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The Best of News

October 31, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Newstrust.net has a bipartisan community dedicated to promoting the best, most accurate and most trustworthy journalism of the day. And with their new widgets, you can have the most reputable stories from Newstrust.net delivered straight to your site. They've just released hundreds of customizable widgets that cover dozens of topics like media, business, environment and presidential election 2008 and take only a few minutes to post to your site.

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"The mother of all tax reforms"

October 30, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Democrats have an extensive new tax bill in Congress that would make wide ranging adjustments with the intent of restoring "equity and fairness" to the tax code. The Tax Reduction and Reform Act of 2007 is revenue neutral, which means that all of its tax cuts would be paid for by equal increases elsewhere and vice versa. It's a grand redistribution designed to shift more of the tax burden onto the wealthy.

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Bringing Plain Language to the Bureaucracy

October 29, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Dealing with the federal government can be scary, but it doesn't have to be that way. Representative Bruce Braley (D-IA) has introduced a bill into Congress that would require the federal government to write in language that is as easy as possible for people to understand.

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OpenCongress 101

October 29, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

While we don't like giving busy college students more homework, we do like helping people learn more about what their members of Congress are up to. My Google Blog Search feed has alerted me to what appears to be the work of the first few students completing an assignment to dig through OpenCongress.org and write a couple of paragraphs on what they've learned about their Representative and the impact their research has had on them.

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The Best of the Budget

October 26, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

In finishing up the 2008 budget Congress has been working their way towards a seemingly inevitable stand-off with President Bush over discretionary spending difference of $22 billion. But it looks like they may actually have a plan to gain them a little leverage in the debate.

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No New Internet Taxes

October 25, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Looks like everyone's favorite "series of tubes" will remain tax-free for at least four more years. The Senate tonight, on the heels of the House, passed a bill by unanimous consent to extend a moratorium preventing states and localities from imposing taxes on Internet services.

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The Farm Bill and Immigration

October 25, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

In marking up the farm bill today, the Senate Agriculture Committee may have ignored Congress's best shot at addressing the issue of illegal immigration.

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The New SCHIP Bill

October 25, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Pelosi says that it is not a major revision of the original SCHIP bill, that it has only been "tweaked," but it was made public so recently that it's almost impossible to for concerned citizens (and probably some legislators) to locate the tweaks and see if they support them before votes are placed. If the goal of holding another SCHIP vote is to gain enough Republican support to override a veto, don't wavering Republicans and their constituents need a way to decide if the changes in the new bill satisfy their concerns?

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Persistency

October 24, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

In each and every Congress since 1995, John Shadegg (R-AZ) -- pictured at right -- has introduced the Enumerated Powers Act. It's never made it out of the House Judiciary Committee and its list of co-sponsors has slowly faded from it's peak of 73 in the 105th (Ron Paul, consistently the most-viewed Rep. on OpenCongress, has been a co-sponsor every year since its introduction), but its directness and Shadegg's persistency make it anomalous and worth noticing.

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Want to cripple the influence of corporate and special interest money in your members of congress' voting habits? Well, Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) -- pictured at right -- have a constitutional amendment for you to get behind.

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First Plans for Dishing Out the War Dollars

October 24, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin (D-MI), who for months has favored forcing a troop withdrawal from Iraq but has been against blocking funding for the war, today came out with a plan for dealing with the President's latest war funding request: give Bush his money on an installment plan in order to pressure him into changing his policy and wind down the war.

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How Dead an Issue is Immigration?

October 23, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

After two bitter months of debating immigration reform this spring it was clear that no deal on a comprehensive bill could be struck among the current cast in Congress. But Senate Democrats are about to test the waters once again to see if they can float separately some of the original bill's bits and pieces.

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Another $46 Billion For the War

October 22, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Bringing Iraq back into the congressional limelight, President Bush submitted a $196.4 billion supplemental war funding bill to Congress today -- $45.9 billion above what he originally requested in February. Announcing the bill in front of a group of veterans and members of military support organizations, Bush stressed that the money is for the troops.

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Halt the Anti-Revolutionary Rubies

October 19, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The U.S. already has the broadest sanctions in the world against the Myanmar government, but Congress may soon move to close loopholes in the sanctions to make them even tougher. This week, Representative Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) both introduced bills into Congress to block laundered, Mayanmar-mined gems, a leading export earner for the country's military leaders, from entering the U.S.

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Dodd Puts His Foot Down

October 18, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

"Senator Chris Dodd [pictured at right] plans to put a hold on the Senate FISA renewal bill because it reportedly grants retroactive immunity to telephone companies for any role they played in the Bush administration's warrantless eavesdropping program."

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