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Obama, Dems Plan a Main Street Stimulus

October 12, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

While the Bush Administration tries to decide how to use their new Wall Street bailout powers, Democrats in Congress are working out the details of a $150 billion plan to provide jobs and help out people struggling on Main Street. Consulting with Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), the Democratic leadership has come up with the framework for a Main Street stimulus plan that will probably include an extension of unemployment insurance, more money for food stamps and additional funds for transportation infrastructure projects to create new jobs.

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Update on the Allegedly Corrupt

October 10, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

With the Senate and House adjourned, the only news coming form Congress these days seems to be from lawmakers dealing with their corruption charges. Senator Ted Stevens' (R-AK) trial, addressing allegation that he hid $250,000 in gifts and home renovations he received from an oil company executive, is currently well under way, while Rep. William Jefferson's (D-LA) bribery case is in preliminary stages and his trial is scheduled to begin on December 2nd.

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OC on TV

October 10, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Not the best teen drama since Degrassi Junior High, this is PPF's David Moore talking about OpenCongress, the other OC, on Brian Lehrer Live on CUNY-TV: We are really excited about the communities forming on OpenCongress and all the new ways users are finding to engage with and influence Congress. Big thanks to Brain Lehrer and his team for giving us the opportunity to talk about our work and the bottom-up political organizing happening on OpenCongress. ...

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Economy Legislation Dominates on OC

October 9, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

For those reading this with an RSS reader, didn't want you to miss how well OpenCongress's most-viewed bills data illustrates the issues on Americans' minds these days: H.R.3997 is the original version of the bailout bill that was rejected by the House last Monday....

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Govt. May Take Ownership Stakes in Banks

October 8, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

NYT: "Having tried without success to unlock frozen credit markets, the Treasury Department is considering taking ownership stakes in many United States banks to try to restore confidence in the financial system, according to government officials."

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"Martial law in America if we voted no"

October 8, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) made this statement on the House floor last Thursday, the night before the House reversed course and passed the bailout: >The only way they can pass this bill is by creating and sustaining a panic atmosphere. … Many of us were told in private conversations that if we voted against this bill on Monday that the sky would fall, the market would drop two or three thousand points the first day and a couple of thousand on the second day, and a few members were even told ...

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Comment Policy

October 8, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

You may have noticed that next to all comments left by users on OpenCongress, there is now a little red flag. By clicking on the flag, a comment will be marked as abusive and a site administrator will review it and possibly delete it. We love people commenting on bill pages, people pages and articles on OpenCongress. It's what the site's all about. We simply ask that your comments stay on topic, don't attack other users and are not offensive. More specifically, the types of comments we ...

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Last night during the presidential debate, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) proposed a new foreclosure prevention plan that is very similar to a plan that was approved by Congress and signed into law earlier this summer. Both plans call for the government to spend up to $300 billion in taxpayer money to buy up mortgages from homeowners facing foreclosure in order to give them new, FHA-backed loans with fixed rates that they can afford. But there is at least one major difference between the plans.

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OpenCongress on Twitter

October 7, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

So, OpenCongress has a Twitter feed, and I hope you'll follow it. I've been using it for a couple months now, but very infrequently. By announcing it here, I'm hoping that you all will subscribe and that I'll feel obliged to pick up the pace of my posts there. Really, I do think it's an amazing tool. ...

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How Will the Bailout Effect the Budget?

October 7, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Still, nobody knows for sure. But seasoned budget expert Stan Collender makes an educated guess today in his "Fiscal Fitness" column: >Because of TARP [the Troubled Assert Relief Plan, aka the bailout], my estimate is that the budget deficit could easily reach or exceed $1 trillion this year. This includes my estimate of a $600 billion
 deficit before TARP and an additional $400 billion afterwards. A deficit of
 that size would be between and 6 percent and 7 percent of gross domestic
 produc...

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Democrats Unveil New Climate Change Bill

October 7, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Here's an indicator of priorities: House Democrats today released their first piece of draft legislation (.pdf) for the next session of Congress, and it's a climate change bill. This summer, Congress failed to enact climate change legislation after the leading bill to address the issue was rejected by the Senate. Democrats are eager to increase their majorities in both the Senate and House next session so they can quickly pass a climate change bill and have it signed into law by the next President.

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Wall Street vs. Main Street

October 4, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Minutes after the House voted to allow the government to use $700 billion to bailout big financial firms on Wall St., they held a separate vote on extending unemployment insurance benefits for people struggling with the tough jobs market. A handful of lawmaker voted in favor of bailing out Wall St., but against extending benefits to the unemployed on Main Streets across America. Click through to see the list.

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Adjourned

October 3, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Just a quick note that both the Senate and the House have officially been gaveled to a close until after the November elections. The Senate is scheduled to come back for a lame duck session on November 17th to try once again at passing the Coburn Omnibus. Right after the House passed the bailout bill today, they voted overwhelmingly to pass the most-viewed bill on OpenCongress, H.R. 6867 - Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2008. Looking at the 5,000+ comments on that bill page, ...

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House Passes Bailout, Bill is Now Law

October 3, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

After failing on Monday, the House officially passed the bailout bill on Friday, 263-171. House Democrats voted 172 to 63 in favor of the plan. Republicans voted 91 to 108 against. It will now be sent to President Bush who is expected to sign it into law as soon as this afternoon. Click here to see how each member of the House voted.

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Mmmm...pork. It's irresistibly delicious - especially if you're a congressman with an influential constituent that's asking you for a tax break. The congressional leadership understands this, of course, and they're using it as a central part of their strategy to get an unpopular $700 billion bailout of the financial system passed through Congress.

Click through for more information on the extraneous pork provisions being added to the bailout and what members it is trying to persuade.

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