Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
–President Obama has directed HHS to establish a rule whereby any hospital receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds (basically all of them) cannot deny visitation rights to gay and lesbian partners, among others.
–Charlie Crist vetoed a teacher merit pay bill in Florida. Why is that a big deal? He bucked his party, jabbed Jeb Bush in the eye, and lost his longtime confidante and campaign chair Connie Mack. All of which, of course, fuels speculation of an independent bid.
–UCF poli sci prof Aubrey Jewett: “It really does, I think, sort of put the nail in the coffin for Crist being able to win the Republican primary.”
–There’s another option: dropping out and challenging Bill Nelson in two years.
–In other Florida Senate race news, Mark Blumenthal writes Kendrick Meek may be a sleeper.
–In the big picture, Stuart Rothenberg sees a bunch of House seats shifting toward the GOP.
–The DNC is planning a $50 million cash infusion for midterm efforts.
–Meg Whitman’s spending in California’s gubernatorial race is unreal. There’s direct mail, and then there’s 500,000 copies of a 48-page, full-color glossy Meg magazine.
–Marc Ambinder has a smart piece contrasting the tenures of new Republican governors Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell so far.
–McConnell is hunting for commitments from his caucus to block the financial reform bill. This doesn’t mean every Senator who signs on will be permanently opposed; it’s basically a gambit to stop the Dodd bill from going to the floor, forcing a redraft with more Republican sway. It probably won’t work. Democrats have the upper hand politically, and they have little patience for calls to slow down or renegotiate, especially after health care. One of the biggest differences between the financial reform fight and the health care debate is public opinion. Most Democrats and Republicans were convinced their stand on health care, whether it was for or against, would be a boon come November — the polls reflected a nation largely split on merits of the plan. Financial reform as an abstract concept is much more popular, and some Republicans are definitely worried any vote against a financial reg bill will be a liability down the road. That’s why McConnell is trying to throw up a hurdle now.
–Matthew Continetti worries about a backlash.
–Geithner gets the fun job of walking hesitant Senators through the bill.
–Justin Lutz catalogs some other (mostly pessimistic) thoughts on “too big to fail.”
—Reihan Salam makes the argument for a bill with less regulatory discretion and more immutable changes.
–The “sense of the Senate” is now officially that they don’t want a VAT. This has no bearing on actual law.
–The Kerry/Graham climate bill is set to be unveiled April 26. This also probably has no bearing on actual law.
What did I miss?