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Blue Dogs Don't Want a Public Option That Works

July 10, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

House Democrats' unveiling of their final version of health care legislation was scheduled for today. But a group of Blue Dog Democrats threw a wrench in the plans with a last-minute list of objections, including major concerns over the structuring of the central "public option."

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On the trail of defense spending

July 10, 2009 - by Avelino Maestas

I was reading an article in the Washington Post this morning that raised a number of interesting questions for me. Specifically, the article is about the F-22 fighter jet that's at the center of a high-profile showdown between President Barack Obama's administration and Congress. Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates want to halt further production of the advanced (and costly) fighters, while many members of Congress want to continue building them.

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Congress Links

July 9, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Senator Ensign gets his parents to pay off his mistress. House Democrats consider a surtax on the wealthy to pay for their health care bill. Sen. Burris gets ready for an early retirement. And a handful of Democrats sign a letter saying that Panetta told them that the CIA did in fact mislead Congress regarding the use of torture. That and more in today's roundup of links on Congress.

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Pelosi Rejects the Michael Jackson Resolution

July 9, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

As you can see by the comments on this post, there's not a lot of public support, besides die-hard fans, for Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee's [D, TX-18] resolution honoring the artistic and humanitarian works of Michael Jackson (H. Res. 600). Nevertheless, On Tuesday, Rep. Jackson-Lee took to the mic at Michael Jackson's public memorial at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and promised to thundering applause that the House of Representatives would debate and vote on her resolution. But House Speaker...

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Return of the REAL ID

July 9, 2009 - by Isabelle Cutting

In the form of an amendment to the 2005 war supplemental bill, Congress slipped the REAL ID Act into law with hardly any debate or deliberation. Since then, 23 States have passed legislation blocking its implementation and enforcement. Now there is a recurrent bill in Congress, the PASS ID Act, which with bi-partisan support, suggests bringing back the REAL ID act from dormancy

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Maverick Watch: Slavery Edition

July 8, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Civil Liberties, Religion

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H.R. 2454, Sec. 204

July 8, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

At OpenCongress, our core mission is to build public knowledge about what's really happening in Congress. All of the tools we've built on the site are designed to meet that goal. For example, we're crowd-sourcing discovery of the best articles and comments about bills in Congress, building community-edited wikis on bills, members and candidates, and providing context to legislation through social and media data. Another set of features we launched more recently is designed to facilitate more d...

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Ladies and Gentleman, Senator Al Franken

July 7, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Ending an eight-month legal battle with former senator Norm Coleman (R), Al Franken was officially sworn in today as the junior senator from Minnesota. His swearing in gives the Democrats a 60-seat majority in the Senate, which, if they stick together, means they have the numbers to break Republican filibusters on any and all legislation.

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Although a majority of the House of Representatives supports auditing the Fed, Sen. Jim DeMint [R, SC] is one of only a handful of Senators supporting an audit in the upper chamber. Yesterday, he made his first attempt at getting legislation for an audit through the Senate.

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The Michael Jackson Resolution

July 6, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee [D, TX-18] has written a congressional resolution in honor of Michael Jackson. It's extremely long; about three or four times the length of a "typical" resolution, and focuses heavily on his role as a humanitarian. Click through to read the full text.

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Congress Links

July 6, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

* Michael Jackson fans raise money to defeat Rep. Peter King (HuffPo). * Rep. Kaptur get $3.5 billion sweetener in climate bill (Washington Times). * Bill threatens Congress' shield from insider trading laws (Washington independent). * Mid-session House vote trend analysis (CQ). * "Obama is on pace to be the most successful Oval Office occupant in more than half a century when measured by his ability to get Congress to vote his way" (CQ). * Payday lenders argue that a 390% APR ...

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Cash and Connections

July 6, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Washington Post has some shocking numbers on the insider, big-money fight against a public health insurance option: The nation's largest insurers, hospitals and medical groups have hired more than 350 former government staff members and retired members of Congress in hopes of influencing their old bosses and colleagues, according to an analysis of lobbying disclosures and other records. The tactic is so widespread that three of every four major health-care firms have at least one forme...

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Today begins what is probably the most important month in Congress and the Obama Administration's work on reforming the health care system and addressing the issue of climate change. On August 7, Congress will leave for a month-long recess. Between now and then, they hope to pass bills for both of those issues in both chambers, confirm Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court and finalize work on a number of appropriations bills that are necessary to keep the government up and running. Below is a quick update on where things stand with four of the biggest issues currently before Congress -- health care, climate change, financial regulatory reform and immigration.

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Trending on OpenCongress

July 2, 2009 - by Isabelle Cutting

Unsurprisingly the recently voted upon Cap and Trade bill has been dominating the discourse and attention of OpenCongress users this past week. Behind all that action, however, users have kept on voting on bills, members and issue areas via our Battle Royal function. Here are some highlights of those trending bills, which we didn’t want to slip by, unnoticed.

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Better Budget Numbers for Health Care

July 2, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Good news for those that support a public health care option. Apparently, when you throw a public option into the health care reform fray, along with a plan to tax large companies that don't provide health care, the cost of action becomes much less and covers more people. The Associated Press reports: Democrats on a key Senate Committee outlined a revised and far less costly health care plan Wednesday night that includes a government-run insurance option and an annual fee on employers who ...

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