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The Republicans' claims that the $50 billion "orderly liquidation fund" in the Restoring American Financial Security Act would "guarantee bailouts" have been pretty thoroughly debunked at this point, but I'm reading through the comments on the OpenCongress bill page and there still seems to be some confusion. For example, the highest rated comment right now is an attempt to fight back against the Republican bailout claim, but it still gets it a little wrong. "My understanding is there is a fund, funded by the banks themselves to bailout the large banks. So it doesn't impact taxes and it just means they have to bail themselves out not the government," the commenter writes.

That's not quite right. There is a fund in the bill (the "orderly liquidation fund") that would be funded by the big banks in order to keep taxpayers from being on the hook if they fail, but the fund would be used to put failing banks to death, not to bail them out. With bailouts, banks get rescued by the government and survive. Under this bill, failing banks would be executed by the government. The orderly liquidation fund would provide the working capitol the F.D.I.C. would need to carry out the complicated process of winding down big, failing banks.

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Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] filed for cloture on the financial reform bill today, meaning that the Senate can move forward with a vote to begin debating on Monday. Under Senate rules, if there is an objection to a unanimous consent request to bring up a bill for floor debate, as is the case with the financial reform bill, at least 16 senators must sign and file a cloture petition on the motion to proceed to the bill. After 30 hours, the Senate can vote on whether or not to invoke cloture. The cloture vote is set for Monday, April 26 at 5:00 p.m. ET and will require a supermajority of 60 votes to pass.

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Financial Reform Roundup

April 16, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The big Wall Street reform bill (S.3217) could hit the Senate floor as soon as next week. The legislative pieces are falling into place, the White House is staking out its position and the Republicans are firming up commitments of opposition from their more moderate members. Here's a roundup of the latest financial reform news out of the Senate.

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Dodd Fights the Financial Reform Smears

April 14, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The Democrats really do seem to have a new fire behind them as they are starting to take up financial reform. Yesterday, we heard that Sen. Blanche Lincoln [D, AR] of all people would be leading the Democrats on a tough derivatives reform bill. Today, Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Chris Dodd [D, CT] took to the Senate floor and unhesitatingly fought back at Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell's [R, KY] false claims that the financial reform bill would lead to endless bank bailouts. Here's the video:

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Getting Serious About Ending Bailouts

April 13, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell [R, KY] went before the Senate this morning and repeated a line from Frank Luntz's financial reform talking points memo that the Democrats' financial reform bill would lead to endless taxpayer bailouts of the big financial firms. Ezra Klein does a good, realistic debunking:

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Roll Call cites “senior GOP sources” as saying the Senate parliamentarian has indicated that President Obama will have to sign the Senate health care bill (H.R.3590) into law before the Senate can act on a reconciliation fix amending the bill.

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The Senate Confirms 27 Obama Nominees

February 12, 2010 - by Eric Naing

In an surprise turn of events, the GOP last night allowed the Senate to confirm 27 high-level Obama nominees. The relative flood of confirmations seems to be the product of a Tuesday meeting between President Obama and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell [R, KY] in which Obama threatened to use recess appointments to fill open government positions if Senate Republicans continued to block his nominees. Republicans have been blocking Obama's nominees at a historic pace. Sen. Richard Shel...

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Democrats Preview Citizens United Bill

February 12, 2010 - by Eric Naing

While others have proposed unrealistic constitutional amendments to counter the Citizens United decision, two top Democrats have finally unveiled the party's official response limiting the influence of corporate money in campaigns.

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Snowfall Now A Factor In Climate Change Debate

February 10, 2010 - by Eric Naing

For the past week, the primary topic of conversation in Washington, D.C. has been the record snowfall that continues to bury the city. Now some Republican lawmakers are citing the blizzard as a reason to kill comprehensive climate change legislation. Yesterday, Sen. Jim DeMint [R, SC] tweeted, “It's going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries ‘uncle.’” When asked about the prospects of cap-and-trade legislation limiting carbon emissions, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell [R, KY] ...

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Senate Rejects Deficit Reduction Commission

January 26, 2010 - by Eric Naing

On a bipartisan vote of 53-46, the Senate today rejected an amendment creating a bipartisan deficit reduction commission first proposed by Sen. Kent Conrad [D, ND] and Sen. Judd Gregg [R, NH].

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