to mental health services.

Talking Points Memo: Teachers Union Explains Why It Supports Obama’s Guns In Schools Plan But Not NRA’s

“The NRA proposed arming educators and volunteer security guards and private security personnel. The school resource officer program is an actual program that was funded a number of years ago by Joe Biden’s bill to put law enforcement — actual police offers — in schools after they’ve received adequate training.”

Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Ex-Bachmann aide alleges campaign finance violations

The filing follows…allegations last week that the Bachmann campaign has withheld payments to staffers who refused to sign confidentiality agreements.

Waldron, formerly Bachmann’s national field coordinator, is accusing the campaign of improperly dipping into money from MichelePAC to pay longtime fundraising consultant Guy Short for presidential campaign work he performed in the critical final weeks ahead of Iowa’s caucuses last year.

The Cloakroom: Did Democrats finally find a way to bypass House Republicans?

For the second time in two weeks, the House passed legislation by violating the so-called “Hastert rule,” which states that any bill brought to a vote on the House floor must be supported by a majority of the majority party…

…the House passed a bill to aid Hurricane Sandy relief efforts by a 241 to 180 vote. But as First Read notes, “the real story is the vote breakdown: Only 49 Republicans voted for the measure — so just 20 percent of the caucus — while a whopping 179 Republicans voted against the measure.

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