The Note: Searching For Light

"The administration's proposal to close Medicaid 'loopholes' pressures governors to accept bigger changes in financing rules. Governors also like proposals that would let them reconfigure benefits without federal permission. That would be allowed for some Medicaid recipients under the administration's proposal, said Mark McClellan, administrator of the agency that runs Medicaid. But the elderly and disabled still should get a 'comprehensive' benefits package, he said. 'We can get more coverage and more assistance for the dollars we're spending and also relieve the burden on the states . . . This is not about saving money.'"

More, from the New York Times:

LINK

LINK

(Ouchie headline: "Subject to Bush's Knife: Aid for Food and Heating.") LINK

LINK (Vets)

LINK ($2 billion for the Pataki-sponsored railway to Kennedy).

The Congress:

Didn't Bob Novak tell us that the GOP had already decided to use the nuclear option?

The Washington Times suggests that Sen. Specter is having doubts. LINK

Stephen Labaton on the beginning of debate of the class action reform legislation in the Senate and six amendments, several of them contentious. LINK

AP's Lara Jakes Jordan reads Judge Chertoff's opinions on immigration -- less hard-line than some would have guessed -- for a sense of how he might run it from his post at the Department of Homeland Security. LINK

The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne accuses Republicans of playing the race card on Alberto Gonzales, painting a vote against him by Democrats as about race, rather than about his work in the White House counsel's office. LINK

Social Security:

The Boston Globe's Peter Canellos writes that Democrats can learn a lot from the criticisms of President Bush's Social Security plan by social conservatives including Dobson, Wildmon, Falwell, and Bauer, who ask whether the President is turning away from the voters who elected him on the same-sex marriage issue. LINK

Paul Krugman predicts no compromise. LINK

David Brooks predicts that personal accounts will be hard to pass and offers his own idea about how to make retirement security a bipartisan issue. LINK

DNC chair's race:

The Fat Lady has sung. A sampling of news and opinion articles: LINK

LINK

LINK

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Roll Call's John Bresnahan and Erin Billings write that one of Howard Dean's priorities is to repair his relationship with the Hill -- particularly Senate Minority Leader Reid and House Minority Leader Pelosi, both of whom will address the DNC on Friday.

"In a series of phone calls with Reid and Pelosi last week, Dean has promised to help rebuild a Democratic Party that was beaten soundly at the polls in November, losing not only the battle for the White House but also ceding four seats in the Senate and another two seats in the House."

"Dean has also promised party leaders that he won't meddle in efforts to set Democratic policy. Instead, he has said he will focus on raising money and building the party infrastructure, hoping to boost the party's prospects in campaigns beginning this fall with gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia."

Roll Call's Chris Cillizza looks at the consultants who are approaching a Dean-headed Democratic Party with trepidation. We can only speak for ourselves, but we love it when Jim Jordan compares political professionals to livestock.

2005:

The New York Times' editorial board applauds Mayor B on gay marriage. LINK

2008:

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