OpenCongress Blog

Blog Feed Comments Feed More RSS Feeds

Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald Dies

April 22, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

California Representative Juanita Millender-McDonald, who was 68, died of cancer this morning. Earlier this week, she announced that she would be taking a a four to six-week leave of absence from Congress to deal with her illness. "Juanita Millender-McDonald was a trailblazer, always advocating for the full participation of all Americans in the success and prosperity of our country," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. "The dignity with which she faced her illness was an indicatio...

Read Full Article Comments (4)
 

Don't Despair, Just Stare at the Wall

April 20, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

If you want a daily reminder of where all the tax money that doesn't go into your paycheck actually goes, then put this stunning new poster up on your wall. You may be relieved just to see what a magnificent display the people at BudgetGraph.com can make materialize out of those dollars that seem to disappear so abstractly from your paycheck. The brand new "Death and Taxes" poster, which represents the entire 2008 federal discretionary budget as requested by President Bush, has just been re...

Read Full Article Comments (2)
 

Keep Helping Sunlight Help the Senate

April 20, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The Sunlight Foundation has made a lot of progress in their attempt to find out which senator has placed a secret hold on S.223, a bill to require senators to file their campaign finance reforms electronically. Help them put the pressure on the remaining main suspects so we can get to the bottom of this so the Senate can move forward with this important piece of transparency legislation. >Major media outlets are reporting that the Senator in question is definitely a Republican. Since we know...

Read Full Article Submit a Comment
 

Two Transparency Bills "Held" In One Week?

April 19, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Robert Novak has an interesting article outlining how Jim DeMint's (R, SC) stand-alone bill to require full disclosure of earmarks played out in the Senate on April 12. Novak's main point is that senate Democrats kept DeMint's bill at bay to allow Robert Byrd (D, WV) (pictured at right) the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, to enact the tough-on-earmarks rule before him, in order to hold the appearance of Democrats as the pro-transparency party. >... the Democrats prepared carefully. ...

Read Full Article Submit a Comment
 

The bill to give Washington D.C. residents their first-ever voting member of the House of Representatives and Utah an additional Representative, has been revamped and is back on the House floor today. When it came to the floor last month, it stalled because a group of Republican representatives attempted to attach a provision to it that would have lifted D.C.'s ban on semiautomatic weapons. It was originally numbered H.R.1433, but, after being being officially postponed on the House floor, a ...

Read Full Article Comments (1)
 

Here is the first report of President Bush's meeting today with the Democratic leadership to work out the stalemate over the supplemental war-funding bill. As expected, not much progress was made: >President Bush and Democratic leaders of Congress failed to reconcile key differences Wednesday over a disputed war-funding bill that would set deadlines for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. > >Bush met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Cabinet Room for more than an hour. Democr...

Read Full Article Submit a Comment
 

via The Politico's The Crypt: >An anonymous Senate Republican has placed a "hold" on a bill by Sens. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) to require Senate campaigns to file disclosure reports electronically. My guess is that it is Bob Bennett (R-UT). As we have reported in the past, he has some problem with this bill, which simply replaces an archaic, snail-mail-reliant campaign finance disclosure system with a more efficient one that is done electronically. As long as this ...

Read Full Article Comments (1)
 

Remember in March when Congress passed a bill that set an end date for the Iraq war? Well, the President didn't like it and he says he is going to veto it. But it hasn't happened yet. The bill is still in the negotiating stage, but, despite public opinion strongly on the side of Congress, it doesn't look like Bush is going to budge. On Wednesday, Democratic leaders Harry Reid (D, NV) and Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) (that's them on the right) will accept an invitation to meet with President Bush t...

Read Full Article Submit a Comment
 

More On the Cost of Earmarking

April 16, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

There are a lot of problems with the growth of earmarked spending -- lawmakers' pet projects get funded at the expense of tax payers, massive amounts of spending go forward without the possibility of anyone being held accountable, peer review and other spending safeguards are bypassed in the process, etc... But as earmark spending has quadrupled in the past 10 years, a new downside of earmarking has emerged: it is costing the government itself more money to operate. Recently, when the OMB was...

Read Full Article Submit a Comment
 

The Week Ahead in Congress

April 15, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate and the President will be at odds again this week as legislation is once again taken up in spite of a threatened veto. Last week, the Senate approved a bill to provide federal funding for stem cell research, a proposal that President Bush says crosses "a moral boundary." This week, they will convene at 2PM today to consider another bill under the threat of a veto -- S.372, the Intelligence Agencies FY2007 Authorization bill. The bill will serve as a blueprint for the Intelligence ...

Read Full Article Comments (1)
 

Bush Prepares For a Difficult Veto

April 13, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

This morning, President Bush prepared to veto the stem cell bill by practicing his rhetoric at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast: >Renewing the promise of America begins with upholding the dignity of human life. (Applause.) In our day, there is a temptation to manipulate life in ways that do not respect the humanity of the person. When that happens, the most vulnerable among us can be valued for their utility to others -- instead of their own inherent worth. We must continue to work for a...

Read Full Article Submit a Comment
 

Immigration Debate Moves to the Right

April 13, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Here is the AP's most recent analysis [links added] of the behind-the-scenes struggle to round up support for passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill this year: >The terms of the immigration debate have turned less friendly for illegal immigrants as lawmakers and the Bush administration struggle to reach a deal in the next few weeks. > >In an ironic twist, the outlines of a potential deal have moved to the right - toward a more difficult road to citizenship for the nation's roughly 1...

Read Full Article Comments (1)
 

Did President Bush and Senate Republicans pull a fast one yesterday on stem-cell-research-supporting Democrats? For some reason, eighteen Senate Democrats voted "aye" yesterday on two contradictory bills: one that would provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, and another that would put in place a law to permanently block federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. S.30, the bill that would block federal funding, was presented by Norm Coleman (R, MN) (pictured at right)...

Read Full Article Comments (1)
 

S.5, the bill to allow federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, will be voted on it the Senate in a matter of hours. President Bush has vowed to veto the bill if it passes. He vetoed this same bill when Congress approved it last year. This time around, the Senate is ever so close to having the two-thirds majority support that they need to override his veto and enact the bill anyways. Yesterday, two supporters of the bill disagreed over whether or not they have two-thirds support: ...

Read Full Article Submit a Comment
 

Are Republicans Starting to Crack on Iraq?

April 10, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The Politico is reporting that some Republicans are cracking on their opposition to a bill with a date for troops to be withdrawn from Iraq. >A diverse collection of House Republicans has formed an ad hoc group to negotiate with the White House on a compromise Iraq spending bill, Politico's Ryan Grim reports. The group plans to hold talks with National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, who has been working behind the scenes to cement opposition among Republicans to the spending bill that would ...

Read Full Article Submit a Comment