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Congress: The earmark rift

"House Minority Leader John Boehner's speech Thursday about his longtime personal opposition to earmarks made it no clearer whether House Republicans would end the practice. But House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has interpreted the Ohioan's statement as an unequivocal call to end earmarks," Roll Call reports. "Meanwhile, the House Republicans' new governing agenda, known as 'A Pledge to America,' largely ignored the issue. There are deep divisions over what to do among the party's rank and file, the vast majority of whom have endorsed earmarking in the past."

"Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) is replacing Elizabeth Warren on the Congressional panel that oversees the Troubled Asset Relief Program, according to a statement issued by the Senator's office Thursday," Roll Call reports.

Ben Nelson (D-NE) endorsed the flat tax.

Keep it down! "Bills to turn down the volume on loud TV commercials that send couch potatoes diving for the remote controls looks destined to become law," the AP writes. "The Senate unanimously passed a bill late Wednesday to require television stations and cable companies to keep commercials at the same volume as the programs they interrupt."

"White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs blasted Sen. Mary Landrieu's hold on a presidential appointment as 'outrageous' on Thursday," Roll Call reports.