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Senate 9/11 Bill Snagged Once Again

March 8, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Yesterday, Senators approved an amendment to make the collective bargaining rights, given to TSA officers in the 9/11 bill, "waiveable" in emergency security situations. The Senators who voted for this amendment did so primarily to make the overall bill, which implements the unfinished recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, more palatable to the President, who is threatening a veto. With that issue partially resolved, a couple more seem to have come up. Subscription-only Congress Daily: ...

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Shopping For War Supplemental Votes

March 8, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

As the Democratic Leadership approaches a conclusion on how to address the issue of Iraq in the war supplemental funding bill, rumors, about unrelated funding that might be included in it, abound. The rumored additional funds may secure more votes for the bill, but they may also cause the President to veto it, citing its exorbitant cost. It could end up costing over $110 billion. This supplemental bill was originally intended to provide $93.4 billion in additional funds for the wars in Iraq ...

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Representative Steve Israel (D-NY) has a feeling that the division among House Democrats over how best to move forward with a plan for Iraq, which has been a highly discussed subject in the past week, may be reuniting around a new plan by David Obey (D-WI). Israel speaking to, subscription-only, Congress Daily after the Democratic caucus meeting that was held earlier this evening: >"I think you're getting fewer members demanding extremes and more trying to find a sensible compromise," Is...

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USA Today Redesigns To Help You Get Involved

March 6, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Craig Newmark tipped us off on USA Today's new Legislative Action Center. It's got some nice features that make it easier for people to get involved with pending legislation. For example, you can look up letter campaigns that you can easily sign onto by issue area, elected official, or state locality. If you look up elected officials (that's them on the right, pledging to work on your behalf) on the national, state, or local level, either by zip code or last name, you can see an abridged dir...

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9/11 Bill Takes a Leap Towards Oblivion

March 6, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate just voted to table the amendment by Jim DeMint (R-SC) that would strike the provision giving collective bargaining rights to TSA officers in S.4, a bill to implement the unfinished recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. To clarify, a vote to table a motion is a vote to leave it behind, unapproved. The vote found 51 in favor of tabling the amendment. 46 voted against tabling it, and three Senators did not vote. The vote was divided almost perfectly along party lines, with only ...

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Fired U.S. Attorneys Tell All

March 5, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Today, four subpoenaed U.S. attorneys who have been fired by the Bush administration in the last three months will undergo questioning in two separate congressional hearings. David Iglesias, Carol Lam, Bud Cummins, and John McKay will testify about the conditions surrounding their dismissals -- first, before the Senate Judiciary Committee at 10 AM, then again before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law at 2 PM. At the house hearing, the four prosecutors will be ...

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Tipping Point Approaches for Two Giant Issues

March 4, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

In Congress this week, the Senate and House of Representatives will be at opposite ends of highly controversial legislation. By the end of the week, when the Senate hopes to put S.4, a major Homeland Security bill to implement the unfinished recommendations of the 9/11 commission, to a final vote and the House Appropriations Committee begins to take up President Bush's $100 billion-plus supplemental war funding request, Congress will be holding a couple of the most important issues of our time i...

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In the Senate, a week of debate on S.4, a bill to implement the unfinished recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, is coming to and end. More work remains to be done, but a lot has been accomplished in this past week in the way of fine-tuning the bill and perfecting its provisions for ideal efficacy. For example, amendments to create a Rural Policing Institute, expand the reporting requirement on cross border interoperability, and to specify the criminal offenses that disqualify an applicant fr...

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The House of Representative is beginning debate on the second piece of labor-related legislation considered this week in Congres, despite presidential veto threats on both. The bill being debated in the House is H.R.800, the Employee Free Choice Act. The bill would remove the requirement that union elections be held by a secret ballot vote, a voting process similar to the one we use when voting for elected officials. Under the current rules, once 30% of a group of workers sign an authori...

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Early Reviews and Mentions of OpenCongress

February 28, 2007 - by David Moore

OpenCongress launched just this past Monday morning, and already we've been fortunate to receive some great notices from around the web. We're especially pleased that the links come from a mix of political bloggers, activists, tech observers, and broad-based social bookmarking sites. We hope that, in the future, these communities will continue to link to OpenCongress as a rich resource for capturing the "big picture" around bills and issues at stake in Congress. Here are a few noteworthy me...

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The House Appropriations Committee today set a target date of March 7 to begin their role in preparing President Bush's $93.4 billion war supplemental appropriations request. Once the committee is done tweaking the supplemental war request, probably about a week later, it will be sent to the House floor, where its future is looking more and more uncertain. This morning at the Republican Conference meeting, House Minority Leader John Boehner told members to vote against the supplemental fundin...

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Democrats Divided Over How to Deal With Iraq

February 28, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

After a series of repeated defeats in the Senate, Democrats are slowing down to reevaluate their plans for dealing with Iraq legislation. So far, three Iraq resolutions have been pushed forward by the Senate Democratic leadership, including one by Joe Biden (pictured at right), but all three failed to find enough support to even make it to debate on the Senate floor. On the other hand, the House of Representatives was successful in passing a non-binding resolution expressing their disapprova...

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Cloture Votes Explained

February 27, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

In response to a comment on one of this site's recent blog posts, we would like to try to describe what a cloture vote actually is. Cloture votes have been invoked and rejected three times recently in the Senate, each time on a motion to proceed to debate of an Iraq resolution (S.Con.Res.2, S.470, and S.574). The events have been covered by the media as "blocked debates." The reports generally mention the cloture procedure in passing, but do not go into the details of what cloture is and ho...

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The next phase in the budgeting process begins today. The Congressional Budget Office today issued its biennial "Budget Options" report. The report comes about three weeks after President Bush issued his 2008 budget proposal. The CBO report's basic functions are to examine the presidential budget proposal and suggest options for altering it to make it fit with the budget goals on Congress. It will serve as a guidebook for lawmakers as they begin to set budget priorities, make changes, and ada...

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How To Use OpenCongress

February 26, 2007 - by David Moore

We've just completed the first day of public launch here at OpenCongress -- welcome to everyone reading. Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about our launch by blogging about our site, and especially to everyone who wrote in with feedback and suggestions, please keep it coming: writeus@opencongress.org. Every day, our Congress Gossip Blog will highlight useful news and blog reporting from around the web and offer summaries of Congressional actions. Today, I wanted to start out by...

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