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RaceTracker Had a Good Opening Weekend

June 16, 2009 - by Conor Kenny

In the first weekend since its debut last Thursday, the RaceTracker project had 21 volunteer editors update 61 House, Senate and governor races across the country and visitors viewed pages more than 15,000 times over the first four days. DailyKos.com has also implemented automatic links to the RaceTracker from all posts tagged with a congressional district, senate seat or governor's election. We were also able to see the safeguards of the system — principally the requirement that every addition be linked to an outside, verifiable source — work to maintain the integrity of the information on the wiki.

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At Slashdot, moogsynth writes: Buried in section 329 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (H.R. 2410), voted in recently, are measures to oppose any global climate change treaty that weakens the IP rights in the green tech of American companies. Peter Zura's patent blog notes that 'the vote comes in anticipation of the upcoming negotiations in December as part of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. ... Previously, there was sufficient chatter in international circles on comp...

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Congress Links

June 15, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Lieberman comes out against a public health care option. Baucus says a bipartisan compromise is near. Reid says the hate crimes bill will get a vote this summer. And Democrats consider letting more lawmakers in on secret CIA briefings. That and more in today's roundup of links on Congress.

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There's a lot happening on the Hill this week, and we'll be covering it all and providing links to others who are covering it as best we can. With so much happening, I thought it would be useful to take a step back for a big-picture look at how Congress' next few months are shaping up. Click through for an update on where things stand with four of the biggest issues currently before Congress -- health care reform, climate change, financial regulatory reform and immigration.

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My trip to ClosedCongress

June 15, 2009 - by Avelino Maestas

Regular site users know that we lag a bit (about 24 hours) behind THOMAS, the official site of the Library of Congress, when we put bill information and roll call votes on OpenCongress. This is a result of several factors, but put simply, we have to wait for the information to be online before our servers can collect it for publication. For the vast majority of users, this system works: Congress usually moves so slowly that waiting 24 hours to read the bill text or review a roll-call vote is not much of a problem.

We do run into trouble, however, when legislation being debated in Congress is not made available online.

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Congress Links

June 13, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

From the past coupe of days: * Senators who oppose public option received top dollars from industry (McClatchy). * McConnell's open to the co-op plan Briefing Room). * Ezra Klein interviews Rep. Woolsey on House progressive's stance on health care reform (Ezra Klein). * Anyone seen the missing public option? (Congress Matters). * The House health care bill might add $600 billion in new taxes (Zero Hedge). * More on pricing out health care reform (Senatus). * Congress clears t...

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The $96.7 billion bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been stalled in Congress over objections that it would boost funding for the International Monetary Fund and block the release of detainee photos, not to mention objections to continuing to fund the wars.

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Senate Democrats, unlike their counterparts in the House, might not have 60 votes to pass health care reform legislation if it includes a public option to compete with private insurers. Some centrists in the Senate a considering a compromise "co-op" plan, but health care reform advocates think there might be a way to pass the public option without compromising at all.

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Congress Links

June 11, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

* Ron Paul's bill to audit the Fed has officially gained co-sponsorship from a majority of the House (Rep. Paul). * Pelosi says health care reform can't pass without a public option (Huffington Post). * Health care public option sparks a Democratic civil war (Politico). * Open Secrets now has a Facebook app for tracking candidates' fund raising totals (Open Secrets). * Senate passes historic bill directing the FDA to regulate tobacco (CBS). * Here's the bill: Family Smoking Prevention ...

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'Cash for Clunkers' Passes the House

June 11, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

This happened a couple days ago, but I think it's still worth a mention before it slips any further into the past. On Tuesday, "Cash for Clunkers" legislation, which has been the subject of on-going negotiations for months, was approved by the House on a 298-119 vote, with all 15 Michigan representatives voting in favor. Autoblog goes over the specifics of how the legislation, which is technically called the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act, would work: If your car gets 18 mpg o...

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The RaceTracker project on OpenCongress — a non-partisan, fully-referenced, open-source and crowd-sourced wiki project — now lists every candidate running in every U.S. Senate, House and governor's race! The folks over at the Swing State Project, the coordinators of this wiki community project, have completed a nationwide survey of the candidates in each race and will be using crowd-sourced participation to keep it current as we move towards 2010. You can now check on the status of each of the seven candidates considering a run for the seat of Illinois' Sen. Roland Burris (D) or the eight who are eyeing Rep. Betsy Markey (D-Colo.). We'll even tell you who's a confirmed candidate versus who's merely considering or rumored to be a candidate, how much money they've raised, the district boundaries and the district-specific electoral trends in the last three presidential elections.

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Congress Links

June 10, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

* The economic crisis hasn't affected the banks' ability to fund congressional campaigns (The Hill). * What the big earmarkers like to talk about in Congress (Sunlight Foundation). * Pelosi announces her opposition to the Graham-Lieberman detainee photo ban amendment (Plum Line). * All about Doug Elmendorf, the man in charge of putting a price tag on health care reform (Washington Post). * Republicans release their nuclear-focused alternative proposal for climate change legislation (N...

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Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is best known in Congress for two things: voting "no" on seemingly non-controversial legislation and proposing controversial legislation that excites his libertarian base but stands zero chance of becoming law. This session, however, Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009, is gaining enormous momentum and may see a committee hearing soon.

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Affordable Health Choices Act

June 9, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

A draft version of Ted Kennedy's landmark health care reform bill was released today by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Mark-ups of the bill will officially begin next week, but many of the most controversial issues are still unresolved.

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Bills on Bills

June 9, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act (H.R. 45) has been one of the most-viewed bills on OpenCongress for months. The bill would establish a nationwide system for prohibiting unlicensed gun-ownership, and OpenCongress users are overwhelmingly opposed. I just noticed another bill that has been proposed in the House, a non-binding resolution introduced by two Democrats, the sole purpose of which seems to be a statement of opposition to the Blair Holt's bill. It even mention'...

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