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The Week In Review

January 22, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Senate-elect Scott Brown [R, MA].

Despite being one day shorter than usual, this week felt like non-stop parade of big news – almost all of it bad for the Democrats:

  • The upset victory of Scott Brown (pictured above) over Martha Coakley in Tuesday’s Massachusetts special election sent shockwaves throughout Capitol Hill. Stripped of their 60th vote in the Senate, Democrats started pulling away from the health care reform effort. Facing a lack of votes needed to pass the Senate health care bill (H.R.3590) in the House, House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8] is now regrouping with her fellow House Democrats.
  • Brown’s victory also seemed to put a halt to the Senate’s efforts in passing a comprehensive climate change bill. With the bill potentially off the table, Sen. Lisa Murkowski [R, AK] set her sights on trying to stop the Obama administration’s back-up plan for dealing with climate change: having the Environmental Protection Agency regulate greenhouse gases.
  • In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled to allow corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money in favor of or or against candidates running for president or Congress. In response, Democrats and some activists are pondering legislation to somehow restrict those dollars. Here is a link to the Sunlight Foundation’s take on the decision.
  • Rep. Dennis Kucinich [D, OH-10] and Rep. Peter Welch [D, VT-0] both introduced separate bills heavily taxing bank bonuses. Though he isn’t supporting either bill, President Obama this week announced his own proposal to limit bank size and risk.
  • In another sign of growing Congressional anger at Wall Street, every Senate Republican and 13 Democrats voted in favor of a measure to stop the Treasury Department from giving out any more TARP money. Despite all this support, the measure failed to garner the 60 votes needed to pass.
  • Democrats this week also started the painful process of once again passing a measure to raise the federal debt limit. But what is usually a routine, but painful vote has now become a fierce political battle as Republicans are now using the filibuster to requite 60 votes for its passage.

As always, we here at OpenCongress truly appreciate all your great comments and participation on the site this week.

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