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Senator Davis?

November 28, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Chicago Sun-Times: >Gov. Blagojevich said it twice - "Where's Sen. Davis?" - with a sly smile, but also with an assured tone. > >For a brief moment, it seemed as if the governor had chosen Chicago Congressman Danny Davis to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Barack Obama. > >But Blagojevich - who along with Davis was visiting homeless people at a Chicago Christian Industrial League Thanksgiving meal Thursday - quickly let it be known that he still hasn't made his ch...

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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

We here at OpenCongress would like to wish all of our readers an exceptionally wonderful Thanksgiving. Bon Appetit! Photo from the Library of Congress' Flickr page...

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Obama Gets Interactve With Governance

November 26, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Here's a promising first sign that the next administration will have a more participatory style of governing: Change.gov, the official website of the Obama-Biden transition team, has gone interactive. In a blog announcement on Tuesday, the public was invited to join the discussion:

"Today we're trying out a new feature on our website that will allow us get instant feedback from you about our top priorities. We also hope it will allow you to form communities around these issues -- with the best ideas and most interesting discussions floating to the top."

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Neutrality/Decision

November 25, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Art Brodsky of Public Knowledge takes a look at how net neutrality votes might line up in the House under a pro-neutrality president-elect: >Starting at the top, President-elect Barack Obama’s platform had as its top technology goal 'Protect the Openness of the Internet.' From Waxman on down, Committee members will have the choice of supporting their new, popular president and his enthusiastic supporters, or voting for a local industry....

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Wall St. vs. Main St., Senate Edition

November 24, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Just like I did last month with votes in the House, here's a list of the senators who voted in favor of the $700 billion financial bailout bill and then voted against H.R.6867, a bill to extend unemployment insurance benefits for people struggling in the nation’s slumping economy: Sen. Thomas Coburn [R, OK] Sen. Orrin Hatch [R, UT]...

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Biden's Replacement

November 24, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner, a Democrat, today announced Vice President-elect Joe Binden's replacement in the Senate until 2010 - former Biden aide Ted Kaufman. The Wilmington News Journal: >The selection of Ted Kaufman, a senior adviser to Biden’s 2008 presidential and vice presidential campaigns, was viewed by some as protecting Attorney General Beau Biden’s chances in any race to succeed his father in the Senate seat that Joe Biden has held since 1972. > >Kaufman, 69, will take...

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Pelosi's Big-Three Bailout Deal

November 21, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

The lame duck session is over and the Big-Three auto companies didn't get their bailout. But the companies will have another chance to convince Congress this session to give them the money they say they need to stay out of bankruptcy.

When the bailout was shelved on Thursday by Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also offered the companies a new deal: if they can submit a plan to Congress by December 2 explaining exactly how $25 billion from the government can make them financially viable, she'll consider calling Congress back again for a second lame-duck session to re-consider the issue.

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Congressional Democrats originally had a much grander vision of helping Main Street America during this lame-duck session. They hoped to help the U.S. auto industry avoid bankruptcy by providing them with $25 billion in new government loans and enact a far reaching economic stimulus package for the broader economy. But after reaching a stalemate on both those items, they've settled on working for the lowest common denominator, extending unemployment insurance benefits for those who have exhausted their benefits and still haven't found work in today's difficult job market.

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Big-Three Bailout and National Security

November 18, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

It looks like the votes won't be there this week for Congress to pass a $25 billion bailout for the Big Three Automakers. But check out this video GM has released explaing what they think would happen if Congress let the companies go under: Personally, I'm mainly struck by the Klaus Schulze-esque soundtrack. The AP however, looks at the information presented in the video and challenges one of the most compelling parts: >Desperate for a $25 billion government rescue package, U.S. autom...

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So Long, Stevens

November 18, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

AP: Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest serving Republican in Senate history, narrowly lost his re-election bid Tuesday, marking the downfall of a Washington political power and Alaska icon who couldn't survive a conviction on federal corruption charges. His defeat by Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich moves Senate Democrats within two seats of a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority.

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Next Year's Net Neutrality Landscape

November 18, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Ars Technica reports that there will be some jostling of House committees next year that could benefit net neutrality advocates wanting to pass strong legislation: >When the new Congress reconvenes in January, every geek's favorite subcommittee—the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property—will be in the market for a new name. Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers (D-MI) plans to strip the SCIIP of its authority over IP issues, which will henc...

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Unemployment Extension Vote Likely this Week

November 18, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

OpenCongress user Annie Fields submits this link, via Drudge, with the most recent information about what's going to happen this week in the Senate during the lame duck session: >Levin's bill would provide loans with initial interest rates of 5 percent to the U.S. automakers and suppliers in exchange for a federal stake in the companies or warrants that would let the government profit from future gains. Loan applicants would have to give the government a plan for "long-term financial viability...

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Announcing "My Political Notebook"

November 17, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

As Congress returns today for one last session this year, we are excited to announce "My Political Notebook": a new way to save and share your favorite political content, from OpenCongress and around the web.

My Political Notebook allows you to grab news articles, blog posts, YouTube videos, and more and save them to your personal page in a matter of seconds. You'll have gathered a unique portfolio of everything you're following in the world of politics. It's a simple way to remind yourself of articles and opinions that are of interest to you.

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Undecided Races

November 13, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

From Avelino at Congresspedia, here's a nice overview of the three Senate and five House races that are still undecided a week and a half after Election Day. Almost unbelievably, a 60-Dem Senate next year is actually still a possibility....

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This has been a week of back-and-forth between President-elect Barack Obama, President Bush and Democratic leaders in Congress over bailing out the auto industry and passing an economic stimulus package, but a way forward seems to have finally emerged. According to the New York Times, "Mr. Reid, on Thursday, said that he would open a lame-duck session in the Senate on Monday, hoping to move forward with legislation that would extend unemployment benefits and to attach an amendment providing aid for the auto companies."

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