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Thinking About the Mess

September 16, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

It's going to take some time for Congress to respond to the financial-market meltdown with legislation, but here's where the brainstorming is beginning: >The turmoil on Wall Street is prompting a key congressional Democrat to consider a broad federal market rescue that could include creating a new government entity to take over collapsed financial institutions and sell off their assets, as lawmakers did during the 1980s savings and loan crisis. > >Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the House Finan...

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Interior Department Ethics and the Energy Bill

September 16, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

House Democrats are responding to the sex, drugs (and rock n' roll?) scandal in the Interior Department as part of their new comprehensive energy bill. The Hill reports: >The House energy bill is seeking to strengthen ethics rules at the Interior Department following an internal report showing that some employees accepted gifts from energy companies. > >The legislation instructs the Secretary of the Interior to initiate robust ethics training programs and puts in place a strict gift ba...

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Rep. Andrews: Bush Looking to "Gulf of Tonkinize" Iran

September 16, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Tip from Cheryl Biren-Wright: At a a South Jersey Iraq War Forum in June, Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ), a moderate Democrat who has supported the Bush administration's foreign policy, warned that the President may be trying to start a war with Iran as part of a strategy to help Republicans in the November elections.

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Sen. Bennett Blocks Plain Language Bill

September 15, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Once again, the Senate proves to be the place where common sense, good-government initiatives go to die. Most famously during this session, some Senate Republicans have managed to block a bill to update the current system for filing campaign finance forms, an absurd labyrinth of printers, scanners and snail mail, by requiring senators to file their forms electronically. The House of Representatives and presidential candidate have been filing electronically for years. But when you bring an ...

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This Week in Congress

September 15, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Heavy criticism from Republican House members and high gas prices appear to have made an impact on Democratic leaders in the House, as they are now preparing to debate legislation this week to allow some offshore drilling. In addition, the bipartisan group of senators pushing its own compromise legislation has grown to include 20 members. Also on the Hill's agenda this week is discussion of a second stimulus package amid growing concern about the deterioration of the country’s private financial system.

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World's Most Expensive Bus Stop

September 15, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Last month I mentioned a project from Porkbusters and Eyeblst.tv to equip people across the country with video cameras to document failing local projects that were funded by earmarks from Congress. Here's the first video from the project, showing an under-appreciated bus stop in Nashville, TN: ...

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$100 Billion Tax Trick

September 11, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Just as the federal deficit is about to reach record proportions, the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations drops a report showing that, for the past decade, all the big Wall Street investment banks have "actively competed with one another in dreaming up complex transactions" to help their foreign clients avoid paying taxes to the US. According to the report, the whole thing costs the country $100 billion in unpaid taxes. The Wall Street Journal has more details on the report, which will be...

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A Peek at the Dems' New Oil Drilling Bill

September 11, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

"Democrats circulated an outline of energy legislation on Wednesday that would go much further on offshore drilling than many anticipated, giving Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) the chance to put her political adversaries in a tight spot on the biggest issue of this campaign season."

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Congress' Most Corrupt

September 10, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Did your senator or representative make CREW's annual list?: The 20 most corrupt Members of Congress * Rep. Vern Buchanan [R, FL-13] * Rep. Ken Calvert [R, CA-44] * Rep. John Doolittle [R, CA-4] * Rep. Tom Feeney [R, FL-24] * Rep. Vito Fossella [R, NY-13] * Rep. William Jefferson [D, LA-2] * Sen. Mary Landrieu [D, LA] * Rep. Jerry Lewis [R, CA-41] * Rep. Daniel Lipinski [D, IL-3] * Sen. Mitch McConnell [R, KY] * Rep. Gary Miller [R, CA-4...

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No Tobacco Regulation This Year

September 10, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Another major Democratic priority falls victim to the oil drilling debate. CQ: >It appears unlikely that a bill to give the Food and Drug Administration power to regulate tobacco products will make it through Congress before the elections. > >The bill’s lead GOP sponsor, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, asked whether the bill would see action before members left to campaign said, “Realistically, I don’t think so.” > >Aides to key Democratic lawmakers also acknowledged that the bill, passed by t...

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Obama <s>and McCain</s> on Education

September 9, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

(This is part of a series on legislation being sponsored in the Senate by presidential candidates Barack Obama (D-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ). Subscribe to our rss feed to get the rest.)

On a day when the two presidential candidates went back and forth over education policy, I figured I would take a look at some of the education-related legislation they are sponsoring in Congress. As I began looking through the bills each candidate has sponsored this session (Obama's, McCain's), it was instantly that education policy marks a stark contrast in the candidates legislative records this session - while Barack Obama has proposed 11 bills directly related to education, John McCain has introduced zero.

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Congress Links

September 9, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Ballooning Deficit >Weak revenue growth and accelerated spending - including an economic stimulus package that returned billions to taxpayers - will drive the federal deficit to $407 billion in the fiscal year that ends this month, more than double last year's $161 billion, congressional budget analysts reported today. -WaPo More Government Secrecy >Government secrecy, particularly in the executive branch, continued in 2007 to expand across a broad array of agencies and actions, incl...

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No Child Left Inside

September 8, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Because of a lack of funding and some unintended consequences of No Child Left Behind, many schools have been forced to scale back environmental and hands-on education. The No Child Left Inside Act of 2008, which will be voted on by the House this week, would set aside federal money for states to develop and implement plans to make sure their children are environmentally literate.

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Free Sled Dog?!

September 8, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Okay, now I'm jealous. ...

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Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act

September 8, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Dawn Franklin writes: >Please support HR 6598, the Prevention of Equine Cruelty, as introduced by John Conyers and Dan Burton, out of committe, AS INTRODUCED, with NO amendments. Don't send our horses overseas as a slab of meat because someone else thinks they're a delicacy. Don't put these magnificent animals through the horrors and torture of an undeserved death for profit. DO support this bill. Thank you. This was submitted to OpenCongress as a tip. If there’s something you want high...

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