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donnyshaw 04/10/2008 3:47pm

Somebody just mentioned this page on digg.com in conjunction with a NYT article on extending unemployment benefits.

Digg.com is a news site with a huge audience — it may be worth quickly registering an account there and “digging” this to get it to the front page where thousands of people will see it.

http://digg.com/politics/A_call_to_extend_unemployment_benefits

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donnyshaw 04/10/2008 3:35pm

Hi Anonymous,

Yes, of course Clyburn’s explanation is basically talking point material. That’s why I also provided links to two articles that attempt to give deeper explanations of what is behind the Democrats’ move here.

donnyshaw 03/19/2008 3:08pm

Here’s a really good picture of what Braille flags look like:

http://www.kbti.org/images/americanflag03.jpg

donnyshaw 03/18/2008 11:20am

When to Expect Your Stimulus Check:

http://www.opencongress.org/articles/view/450-When-to-Expect-Your-Stimulus-Check

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donnyshaw 03/18/2008 9:55am

Hi Anonymous,

The Senate was in pro-forma session this morning. During a pro-forma sessions no votes are held and no legislative business is conducted. It is a formality that is used to keep Congress technically in session so that the President cannot legally bypass the Senate confirmation process for appointing government officials.

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donnyshaw 03/15/2008 9:11am

Just FYI, if everyone registers with this site and logs in, you’ll all get the ability to rate the comments on this board using a simple sider bar and collectively filter out the ones that you think are inappropriate, inaccurate, etc.

Once five people rate a comment lower than “5,” it will not be viewable unless you choose to view all comments.

Just scroll up to the upper right corner of this page and click on “Join OpenCongress,” or copy/paste this url into your browser:

http://www.opencongress.org/register

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donnyshaw 03/13/2008 9:17am

If the House and Senate end up agreeing to include the unemployment benefits in the budget resolution, they’ll still need to enact the extension separately. If that happens as part of the normal budget/appropriations process, it could take until the fall or next winter to actually be enacted.

So, if Congress signifies a willingness to extend unemployment benefits by including it in the budget resolution, the push will then be to get them to enact it soon, via this bill.

donnyshaw 03/13/2008 8:59am

Here’s an excerpt from Congressdaily (3/11), a subscription-only insider news source:

The Senate’s budget resolution includes $35 billion for a second economic stimulus package that was originally intended to accommodate an extension of unemployment benefits, a temporary increase in food stamps, and low-income heating assistance. Conrad said Monday that money could go toward housing legislation.

The House version does not include any provisions for a second stimulus plan.

On Monday, House Budget Chairman Spratt said increasing unemployment benefits is likely to have the best chance in the House. “The rate of unemployment is rather low at this point in time, but if the economy gets worse, the rate of unemployment is bound to go up,” he said.

“I would think if it goes up above a certain level — 6 percent, 6 1/2 percent — I’m just stabbing at a number, with some level of seriousness, then I think we would at least come back and consider that component of an additional stimulus.”

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donnyshaw 03/06/2008 3:23pm

If you click on the “See Full Voting History” button above, you will see that Kennedy voted “nay” on final passage of the FISA bill. There were also a dozen or so votes on amendments to the bill before it s final passage — you can also see how he voted on each of those.

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donnyshaw 03/06/2008 3:22pm

If you click on the “See Full Voting History” button above, you will see that Kerry voted “nay” on final passage of the FISA bill. There were also a dozen or so votes on amendments to the bill before it s final passage — you can also see how he voted on each of those.

donnyshaw 03/03/2008 10:32am

The latest relevant blurb from the unlinkable CongressDaily:

A GAO report released today found that banks are doing a poor job disclosing their fees to their customers. GAO investigators — posing as customers — found that about 20 percent of branches they visited could not provide them with detailed fee information and account terms. They also could not find such fee information on the Web; about 50 percent of the sites checked lacked such notice. GAO recommended federal banking regulators do a better job on oversight.

The findings come as consumers paid more than $36 billion in fees for checking and savings accounts in 2006. Customers are paying more for such penalties because the average fees for insufficient funds, overdrafts, stop-payment on checks and other items have increased by at least 10 percent since 2000.

House Financial Services Financial Institutions Subcommittee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y, requested the report. Maloney has spoken out against what she labels excessive bank fees and has sponsored legislation that would require banks to provide a warning to ATM customers when they are about to make an overdraft on their account. The bill was slated to be marked up by the House Financial Services Committee last year, but has been delayed by bank and credit-union opposition.

donnyshaw 02/28/2008 8:15am

This bill is going to be included in Congress’s budget resolution. CongressDaily reports:

The budget resolution will include a separate $35 billion economic-stimulus bill that will be made up of an unemployment insurance extension, a temporary increase in food stamps and low-income heating assistance. Conrad said the stimulus bill will not be offset. The budget resolution will designate the stimulus bill as emergency spending.

