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Watch the Sotomator Hearings

July 13, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate Judiciary Committee this morning is beginning their week-long series of confirmation hearings on Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor. Most of today's hearing will be taken up by opening statements from each of the 19 members of the Judiciary Committee, and Sotomayor isn't expected to start responding to questions until late this afternoon. Click through to this post to watch the hearings live.

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Ladies and Gentleman, Senator Al Franken

July 7, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Ending an eight-month legal battle with former senator Norm Coleman (R), Al Franken was officially sworn in today as the junior senator from Minnesota. His swearing in gives the Democrats a 60-seat majority in the Senate, which, if they stick together, means they have the numbers to break Republican filibusters on any and all legislation.

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Cap and Trade in the Senate

June 29, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Now that the Waxman-Markley climate change bill is out of the House, everyone wants to know what's going to happen with it in the Senate. There are a handful of reports today on the bill's Senate prospects form the big news agencies. The best one comes from Darren Samuelsohn of Greenwire, published by the New York Times. It's a good article, and fairly comprehensive, but at this point nobody has any idea what's going to happen. The Senate's version of the bill has even been written yet. As the...

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RaceTracker Had a Good Opening Weekend

June 16, 2009 - by Conor Kenny

In the first weekend since its debut last Thursday, the RaceTracker project had 21 volunteer editors update 61 House, Senate and governor races across the country and visitors viewed pages more than 15,000 times over the first four days. has also implemented automatic links to the RaceTracker from all posts tagged with a congressional district, senate seat or governor's election. We were also able to see the safeguards of the system — principally the requirement that every addition be linked to an outside, verifiable source — work to maintain the integrity of the information on the wiki.

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This week in Congress (May 4-8, 2008)

May 4, 2009 - by Avelino Maestas

We'll have more info on some of these items throughout the coming days (stay tuned for Donny's post on predatory lending this evening), but for now here's the schedule of votes in the House and Senate this week (as it stands today). Monday, May 4, 2009 On Monday, the House will meet at 12:30 p.m. for Morning Hour debate and 2:00 p.m. for legislative business with votes postponed until 6:30 p.m. Suspensions (4 Bills) 1) H.Res. 230 - Recognizing the historical significance of the Mexican h...

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Souter Retirement and the Senate

May 1, 2009 - by Avelino Maestas

In a surprise move, Associate Supreme Court Justice David Souter may announce today he will seek retirement following the current court session. President would then make his first appointment to the court just six months into his first term. It will also bring a possible confirmation fight to Congress as early as June or July.

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Switching Sides

April 30, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Making things a little more official seeming, Sen. Arlen Specter [D, PA] today moved his Senate desk from the Republican side of the chamber to the Democratic side. CQ: As the eighth most senior Democrat, his desk now sits in the second row of the center-most section of the majority party’s desks, behind Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois. Specter now shares a row with Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, the longest-serving senator ever, and si...

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Specter Goes Democrat

April 28, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Saying that the Republican party has moved too far to the right, Sen. Arlen Specter [R, PA] is switching parties immediately and will run for reelection in 2010 as a Democrat. Huge news:

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The Most Vulnerable Seats in the Senate

April 18, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Ken Rudin of NPR's Political Junkie blog has a rundown of what he thinks are the top five most vulnerable Senate seats heading towards 2010. Three are likely to stay with the same party and two are currently held by Republicans, but likely to be picked up by the Democrats....

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Sen. Gillibrand's Ballot in Dispute

April 14, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Starting to get a little absurd up in NY-20: Republican Jim Tedisco has challenged the absentee ballot of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in the special election for Gillibrand's former House seat in upstate New York. [...] A spokesman for the New York Board of Elections, John Conklin, said that similar challenges have occurred before but with little success. In most cases, courts have ruled that the ballot should be counted if the voter did not intend to be in the district on Election Day...

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Sen. Cornyn Warns of World War III

March 30, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

And it's not related to the global financial crisis or nuclear proliferation, but to the ongoing recount for one of Minnesota's Senate seats. Manu Raju for the Politico reports: Texas Sen. John Cornyn is threatening “World War III” if Democrats try to seat Al Franken in the Senate before Norm Coleman can pursue his case through the federal courts. Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, acknowledges that a federal challenge to November’s elections could take “y...

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Reforming Health Care in the Budget

March 26, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

I linked to a piece earlier this week by Ezra Klein explaining the budget reconciliation approach to pushing contentious legislation through the Senate. Well, yesterday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) left open the option of passing health care reform legislation with the reconciliation process:

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Specter a "No" on EFCA

March 24, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Breaking from CongressDaily ($): Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., will vote against a cloture motion to limit debate on the Employee Free Choice Act, business groups said today. Keith Smith, who directs labor policy at the National Association of Manufacturers, said his group expects Specter to announce his decision in a floor speech early this afternoon. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it also was expecting the announcement. Specter's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Sp...

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Sen. Russell Feingold's [D, WI] constitutional amendment to require that Senate vacancies are filled by public election will receive its first major action by Congress tomorrow. The House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties and the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution will hold a joint hearing at 10 am EST on S.J. Res. 7 - A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to the election of Senators. The main portion...

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The Senate kicks off the week with a busy start, as Democratic leaders attempt to keep the caucus in line on the omnibus spending bill. In the House, a vote on D.C. voting rights legislation is probable on Tuesday, and House members may be required to approve any changes made to the omnibus spending bill. In addition, the Employee Free Choice Act will be introduced in both chambers Tuesday.

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