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GOP Maximizes on Homeland Security Bill

June 15, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

After forcing Democrats to include all earmarks in 2008 spending bills as they go through the House, Republicans scored yet another victory. Today, while debating the first of this year's twelve spending bills -- which happened only after Democrats capitulated to Republicans on the earmark dustup -- the Republican minority approved an amendment in a display of solidarity against granting amnesty to illegal immigrants. >The U.S. House of Representatives this morning voted to withhold federa...

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Congress Links

June 15, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

* Today on CQ Radio, Ed Morrissey interviewed Senator John Ensign (R, NV), who disputed he notion that a deal had been reached on resurrecting the Senate immigration bill. * "Legislation passed by Congress would require all federal agencies in a state to comply with a governor's request that they fly their flags at half-staff to honor a fallen service member." - The AP. Learn more about the bill here. * LOUIS - "the Library Of Unified Information Sources, a project of the Sunlight Found...

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Beaten-Down Immigration Bill Will Rise Again

June 14, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Looks like everyone's least-favorite Immigration bill will be given another chance: >Senate leaders, under pressure from pro-immigration groups and facing a determined push by President Bush, agreed last night to bring a controversial overhaul of the nation's immigration laws back to the Senate floor as early as next week. > >The bipartisan negotiators working on the immigration bill whittled hundreds of amendments down to a package of 11 amendments from Republicans and another 11 from Democ...

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From Earmarks To Immigration

June 14, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

It appears that House leaders are ready to strike a deal on how to move forward with considering spending bills for fiscal year 2008. Republicans this week have stalled floor debate on the first of these bills -- which number 12 in total -- because, they say, they want all earmarks that are going to be included in the final bill to be included in the bills as the House debates them. Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D, WI) had been planning to withhold the earmarks until after the H...

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Congress Links

June 13, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

* "The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved legislation Tuesday that would require federal agencies to make their buildings more environmentally friendly by substantially cutting carbon emissions." - GovExec. Learn more about the bill here. * S.1257, "a bill to provide the District of Columbia a voting seat and the State of Utah an additional seat in the House of Representatives," was approved 9-1 today by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs....

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House Votes to Improve Background Check System

June 13, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

This morning, the House approved a which bill the AP has called "the most important gun control act since Congress banned some assault weapons in 1994, the last year Democrats controlled the House." The bill, H.R.2640, is designed to improve state reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in order to close data gaps relating to arrest records and mental health standing. Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech gunman who killed 32 students in April, was barred from buying firea...

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Senate Moves to the Next Crisis: Energy

June 12, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

After failing to pass an immigration bill, the Senate is moving on to something even more challenging: a comprehensive reform of U.S. energy policy. The energy bill they are beginning to debate bears some resemblance to the immigration bill. It has a lot of separate and movable parts, its existence relies on keeping its provisions balanced, and it's going to face an onslaught of controversial floor amendments. Consider what former senator and current Chrysler lobbyist John Breaux has said ab...

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Congres Links

June 11, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

* There is some interesting discussion taking place at The Open House Project about whether or not video taping committee work will actually increase transparency. Check it out here and here. * In advance of a tight no-confidence in Alberto Gonzales vote, DailyKos has put up an outline of some past critical statements from GOP senators. For the no-confidence bill to pass, about 10 Republicans would have to defelect from their party and vote for the bill. * "The doctor overseeing Sen. Ti...

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The Senate has grilled Alberto Gonzales in hearings and today they will have a chance to channel their displeasure into votes. This afternoon, the Senate will vote on a bill to determine if, in fact, it is... >the sense of the Senate that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales no longer holds the confidence of the Senate and of the American people. The U.S. Senate has never voted on a no-confidence bill before. The quoted text above is the entirety of S.J.Res.14, which will be the subjec...

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Is the Immigration Bill Dead, or Just Resting?

June 8, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Last night, after Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV) failed to bring the debate to an end, the Senate's attempt to reform Immigration policy came to an end. Now, the question is whether the bill is gone for good or if it will be brought back for a second chance. The final and deciding vote last night came on Reid's second attempt to invoke cloture, a motion that sets a time limit on the debate. Sixty votes were needed to pass the cloture motion. Reid's attempt only attracted 45 votes -- h...

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The chances of U.S. immigration policy being reformed by the 110th Congress are suddenly not looking good at all. Two recent votes in the Senate give a strong indication that the current immigration bill will be heading nowhere but to the shelf. Dorgan Poison-Pill Approved As he made clear here, Senator Byron Dorgan (D, ND) -- pictured at right -- doesn't like anything about this immigration bill. Late last night, he drew on both Democratic anti-guestworker-program and bipartisan kill-the...

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Congress Links

June 6, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

* Majority Leader Harry Reid's motion to limit debate on the immigration bill was blocked by senate Republicans. Roll call details here. CQ has more as well. * "The Senate Judiciary Committee just voted for the Specter/Leahy habeas restoration bill. The committee sent it to the floor with no amendments, no debate and on almost a party line vote (with the GOP sponsor, Senator Arlen Specter from Pennsylvania voting in favor)." - Find Habeas * "US Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) has become the...

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Announcing OpenCongress Tools

June 6, 2007 - by David Moore

You may have noticed a new section on our left-hand navigation bar: OpenCongress Tools, launching today. Some of these tools are new ways to share info about Congress using our open-source website code, and some are links to useful new resources for greater government transparency. First is the new OpenCongress Syndication Panel -- we had received a lot of requests for this feature, and we're pleased to get it out into the world. It's sometimes referred to as a "widget" -- it's an easy way to...

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Habeas Restoration to be Tested in Committee

June 6, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Spurred by Monday's court ruling to dismiss charges against against two Guantanamo detainees, congressional Democrats are moving forward with legislation to restore Habeas Corpus. >A day after two military judges ruled against the Bush administration’s system for trying terrorism detainees, Democrats seized on the rulings on Tuesday as evidence that Congress should restore the right of those held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to challenge their detentions. > >Senator Harry Reid, the Nevada Democr...

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The immigration bill is currently dodging bullets in the Senate. An amendment from Wayne Allard (R, CO), that would have caused some critical supporters of the bill and some who are on-the-fence to oppose the bill, was rejected this afternoon. However, the bill and its supporters are far from safe. A slew of contentious amendments have been offered and are waiting to be voted on. In an attempt to hold some of these amendments at bay, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV) has said that he wil...

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