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The Dodd Amendment

May 11, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Ryan Grim has posted the full text of the Dodd (Shelby approved) Senate amendment to the House-passed Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act. The amendment completely wipes out the original text and replaces it with new text. Ninety percent of it is more or less the same as the House version, but there are differences. Senatus has the key provisions of the Dodd bill. One change in the Dodd bill that stands out to me is that he seems to be trying to rename the bill to the "Credit CARD Act," whi...

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Congress Links

May 11, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

* In a letter to the editor, Senator McCaskill defends Twitter. * Procedural or substantial, Specter's not planning on voting with the Dems. * Prospects looking good for a bill to regulate tobacco. (H.R. 1256) * Sen. Jim Bunning [R, KY] says he will run again. We'll see... * Florida's popular Republican Governor Charlie Crist will run for the Senate. * Mapping TARP * Comments on at the White House's facebook page. * Key provisions of the Dodd/Shelby credit card bill deal. ...

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Dodd the populist hero?

May 10, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Can Sen. Chris Dodd [D, CT] regain the public's trust after inserting a loophole in the stimulus bill that cleared the way for the AIG bonuses? Ever since the AIG fiasco, he's been trailing in the polls, as far as 16 points behind a potential Republican challenger. This week, when the Senate takes up House-passed legislation to reign in abusive credit card company practices, Senator Dodd will be leading an effort to create even stronger consumer protections, and sooner.

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Year of the Bible

May 10, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Religion, Civil Liberties

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Congress Links

May 8, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Speculation on Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi past knowledge of the government's waterboarding program? The Federal Reserve almost gets a little transparency. Bloggers blog the hate crime bill. And Senator Kyl wants the executives at bailed out insolvent banks to be kept in charge. That and more in today's roundup of links on Congress.

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Narrative Explanations of Bills

May 8, 2009 - by David Moore

Bills in Congress are notoriously complicated. And while OpenCongress brings you closer to their substance by surrounding bills with helpful news analysis, blog commentary, and comments from the public, sometimes the crux of the issue remains, well, murky. That's where the OpenCongress Wiki comes in. The Wiki offers useful narrative explanations for some of the most newsworthy bills this session of Congress. A great example is H.R. 1 - last February's economic stimulus package. The wiki tab f...

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Job Losses Slow

May 8, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Not directly related to Congress, but today's news on what is probably the most important economic indicator is still relevant on many fronts. According to the Labor Department's monthly jobs report, the unemployment rate hit a 25-year high of 8.9 percent in April, but the number of jobs lost during the month fell to their lowest level since October. I'm guessing that this coupled with the Treasury's optimistic stress test results released yesterday will weaken the Democrats' hand in finalizi...

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Congress Links

May 7, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

A much shorter than usual edition of our daily link roundup: * Pat Leahy tries to block Specter's subcommittee gavel. * Former Gov. Tom Ridge will not be running for the Senate after all. * Blue Dogs and New Dems team up to fight against climate change legislation. * A new report indicates that Nancy Pelosi has known about the use of waterboarding since September 4, 2002. Have a link to share? Send it to us here or leave it in the comments....

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House Passes Major Mortgage industry Reforms

May 7, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The House today passed a bill that, to my mind, is a fairly significant response to the subprime mortgage mess that is at the root of the current economic crisis. The bill, known as the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act, would ban pay incentives for mortgage brokers to steer borrowers into high-priced loans, require brokers to ensure that borrowers have a "reasonable ability" to repay the loan they are getting and require that all refinancing transactions provide a "net tangible benefit" for homeowners. If brokers fail to meet these requirements, they would be liable to be sued.

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Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) was nominated by President Obama late Wednesday to be his Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, where she will head efforts to secure and reduce nuclear stockpiles, which she has called her "passion." Tauscher's move may be felt more acutely in the House, however, where she has been the driving force behind two recent legislative initiatives.

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Congress Links

May 6, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Arlen Specter gets stripped of his seniority status. Senator Sessions says he's open to a guy Supreme Court judge. The House finalizes Congress' push for a modern-day Pecora commission. And legislation to legalize internet gambling is introduced into Congress. That and more in today's roundup of links on Congress.

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Congress Links

May 5, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Schumer calls out Bernanke for failing to protect consumers. Support for comprehensive immigration reform grows. Cap-and-trade legislation gets a shot in the arm from President Obama. A bipartisan group of senators succeeds in helping make the Senate more transparent. That and more in today's roundup of links on Congress.

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More on Cybersecurity

May 5, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

There's been more talk than usual in Congress recently about the issue of cyber security. I think we're all convinced that it's a serious issue and that there needs to be some kind of unified effort to address it. But it's been difficult for any of us outside the realms of information security and technology to know what to do -- or even to begin talking and thinking about what to do. Most people seem to agree that the bill introduced into Congress, the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, does not t...

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Congress Looks to Investigate Wall Street

May 5, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Are we ready to start looking back at the origins of our crisis and ask questions about what went wrong? Congress thinks so. The House on Wednesday is expected to follow the Senate's lead in approving legislation to establish a bipartisan Financial Markets Commission, made up of lawyers, economists and regulators, to examine the causes, both global and domestic, of the economic crisis.

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O M.I.A.

May 4, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

I was noticing the lack of public Obama support last week when cramdown went down in the Senate.Via the Washington Independent, I see that the New York Times was noticing as well. The Obama administration sat by last week as 12 Senate Democrats joined 39 Senate Republicans to block a vote on an amendment that would have allowed bankruptcy judges to modify troubled mortgages. Senator Obama campaigned on the provision. And President Obama made its passage part of his antiforeclosure plan. It...

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