Conrad said the next stimulus package is designed to sweep in “things that were left out of the previous stimulus package.” He also pointed to CBO’s analysis that an unemployment extension and food stamp increases are most likely to have an immediate positive impact on the economy.

The Senate’s next stimulus bill will not include additional federal money for Medicaid. State governors and more than 70 health and labor groups have lobbied for a temporary increase in Medicaid as part of a stimulus package, but their pleas have largely fallen on deaf ears.

via OMB Watch: http://www.ombwatch.org/article/blogs/entry/4651

donnyshaw 02/13/2008 7:21pm

Bush’s statement upon signing the bill today:

“Congress passed a really good piece of legislation, and they did so in a very expeditious manner. The bill I’m signing today is large enough to have an impact — amounting to more than $152 billion this year, or about 1 percent of GDP. The bill provides temporary tax incentives for businesses to make investments in their companies so that we create new jobs this year. The bill provides individual tax relief in the form of tax rebates. These rebates will amount to as much as $600 for individuals and $1,200 for married couples, with additional rebates for families with children.”

“The members resisted the temptation to load up this bill with unrelated programs or unnecessary spending, and I appreciate that. I thank the members for acting quickly. I thank them for acting to provide immediate tax relief to the American people.”

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/02/20080213-3.html

donnyshaw 02/13/2008 7:18pm

One of the big questions relating to how effective this bill will be is whether or not people will actually spend their rebate checks.

The National Retail Federation just released their results of a survey they conducted on the matter.

“According to a new National Retail Federation survey, conducted by BIGresearch, consumers plan to spend 40.6 percent of tax rebate checks when they are distributed later this year, which will provide an immediate $42.9 billion boost to the economy. The survey also found that the $105.7 billion distributed in tax rebate checks will be used to pay down debt ($30.0 billion), saved ($19.8 billion), invested ($4.4 billion), and used to pay down medical bills ($4.6 billion).”

“‘Tax rebate checks should have the desired effect of both bolstering the economy in the short-term and putting consumers in a better position to spend for the future,’ said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. ‘This stimulus package is a crucial component to economic recovery and will provide much-needed relief to American shoppers.’”

More:

http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=News&op=viewlive&sp_id=478

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donnyshaw 02/10/2008 9:50pm

Hi, Anonymous. I noticed this article posted above in OpenCongress’s news coverage of the bill that answers you question about SSI.

http://usgovinfo.about.com/b/2008/02/09/ssi-and-the-tax-rebate-checks.htm

excerpt:

“Based on the Economic Stimulus Bill as passed by Congress, persons with income from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) alone will not qualify for a tax rebate check.”

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donnyshaw 02/09/2008 8:42am

Hi Anonymouses, thanks for the useful insights here.

From reading the bill, my understanding is that the rebates are coming to us as advances on a one-year tax cut (reducing the 10 percent bracket to zero), which will be figured when we file in 2008. It’ll be like a federal tax refund — not deductible and not taxable as income.

http://www.opencongress.org/articles/view/418-Stimulus-Bill-Misconceptions

p.s. why not register an account and post your comments under a username so the conversation is easier to follow..

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donnyshaw 01/31/2008 8:00pm

Hi, Alyce. “SD-226” actually refers to the room in the Senate Building where the meeting is going to be held. It’s worth noting that it’s the House’s version of this bill that has done most of the moving forward in Congress towards becoming a law. You may want to monitor that bill page (linked to above in the “related bills” column) and its news and blog coverage to be alerted if and when Senator Sessions drops his “hold” and allows it to be voted on by the Senate. As far as I can tell, there’s no way to know if that’s going to happen.

Anyone got an inside scoop on this bill’s status?

Here’s the URL for the House version::

http://www.opencongress.org/bill/110-h1593/show

donnyshaw 01/24/2008 8:03am

Alex Stenback has heard from “a very reliable source” that much of the FHA modernization bill (S.2338) will be included in the economic stimulus package:

“Sources in the House, the Senate, and the White House are all indicating today that a tentative consensus has been reached that the economic stimulus bill that Congress will send to the President will include much of the FHA Reform Legislation including raising the FHA loan limit max to match the FHA conforming limit AND a one year raise of the conforming limit to $625,000 with the possibility of an additional one year extension at expiration. All sources also indicate Congress will deliver the bill to the President before their break in mid-February and that it should be signed by the end of February. Obviously this is not “done” but all of the sources I am using are very close to the action. This would mean that we could see at least the loan limit portions of the legislation we are hoping for within the next 6 weeks."

