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On Wednesday, the House Financial Services Committee will begin its mark-up of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act of 2009. This is the first bill Congress will take up to fulfill President Obama's effort to re-regulate the financial markets. Click through to read the details of the CFPA legislation.

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Congress Links

October 9, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

President Obama makes a push for the Consumer Protection Agency. "New Democrats" push to weaken it. Republicans in Congress stay mostly silent on Obama's Nobel prize. And Democrats vote to extend federal hate crimes protections to gay and transgendered people. That and more in today's roundup of links on Congress.

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Lawmakers React to Obama's Nobel Peace Prize

October 9, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

A roundup of reactions from Republicans and Democrats in Congress to President Obama's surprising win of the Nobel Peace Prize.

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The Senate has been stalled for two weeks on following the House in voting to extend unemployment benefits. But they've finally figured out a way to move forward on it, and it involves extending the benefits for more people than the House bill would.

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"Without [a fuller understanding of the commitments the Federal Reserve has made on our behalf], it is impossible to know whether Chairman Bernanke is fit to serve another term and fulfill the Federal Reserve's dual mandate to ensure price stability and full employment."

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Sen. Al Franken [D, MN] passed his first amendment by roll call on Tuesday to restrict funding to contractors that block their employees from pressing criminal charges for on-the-job sexual assaults. Thirty Republicans voted against the amendment citing opposition from a host of business interests.

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Opt-Out Public Option Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

October 8, 2009 - by David Moore

Everyone in the game is buzzing about Sam Stein's reporting on HuffPo that a proposal championed by Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), for one, is being floated by Dem. Senate leadership as a feasible compromise on the public option.

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Comparing CBO Scores

October 8, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Igor Volsky at the Wonk Room has a super handy chart showing the before and after of the Finance Committee's health care bill according to the Congressional Budget Office. The basic take away: the committee's mark-up process, which Volsky notes was the most thorough one they've held in 15 years, lowered subsidies in the bill a little, lowered penalties for individuals that don't get insurance by a lot and added a lot of new revenue offsets. ...

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CBO Scores the Finance Committee Health Care Bill

October 7, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Congressional Budget Office' highly anticipated (by members of the Senate Finance Committee and no one else) scoring of the Baucucs health care bill, as amended, has finally been released. The big-picture budget numbers look good. The bill would cause federal spending to increase by $829 billion over 10 years, but would produce enough savings and increase enough taxes over the same time period to result in a net reduction in federal budget deficits of $81 billion. So, the bill is deficit n...

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Choose Your Own Senate Health Care Adventure

October 6, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate's health care reform bill has moved off C-Span and is now behind closed doors in a secretive process of negotiations. We've put together a handy chart to help you understand the decisions being made about the health care bill that will determine what it looks like when it comes to the Senate floor.

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Launching the Benefit Wiki Project

October 6, 2009 - by Avelino Maestas

A few weeks ago I wrote about the work a community of OpenCongress users is doing to research information about unemployment legislation. To help further that work, we're launching a new Wiki on unemployment benefits.

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Non-Enforcement of the Individual Mandate

October 5, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Unless you are eligible for a tax refund, it looks like the Senate Finance Committee's health care bill wouldn't actually enforce its requirement that everyone get insurance: That's form the bill as amended (pdf) by the Committee over the past few weeks. The blue text was added during the mark-up. For people that aren't expecting any federal payments, what incentive does this leave in the bill for them to abide by the individual mandate? ...

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Congresswoman Hits Back With New ACORN Bill

October 5, 2009 - by Paul Blumenthal

A few weeks ago Congress passed the Defund ACORN Act (it was attached to another bill during a motion to recommit), a bill designed at defunding the beleaguered community organization. While many Democrats voted for the bill, most seemed caught flat-footed. Most of Congress appeared to be caught not knowing what they were even voting on. Later examination of the bill revealed that it was so broad as to not only ban federal funds from going to ACORN, but also to major defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman.

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More Delay

October 5, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

This shouldn't come as too big of a surprise - it looks like the Senate Finance Committee is going to be delaying their final vote on the Baucus health care bill until next week. It was originally scheduled for tomorrow. The reason for the delay is that the Committee had agreed to leave “a reasonable time” between the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) scoring of the bill and the final vote. The CBO is now saying they won't be done scoring the bill until later in the week. This will defin...

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This Week in Congress - Calm Before the Storm

October 5, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

With health care reform ready to transition from committee work to the full chambers of the House and Senate, Congress is in a holding pattern this week, buying time with some overdue appropriations bills. Behind the scenes, the Democratic leadership and the White House will be meeting to decide what exactly should be included in the health care bills that they will bring to their chambers for debate and votes in the coming week.

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