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House Fails to Override Children's Health Veto

October 18, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The House of Representatives today fell 13 votes short of the two-thirds majority they needed to override President Bush's veto of Congress's SCHIP reauthorization bill. The bill would have increased funding for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by $35 billion over five years, enough to expand coverage to nearly 4 million more uninsured children.

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Senate Debates Broad Domestic Program Funding

October 17, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The Labor-HHS-Education bill is the biggest of the appropriations bills President Bush has threatened to veto. It contains nearly half of the total difference between the President's and Congress's 2008 spending levels for the entire government. It also contains funding for a lot of politically sensitive domestic programs like special education for children with disabilities, cancer research and low-income heating aid. Therefore, for both fiscal and policy reasons, this bill exemplifies the many of the chief differences between Bush and the Democrat-led Congress the budget debate.

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Towards a Fair Global Warming Bill

October 16, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

of the most compelling reasons to combat global warming is that the poorest nations in the world will bear the brunt of its effects. But as Congress prepares to consider legislation to slow the warming trend by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a correlative problem is arising: the most effective policies will raise energy prices and could disproportionately affect the poorest Americans.

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Who Makes the Laws Anyways?

October 15, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

In the worst cases, some Congressmen will obliterate the Constitution to secure political favors for people who raise money for their campaigns. One of the most glaring examples of this is a recently discovered $10 million earmark that Rep. Don Young (R-AK) secured in 2005 for a campaign benefactor by rewriting a bill after it had been passed by Congress, but before it was signed by the President. Young, using his position in Congress, undermined the lawmaking process by sending a provision to the President that hadn't been approved by the House or Senate. Article I of the Constitution gives the power to make laws and appropriate funds to Congress, not to individual Congressmen.

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Questioning the Armenian Genocide Resolution

October 15, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Congress's Democratic leadership is determined to hold a vote on H.Res.106, a non-binding resolution that would put the House of Representatives on the record as recognizing the massacre of Armenians that took place in the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923 as "genocide." According to the Associated Press, Turkey's top general has warned that ties with the United States will be irreversibly damaged if Congress passes the resolution." Indeed, after the resolution was simply passed favorably out of the House Foreign Relations Committee last week, the ties began being severed. Turkey immediately withdrew its ambassador from Washington.

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The Immunity Card

October 14, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Last week, the President laid out his bottom line for signing the FISA fix bill that Congress is bringing to the House floor on Wednesday. Speaking to reporters on the White House's South Lawn Bush said, the bill "must grant liability protection to companies who are facing multi-billion-dollar lawsuits only because they are believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend our nation following the 9/11 attacks."

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Strategizing Global Warming

October 12, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

When Barbara Boxer (D-CA) took over as chair of the Senate's chief environmental panel in January, it was a sea change for Congress's relationship to global warming. The previous chair of the Senate Environmental Public Works Committee, James Inhofe (R-OK) is on record calling global warming, "the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people." Not surprisingly, he kept the committee from acting on legislation to cut greenhouse gases.

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Dems Go it Alone on Comprehensive Energy Reform

October 11, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

After many months of stalled negotiations, Congress's chief energy reform proposal may soon lurch forward another step towards becoming law. The bill has been a slow mover. The House approved it first in January, and six months later, the Senate passed a much-amended version. Now, four months after the Senate finished working on it, the bill is about to be the subject of informal meetings designed to iron out the differences between the two versions to produce a single compromised version to be voted on one more time by the separate chambers.

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“A careful balance between security and freedom”

October 10, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

That's what some Democrats -- Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, in particular -- are calling new legislation introduced today by House Democrats to rein in the administrations ability to intercept communications involving Americans without first seeking a warrant. The bill would update the FISA law and undo some of the powers to wiretap Americans without a warrant that Congress handed to the administration when it passed the Protect America Act in August.

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Wiki the Vote!

October 9, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The folks at Congresspedia.org, a wiki-based citizens’ encyclopedia for all things congressional, have just launched a new section of their site dedicated to the upcoming elections. The "Wiki the Vote" project lets everyone participate in creating profiles on each and every candidate for Congress in 2008.

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SCHIP: A Repository of Conflicting Facts

October 5, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Confused by all the conflicting accounts of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program bill that President Bush vetoed this week? Don't worry, you're not alone. Because this bill has become prime political battleground, pitting Republicans against Democrats in a virtualization of the healthcare debate that is shaping up to take center stage in the 2008 elections, its particular facts -- what it actually proposes and what its effects would be -- have been sacrificed.

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Better Websites for Inspector Generals

October 4, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Yesterday, I was feeling a bit Improving Government Accountability Act. But I didn't notice this transparency amendment from Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), which was also added to the bill by unanimous consent. It would require Inspector Generals to make their work publicly accessible online.

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Subprime Phantom Slayer

October 4, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Homeowners across the country are defaulting on their mortgages and lenders are foreclosing on homes at astounding rates. In some cases, lenders are offering to to accept less than the amount of debt that is owed to them based on the original agreement; otherwise, their thinking goes, they may never see any of it. But the government hasn't been so quick to forgive.

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SCHIP Vetoed

October 3, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Since I have been covering the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, for months, I would be remiss not to mention that Congress's proposal was officially vetoed by President Bush this morning.

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Freeing the Watchmen

October 2, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Through legislation and investigation, the 110th Congress has worked hard on removing political influence from the offices of U.S. Attorneys. Today they are turning their depoliticizing effort to the offices of Inspector Generals.

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