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It's Not Not an Option

July 16, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

This editorial from Business Investor's Daily, which I noticed this morning but basically dismissed, is actually beginning to have some impact in the blogs. It's the top item on Memeorandum right now, for example. The editorial reads, in part: It's Not An Option It didn't take long to run into an "uh-oh" moment when reading the House's "health care for all Americans" bill. Right there on Page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal. When we first saw the par...

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Although a majority of the House of Representatives supports auditing the Fed, Sen. Jim DeMint [R, SC] is one of only a handful of Senators supporting an audit in the upper chamber. Yesterday, he made his first attempt at getting legislation for an audit through the Senate.

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Time to Pass Some Bills

June 24, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

In the past few days Democratic leaders in Congress and the White House seem to be taking a new approach to the two biggest issues in Congress - just get a bill passed.

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The American Clean Energy and Security Act appeared to be stalling out last week over concerns from conservative farm-state Democrats. But House leaders are pushing forward with their original schedule and are confident they can strike a deal in time to have the bill ready for the House floor by Friday.

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Fed Transparency Will Get Hearings

June 22, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

I've been tracking Rep. Ron Paul's [R, TX-14] bill to allow the GAO to audit the Federal Reserve as its support in Congress has grown from 11 co-sponsors to 237, more than a half of all the members of the House. As I reported a couple weeks ago, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank [D, MA-4] now seems to be tentatively supporting the bill. Jane Hamsher spoke to Frank and got little more information: I asked him if he supported the bill. "Not in every exact detail," he...

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How to Hide the Torture Photos

June 18, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Lieberman-Graham amendment to block FOIA disclosure of detainee torture may have been dropped from the supplemental, but that didn't stopped the Senate from making quick work of passing it again, unanimously, as a stand-alone bill (S. 1285).

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More on the Ensign scandal

June 17, 2009 - by Avelino Maestas

As you likely know, Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) admitted yesterday to an extramarital affair, and has since resigned from his leadership position with the Senate Republican Conference. On its face, the scandal is bad enough for the Ensign: he admitted to an affair with the wife of one of his staffers. As Donny wrote earlier, Ensign's chances of advancing within the Republican Party appear to be slim. But there's more to the story than the affair. Several reports surfaced today regarding the sala...

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As you no doubt have heard by now, Sen. John Ensign [R, NV] yesterday fessed up to having had an extramarital affair last year with one of his campaign staffers, who also happens to be the wife of one of his Senate staffers.. Today he relinquished his leadership position as chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee.

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Troop-Support Calculus

June 16, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

By some bizarre turn of events, House Republicans are expected today to vote almost unanimously against a bill to fund the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their opposition to the bill, coupled with the House progressives' opposition to funding the wars in general, has thrown passage of the bill, and funding for U.S. troops overseas, in doubt.

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The $96.7 billion bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been stalled in Congress over objections that it would boost funding for the International Monetary Fund and block the release of detainee photos, not to mention objections to continuing to fund the wars.

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Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is best known in Congress for two things: voting "no" on seemingly non-controversial legislation and proposing controversial legislation that excites his libertarian base but stands zero chance of becoming law. This session, however, Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009, is gaining enormous momentum and may see a committee hearing soon.

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Inspector General Capture

June 8, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Later this year, Congress will take a stab at reforming the financial regulatory system that pretty much failed to address any of the sketchy, unsustainable and fraudulent activities in banking that led to our current financial crisis. The House making an initial, small move this week to improve oversight at the regulatory agencies by helping their inspector generals remain objective and independent.

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Earlier this week I wrote about a special provision that the Senate had stuck inside the Iraq/Afghanistan war funding supplemental to block, at the discretion of the Pentagon, the public release of photographs of detainee torture. Now liberal House Democrats are threatening to block the bill - and funding for the wars - unless the photo suppression provision is taken out.

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I highlighted this in yesterday's link roundup, but I think it deserves a bigger mention here. Salon's Glenn Greenwald found buried in the Iraq/Afghanistan supplemental funding bill a provision to override FOIA laws, retroactively, and block the public release of all torture photos. Here's an excerpt from his post, which was also posted to Boing Boing today: The White House is actively supporting a new bill jointly sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman - called The The Detainee P...

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Democrats Stick Up for Pelosi

May 21, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

When's the last time the Democrats voted unanimously on anything? A unanimous bloc of House Democrats voiced their support today for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, rejecting a Republican resolution calling for an investigation into the California Democrat's assertion the CIA misled her about the nature of terrorist interrogations in 2002. By a vote of 252 to 172, the House rejected the resolution. All 250 Democrats who cast votes supported Pelosi, joined by two Republicans, Reps. Walter Jon...

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