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Bean to Withdraw Preemption Amendment

October 19, 2009 - by Paul Blumenthal

In stunning loss for the big national banks, Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) is withdrawing an amendment to a financial regulatory bill in the House Committee on Financial Services' mark-up. The amendment would have preempted national banks from additional regulation at the state level.

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This Week in Congress - Let's Make a Deal

October 18, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Negotiators in both the Senate and the House are looking to finalize health care legislation this week so they can get official budget scores and bring the bills to the floor for debate and votes. Click through for more on the state of the negotiations as well as complete lists of all the bills that will be coming up for votes this week.

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CBO Scores Revised House Health Care Bills

October 16, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Congressional Budget Office is out with some preliminary budget numbers for two competing versions of the House health care bill that suggest things are moving in the right direction for meeting President Obama's requirements. Changes that the House has made over the past couple months have trimmed $300 billion off the bills' price tags and brought them down to be right in line with Obama's total cost target of $900 billion over ten years.

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Harry Reid: Break Up the Big Health Care Monopolies

October 15, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Appearing before the Judiciary Committee in a hearing on the the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] said that repealing health insurance companies' anti-trust exemptions is "something that should have been done a long time ago."

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Fiscal Year 2010 Federal Budget: Chart Edition

October 15, 2009 - by Avelino Maestas

We've been (reasonably, I would argue) so engrossed in the debate over health care reform and unemployment benefits here at OpenCongress that we've done a poor job of keeping you up to date on the U.S. Federal budget.

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Derivatives Bill Advances

October 15, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

News from today's House Financial Services derivatives regulation mark-up, via MarketWatch: The House Financial Services Committee chose not to ban transactions in the complex financial instruments. However, committee members voted 43-26 to require derivatives traders and dealers to keep greater capital on hand. They also imposed new transparency, recordkeeping and reporting regulations on traders of the previously opaque derivatives transactions. "There is a lesson of the last year, which ...

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An amendment being offered to the Consumer Financial Protection Agency bill by Rep. Melissa Bean [D, IL-8] and the New Democrats Coalition would solidify Bush-era rules that bar states form enforcing their own consumer protection laws against national banks if they are tougher than the federal rules.

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OpenCongress Hiring a Senior Technical Director

October 14, 2009 - by David Moore

Good news: OpenCongress is growing. We're looking to hire a full-time Senior Technical Director. Programmers: work on a project you believe in. We're a non-profit organization and open-source to the core. (Image above: a building near our downtown NYC office.) Read more about this position, our mission, & how to apply...

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UI Extension Blocked Again

October 13, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

For the second time in less than a week, Republicans in the Senate on Tuesday blocked a Democrat-led attempt to extend unemployment insurance benefits by 14 weeks + 6 weeks in states with jobless rates above 8.5%. Apparently, Republicans want any extension to be funded by money from the stimulus rather than by a surtax on businesses as the Democrats have proposed. For more information on the issue going forward, see the OpenCongress Benefits Wiki and the bill Senate Dems are trying to pass - H...

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Snowe and Party Discipline

October 13, 2009 - by Paul Blumenthal

Are Republicans in the Senate better able to maintain partisan discipline due to internal rules? The answer is most definitely yes.

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Finance Committee Says "Yes" to Health Care Reform

October 13, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate Finance Committee -- the most conservative committee in Congress -- has officially approved their health care bill, sending the issue to the full Senate for debate and votes and essentially sealing the deal that President Obama's health care reform plan would become law.

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One year after the biggest economic collapse since the Great Depression, Congress is still debating new financial regulations to protect consumers and prevent risk-taking in the financial sector. The House Committee on Financial Services is currently undertaking the important first step of writing, amending and voting on some of the pieces of the long-proposed financial regulatory reform.

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This Week in Congress - Markup Madness

October 12, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

All eyes this week will be on two big committee mark-ups - health care reform in the Senate Finance Committee and financial regulatory reform in the House Financial Services Committee. Click through for complete lists of the legislation coming to the floors of the Senate and the Houe of Representatives this week.

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What the Senate's Unemployment Deal Looks Like

October 12, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

As I reported last week, the Senate has finally come to a decision on how to move forward with extending unemployment benefits. Basically, they decided to change the House bill, which would have only extended benefits in states with jobless rates above 8.5 percent, to all states. The new Senate deal exists in the form of an amendment, S. Amndt. 2668, to the House bill, H.R. 3548, which is itself an amendment to last year's unemployment extension bill, which is buried inside of the gigantic 200...

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Pre-Markup Changes to the CFPA Bill

October 12, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

In the post I just wrote on this week's mark-up of the Consumer Financial Protections Act, I mentioned that the bill has already been weakened since it was introduced in July. Joe Nocera had a good piece in the New York Times this weekend that I recommend reading in full. One part I want to excerpt here, though, is his rundown on what has already been changed in the bill before the mark-up has even begun: The administration’s outline for this new agency — which would regulate mortgages, credit...

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