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The House of Representatives passed the first part of their 100 hour plan on Tuesday in about 6 hours and 30 minutes. The vote was a bipartisan 299-128 to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. This leaves a little more than 93 hours to complete and pass the remaining 5 bills that the Democrats promised to pass in their first 100 legislative hours. They plan on churning these bills out, one a day. The rest of the schedule looks like this: Wednesday, January 10 - Increas...

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House to Vote on New Security Measures Today

January 9, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The House of Representatives today will be voting on H.R. 1, a bill to implement the 9/11 Commission Recommendations. The most controversial measure included in the bill is a plan to inspect all cargo that comes into the United States on commercial ships and flights. Currently only about 15% of cargo is inspected. Opponents of the measure worry that the inspections will be too costly and slow down the ports too much. Some airlines are worried that the new law could reverse an arrangement t...

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Congress is Working Towards Their First Vetoed Bill

January 9, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The Democratic majority is planning on introducing and passing bills that they know will never be signed into law. Putting a bill through the entire legislative process takes an enormous amount of time and effort that could otherwise be spent working on bills that have a chance of becoming laws. A good example of this is a bill to promote embryonic stem cell research that is going to be introduced in the Senate this week. The funny thing about introducing this bill is that they passed this...

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Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) will be introducing a bill to the Senate today that would require the President to get the consent of Congress before he can increase the number of troops in Iraq. The bill seeks to deny the use of Federal funds for sending more troops to Iraq. The bill may not have the support it would need to pass through the Senate, but it will at least serve to put every Senator on record as being essentially for or against the surge in Iraq. The record of the vote on thi...

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Congress will be considering a new Energy package on January 18. The big thing that's going to be up for vote in the bill is some incentives that American oil companies get for drilling in publicly-owned property. These incentives were brought to the public's attention through a New York Times article from late December. The Times got their hands on a report from the Interior Department that suggests that the incentives are not paying off. Here is some text from the unlinkable article: ...

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Bush's Column About Working With the New Congress

January 3, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

President Bush released a column in the Wall Street Journal today called "What the Congress Can Do for America." The new Congress that convenes tomorrow will be the first one with a Democratic majority that he has dealt with during his presidency. The president has the final say in the law-making process because he has to approve all the bills that the Congress passes before they actually become laws. The big unknown right now is how willing Bush is going to be to sign Democrats' bil...

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So I have been traveling around the country for the past couple of weeks doing all sorts of festive things, but I am back and getting ready for Congress to convene on Thursday. The new Democratic Congress is likely to pass pay-as-you-go budgeting rules in their first few days. Pay-as-you-go, or Paygo, makes it so that any spending that Congress approves must be payed for by an equal gain in money somewhere else. The plan, if working perfectly, balances the budget deficit, because there...

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The 109th Congress only passed bills to fund the departments of Defense and Homeland Security for the next year. Every other area, covered by 9 other appropriations bills, is going to see major impacts in their funding. The areas where people will probably feel it the most would be covered under the Labor, HHS (Health and Human Services), Education Appropriations Bill. But since it didn't pass, and because of the 110th Congress' plan to deal with it, programs that affect the day-to-day for to...

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Earmark reform has been a major issue in the Democratic take over of Congress. Earmarks are inserted into bills by lawmakers to secure money for their own pet projects. They don't go through the normal process of approval. They slide by along side other, bigger issues that are being voted on. The 109th Congress has been criticized over and over as an example of their financial irresponsibility, and the Democrats are planning a major overhaul of the earmarking system before they begin their ow...

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New Info on Farm Subsidies Released

December 20, 2006 - by Donny Shaw

The USDA has just released detailed information on who has been receiving nearly $56 billion in farm subsides over the past few years. This information is coming out weeks before the 110th Congress is going to be drafting up a new six-year farm bill. Government subsidies for farmers have reached an all time high, and with lawmakers intent on reducing excess spending, it is likely that they will be looking closely at this information to see who it's going to, and where it can be cut. This i...

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Out-of-Business Congress

December 19, 2006 - by Donny Shaw

Today, we get a chance to take an inside look at a biennial Congressional phenomenon called "Moving-out Day", which is a day when those who were voted out of office or whose terms are ending have to get their stuff out of the Capitol Building. Today was moving day for Conrad Burns(R-MT). ...

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Pelosi Announces New Ethics Leader

December 19, 2006 - by Donny Shaw

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that Stephanie Tubbs Jones will be taking over as chairwoman on the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. This will be a crucial position in the shape of the Democratic party, as they have made ethics reform such a large part of their agenda. In fact, the Democrats won their majority in part because of corruption scandals in the Republican 109th Congress. You can get to know her starting with this picture: Stephanie Tubbs Jones general...

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Republicans See Hypocrisy in the 100-Hour Plan

December 17, 2006 - by Donny Shaw

Posted by Republican Rep. Tom Price on The Hill's Congress Blog: Democrats Have a Difficult Time With the Truth, December 15th, 2006 Hypocrisy reigns in the legislative process. The 110th Congress has yet to begin, but Democrats are putting in place plans to deny Republicans the opportunity to fully participate in the legislative process. Their claims of having the “most open and honest government in history” appear to be nothing more than election year rhetoric. During the Democrats’ ...

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Republican Senator Heading to Syria

December 16, 2006 - by Donny Shaw

As reports lately are indicating that President Bush is rejecting most of the dramatic options presented in the bipartisan Iraq Study Group Report, some Senators are starting to become more vocal on the issue. The Report suggested opening up communications with Iraq's highly influential neighbors Iran and Syria. Several Democrats are planning trips to the region to discuss options with area leaders, but Republican senatorArlen Specter is going as well. Bush has been very critical of these trip...

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Pelosi's Reform Plan

December 15, 2006 - by Donny Shaw

Congress Daily got a hold of some materials from a conference call briefing incoming House Democrats on Pelosi's plan for reform. The plans that were laid out will be voted on as soon as Congress convenes on January 4. The proposal, which is still in development, would with some exceptions ban gifts, meals and travel for members and staff from lobbyists and the organizations that employ them. Sponsored one-day trips to visit a site, attend a forum, and participate in a panel or to give a sp...

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