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Pressure From All Sides

February 10, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

With the economic stimulus package (H.R. 1) now cleared by both the House and the Senate, Democratic leaders are facing pressure from everyone who helped them get this far to change the bill before they bring it back for a final vote.

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Senate Passes Major Stimulus Hurdle

February 9, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate just voted to invoke cloture on the $829 billion Nelson-Collins substitute amendment to H.R. 1, the economic stimulus package. The final vote tally was 61-36. Sixty votes were required for the motion to pass. All Democrats voted in favor; only three Republicans joined the Democrats in voting to advance the bill.

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Senate Resumes Stimulus Debate

February 9, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

With five days to go before the President's Day recess, the Senate is running full steam ahead to pass the the stimulus package this week and begin the reconciliation process with the House. Late Friday night, a bipartisan compromise, led by Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Susan Collins (R-ME), was announced that would cut $83 billion from the spending portion of the stimulus. The bulk of the cuts would come from the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, which provides support for state and local education programs. The Nelson-Collins version of the bill, in the form of a substitute amendment, will face its first test, a procedural vote with a 60-vote threshold, this evening. If that is passed, the bill will be put to a final vote on Tuesday.

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Why Does it Take 60 Votes to Pass the Stimulus?

February 7, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Deal?

February 6, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

"Bipartisan negotiators appear to have reached a compromise on cutting as much as $140 billion from the Senate economic stimulus bill, but the plan needs to be vetted with rank-and-file Democrats before an official deal can be announced."

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Latest Cuts

February 6, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

MSNBC's First Read reports that the Nelson/Collins proposal for cutting approximately $100 billion from the stimulus package is complete. The proposal will be introduced as an amendment and voted on later tonight, though there might not be enough support for it to pass (more on how voting is shaping up here).

There has not been an official announcement of what will be in the amendment, but Greg Sargent at The Plum Line has obtained an internal Senate committee memo, circulated this morning, that is probably pretty close:

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Senate Stimulus Voting Trends

February 6, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Nate at 538 looks at voting unity on 13 amendments to the stimulus that the Senate has voted on this week. >So far, Senate Democrats have voted in accordance with what we believe to be the administration's position 97.4 percent of the time - or 98.1 percent of the time if the most common "Democratic" dissenter, Joe Lieberman, is excluded from the tally. > >By contrast, the Republicans have voted against the administration's position an average of 89.2 percent of the time. That's fairly unifi...

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CBO on Senate Stimulus

February 5, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

At the request of Commerce Secretary-designate Judd Gregg, the Congressional Budget Office has run a macroeconomic analysis to the Senate's version of the stimulus. The analysis is chock full of caveats - "the macroeconomic impacts of any economic stimulus program are very uncertain," "economic theories differ," etc. - but since the CBO is the official, non-partisan agency for scoring legislation, any report they issue is worth a gander. One of the key findings is that the short-term stimula...

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Centrist Coalition Recommends Stimulus Cuts

February 5, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

A bipartisan group of centrist senators, including Sen. Ben Nelson [D, NE], Sen. Susan Collins [R, ME], and others, is circulating a discussion document that suggests cutting $77.9 billion of spending from the stimulus package. The ad-hoc coalition, led by Sen. Nelson, has come together to "cut out spending that doesn't deal with the immediate economic troubles we face." Their cuts they suggest are focused mainly on education funding.

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Obama's Op-ed

February 5, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

With public approval at around 37 percent, President Obama took to the op-ed page of the Washington Post this morning to sell his stimulus proposal to the American people:

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Today's Money-in-Politics Headline

February 4, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

TARP Recipients Paid Out $114 Million for Politicking Last Year: >Beneficiaries of the $700 billion bailout package in the finance and automotive industries have spent a total of $114.2 million on lobbying in the past year and contributions toward the 2008 election, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics has found. The companies' political activities have, in part, yielded them $295.2 billion from the federal government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), an extraordinary return of...

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Rangel to be Cleared?

February 4, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

On C-Span last Sunday, Rep. Charles Rangel [D, NY-15] predicted that the Select Committee on Ethics would clear him of all the ethics violations that have been piling up on him for months. Bill Allison of the Real Time Investigations blog points out just how crazy that would be

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Waste

February 3, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Republican leaders in Congress have released a list of 32 wasteful items they have identified in the stimulus. Steve Benen at Washington Monthly does some math and finds that the items in the list come out to about $18.7 billion, or about 2 percent of the overall bill. Related: The New York Post has the scoop on what Hollywood's got coming to them in the bill: >A provision in the current "stimulus" bill would allow Hollywood moguls to write off half the production and filming costs of bi...

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Obama to Set Executive Pay Cap

February 3, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The New York Times reports that the Obama administration is about to announce new executive pay limits on TARP recipients. The Administration's plan seems to be stronger in some ways - and weaker in others - than what would have been mandated by Congress had they continued with their TARP reform legislation.

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Senate Stimulus Amendments

February 3, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate begins voting on amendments to the stimulus package today. CQ Politics seems to have the most info right now on what's coming to a vote. Just wanted to get this link up here for now... I'll update in a bit. UPDATE: Okay, this is very rough, but I've got a quick rundown of the Senate stimulus amendments that were introduced yesterday in printed in the Congressional Record. * Amdt 99 (Sen. Robert Casey [D, PA]) - Establishes a bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Economic...

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