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GOP Senator Blocks All Obama Appointees

February 5, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Here is a perfect example of how the Senate works: Sen. Richard Shelby [R, AL] has put a blanket hold on every Obama nominee because of a disagreement over two pork projects in his state.

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Congress Links

February 4, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Congress is clearing out ahead of an expected snow storm today but lawmakers did manage to accomplish a few things before skipping town. Here are a few articles and blog posts on note from today:

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Telling It Like It Is

February 4, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The House today voted to increase the federal debt ceiling (H.J.Res.45). All Republicans voted "no," despite providing the bulk of the votes for the seven times Congress held similar votes under Bush.

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Demand Question Time

February 4, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Last week, for more than an hour on national television, President Obama and members of Congress were engaged in an unscripted, off-the-cuff debate about the policy issues that affect us. A new coalition -- Demand Question Time -- wants to make this a regular feature of our democracy.

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Senate Confirms Labor Solicitor

February 4, 2010 - by Eric Naing

After nearly ten months of waiting, the Department of Labor finally has a solicitor. The Senate today, in a party-line vote of 60-37, confirmed Patricia Smith, President Obama's nominee to serve as the department's top lawyer. All 58 Democrats as well as Sen. Joe Lieberman [I, CT] and Sen. Bernie Sanders [I, VT] were needed to overcome a Republican filibuster blocking Smith. But with Scott Brown expected to join the Senate soon, Democrats will lose that 60th vote and will have to court at leas...

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Senate Dems Unveil Jobs Agenda

February 4, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Senate Democrats this morning announced an $80 billion-plus "jobs agenda" package that they'll begin debating next week. It's going to be taken up as a series of small bills. So what's included? Well, nobody know for sure. But from various reports, it looks like in will include at least these five things:

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Utah Republicans Fight Gay Marriage In D.C.

February 4, 2010 - by Eric Naing

A group of Republicans in the House and Senate are racing against the clock to prevent gays and lesbians from getting legally married in the nation's capitol.

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About that Health Care Antitrust Bill…

February 4, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

With health care reform stalled, Nancy Pelosi is starting "Plan B" next week by bringing a series of smaller, stand-alone health care-related bills to the floor for votes. She's hoping that passing these smaller bills will help build back some momentum towards passing the comprehensive health care reform bill in the near future.

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Why the Sudden Rush to Seat Scott Brown?

February 3, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Ever since his victory on Jan. 19, Senate-elect Scott Brown [R, MA] has been scheduled to officially become a senator on Feb. 11. Today he asked to be seated sooner -- tomorrow, to be exact -- and Senate Democratic leaders and Massachusetts' Democratic Governor agreed to do so. What's up with Brown's sudden request to be seated early? Marc Ambiner explains: "They're moving forward with controversial issues and nominations. These are votes where his vote is the deciding one," an outside Bro...

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House Takes Up Cybersecurity

February 3, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Congress has been working to improve U.S. cybersecurity for almost a year. The House of Representatives today actually began debating a bill, and they're on route to pass it tomorrow and send it to the Senate. Click through what's in it and what it would do.

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Congress Links

February 3, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Here is Wednesday's look at some articles and blog posts of interest: General Electric and Comcast are throwing money at key lawmakers on panels that will hold hearings on the companies' upcoming merger. Congressmen who have received donations from the companies include Rep. Rick Boucher [D, VA-9], Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY], Sen. Orrin Hatch [R, UT], Rep. Terry Lee [R, NE-2], Rep. Charlie Melancon [D, LA-3] and Rep. Cliff Stearns [R. FL-6] (The Hill) In 2006, Sen. John McCain [R, AZ] sai...

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Senators: No Civilian Trials For 9/11 Conspirators

February 3, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Two Senate Democrats are teaming up with Sen. Lindsey Graham [R, SC] to torpedo President Obama's plan to try 9/11 co-conspirators in civilian court.

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An American Question Time?

February 3, 2010 - by Eric Naing

President Obama's Q&A session last week with House Republicans in Baltimore became a surprise sensation in the political world and now a diverse coalition of political, business and media figures are asking for more. As strange as it seems, having the president face questions from lawmakers on live television is an unprecedented thing in this country. So much of our political discourse either happens behind closed doors or in tightly controlled media environments. The openness of the Baltimore...

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Two liberal House members yesterday triggered what could be a “nuclear option” in dealing with the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision: a constitutional amendment.

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If Senate Democrats can round up 50 votes to pass three changes to their bill using a filibuster-proof procedure, there appears to be a clear path forward for the Democrats to finish up health care reform and get their bill signed into law.

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