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Congress Links

September 18, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Congress' commission to investigate the causes of the financial crisis gets under way. The Fed takes a first step in limiting risky executive pay schemes. And 40 Senators ask Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to end TARP by the end of the year. That and more in today's roundup of links on Congress.

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Another Immigration Roadbloack for Health Care Reform

September 18, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Sen. Robert Menendez [D, NJ] is threatening to oppose health care reform unless illegal immigrants are allowed to buy insurance at full market rates through the health insurance exchange.

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CBO: Healthcare Co-ops Won't Work

September 18, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

It went mostly unnoticed, but the Congressional Budget Office did have something to say about the co-op idea in their scoring of the Baucus health care bill: The proposed co-ops had very little effect on the estimates of total enrollment in the exchanges or federal costs because, as they are described in the specifications, they seem unlikely to establish a significant market presence in many areas of the country or to noticeably affect federal subsidy payments. On the other hand, when the...

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GOP Healthcare Bill Gaining Interest ...From Democrats

September 17, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Hill: Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), a physician who has emerged as a leading voice for House Republicans during the healthcare debate, asserted that some Blue Dog Democrats have expressed an interest in Republican health bills after deciding to vote against plans favored by Democratic leaders. "I'm having Democrats come to me, to speak to me as to what House Republicans are putting up," Cassidy told a told a conservative news radio program. "And when I mention our patient-centered plan...t...

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On a mostly party-line vote, the House of Representatives today approved a major piece of legislation designed to attain President Obama's goal of making college more affordable. The bill, known as the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009, would end a long-standing program that provides government subsidies to student loan companies like Sallie Mae and Nelnet. Under the bill, all new government-insured student loans would be made through the U.S. education Department. Private companies would be entirely wiped out of the market for originating student loans. The money that the government would save by ending subsidies to the companies - an estimated $80 billion over 10 years - would be used to increase funding for scholarship programs, keep interest rate low on student loans, and pay off the federal deficit.

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Expanding Congress

September 17, 2009 - by Paul Blumenthal

For nearly 100 years the House of Representatives has remained the same size. 435 lawamakers. There have been two expansions of staff for lawmakers, in 1946 and 1970, but no expansion of lawmakers for citizens. That may change as a federal lawsuit has been filed charging that the current seat apportionment system disenfranchises smaller states.

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The Constitution and the 111th Congress

September 17, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

On this Constitution Day, here's a abbreviated list of what members of the current 111th Congress are proposing to do to the Constitution in the form of legislation.

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Congress Links

September 16, 2009 - by Avelino Maestas

With the introduction of the Baucus bill yesterday, I wanted to wait a bit before getting Congress Links up. Space flight, the Patriot Act, and DoMA were in the news today:

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Pelosi's Take

September 16, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Here's the statement put out by Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8] on the release of the Baucus health care bill: Assuring the affordability of health care for all Americans and requiring accountability for insurance companies are two of our central principles in this reform. We look forward to studying the impact of the Senate Finance Committee Chairman’s mark on America’s families and businesses, and on the cost of health care. The fifth and final Congressional committee is ...

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Congressional Data is Defective By Design

September 16, 2009 - by David Moore

This week's launch of the "Baucus Bill" is a perfect illustration of how the U.S. Congress' current bill-to-law process remains fundamentally inaccessible and harmful to the public discourse.

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Three Lawmakers Under Ethics Committee Investigation

September 16, 2009 - by Paul Blumenthal

The House Ethics Committee confirmed three investigations into lawmakers today. Those lawmakers are Reps. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.), Maxine Waters (D-Cal.) and Sam Graves (R-Mo.).

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Max Baucus' "America's Healthy Future Act"

September 16, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The much-anticipated "Baucus Bill" was released this morning. OpenCongress has the only online copy of the bill, along with permalinks to its top-line Titles and Sections. Read it here:

America's Healthy Future Act of 2009

The bill would establish non-profit health insurance co-ops...

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The Joe Wilson Resolution

September 15, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

On a mostly party-line vote of 240-179, The House this afternoon approved a resolution condemning Rep. Addision "Joe" Wilson [R, SC-2] for shouting "You lie!" at President Obama during his healthcare speech to a joint session of Congress last week.

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Senate Votes to Cut Off ACORN Funding

September 15, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Following a series of isolated scandals involving voter fraud allegations and advising pimps and prostitutes, ACORN is now at risk of losing their federal funding for their work in low-income housing. On Monday, the Senate voted 83-7 to block any HUD money from going to ACORN.

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Who Are The Czars, and Where Did They Come From?

September 15, 2009 - by Avelino Maestas

OpenCongress doesn't delve too often into the realm of the Executive Branch, but I've received several e-mails of late asking about congressional involvement when President Obama names a "czar" within his administration. Most of the e-mails center around the meme that these "czars" are appointed without congressional approval, and have broad sway over federal powers.

The situation, of course, is a little more nuanced.

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