The graphic at right shows, in aggregate, the explosion of the Federal Reserve's balance sheet during the financial crisis. Today, thanks to the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill (exact provision here), we get to begin learning which companies benefitted from these subsidies, how much they got, when they got it, and what the Fed got/is expected to get in return. The law also asks for "the specific rationale for each such facility or program." Click through for links to dig in yourself or to find the best breaking analysis.Read Full Article
One of the great political success stories of the past couple years has been the audit the Fed movement. Starting with an unlikely partnership between the far-right Rep. Ron Paul [R, TX-14] and far-left lawmakers Rep. Alan Grayson [D, FL-8] and Sen. Bernie Sanders [I, VT], the push to open up the Federal Reserve to a complete government audit for the first time ever (H.R.1207) has attracted more than 300 co-sponsors in the House and was included in the House's financial reform bill that was approved last December.
But now that financial reform has moved into the Senate, the audit the Fed proposal has disappeared from the bill and there is virtually no talk of trying to put it back in. Instead, the Senate financial reform bill as written by Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd [D, CT] includes a section that looks deceptively like a Fed audit, but would actually do nothing to open up the Fed or remove the special audit restrictions that have allowed the Fed to operate in secrecy for decades.Read Full Article
The passage of the Affordable Care Act (H.R.3590) was a very big deal to more than just Vice President Biden – it also represents the successful culmination of years of work on behalf of Native Americans and their allies in both parties. Peppered throughout the bill are numerous provisions that permanently reauthorize and extend a landmark health care law governing American Indians and Native Alaskans that expired in 2001.Read Full Article
You would think the White House would get behind a proposal that is sponsored by a full 3/4ths of the House of Representatives, but they're not.
Ryan Grim of Huffington Post reported today from a briefing with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and a couple Treasury officials that they are "intensely opposed" to the Ron Paul-Alan Grayson bill to require a full audit of the Federal Reserve. The bill has already passed the House as a part of the broader financial reform package (H.R.4173) and it is immensely popular with the public as well as Members of Congress -- the stand-alone version of it has 317 co-sponsors in the House and 33 sponsors in the Senate. According to sponsorship statistics, it's the most popular bill in Congress right now.Read Full Article
TPM reports on an emerging strategy for corporations that want to use the recent Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court ruling to funnel unlimited amounts of cash to congressional candidates without having to reveal their identity and expose themselves to public backlash. But there is already a bill in Congress to thwart the strategy.Read Full Article
Washington is still reeling from record snowfall and the House has decided to take the whole week off, but the Senate, at least, managed to get some work done. Weather permitting, Congress hopes to start working on the jobs bill and other legislation soon. Here’s a look at some articles and blog posts of note from the day:Read Full Article
Congress felt like the center of the universe this week with the State of the Union on Wednesday, continuing negotiations on a number of issues and even a couple tough votes going down. Here's what we've been up to here at OpenCongress:Read Full Article
In response to the Supreme Court's recent Citizens United decision, Rep. Alan Grayson [D, FL-8] has proposed a suite of bills that he is calling the "Save Our Democracy" platform. One of them, which would make antitrust laws applicable to corporate political action committees, is actually gaining momentum.Read Full Article