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January 26, 2010 - by Eric Naing

As Scott Brown-mania fades on Capitol Hill, Congress is trying to get back to work. Health care seems to be in a holding pattern and the attention of Congress has turned to financial matters. However, President Obama’s State of the Union address tomorrow could shake a few things up. Until then, here’s are some interesting articles and blog posts to tide you over:

  • The president is expected to announce a three-year spending freeze on discretionary, non-security spending in his State of the Union speech. The idea seems largely popular in Congress but in the past, prominent liberals including President Obama have spoken out against spending freezes calling them “fiscal snakeoil” and “unfair.” (POLITICO)
  • There are rumblings that President Obama might also use his big speech tomorrow to announce that he is ending the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning homosexuals from openly serving in the military. Sen. Carl Levin [D, MI] was reportedly told by senior Pentagon officials to postpone planned Senate Armed Services Committee hearings on the issue because “they do not want to be put in the position of discussing or defending a policy that the White House might abandon. (The New York Times)
  • Texting “Haiti” to 90999 sends $10 to the Red Cross, but could the same process one day send a Hamilton to a political campaign instead? Nathan Gonzales looks at the hurdles currently preventing this scenario from happening. (The Rothenberg Political Report)
  • Democrats are trying to figure out a way to get Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke through his surprisingly rocky re-nomination process. The 60 votes needed are not there so Democratic leaders are asking their members to at least vote to end a filibuster if they can’t vote for Bernanke. Ezra Klein wisely suggests that you “watch the list that votes ‘no’ on confirmation but ‘yes’ on procedure very carefully. They no longer have the credibility to argue that procedural votes and actual votes are indistinguishable.” (Ezra Klein)
  • James O’Keefe gained notoriety for dressing up as a pimp in a series of undercover videos that became a public relations nightmare for community organizing group ACORN. Today it was reported that O’Keefe was among four individuals arrested Monday for attempting to wiretap the office phones of Sen. Mary Landrieu [D, LA]. (The Times-Picayune)
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