(CNN) - Call it the race that Washington ignored, until now.
National Democrats are celebrating the results of Tuesday's special election in Florida's 19th Congressional District, which Democratic State Sen. Ted Deutch won handily. According to unofficial results from the Florida Secretary of State's office, Deutch won 62 percent of the vote, with Republican candidate Ed Lynch grabbing 35 percent and the remaining three percent going to third-party candidates.
The special election was held to fill the seat of former nine-term Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler, who stepped down at the beginning of the year to lead a think tank focusing on issues facing the Middle East. The contest was the first federal election to be held since congressional passage of the Democrats health care plans. Lynch said he wanted to repeal the new law and made health care a big issue in his campaign, in a district with a high proportion of senior voters. Deutch supported the new legislation. There was some talk that Republicans were hoping to pull off an upset similar to Scott Brown's January victory in the Massachusetts special election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.
Both the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out emails Wednesday touting the political implications of their special election victory and what it means for the larger battle over health care.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - Senate Democrats are taking aim at carry-on baggage fees after Spirit Airlines became the first U.S. carrier to propose charging passengers to store luggage in overhead bins.
On Wednesday, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, introduced a bill that would amend the tax code to eliminate a loophole that he and four other Senators say allows airlines to avoid taxes on certain fees.
"This latest fee crosses the line and is a slap in the face to travelers," Schumer said in a statement. "Our legislation will rein in the airlines and keep air travelers from being gouged every time they board a plane."
That effort comes one day after two other Senators put forward a bill that would change how the Federal Aviation Administration regulates carry-on baggage fees.
Washington (CNN) - The White House search for a new Supreme Court justice is progressing smoothly, say government sources close to the selection process, who expect President Obama to make a decision by early May.
The three favorites for the seat continue to receive the most attention among the small group of officials in charge of narrowing a "short list" of about ten names. Solicitor General Elena Kagan, and federal appeals judges Diane Wood and Merrick Garland currently have the edge over others being considered, said those sources.
–Administration sources say Elizabeth Warren - the financial industry watchdog - has been quietly taken off the short list, but is still among a larger group of candidates being considered by the White House. She is now getting much less scrutiny than some of the favorites.
(CNN) - The Pig Book, an annual report detailing the excesses of pork spending, serves up its usual heavy-duty mockery of congressional fat. But this year the meat spit is smaller.
The number and costs of congressional pork projects dropped this year, the Citizens Against Government Waste said in its latest Pig Book issued on Wednesday.
The 9,129 projects in the report "represent a 10.2 percent decline from the 10,160 projects identified in fiscal year 2009, and the $16.5 billion in cost is a 15.5 percent decrease from the $19.6 billion in pork in fiscal year 2009," the group said.
Washington (CNN) - Congressional leaders from both parties met Wednesday with President Barack Obama to discuss proposals to reform the financial industry, but the talks failed to ease partisan divisions.
Obama welcomed the top officers of the House and Senate from both parties to the White House as the Senate prepares to consider its version of a bill intended to prevent another Wall Street collapse like the one that triggered the U.S. economic recession.
The House has passed its version of the financial regulatory reform bill, and the Senate is preparing to debate a Democratic proposal opposed so far by Republicans.
At the start of Wednesday's meeting, Obama said he wanted Congress to move quickly on passing a bipartisan financial regulatory reform package.
"We cannot have a circumstance in which a meltdown in the financial sector once again puts the economy in peril, Obama said, adding that an "unfettered market in which people are taking huge risks and expecting taxpayers to bail them out when things go sour is simply not acceptable."
Asked if the final legislation would bring a system of future bailouts of failing companies, similar to the government efforts to prop up financial corporations in 2008 and 2009, Obama said: "I am absolutely confident that the bill that emerges is going to be a bill that prevents bailouts. That's the
However, House and Senate leaders who attended the meeting showed no sign of compromise after it ended.
New York (CNNMoney.com) - President Obama's foreclosure prevention plan
has helped nearly 228,000 delinquent borrowers keep their homes, the administration said Wednesday.
That's up from a month ago, when roughly 168,000 people received long-term mortgage modifications.
Another 781,000 troubled homeowners were in trial modifications, through March, officials said. Of these, 108,000 have been approved for permanent modification by servicers and are awaiting borrowers' acceptance.
Washington (CNN) - Sarah Palin's political action committee spent more money than it raised in the first three months of 2010, but the group is planning a "far more aggressive" fundraising effort as the midterm races ramp up.
SarahPAC collected $400,000 in the first quarter of the year, said the PAC's Treasurer Tim Crawford, but spent $409,000 in that same period. The rapid spending rate was owed in part to a substantial national mail program launched on March 25, Crawford said. The results of the program, the PAC's first solicitation by mail, were not yet realized by the time the quarter ended.
The PAC also doled out $9,500 to candidates since January. The former Alaska governor entered April with $919,000 in the bank.
Washington (CNN) - Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday there would be no need to read Miranda rights to Osama bin Laden if the al Qaeda leader were captured.
Holder told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that enough evidence exists against bin Laden to convict him in a trial, so that advising him of his rights to protect the legal admissibility of subsequent interrogation was unnecessary.
(CNN) - On the same day a federal judge examined his lawsuit challenging President Obama's health care law, South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster launched a campaign ad touting his opposition to the bill.
McMaster is one of several state Attorneys General who filed the high-profile lawsuit in a Florida court shortly after the president signed the bill, claiming that the new legislation infriges on legal and budget matters traditionally left to the states.
But because a handful of the plaintiffs are also seeking higher office, including McMaster and Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, Democrats have accused the lawsuit of being politically motivated.
(CNN) - Venturing to a Democratic stronghold, Sarah Palin praised Tea Party activists in Boston, Massachusetts, on Wednesday for "shaking up" the U.S Senate last January by helping elect Republican Scott Brown.
"Boston, if anybody knows how to throw a tea party it is you," Palin told a raucous crowd of activists that sprawled across the Boston Common.
Brown, who won the seat long held by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, was notably absent from the event - a fact that generated snickering from some Tea Party opponents who question how much sway the grass-roots movement actually holds, especially in a Democratic state like Massachusetts.
But Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams told the crowd that he's happy the newly-elected senator is in Washington doing the job he was elected to do. Massachusetts is a "a blue-collar, working-stiff state ... we're reclaiming it for America," he added.
Listen: CNN Radio runs down the Tea Party event in Boston