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Chump Change

January 27, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Craig Jennings at OMB Watch visualizes the deficit reduction we can expect to see from the plan to freeze all non-defense discretionary spending that President Obama will announce tonight: Beyond the fact that the freeze is just a small gesture in the face of a giant, systemic problem, Jennings adds this warning: And that Obama is merely putting a cap -- and not an across-the-board freeze -- on domestic discretionary spending is especially troubling, because when congressional appropria...

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A Closer Look At The Senate's Jobs Plan

January 27, 2010 - by Eric Naing

The omnipresent refrain in Washington for the past few months has been “jobs, jobs, jobs.” Possibly terrified of the wrath of the unemployed voter, Senate Democrats are now making progress in crafting a jobs bill.

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DeMint's Faux Fed Transparency Bill

January 26, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Sen. Jim DeMint [R, SC] is one of the 31 co-sponsors of Sen. Bernie Sanders' [I, VT] popular "audit the Fed" bill (S. 604). But he has also introduced his own version of the bill that would maintain the Fed's current level of secrecy under the guise of the "audit the Fed" ethos (S. 2939).

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Congress Links

January 26, 2010 - by Eric Naing

As Scott Brown-mania fades on Capitol Hill, Congress is trying to get back to work. Health care seems to be in a holding pattern and the attention of Congress has turned to financial matters. However, President Obama's State of the Union address tomorrow could shake a few things up. Until then, here's are some interesting articles and blog posts to tide you over: The president is expected to announce a three-year spending freeze on discretionary, non-security spending in his State of the Union...

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Unemployment insurance benefits, which have been a perennial hot issue with OpenCongress users, will not be extended under the jobs bill that Senate Democrats are writing.

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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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Campaigning Under The Fair Elections Now Act

January 25, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Of the options being considered in the wake of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, one has taken shape in Congress: the Fair Elections Now Act - a measure allowing public financing of House and Senate campaigns.

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Keep Reading the Fine Print

January 25, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The credit card reform bill Congress passed in May is set to take effect on February 22nd. While it contains some good consumer protections, it doesn't mean that after Feb. 22 you can just stop paying attention to what your credit card company is doing with your account. The bill has a lot of loopholes; read this WalletPop post for a good rundown of the kinds of abusive fees and other funny business you should still be looking out for even after the bill goes into effect. I'll add my own w...

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This piece from The Hill isn't really shocking. We all know that when Congress takes up legislation that affects a certain industry, that industry increases their donations to members of Congress, particularly those who wield a lot of influence over the legislation they are concerned with. The article explains, for example, that "the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), which represents for-profit electric utilities, spent around $10.5 million in 2009 to lobby Congress," the year they began seri...

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Congress Reacts To The Citizens United Case

January 25, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Last week's Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case allowing direct corporate spending on elections could drastically change how elections in this country play out. Now Democrats in Congress are brainstorming ways to react to the decision.

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The Week Ahead in Congress

January 24, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Still no path forward for health care reform. House Democrats have a light legislative schedule this week, and they will hear Obama's State of the Union address on Wednesday. The Senate's going to be voting on a slate of controversial deficit amendments and on confirming Fed Chief Ben Bernanke to another term.

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The Week In Review

January 22, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Despite being one day shorter than usual, this week felt like non-stop parade of big news – almost all of it bad for the Democrats. Click through for a point-by-point rundown of what's happened over the past week and how it effects the biggest issues in Congress going forward.

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Who Still Supports TARP?

January 22, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate yesterday gave the TARP a check-up. More than a year after its creation, they took a vote on an amendment from Sen. John Thune [R, SD] to prohibit the Treasury Department from giving out any more TARP money and require all funds that are paid back by the banks to be used for lowering the national debt. Click through to see how they voted.

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Congress Links -- SCOTUS And More Edition

January 21, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Today was a busy day in the Washington, D.C. with subjects such as health care to the Supreme Court grabbing headlines. Here's a look at some worthwhile articles and blog posts you might have missed: As Donny Shaw pointed out earlier, House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8] says she does not have enough votes in the House to pass the Senate health care bill. It wouldn't be surprising to see conservative and moderate House Democrats abandon the bill, but liberals too? Speaking for a dozen Ho...

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Fair Elections Now

January 21, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The campaign finance reform group Public Campaign is pushing the Fair Elections Now Act as the legislative solution to today's Supreme Court ruling to let corporations and other special interests spend as much money as they want on political ads: The public has lost confidence in Congress's ability to pass laws in the public interest and this decision could make an untenable situation worse. Congress should respond forcefully by passing the Fair Elections Now Act (S. 752, H.R. 1826), which exp...

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