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The Tax Cut No One Noticed

October 20, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Did you notice that your federal tax bill was lower last year? If you're like most people, you didn't. But believe it or not, one of the first things Barack Obama and 111th Congress did when they took office in 2009 was pass an income tax cut for about 95% of U.S. tax payers. The New York Times reported yesterday on why this went so unnoticed:

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As you all probably know by now, President Obama has officially signed the unemployment extension bill into law, sending it the state unemployment offices for them to begin implementing. The bill extends unemployment insurance benefits for people who have been jobless for more than 6 months until November 30th. It will also pay benefits back retroactively for the more than 2.5 million people who have had their payments cut off since Congress let extended unemployment benefits expire on June 2nd.

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With the Senate's failure yesterday to extend unemployment benefits for the millions of Americans who have lost their job due to the financial crisis and are facing an extremely dire jobs situation, people are asking if President Obama can step in and use his executive power to do something. The short answer is no. Here's why.

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Eliminated Tax Subsidy Painted As Obamacare Cost

April 1, 2010 - by Eric Naing

The price of Obamacare is apparently sky-high, according to several corporations. Construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar announced that the Affordable Care Act (H.R.3590) will cost the company $100 million. John Deere expects to lose $150 million and AT&T will take a $1 billion hit.

In context, however, there's less to these costs than meets the eye. Click through for the full story, or head straight to today's edition of Congress Links.

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Boehner Bashes Obama's Drilling Plan

March 31, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

This is how you know for sure that the Republican strategy in Congress is to simply oppose anything Obama does. Following this morning's announcement that Obama is proposing opening up a huge amount of off-shore oil reserves to drilling for the first time ever, Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner's [R, OH-8] first response was, essentially, "no."

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Now that Democrats have put the finishing touches on health care reform, they can get back to the truly important work of Congress: bickering with Republicans over Obama appointees. With a two-week Easter recess looming, players in both parties are wondering whether President Obama will use that time to pluck the pro-labor Craig Becker out of Senate confirmation Purgatory and appoint him to the National Labor Relations Board.

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President Obama will hold a signing ceremony for the Senate health care bill (H.R.3590) today in the east room of the White House at 11:15 am. Watch it live here.

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On a party-line vote of 219-212, the House of Representatives has passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that fulfills President Obama's goals of reducing health care costs, increasing choices for consumers and guaranteeing access to quality, affordable insurance for all Americans. The bill has already passed the Senate and will be sent to President Obama immediately to be signed into law.

"At a time when pundits said it was no longer possible, we rose above the weight of our politics," President Obama said after the vote. "This is what change looks like."

The bill is widely considered the biggest domestic policy achievement by any President or session of Congress since Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Social Security Act of 1965 into law 45 years ago, creating Medicare.

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VIDEO: Obama's FInal HCR Speech to Wavering Dems

March 20, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

With the Rules Committee in session and the health care rallies and protests outside the Capitol today, President Obama went to Congress and gave House Democrats an off-the-cuff pep talk on tomorrow's big vote. Thanks to C-SPAN's awesome new video library, you can watch the whole thing here:

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Kucinich Will Vote "Yes"

March 17, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

When health care passed the House in November, Rep. Dennis Kucinich [D, OH-10] was one of the 39 Democrats who voted "no." He was one of the only vote Democrats lost to the left; the only Democrat voting against it because the bill didn't do enough to eliminate for-profit insurance.

But, this morning, he said he will vote "yes" on the Senate's health care bill, even though it is more conservative than the House health care bill he originally voted "no" on.

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As Health Care Winds Down, Immigration Emerges

March 12, 2010 - by Eric Naing

As Democrats were wrapping up -- or so they thought -- the health care bills last winter, two hot button social issues threatened to derail everything: abortion and immigration. With Democrats once again at the health care finish line, abortion has already resurfaced and now immigration has reemerged.

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All the health care buzz has centered around the budget reconciliation process, but Republicans are starting to realize that the truly important part of the process is whether the House can pass the Senate health care bill (H.R.3590).

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Health Care Endgame In Congress Starts This Week

March 4, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Democrats are hoping that this week marks the beginning of the end of their long and tortured effort to pass a health care reform bill.

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Congress Debates Native Hawaiian Rights

February 23, 2010 - by Eric Naing

It could be big day in Congress for Hawaii. The House is scheduled to vote today on a bill (H.R.2314) that would grant Native Hawaiians some of the same federal rights already given to American Indians and Native Alaskans.

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Obama Modifies "Cadillac" Health Insurance Tax

February 22, 2010 - by Eric Naing

The health care debate isn't just between Democrats and Republicans. Liberals too have been fighting one another – particularly on the issue of the excise tax on so-called “Cadillac” health insurance policies - and now the president has entered the fray.

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