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The Inside Story of How the Climate Bill Died

October 3, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

By historical standards, the 111th Congress has been incredibly prolific. But on the most important issue facing humanity right now, they never even got so far as introducing a viable bill in the all-important upper chamber.

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Renewable Energy Legislation Comes Back to Life

September 24, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

When the Senate abandoned their climate bill earlier this year, the renewable energy standard (RES), which was the other big provision in it besides cap-and-trade, seemed to die with it. The provision would have required utilities to produce more of their power from clean sources like wind and solar, but It wasn't brought back in the scaled-down energy package that Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] put together from remnants of the dead climate bill. "The numbers that we have indicate that those votes are not there," Reid said in July regarding a RES.

Now, a, bipartisan pair of senators is out to prove Reid wrong. On Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Bingaman [D, NM] and Sen. Sam Brownback [R, KS] introduced a stand-alone RES bill that would mandate 15% of power to be generated by renewables -- not 20% like the climate bill -- and they're now up to 25 co-sponsors. Significantly, four of the co-sponsors are Republicans, which is a big deal considering the lack of aisle-crossing in the Senate the past few months.

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The Senate has been done with the financial reform bill since last Thursday, but supporters of exempting car dealers that facilitate loans from oversight by the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau got one more chance today to promote their position, and they won big.

Sen. Sam Brownback [R, KS] is the main supporter of the exemption. He argues that, the way it's done now, dealer financing is fair and sound, and that regulating it would decrease financing access for consumers. Consumer protection groups, on the other hand, argue that auto loans -- the most common type of large loan held by Americans -- are often scammy and abusive.

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