http://www.behindthemortgage.com/behind_the_mortgage/2008/01/news-on-conform.html

And below are some reactions to the “news”:

http://calculatedrisk.blogspot.com/2008/01/were-all-jumbo-subprime-now.html
http://www.chrishayes.org/blog/2008/jan/24/worst-stimulus-ever/

donnyshaw 01/24/2008 8:01am

Alex Stenback has heard from “a very reliable sourse” that much of this bill (but an even higher loan limit) will be included in the economic stimulus package:

“Sources in the House, the Senate, and the White House are all indicating today that a tentative consensus has been reached that the economic stimulus bill that Congress will send to the President will include much of the FHA Reform Legislation including raising the FHA loan limit max to match the FHA conforming limit AND a one year raise of the conforming limit to $625,000 with the possibility of an additional one year extension at expiration. All sources also indicate Congress will deliver the bill to the President before their break in mid-February and that it should be signed by the end of February. Obviously this is not “done” but all of the sources I am using are very close to the action. This would mean that we could see at least the loan limit portions of the legislation we are hoping for within the next 6 weeks."

http://www.behindthemortgage.com/behind_the_mortgage/2008/01/news-on-conform.html

And below are some reactions to the “news”:

http://calculatedrisk.blogspot.com/2008/01/were-all-jumbo-subprime-now.html
http://www.chrishayes.org/blog/2008/jan/24/worst-stimulus-ever/

donnyshaw 01/24/2008 7:05am

Bloomberg this morning released a description of what the stimulus package is shaping up to look like ::

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=atd7gXmX2POw&refer=home

Krugman is not happy with it ::

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/01/24/stimulus-disappointment/

donnyshaw 01/23/2008 7:44pm

These new numbers out from the MPAA should help the cause of getting the filesharing provision out of this bill:

“Yesterday, the Motion Picture Association of America admitted something that many of us had suspected all along – an MPAA-funded study showing that 44% of the industry’s losses came from illegal downloading of movies by college students using campus networks was overstated by a factor of 3. The MPAA now says that only 15% of its losses come from campus activity.”

http://www.publicknowledge.org/node/1363

donnyshaw 01/23/2008 7:40pm

The new numbers from the MPAA may help the cause of getting the p2p provision out of this bill:

“Yesterday, the Motion Picture Association of America admitted something that many of us had suspected all along – an MPAA-funded study showing that 44% of the industry’s losses came from illegal downloading of movies by college students using campus networks was overstated by a factor of 3. The MPAA now says that only 15% of its losses come from campus activity.”

http://www.publicknowledge.org/node/1363

Moderated Comment

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donnyshaw 01/21/2008 6:37am

Here’s a video of the whole conference:: http://video.energypolicytv.com/displaypage.php?vkey=9337587f6ab6397699af&channel=Natural%20Gas

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donnyshaw 01/18/2008 6:51pm

Just a quick follow up: this bill is back on track to becoming law. It’s been revamped to address the President’s concerns and approved one again by the House. It now heads to the Senate where it is expected to be easily approved before going to Bush to be signed into law. More here: http://www.opencongress.org/articles/view/390-Showdown-Avoided

Moderated Comment

donnyshaw 01/17/2008 12:02pm

This bill — or any climate change bill for that matter — probably won’t be approved during this session of Congress. It’ll almost certainly come up for a vote, but I don’t think the support is there to pass it. Nonetheless, it’s going to be a big factor in how the U.S. responds policy-wise to climate change in the future. Representatives form the oil, coal and gas industries met up for a conference yesterday and agreed that debate of this bill will set the marker for debates next year. And, since its emissions requirements are weaker than some other bills in Congress, that they should support it as the best proposal they are likely to get. Interesting. Bill Scher has more :: http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/fossil-fuel-ceos-their-heels

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donnyshaw 01/15/2008 6:56am

It’s going to be really interesting to see what happens next with this bill. President Bush is claiming that he pocket vetoed this bills by not signing it while Congress was on vacation; Congressional Democrats say that they were actually in session (the Senate was holding pro-forma sessions).

