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Suddenly, Stimulus

February 7, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

It's nearly certain -- every U.S. citizen who earned between $3,000 and $75,000 in 2007 will receive a tax rebate check of around $600 sometime in May. In a period of just ten days, the House and Senate debated, amended and passed H.R.5140, the economic stimulus bill designed to provide individual tax rebates, business investment tax incentives, payments for seniors and disabled veterans, and an expansion of the FHA and the GSEs.

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What's New with Friends of OpenCongress

February 7, 2008 - by David Moore

Here at OpenCongress, we're continuing to improve our new features to make them more powerful tools for tracking and sharing the best info about Congress. Below are some quick hits about what's new with a few of our partners in this effort. Earlier this week, we were pleased to see that the release of "My OpenCongress" received a mention on the community weblog MetaFilter as ""Congress 2.0". Thanks to all the commenters there for the thumbs-up on our new tracking and social networking features.

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The Battle Over a Global Warming Bill

February 6, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Things are really beginning to heat up with global warming legislation. The Energy industry, environmental advocacy groups, bloggers and legislators are beginning to stake out strategic positions, knowing that any global warming bill that is enacted by the current Congress and President is going to go easier on polluters than any bill that next year's Congress and President may produce. The leading global warming bill in Congress right now, the Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade bill, is being shepherded to a vote in the Senate sometime in May, but environmentalists -- lawmakers and activists alike -- are pushing for Congress to either strengthen it significantly or scrap it altogether.

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Conservative Stimulus

February 5, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Republicans have their own economic stimulus bill too. Their bill, the Economic Growth Act, was introduced to the House a few days before the leading, bipartisan bill, and it has a long list of co-sponsors, all Republicans. It's also got the backing of big conservative think tanks like Heritage Foundation and the American Conservative Union.

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Outlook: the Finance Committee's Stimulus Proposal

February 4, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

“'I think he didn’t realize the groups, the number of people who feel like the Finance Committee package is by far the right thing to do,' Baucus said at a Monday news conference when asked why his assessment differed from Reid’s. The influential senior’s lobby, AARP, and groups representing homebuilders, union employees and war veterans spent the weekend calling on wayward senators to support the Finance Committee measure."

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A FISA Agreement

February 1, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Democrat and Republicans leaders in the Senate reached an agreement last night on how to proceed with amendments to the FISA reform bill, which contains the controversial telecom immunity provision. The debate will start (again) on Monday. The basic agreement is that some of the pending amendments will be decided by a simple majority vote, while others -- the one's Republicans feel would significantly change the bill -- will require a 60-vote majority to pass.

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The 1-31-07 Bill

January 31, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

The people who commemorated "1-31-07" by making a series of politically themed LED sculptures and placing them all around Boston should be glad that S.735, the Terrorist Hoax Improvements Act of 2007, never made it to becoming a law. If it had, they probably would have been putting up their DIY Lite-brites with less peace of mind, knowing that they could be held liable for paying back the city for any expenses caused by an investigation or emergency police response that may have ensued.

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