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Pass That Soulja Bill

September 23, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

This is how it all goes down: ...

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Dems Cave on Oil Drilling

September 23, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

AP: >Democrats have decided to allow a quarter-century ban on drilling for oil off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to expire next week, conceding defeat in a months-long battle with the White House and Republicans set off by $4 a gallon gasoline prices this summer. More from the Politico: >This week, Democrats were circulating a 30-page “discussion draft” of the continuing resolution that would fund the government through March 6. The draft contained language that would replace the exis...

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Congress Links

September 23, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

It's hard not to focus on the gigantic bailout plan being worked out, but there are some other important things also happening in Congress these days: Credit Card Holders Bill of Rights Passes House >By a vote of 312 to 112, the U.S. House of Representatives voted today to pass HR 5244, the Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights. The bill would curb a number of predatory credit card lending practices that can unfairly trap consumers in debt. In light of the overwhelming vote in the House, Consum...

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"Just Click Send"

September 23, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

NYT on S.223: >As hard as it is to believe, the Senate is still cynically mired in the dark age of paper filings. Candidates submit required reports on political money and donors via paper sheaves that wend through slow-mo typing, re-typing and mailing, ensuring that full disclosure only occurs sometime after Election Day. > >This is in contrast to the House and presidential campaigns, where candidates routinely hit the send button to the Federal Election Commission. The better for voters to...

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Bailout Battle

September 23, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

The focus in Congress right now is on passing some version of a massive, taxpayer-funded bailout of the financial sector as quickly as possible. In the past few days, several draft versions of different bailout plans have been passed around Capitol Hill, but two in particular have taken hold as lead competing proposals from which a compromise is likely to ensue.

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Super Opposed

September 22, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee passed an intellectual property enforcement bill, S.3325, with support from 15 of its 19 members. But the bill is not faring well at all on OpenCongress. Users who have voted on on the bill oppose it unanimously. In the upper right-hand corner of the bill page you can see the current vote tally for the bill - 81 against, 0 in favor. Here's Sherwin Siy of Public Knowledge on problems with the bill as it passed the committee >Still in the bill is a...

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Internet Gambling Legislation

September 19, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

The economy may be crumbling, but H.R.6870 a bill to degregulate internet gambling, is dominating news and blog coverage on OpenCongress. Poker News Daily: >The bill, entitled the “Payment Systems Protection Act of 2008,” prohibits the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve from enacting any regulation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) except “to the extent as any such regulation pertains to wagering of the type that is prohibited under chapter 178 of title 28, United Sta...

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Beyond Drilling

September 18, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

With the focus in Congress now squarely on the economy, the Senate is giving up on its last great hope for a oil drilling compromise this session. Here's a related zinger from Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) at a Senate Energy Summit held earlier this week: ...

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The Biggest Bailout is Still to Come

September 18, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

NYT: "The head of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve began discussions on Thursday with Congressional leaders on what could become the biggest bailout in United States history."

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Consumer Groups Warn Against Congress' Insurance Scheme

September 18, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

In a week when it's become painfully obvious that the federal government did not do a good job regulating the financial and insurance markets, a bill is scheduled to pass Congress that would allow the federal government to override state's consumer protections and give them new power to enforce international agreements regarding insurance policies.

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Tracking Contractor Misconduct

September 18, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate passed their version of the 2009 Defense Authorization Act last night, and with it, plans for a government-created contractor misconduct database. The Project on Government Oversight, which maintains its own contractor misconduct database, calls today's action in the Senate a "positive accomplishment" despite the plan's deficiencies: >The database would only include defense contractors and would be accessible only to Department of Defense procurement officials and Congress. T...

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And Another Thing...

September 18, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

For the past couple of weeks, revelations about the many ethics violations of Charlie Rangel (D-NY) have been coming from the media almost non stop. This morning, we woke up to news of yet another one: Rangel's unregistered 1972 Mercedes Benz has been collecting dust in the House of Representatives parking garage for years, in violation of congressional rules. UPDATE: It got towed....

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Mavericks of the Drilling Debate

September 18, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Expanding offshore oil drilling is the unresolved partisan issue that has basically shut down Congress. Earlier this week, the House finally held a vote on a Democrat-written energy bill that would allow oil drilling between 50 and 100 miles offshore if a State "opts-in," and open up the entire outer continental shelf beyond 100 miles off shore to drilling. In general, House Democrats supported the bill as a good compromise on the drilling issue while Republicans opposed it, arguing that it...

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Quick, to the Outer Continental Shelf

September 17, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

"The bill, H.R. 6899, clocking in at 290 pages long was introduced at 9:24 pm on September 15, 2008 and was voted out of the House Rules Committee at midnight. The final vote was held at 10:05 on September 16, 2008. That left 24.5 hours for lawmakers, staff, watchdogs, and concerned citizens to read the bill, or if one counts from the time the bill reported out of Rules, 22 hours."

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Oprah Pushes Legislation from Joe Biden

September 16, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Continuing her foray into politics, Oprah Winfrey on Monday gave a major endorsement of legislation from Joe Biden (D-DE) that would beef up law enforcement efforts to combat child exploitation: The bill, the PROTECT Our Children Act, passed the House by a vote of 415-2 last November, but it is being blocked in the Senate by Tom Coburn (R-OK) because it would authorize new spending. Keeping true to a promise (pdf) he made at the beginning of the 110th Congress, Coburn has blocked ...

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