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Medicare "Doc Fix" Attached To Senate Jobs Bill

February 10, 2010 - by Eric Naing

As part of the Senate jobs bill, Democrats hope to delay an impending 21 percent cut in Medicare dollars for doctors for at least a few more months.

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Senate Passes Bill Softening Tax Penalties

February 10, 2010 - by Eric Naing

The Senate yesterday passed the Small Business Penalty Fairness Act (S. 2917), which, according to Sen. Ben Nelson [D, NE] “will protect small businesses that were acting in good faith from harsh IRS penalties.”

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Congress Links

February 9, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Washington is still reeling from record snowfall and the House has decided to take the whole week off, but the Senate, at least, managed to get some work done. Weather permitting, Congress hopes to start working on the jobs bill and other legislation soon. Here’s a look at some articles and blog posts of note from the day:

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The death of Rep. John Murtha [D, PA-12] means not only an open House seat in Pennsylvania, but also an open chairmanship in one of the most significant House subcommittees. Murtha was the chair of the defense appropriations subcommittee, which oversees Pentagon spending. Rep. Norm Dicks [D, WA-6], the new ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, is expected to be chosen by the House Democratic Caucus to take Murtha’s chairmanship. A lot of attention has been given to Murtha’s anti-war stance,...

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Draft of Senate Jobs Bill Now Available

February 9, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

A draft copy of the Senate Democrats jobs bill has been uploaded to Scribdb. Read it for yourself here. We'll have more on exactly what's in it later. Major Garret is tweeting some details: To clarify, total package spends out at $135 bn; costs $85 bn due to increased taxes via $50 bn in closed "loopholes." Bill would also extend Patriot Act for 1-year and provide 7-month Medicare reimbursement "doctor fix." Other parts: $15 bn for infrastructure, $35 bn in extended tax breaks, 3-mont...

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Dodd to Push for Quasi-Independent CFPA

February 9, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd's [D, CT] latest version of financial reform legislation includes a partially independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Financial reform advocates seem to think it's good enough. HuffPo has the details.

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Shelby Lifts Blanket Hold On Obama Nominees

February 9, 2010 - by Eric Naing

When we last checked in on Sen. Richard Shelby [R, AL], he had placed a blanket hold on all of President Obama’s pending nominees. This week, the hold ensnaring most of those nominees has been lifted. Shelby, as you recall, was angry because two earmarks that could mean billions for Alabama were in jeopardy. Yesterday, Shelby’s office released a statement confirming that most of the holds had been lifted: The purpose of placing numerous holds was to get the White House's attention on two i...

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President Obama is asking Republicans what ideas they have to reform health care, but as Ezra Klein points out, many of their ideas are already in the existing Senate health care bill (H.R.3590).

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Political engagement is fundamental for fighting corruption, dysfunction and apathy in our government. That's why we're striving to make the best primary source information on Congress for political bloggers and journalists to use. Here's 5 ways you can start using OpenCongress on your blog right now to build public knowledge and engagement with Congress.

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Rep. John Murtha [D, PA] Dead at 77

February 8, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Rep. John Murtha [D, PA-12], Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, has died at the age of 77 from complications resulting from gall bladder surgery he had last week. Murtha has served as representative for Pennsylvania's 12th district since 1974.

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The Negotiations Will be Televised

February 7, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

C-SPAN called out Obama last month for not televising health care negotiations like he said he would do while on the campaign trail. Well, since he's starting over on negotiating health care, Obama has decided to let the C-SPAN cameras in on the next round of talks:

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Snow Day

February 7, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

I hear there's been a bit of snow in Washington D.C. At least, that's the excuse those lazy senators and representatives are giving for postponing all votes until Tuesday. Grab this blog's RSS feed to stay on top of Congress's legislative schedule for the remainder of the week.

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The Week In Review

February 5, 2010 - by Eric Naing

It was a big news week, with the federal budget, health care reform, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, cybersecurity and more in the headlines. Here is a look at what we've been up to this week at OpenCongress:

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Bipartisan Financial Reform Talks Break Down

February 5, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Is this morning's press release from Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd [D, CT] the death knell of financial reform?: "Last night, Senator Shelby assured me that he is still committed to finding a consensus on Financial Reform, but for now we have reached an impasse." "While I still hope that we will ultimately have a consensus package, it is time to move the process forward." "I have instructed my staff to begin drafting legislation to present to the committee later this mont...

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You would think that a bill giving members of Congress a chance to go down on record in opposition to the Ugandan Parliament's move to make "homosexual behavior" punishable by death would appeal to both parties. Well, Rep. Howard Berman [D, CA-28] recently introduced a resolution disapproving of the Uganda bill, and of the 38 co-sponsors that have attached their name to the bill, just one of them is a Republican -- Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R, FL-18]. ...

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