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Maverick Watch: Smoky Mountain Edition

June 3, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

A single vote in the House yesterday against "Recognizing and commending the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on its 75th year anniversary" (H.Res.421): Rep. Robert Berry [D, AR-1]...

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Food Safety and Local Farming

May 28, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The two food safety bills in Congress - H.R. 875 and H.R. 759 - are very unpopular. Both bills, people say, would put small organic farms and CSAs out of business by forcing them to jump through the same set of hoops as big agribusiness companies like Monsanto. Details of a new bill being promoted by Rep. Henry Waxman have just been released and it looks fairly similar to the others. This new bill is the one that ultimately will move in Congress

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Southern Perspective

May 27, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Blue Dog Rep. Gene Taylor [D, MS-4] sums up coal-state Democrats' opposition to the big energy bill in Congress, the American Clean Energy And Security Act of 2009: I think of the whole cap-and-trade idea as a Ponzi scheme. I don’t like the idea that one factory is cleaner than it has to be so that another a factory is dirtier than it should be, because historically that factory that’s dirtier than it should be ends up in the South. ... If the vote was today, I’d vote "no." via NYT. ...

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Cap and Trade Basics

May 22, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Marketplace's Paddy Hirsch goes over the basics of cap and trade. This is the, essentially, the policy mechanism at the center of the climate change bill going through Congress, the American Clean Energy And Security Act of 2009. Meet Cap 'n Trade from Marketplace on Vimeo....

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I was expecting this to take even longer than it did, but apparently Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee backed off their threats and posturing to delay progress on the Waxman-Markley climate change bill and it has now been approved by the committee. It's a big step forward for the bill, but it will face many bigger challenges later on in the legislative process.

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Cap-and-Trade Speed Read

May 21, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

After seeing the absurd list of amendments Republicans submitted to the American Clean Energy And Security Act during committee markup, it's pretty obvious that they are going to try to delay the process however they can. One dilatory tactic they could use would require the entire 496-page bill and all its 450+ amendments to be read aloud.

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Climate Change Bill Mark-up

May 18, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

House Democrats introduced a gigantic cap-and-trade climate change bill to Congress last week and it's getting it's first big action TODAY. At 1 pm EST, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will begin the mark-up process. You can tune in to a live broadcast here. This committee work is where the most important tweaking takes generally place. Follow Congress Matters for mark-up liveblogging. Apparently, Republicans are planning on submitting 450 amendments during the markup. A lot of them lo...

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Energy and Climate Change Primer for the 111th Congress

March 18, 2009 - by Avelino Maestas

The AIG bonus scandal is burning through the media universe, but Congress is also continuing work on the legislative agenda. Some of the big pieces in the coming months will be on the energy front. New details were recently released about a proposed renewable energy standard (which would require utilities to produce a percentage of their power via renewable sources, like solar and wind). How that RES bill will move through the House and, more importantly, the Senate, is a bit confusing and very political. So, here's an OpenCongress primer on the looming energy/climate change battle.

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The First Ten Bills of the 111th Senate

January 8, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

These first 10 Senate bills are mainly symbolic. They're a statement of the Democrats' legislative priorities at this point for the next two years, but any legislative action that's taken on these measures could very well come in a different form. The first ten Senate bills of the last session included some measures that were enacted (minimum wage increase, ethics reform), some that were vetoed by President Bush (funding for stem cell research) and some that were hotly debated but never passed Congress (comprehensive immigration reform).

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