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House Democrat Would Choose the Public Option

August 31, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Appearing on CNBC, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz [D, FL-20] said, without reservation, that she would give up the health insurance she is given as a member of Congress and enroll in the public option.

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Congress Links

August 31, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs say Sen. Enzi has given up on bipartisan healthcare negotiations. Sen. Grassley fundraises against healthcare reform. Massachusetts scheduled a hearing on appointing an interim senator to fill Kennedy's seat. And R.J. Reynolds sues the government over the new tobacco laws. That and more in today's roundup of links on Congress.

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Blood in the Water

August 31, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

With political analysts predicting big losses for the Democrats in 2010 if they fail on healthcare reform, the incentives are clearly stacked for Republicans to stop negotiating and kill the bill.

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A Bipartisan Healthcare Bill in Both Chambers?

August 28, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

It's sounding likely. The Democrats think they have at least one Republican in the Senate willing to support a healthcare bill containing some form of a public option. On the House side, one Republican has already said that he is leaning yes on the bill.

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New Cybersecurity Bill

August 28, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

After his first cybersecurity bill, S. 773, introduced earlier this session of Congress was widely panned as a broad power-grab of the internet for the federal government, Sen. Jay Rockefeller [D, WV] is back with a revised version of the bill. Declan McCullagh of CNET got his hands on a copy of the revised bill and, well, it doesn't sound much better than the original: The new version would allow the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computer net...

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The Read the Constitution Bill

August 28, 2009 - by Paul Blumenthal

Like the ducks that fill McPherson Square in their trip down south for the winter, there are a number of bills that are introduced in every Congress as though they were simply part of the cyclical nature of the institution. The most famous of these is the national health care bill sponsored every Congress by Rep. John Dingell which always bears the bill number H.R. 15. A recent entrant into the perennial bill category is one introduced by Rep. Michael Conaway that would require every congressman to read the Constitution at the beginning of each Congress.

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"Audit the Fed" Bill Will Pass This Fall

August 28, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

..So says House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank [D, MA-4]: FRANK: "We will subject [the Federal Reserve] to a complete audit. I've been working with Ron Paul, who is the main sponsor of that bill. He agrees that we don't want to have the audit appear as if it is influencing monetary policy because that would be inflationary, and Ron and I agree on that. We also think, one of the things the audit will show you is what the Federal Reserve buys and sells. And that will...

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The Health Care Bill's Tax Increases

August 28, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The House health care bill, H.R. 3200, uses tax increase to encourage people to buy insurance and for employers to provide it, and to raise money to subsidize insurance for low-income people. This post explains the bill's three main tax proposals in detail by citing and linking to sections of the official bill text

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If Sen. Chris Dodd takes over Kennedy's position as Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee as expected, the Banking Committee would likely get the Senate's most bank-friendly senator, Sen. Tim Johnson [D, SD], as its new chairman. This would have major implications as Congress gets ready to take up the Obama Administration's proposals to revamp financial industry regulations.

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Morning Kennedy Roundup

August 27, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

News of Sen. Ted Kennedy's [D, MA] death has turned today to speculation about what it will mean for the healthcare debate, who will fill his seat, and how committee line-ups will change. Here's a quick roundup of some of the news this morning:

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The Lion of Open Government

August 26, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

One of Sen. Ted Kennedy's overlooked accomplishments is that he was the first member of Congress to set up a website and communicate with constituents online. This was way back in 1993, when mainstream culture was just beginning to talk about a strange new phenomenon called "Internet." Obviously, there was no infrastructure in place then for Members of Congress to have their own websites, so Kennedy had the site hosted on an MIT server. Over at the Sunlight blog, Paul has the back story of h...

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What's 1,000 Pages Got to Do With It?

August 26, 2009 - by Paul Blumenthal

Over the summer quite a number of people have raised hackles about the length of legislation. Recently, Sen. David Vitter declared his "fundamental" opposition to "any 1,000 page bill." While this appears to be a new found opposition -- Vitter voted in favor of the 1,000 page Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 -- the trend of lengthy legislation is not new.

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Ted Kennedy, "The Lion of the Senate," Has Died

August 26, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Senator Ted Kennedy, the third-longest serving senator in U.S. history, died on Tuesday night after battling brain cancer for over a year. Kennedy, who is directly connected to many of the greatest progressive policies of the last 60 years, was 77.

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Congress Links

August 25, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Bernanke's Senate confirmation appears to be in the bag, but some senators are not excited about it. A Democratic Rep. says he would not vote for Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Several senators had some very discouraging remarks on hhealthcare reform today. And the first senator in the "gang-of-six says a Democrat-only healthcare bill is an option. That and more in today's roundup of links on Congress.

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The Vast Majority of Bills Go Nowhere

August 25, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Every member of Congress can introduce any kind of bill she wants. But of all of the thousands of bills that are introduced in each session, only 4 percent become law and 85 percent never see any action.

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