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Two New Polls, Choose Your Results

April 10, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Two new polls have just been released, and regardless of which side you are more inclined to favor -- the Republican President or the Democratic-controlled Congress -- there is one for you to be proud of. The USA Today/Gallop poll has Instapundit declaring: "Congress's Approval Rate: Still lower than Bush's. And disapproval is higher" The Gallop poll itself put it this way: >Gallup's monthly update on key trends and indicators finds a modest improvement in the approval ratings Amer...

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Stem Cell Bill to Test Bush's Morals Once Again

April 9, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The bill to provide federal funding for embryonic stem cell research is going to beat the war-funding supplemental in becoming the first vetoed bill of the 110th Congress. It is scheduled to be voted on later this week and vetoed soon thereafter. This bill has already been vetoed once before. In the previous (109th) Congress, it was approved by the Republican-led House and Senate, but fell just short of the two-thirds supermajority needed to override a presidential veto. Now, In the De...

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Where Things Stand As the Senate Returns

April 9, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate will be back from Easter recess tomorrow. Here are a couple strands of news to catch up on before then: Compromised Veto Fodder First off, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (pictured at right) and John Boehner (R-OH), the Republican leaders from the Senate and House, are asking Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to bring the House of Representatives back from recess early. The Republican leaders want to begin negotiating a compromise bill between the supplemental war funding bills, as passed i...

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Submit a Tip and Help Open Up Congress

April 5, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Do you know something about Congress that you want to see published on our front page? You may have some of the best, juiciest information about Congress, and if you want more people to know about it, submit a tip to be published on OpenCongress and the Congress Gossip Blog. Anyone can submit a tip, either anonymously, or attributed to your name and email address. You can submit just about anything -- news about Congress that is slipping under the media radar, a cool Congress-related news or b...

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What's going to happen once the President vetoes the war funding bill that Congress approved last week? Basically, the Democratic leadership (pictured at right), in both the House and the Senate, are going to have to write a new version of the bill and go through the same nerve-wracking process that they went through last time -- wrangling support from less-than-satisfied lawmakers, vote by vote. Paul Kane, at the Capitol Briefing blog, has some insights into what they will be up against this t...

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A group of Representatives today sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) asking her to oppose any legislation that would allow immigrants who are currently here illegally, to participate in a path to citizenship program. The letter below was signed by 97 members of the House of Representatives. It was written and circulated by Representatives Brian Bilbray (R-CA)[at right] and Lamar Smith (R-TX). Where they state, in the first line, that the group of supporters is "Democratic ...

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Way To Be, OMB!

April 4, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The Office of Management and Budget today released a database of all the earmarks in the Fiscal Year 2005 budget. Hopefully they will get in the habit of putting together a database like this for all future budgets. Having this information available is a huge step forward for government transparency and accountability. But, if we really want to keep our elected officials accountable, we will need all the current information as it is put into current budgets by officials who are currently in ...

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By far, the most commonly searched for term on OpenCongress is "Immigration." It is searched for nearly twice as often as the next most common search term, "Obama," and more than three times more often than "Iraq." Despite all of the interest, Congress has been slow to move on immigration legislation. Here's an overview of where things stand on this issue right now: As they have on almost every other major issue so far, the House of Representatives is moving more quickly on a comprehensive ...

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To get a sense of the interweaving narratives currently playing out with the Congress-approved Iraq funding and troop withdrawal bill and President Bush's threatened veto, take a look at the titles of the most recent sequence of AP articles categorized under "Congress": Senate Democrats Vow to Push Withdrawal 1 Apr. 12:38:15 Obama Says Congress Will Fund Iraq War 1 Apr. 16:02:02 McConnell Wants Quick Action on Iraq 2 Apr. 00:18:17 Each one of these articles rehashes some mater...

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Have you been following the news about the recent votes in the House and the Senate on the Iraq War, but aren't sure of the full details or implications? Or do you want to find out how your Representative or Senators voted? Even if you don't know the name of the bill in question, OpenCongress makes it easier to find. Just check out the bill on OpenCongress that's most written-about in the news and the bill most written-about on blogs -- they're both in the "sort-by" drop-down box on the "Bills" p...

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Budget Rightgeousness and the Left's Resolution

March 29, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The House of Representatives is slated to vote today on a budget resolution that Republicans claim constitutes "the largest tax increase in U.S. history." Budget resolutions are not what one might assume they are. This resolution is not the one used to dish out funds to programs and agencies for the next fiscal year. It is a resolution that takes a macro-perspective of the budget, establishing spending levels for entitlement programs, like Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, as well as ...

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Great Uses of OpenCongress From Around the Web

March 28, 2007 - by David Moore

About one month ago, OpenCongress opened its doors publicly, and since then we've been enthusiastically watching as bloggers and groups have picked up the site and started running with it. Here are some links to great uses of OpenCongress by political bloggers, membership groups, and people looking for an easy way to keep in touch with Congress. First, in the days after our launch last month we had a good rush of early mentions in news and blog outlets. We especially followed the comments and...

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GOP Victory Protects Security Informants

March 28, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The Rail and Public Transportation Security Act of 2007 passed the House yesterday, but not before a provision, staunchly opposed by the bill's sponsor and Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Bennie Thompson (D-MS), was attached to it. The provision is based on a bill introduced last week by Steve Pearce (R-NM). It protects citizens who report suspicious activity from lawsuits. The bill was introduced, largely, in response to an incident that took place earlier this year. Re...

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has decided to forgo the routine cloture battle that has repeatedly led to Republican victories against Democrat-sponsored Iraq legislation. The legislation currently at hand is nearly identical to a bill that Republicans defeated by cloture on March 15. It sets a series of benchmarks for the Iraqi government and a non-binding timetable for a U.S. troop withdrawal. This time however, these Iraq provisions are attached to an emergency war funding bi...

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Senate Struggles to Do What Makes Sense

March 26, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

via In Broad Daylight: The Senate Rules and Administration Committee is planning to mark-up a bill on Wednesday to require senators to file their campaign-finance reports electronically. Consider the way the reports are filed currently: >Instead of quickly downloading their campaign financing data directly to the Federal Election Commission, like everybody else [the House of Representatives and Presidential candidates], senators print out their records on paper and snail-mail them to the S...

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