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The Senate Confirms 27 Obama Nominees

February 12, 2010 - by Eric Naing

In an surprise turn of events, the GOP last night allowed the Senate to confirm 27 high-level Obama nominees. The relative flood of confirmations seems to be the product of a Tuesday meeting between President Obama and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell [R, KY] in which Obama threatened to use recess appointments to fill open government positions if Senate Republicans continued to block his nominees. Republicans have been blocking Obama's nominees at a historic pace. Sen. Richard Shel...

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Democrats Preview Citizens United Bill

February 12, 2010 - by Eric Naing

While others have proposed unrealistic constitutional amendments to counter the Citizens United decision, two top Democrats have finally unveiled the party's official response limiting the influence of corporate money in campaigns.

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Health Care and Reconciliation

February 11, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8] has been busy firming up the groundwork for finishing health care reform through the budget reconciliation process. "This is what the Republicans did to pass their bills, their tax cuts for the rich,” she said recently. But is budget reconciliation actually meant for this kind of thing?

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Skiing to Congress

February 11, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

That's Rep. Earl Blumenauer [D, OR-3], whose normally known as a bicycling evangelist, x-country skiing home from the Hill during the second big snow storm that hit D.C. this week. He blogged about his ski-commute on The Hill's members-only "Congress Blog": A city that was designed for travel by foot and horses loses some of its charm with modern traffic congestion. A deep snowfall is the perfect antidote, as it adds beauty, muffles sounds and discourages automobiles. The broad streets and...

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Fresh off a meeting with Senate Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] is rewriting the Senate jobs bill, excising many of the tax cuts previously included to draw Republican support. In recent days, the shape of the bill has sparked an intra-party fight among Senate Democrats. Originally crafted by Sen. Dick Durbin [D, IL] and Sen. Byron Dorgan [D, ND], the process was hijacked by the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Max Baucus [D, MT] and Sen. Chuck Grassley [R, IA], two leadi...

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Bills Aim To Undo Bush Coal Mining Ruling

February 11, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Complementary bills in the House and Senate seek to re-redefine what kind of “fill material” can legally be dumped in lakes and rivers.

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Sen. Ben Nelson [D, NE] is the latest in a growing chorus line of conservative and moderate Democrats opposing President Obama’s plan to try 9/11 suspects in New York. As I mentioned before, Sen. Lindsey Graham [R, SC] has sponsored a bill (S.2977) banning government dollars from going toward any civilian trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other alleged 9/11 conspirators. A handful of Democrats including Sen. Jim Webb [D, VA], Sen. Blanche Lincoln [D, AR] and now Sen. Nelson are co-spon...

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Dems See Stimulus Replay In Senate Jobs Bill

February 11, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] is meeting with fellow Democratic senators today to hammer out an agreement over an $85 billion jobs bill.

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Join us on Facebook

February 10, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

If you're not a fan of OpenCongress yet on Facebook, please become one today. It's the best and easiest way to stay on top of what's happening in Congress.

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Health Care Endgame

February 10, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

An aide to Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8] outlined an endgame for health care reform to reporters for subscription-only Congress Daily. Politico has posted a significant chunk of the article online. The plan is to use reconciliation to pass a package of conference report-style compromises, than pass the Senate health care and have it signed into law. It' exactly how I explained it a couple weeks ago: 1) House passes a package of changes to the Senate’s health care bill using a budget r...

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Congress Links

February 10, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Yet more snow has shut down Congress and most of Washington, D.C. As lawmakers enjoy another unscheduled snow day, let's take a look at some articles and blog posts of note from today:

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Congress Demographics

February 10, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

New York Times: Members of the United States Congress do not look much like the public they are elected to represent. Congress now includes more women and Asians than ever, but it is considerably less diverse, older, better educated, more likely to have served in the military and not as likely to have been born abroad than Americans over all. Probably the most outrageous data point on Congress's lack of diversity is that there is currently only one black senator -- Sen. Roland Burris [D...

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Snowfall Now A Factor In Climate Change Debate

February 10, 2010 - by Eric Naing

For the past week, the primary topic of conversation in Washington, D.C. has been the record snowfall that continues to bury the city. Now some Republican lawmakers are citing the blizzard as a reason to kill comprehensive climate change legislation. Yesterday, Sen. Jim DeMint [R, SC] tweeted, “It's going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries ‘uncle.’” When asked about the prospects of cap-and-trade legislation limiting carbon emissions, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell [R, KY] ...

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Bill Length Hypocrisy

February 10, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

In a conversation yesterday with Ezra Klein, Sen. Lamar Alexander [R, TN] kept calling out the health care bill based on its length. But on other long bills that have been voted on recently in Congress, Sen. Alexander voted "yea."

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Bill Would Revoke Tax Breaks for Junk Food Ads

February 10, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Rep. Dennis Kucinich [D, OH-10] is promoting a bill in Congress H.R. 4310 that would eliminate tax deductibility for advertising and marketing of fast food and "food of poor nutritional value."

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