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So This is What it Takes to Get Congress To Act

September 7, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

The patent-system-reforming "America Invents Act" looks set to sail through the Senate and be signed into law in a matter of days. Last night, the Senate voted 93-5to move it forward towards a final vote on passage, with members on both sides of the aisle hailing it as a bipartisan jobs measure. Sen. Jon Kyl [R, AZ], for example, said on the Senate floor yesterday that the bill would create "a powerful incentive for manufacturers to build factories and create jobs in this country," and Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] said it would "unlock the job-creating potential of each patent."

Say what? Since when do Democrats and Republicans in the 112th Congress agree on a jobs bill? They've already failed to move forward with several jobs measures this year by getting caught up on unrelated, partisan issues, so what's so special about the patent bill that everyone's suddenly playing nice? I don't really know the answer to that for sure, but what I do know is that the other jobs bills that died this year did not have any corporate backing. But this one, on the other hand…

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TPM reports on an emerging strategy for corporations that want to use the recent Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court ruling to funnel unlimited amounts of cash to congressional candidates without having to reveal their identity and expose themselves to public backlash. But there is already a bill in Congress to thwart the strategy.

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Of the five Committees in Congress with jurisdiction over health care reform legislation right now, only one, the Senate Finance Committee, is proposing the scrap the Obama-supported "public option" entirely. That committee is chaired by Sen. Max Baucus [D, MT], the man at the center of this piece from Dan Eggen on the health industry's effort to quash reform through campaign contributions:

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