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As expected, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV]has filed for cloture on the financial reform bill, setting up the possibility of a Wednesday vote on ending the debate and forcing an up-or-down vote on passage.

For financial reform advocates, this is mixed news. On the one hand, the bill that Reid is filing cloture on is stronger than what anyone had really expected the Senate to produce. Blanche Lincoln's tough derivatives language is still mostly in tact, strengthening amendments regarding debit fees, ratings agencies and auditing the Fed have been adopted, and every attempt to weaken the bill so far has been beaten back. On the other hand, some of the most important strengthening amendments haven't been voted on yet and may not get voted on if cloture is approved on Wednesday.

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Getting Tough on Wall Street

April 12, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Politico reports that some Democrats are preparing a big push to strengthen financial reform legislation when it comes to the Senate floor in a couple weeks:

A group of Democrats, joined by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, are planning an aggressive spring offensive to strengthen key provisions of the financial reform bill - and daring Senate Republicans to vote against them.

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Native American Health Care Reform

April 8, 2010 - by Eric Naing

The passage of the Affordable Care Act (H.R.3590) was a very big deal to more than just Vice President Biden – it also represents the successful culmination of years of work on behalf of Native Americans and their allies in both parties. Peppered throughout the bill are numerous provisions that permanently reauthorize and extend a landmark health care law governing American Indians and Native Alaskans that expired in 2001.

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A bill to give the Food and Drug Administration more power to regulate the sale of vitamin supplements is sparking heated opposition from the multi-billion dollar dietary supplement industry and creating strange bedfellows.

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Fresh off a meeting with Senate Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] is rewriting the Senate jobs bill, excising many of the tax cuts previously included to draw Republican support. In recent days, the shape of the bill has sparked an intra-party fight among Senate Democrats. Originally crafted by Sen. Dick Durbin [D, IL] and Sen. Byron Dorgan [D, ND], the process was hijacked by the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Max Baucus [D, MT] and Sen. Chuck Grassley [R, IA], two leadi...

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A Closer Look At The Senate's Jobs Plan

January 27, 2010 - by Eric Naing

The omnipresent refrain in Washington for the past few months has been “jobs, jobs, jobs.” Possibly terrified of the wrath of the unemployed voter, Senate Democrats are now making progress in crafting a jobs bill.

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What's Next For Climate Change?

January 21, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Scott Brown's upset victory in Massachusetts has rocked health care reform but the other big-ticket item on the Democratic agenda, comprehensive climate change legislation, has also been dealt a body blow.

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Dorgan: No Climate Bill This Year

January 19, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The retiring Sen. Byron Dorgan [D, ND] says what most everybody's been suspecting given the political capital it tool for the Democrats to get even this far on health care reform. Reuters: U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan said on Tuesday he did not think the Senate would pass climate change legislation this year, but instead would focus on separate energy legislation that would require more electricity supplies to be generated from renewable sources and expand offshore drilling into the eastern Gulf ...

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The retirement plans of these two key players in the Senate won't just change things electorally for the Democrats; they will change the environment that the Democrats will be working in this year as they try to complete their legislative agenda.

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Dem Byron Dorgan to Retire from the Senate

January 5, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

In a statement published on his website this afternoon, Sen. Byron Dorgan [D, ND] announced that he will not be seeking re-election to a fourth term. His retirement makes the North Dakota Class III seat a likely pick-up for Republicans in the next Senate session.

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The Senate last night voted down an amendment that would have allowed American to buy FDA-approved prescription drugs from overseas, where prices are usually much lower. If it had passed and been added to the Senate health care bill, it has been estimated to save consumers $80 billion on drugs over the next ten years and the government $19 billion over the same period.

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