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June 28, 2010 - by Moshe Bildner

  • Sen. Robert Byrd, 92, died today after having served the longest ever 51 years in the US Senate.  Byrd had become a liberal icon in latter years, famously leading opposition to the Iraq war in 2003.  (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Sen. Daniel Inouye [D, HI] has taken over Byrd’s role as president pro tempore of the Senate. The position, third in-line of succession to the Presidency, is generally held by the longest-servinig member of the majority party. (NYT Caucus Blog)
  • Congress’s failure to pass the unemployment extender bill (HR 4213) is forcing states to make drastic cuts to social services. State Medicaid funding will take an especially savage hit.  (CNN)
  • Congress began confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. Republicans and Democrats took the opportunity to trade accusations of “judicial activism”, while Kagan pledged “deference” toward Congress if confirmed. Kagan was chosen by President Obama to replace Justice John Paul Stevens, and appears almost certain to be confirmed by the Senate. (LA Times)
  • The House passed the controversial DISCLOSE Act on Thursday. The bill would require corporations and non-profits who spend on political advertising to disclose their top five donors, and mandate that executives endorse ads the way candidates do. (Herald Democrat)
  • Senators Scott Brown [R-MA] and Dianne Feinstein [D-CA] introduce the Oil Spill Prevention and Mitigation Improvement Act of 2010, requiring oil companies to have an oil spill response plan approved by the Secretary of the Interior before drilling offshore. (San Diego News Room)
  • Congress dilutes Senate version of financial refrom bills which limits, not prohibits, the ability of federally insured banks to trade derivatives and invest in hedge funds or private equity funds. (DallasNews)
  • Climate change legislation may not take place until a “lame duck” session after the November election. (NYTimes)
  • Congress expected to vote to take away “swipe fees” which would help small businesses. (DenverDailyNews)
  • House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8] says she is committed to a “significant drawdown” in U.S. troops in Afghanistan next July. (HuffPo)
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