According to an article yesterday from CQ, Bush has decided to return the bill to Congress as if he had simply vetoed it. And Democrats still haven’t decided whether they are going to take the bait and attempt a veto override that may fail, or let the issues escalate into an all out constitutional showdown. There’s a good chance they may fail at that as well. With VA payments, military bonuses and the like on the table, I’m guessing they are going to play it safe by attempting a veto override, and if i fails, quickly working out their differences with the President to get the bill passed and signed as soon as possible.

http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?parm1=5&docID=cqmidday-000002654965

Moderated Comment

donnyshaw 01/14/2008 5:49am

But most of the money is going to really solid places. For example, according to the Carmen Group, the money in this bill is only the baseline amount needed to continue medical research at the same level it’s at today. Taking funding out of the bill would essentially eliminate a lot of very important programs.

http://www.carmengroup.com/education/


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donnyshaw’s Supported Bills

Bill Status Last Action
S.1285 Fair Elections Now Act (110th congress) Introduced Jun 20, 2007
S.223 Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act (110th congress) Introduced Apr 26, 2007
H.R.4936 Antifreeze Bittering Act of 2007 (110th congress) Introduced Jan 16, 2008
H.R.4544 Code Talkers Recognition Act of 2007 (110th congress) Bill Is Law Oct 15, 2008
S.2690 American Braille Flag Memorial Act (110th congress) Introduced Mar 04, 2008
S.2746 OPEN FOIA Act of 2008 (110th congress) Introduced Mar 12, 2008
H.R.3548 Plain Language in Government Communications Act of 2007 (110th congress) House Passed Aug 01, 2008
H.R.5734 Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2008 (110th congress) Introduced Apr 09, 2008
H.R.6104 Enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Act of 2008 (110th congress) Introduced Jun 03, 2008
H.Res.63 Amending the Rules of the House of Representatives to ensure that Members have a reasonable amount of time to read legislation that will be voted upon. (110th congress) Introduced Jan 12, 2007
H.R.6209 Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (110th congress) Introduced Jun 09, 2008
H.Res.504 Amending the Rules of the House of Representatives to require that legislation and conference reports be available on the Internet for 72 hours before consideration by the House, and for other purposes. (110th congress) Introduced Jun 20, 2007
H.R.6052 Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act of 2008 (110th congress) House Passed Jun 27, 2008
H.R.3981 Preserve America and Save America's Treasures Act (110th congress) House Passed Jul 09, 2008
H.R.5811 Electronic Communications Preservation Act (110th congress) House Passed Jul 10, 2008
H.R.1254 Presidential Library Donation Reform Act of 2007 (110th congress) House Passed Oct 22, 2007
S.1382 ALS Registry Act (110th congress) Bill Is Law Oct 08, 2008
H.R.4038 For the relief of Adrian Rodriguez. (110th congress) Introduced Oct 31, 2007
H.R.14 Congressional Integrity and Pension Forfeiture Act of 2007 (110th congress) Introduced Jul 31, 2007
S.3077 Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in Federal Spending Act of 2008 (110th congress) Introduced Jun 03, 2008

donnyshaw’s Opposed Bills

Bill Status Last Action
S.2596 Semper Fi Act (110th congress) Introduced Feb 11, 2008
S.3401 Enemy Combatant Detention Review Act of 2008 (110th congress) Introduced Jul 31, 2008
S.3325 The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act of 2008 (110th congress) Bill Is Law Oct 13, 2008
H.R.6975 Jihad Prevention Act (110th congress) Introduced Sep 18, 2008
H.R.1424 Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (110th congress) Bill Is Law Oct 03, 2008
H.R.5191 To prohibit the use of Federal funds to carry out the highway project known as the "Trans-Texas Corridor". (110th congress) Introduced Jan 30, 2008
S.256 Bankruptcy Reform bill (109th congress) Bill Is Law Apr 20, 2005
S.3688 Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2008 (110th congress) Introduced Nov 18, 2008
S.3207 Respecting States Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2008 (110th congress) Introduced Jun 26, 2008
H.Res.1258 Impeaching George W. Bush, President of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors. (110th congress) Introduced Jun 11, 2008
S.1959 Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 (110th congress) Introduced Aug 02, 2007
H.R.1955 Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 (110th congress) House Passed Oct 24, 2007
S.3111 Life at Conception Act (110th congress) Introduced Jun 11, 2008
S.2191 America's Climate Security Act of 2007 (110th congress) Introduced May 20, 2008
H.R.7303 Consumer and Automotive Recovery Act of 2008 (110th congress) Introduced Nov 20, 2008
H.R.4157 Sanctity of Human Life Act (110th congress) Introduced Feb 25, 2008
H.R.25 Fair Tax Act of 2007 (110th congress) Introduced Jan 04, 2007
H.R.3442 Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2007 (110th congress) Introduced Aug 03, 2007
H.Res.5 Adopting rules for the One Hundred Eleventh Congress. (111th congress) House Passed Jan 06, 2009
H.J.Res.15 Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to authorize the line item veto. (111th congress) Introduced Feb 09, 2009