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February 2, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Despite being a slow day in Congress, it was a busy day on Capitol Hill. Here’s a look at what you might have missed:

  • Sen. John Kerry [D, MA] has joined Sen. Arlen Specter [D, PA] in calling for a constitutional amendment in response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision lifting limits on corporate cash in campaigns. (The Hill)
  • A group of centrist Senate Democrats including Sen. Jim Webb [D, VA], Sen. Mary Landrieu [D, LA], Sen. Ben Nelson [D, NE] and Sen. Blanche Lincoln [D, AR] are proposing an alternative climate change plan that would trade a cap on carbon emissions with hand-outs to the oil, coal, gas and nuclear industries. The climate change bill (H.R.2454) passed by the House last year includes a cap-and-trade mechanism. (Mother Jones)
  • On a related note, President Obama today confirmed what everyone is thinking: getting a cap-and-trade plan through the Senate will be tough – maybe impossible. At a New Hampshire town hall, Obama suggested that the Senate might pass a climate change bill without carbon caps saying, “We may be able to separate these things out, and it-it’s conceivable that that’s where the Senate ends up,” (Talking Points Memo)
  • A famous saying in D.C. is “politics ain’t beanbag” and that’s especially true in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] is facing a tough re-election fight this year and the number two and three Senate Democrats, Sen. Dick Durbin [D, IL] and Sen. Chuck Schumer [D, NY] respectively, are taking notice. Both are already using their leadership PAC money to curry favor among Senate Democrats in a potential bid to succeed Reid should he fail to be re-elected. (The Hill)
  • The New York Times has a good summary of today’s Senate testimony by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen. Both men testified in favor of repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.”(The New York Times)
  • ProPublica has a first-rate rundown of what President Obama’s proposed $477 billion spending freeze actually means. (ProPublica)
  • The New Republic’s John Judis tries to rally liberal spirits by looking at all the ways President Obama is successfully enacting progressive ideals through regulatory agencies. (The New Republic)

One more thing – President Obama yesterday answered questions from YouTube users at the White House. Below is a video of the interview:

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