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Has a new day dawned in the Senate? On Monday night, five Republicans helped to hand Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] a big and much-needed victory by joining with Democrats on defeating a Republican filibuster of his $15 billion jobs bill. The bipartisan 62-30 vote came even after Reid scaled the bill back last week by removing some unrelated tax cuts, which were popular with Republicans, and an unemployment insurance extension, which is popular with everyone in Congress.

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The Day In Review

February 22, 2010 - by Eric Naing

President Obama unveiled his health care bill/plan/blueprint today. Democrats seem largely re-energized while Republicans are maintaining their posture of opposition for the most part. We'll see what effect Thursday's health care summit will have on the debate. Until then, check out today's web roundup:

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Whither the Unemployment Benefits Extension?

February 22, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), 1.2 million unemployed Americans will run out of unemployment insurance benefits in March if Congress fails to pass a new extension. Yet, as the Democrats pared down their jobs bill to get it the support it would need to pass through the Senate, an extension of unemployment benefits was one of the things that was thrown by the wayside.

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Obama Modifies "Cadillac" Health Insurance Tax

February 22, 2010 - by Eric Naing

The health care debate isn't just between Democrats and Republicans. Liberals too have been fighting one another – particularly on the issue of the excise tax on so-called “Cadillac” health insurance policies - and now the president has entered the fray.

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Gays In The Military Gain Joementum

February 22, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Sen. Joseph Lieberman [I, CT] is taking the lead on congressional efforts to repeal the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy banning gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

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Credit Card Reform Takes Effect Today

February 22, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The Credit CARD Act, one of President Obama and the 111th Democrats's most substantial pieces of regulatory reform legislation so far, goes into effect today. Essentially, the bill tamps down on the most abusive practice's of credit card companies by either banning them outright or setting new rules regarding timeliness and fairness of disclosure. For example, credit card companies can no longer hike interest rates retroactively, to previously existing balances, but they can still increase cur...

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Obama Adopts Feinstein Insurance Rate Hike Proposal

February 22, 2010 - by Eric Naing

As part of the White House health care plan, President Obama wants to give the federal government the authority to block “unreasonable” rate hikes by health insurance companies. Earlier this month California-based Anthem Blue Cross, a subsidiary of health insurance mega-company WellPoint, announced that it would be increasing the cost of insurance premiums for thousands of its customers. In some cases, the premiums would be jump by as much as 39 percent. The rate hike sparked an outcry from...

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The Final Olive Branch

February 22, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The big news with the plan released today by the White House isn't really about its contents, it's about its format. The White House could have put out a full bill, written in legalese and numbering hundreds of pages, and then tried to push it through Congress. Instead, the plan seems to be designed to accommodate new ideas.

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White House Health Unveils Care Reform Proposal

February 22, 2010 - by Eric Naing

President Obama has released his own health care reform proposal this morning. Some of his new ideas include allowing the government to crack down on insurance rate hikes and a more equal distribution of Medicaid dollars to the states.

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Bills on the Floor this Week

February 22, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Congress comes back today from a week of vacation to start what will probably be the most important five-week work period of the 11th Congress. Health care reform, the jobs bill and financial regulatory reform will all be making news this week. But Congress will also be voting on dozens of other bills. CLick through to learn about them.

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The Week In Review

February 19, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Next week will be an important one. Congress will be back in session, President Obama will release his own health care plan on Monday and the White House will hold the health care summit on Thursday. In preparation, why not check out what we've been up to this week at OpenCongress?

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Follow OpenCongress on Google Buzz

February 19, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

If you like using Google Buzz, we now have an OpenCongress Google profile that you can follow to get all our content that way. We'll be posting every single post from the OpenCongress Blog, which you can expand and read in full, as well as other helpful links to things for tracking Congress.

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Reid Supports Public Option Reconciliation Plan

February 19, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Has the final shoe dropped in the recent boomlet of enthusiasm for the public option? Greg Sargent posts a statement from the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] offering generic support for passing a public option through the Senate under reconciliation: If a decision is made to use reconciliation to advance health care, Senator Reid will work with the White House, the House, and members of his caucus in an effort to craft a public option that can overcome procedural obstac...

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Vice President Joe Biden spoke yesterday at the National Defense University about the need to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons. A major tenet of the administration's nuclear weapons agenda is to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, which Biden believes is necessary to preserve global security: The Treaty’s basic bargain - that nuclear powers pursue disarmament and non-nuclear states do not acquire such weapons, while gaining access to civilian nuclear technology - is t...

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A bill to give the Food and Drug Administration more power to regulate the sale of vitamin supplements is sparking heated opposition from the multi-billion dollar dietary supplement industry and creating strange bedfellows.

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