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The Senate will be back in session at 2PM this afternoon to begin debate on S.4, a bill to implement the unfinished recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. The thing that has people holding their breath as this debate begins is whether or not legislators will try to attach their competing Iraq resolutions to it as amendments. Doing so could potentially cause the whole bill, which has overwhelming majority support, to be scrapped. Articles outlining this possibility can be found all over the in...

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Members of Congress will face some tough legislating as they return today from a week-long President's Day recess. On Thursday, the House of Representatives is scheduled to debate the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that has almost no support from Republicans but has enough support to pass on the Democratic sponsors' votes alone. The Senate is where things could get really tense this week, as Senators address the largely bi-partisan 9/11 Commission bill under the shadow of dueling partisan reso...

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Stakes Increase In Congressional Battle Over Iraq

February 23, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Democratic Senators Joe Biden (DE) and Carl Levin (MI) will be returning from recess on Tuesday the 27th, ready to place their new Iraq resolution on the table. Their new plan is different from the non-binding resolutions that have been repeatedly blocked from debate in the Senate -- if approved, it would actually become law. The plan calls for Congress' 2002 authorization of the war in Iraq to be replaced with an obligation to begin deploying the majority of U.S. troops out of Iraq by March, 2...

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Lawmakers Look Beyond The CR, To The War Supplemental

February 13, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The continuing resolution (CR), which must be approved by the Senate by Thursday, Feb. 15th in order to avoid a partial shutdown of the federal government, is currently the topic of Senate debate. But even before debate on the CR had begun in the Senate, the bill was already weighed down with the maximum amount of amendments that can be offered to any one bill. All of theses amendments came from one person, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Reid proposed the amendments as a procedural...

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This Week's Events Reinvigorate Last Week's Discourse

February 12, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate and House of Representatives will be trading tasks for the rest of the week. Each chambers will spend the week debating what their opposite chamber debated last week; the Senate will focus on the House-passed continuing resolution that will fund much of the federal government for the current fiscal year, while the House of Representatives will attempt to pass what the Senate failed to pass last week: an Iraq resolution. As Carl Hulse points out in the New York Times' Caucus blog, t...

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Here's a quick round-up of the latest news on several fronts in Congress. First, an important piece of news from Congresspedia: "Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-Ga.) [pictured at right] has decided to forgo further treatment for lung cancer which has now spread to his liver. He is leaving Washington immediately to receive hospice care at his home in Georgia. (AP story)." Second, from the Washington Post politics blog, "The Fix," comes this juicy list of Congressional endorsements already secured by 2...

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Earmarking Season Begins

February 7, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Some bloggers got a hold of this email that was circulated today, calling for senators to submit their earmark requests so they can be included in the 2008 budget: > From: Kratz, Jeff (Appropriations) > > Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 12:11 PM > > To: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX > > Subject: Subcommittee deadline > > > The Labor-HHS deadline for all requests will be April 13, 2007. > > This deadline includes any programmatic funding, project funding, bill or report lan...

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Some Early Remaks on Bush's '08 Budget Proposal

February 6, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

On Monday, President Bush issued a 2,500 page, four-volume tome outlining his $2.9 trillion federal budget proposal for fiscal year 2008. It will take some time for all the details of the the Bush budget proposal to be digested, but some analyses of its general trends are already emerging. Congress Daily provided this view of discretionary spending (the optional spending determined in the budget each year, as opposed to mandatory spending on entitlements) in the proposal: Bush propose...

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Iraq Resolution Blocked From Debate

February 5, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The non-binding Warner-Levin Iraq resolution, which states that the Senate "disagrees" with the plan to increase the amount of troops in Iraq, was blocked from debate in the Senate yesterday. Republicans voted almost unanimously against a motion to begin debate on the resolution because they wanted the chance to debate other Republican-authored resolutions as well. That is, at least, the reason being stated for their vote to block debate; they are protesting the Democratic leadership, who they ...

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On Jan. 9, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) introduced a bill that would require Congress' approval before additional troops or funds could be sent to the war in Iraq. This bill was the first of an ensuing barrage of variegated Iraq-related resolutions. Now, almost a month later, the Senate is getting ready to begin its debate on the first of these bills with one that is so different from Kennedy's that it explicitly does nothing to affect the war. The Warner-Levin resolution, which will be the sub...

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Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is pushing hard for legislation to counteract global warming. Today marks a critical moment in her fight. The first of three reports released today by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change says that global warming is caused by human activity and quick action is needed. It is backed by support of officials from 113 countries, including the United States. "The scientific debate is over. We will ...

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Congress Daily, a subscription-only insider publication, offers this interesting view of the budget battles between the Senate, the House, and the Administration. The article sees these issues emerging with the currently-pending continuing resolution as indicative of the ones that will guide work on the upcoming 2008 fiscal budget. From the article: House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee ranking member David Hobson, R-Ohio, and Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcomm...

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After nine days of heated debate, the Senate today approved an amended version of H.R.2, a bill to increase the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 over two years. A minimum wage increase had across-the-board support from Senate Democrats and considerable support from Senate Republicans. The parties clashed to the point of filibuster (a parliamentary stall tactic) over a package of small businesses tax cuts that Republicans wanted to accompany the bill and Democrats did not. Democrats finally vot...

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The Continuing Resolution (CR) that will fund much of the government for the remainder of the fiscal year (ending on September 30) passed the House of Representatives today. The vote was a bipartisan 286-140, but it came after a bitter and partisan showdown over the rules governing how the bill would be considered. The rules barred amendments from the bill and allowed only one hour of debate. The vote on these rules was the most partisan of the 110th Congress thus far. The vote was 225 in fa...

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Two hearings addressing issues of global climate change were held in Congress today. The Senate heard preliminary testimonies on the issue from many prominent senators. In the House, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform's hearing focused on a review of allegations that the Bush administration has been editing scientific papers related to climate change and global warming. The hearing held by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform took place today despite the dis...

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