close
114th Congress: We're updating with new data as it becomes available.

OpenCongress Blog

Blog Feed Comments Feed More RSS Feeds

A Match Made in Heaven

August 8, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

via Bloomberg News: >Iowa Senator Charles Grassley said he intends to link his proposal to boost taxes on publicly traded buyout firms to a fix of the alternative minimum tax, a pairing that may make it harder for opponents of the measure to vote against it. > >"This is going to come when we deal with the alternative minimum tax,'' Grassley, a Republican, said in an interview in Sidney, Iowa yesterday. He said the bill deals with "issues of equity and fairness.'' > >The strategy would part...

Read Full Article
 

Just What the Doctor Ordered

August 7, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Senate Democrats may gain a slight edge when they return from the August recess. It has been rumored that Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), who suffered a life-threatening brain hemorrhage in December, will be coming back to work on Capitol Hill in September. The latest news adds some validity to the rumors: after spending eight months recovering in Virginia, Johnson is finally well enough to head back home to South Dakota. In the seven months that Congress was in session without Johnson, Democr...

Read Full Article
 

Expanded Wiretapping Forever

August 7, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

When Congress approved a bill last week that expanded President Bush's powers to spy on Americans without a warrant, the only palliative was that it would expire after six months. Congress will try to re-negotiate then and if they are able to require the President to seek a warrant, he will be ready to pull another trick from his sleeve that makes it easy for him to get wiretapping warrants for just about anyone. In May I wrote: >This is suspicious. Just a few days after the House of Repr...

Read Full Article
 

Lobbyists Shook Up Over Ethics Bill

August 6, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The fact that lobbyists are getting nervous about having information about their work made public is a good indication that we really do need to know more about what they are doing. Last week, Congress passed the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007, a bill that has sent "a ripple of fear through K Street." >It comes amid signs that federal prosecutors are taking a newly aggressive approach to corruption cases — including treating campaign contributions as potential bribes....

Read Full Article
 

If You Can't Impeach 'Em, Censure 'Em

August 6, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) announced this morning that they have introduced resolutions to censure President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Censure is a procedure that is used to reprimand a public official without implying any legal consequences. It is one of the only ways Congress can formally distance themselves from the administration without moving to impeach, a proposal that has long been considered "off...

Read Full Article
 

Pork Barrel Pride

August 5, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The Democrats' new rules for earmarks haven't put an end to pork barrel spending, but hopefully they have eliminated the worst parts. When they took over Congress in January, Democrats changed the rules so that lawmakers would have to attach their names to any chunk of federal money that they wanted set aside for their pet projects. This kind of congressional spending, known as earmarking, snowballed under Republicans' ten years of control; there was a steady increase from about 3,000 earmarks ...

Read Full Article
 

Senate Sinks Bush's BattleSCHIP

August 3, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate is just setting them up and knocking them down. Earlier on Thursday, they passed a groundbreaking lobbying and ethics reform bill by a landslide 83-14 vote. Then late last night, this: >The U.S. Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly approved legislation [S.1893] that would raise tobacco taxes to pay for expanding a children's health program, shrugging off a veto threat from President George W. Bush who wants a more limited plan. > >The Senate voted 68-31 for the bill that would prov...

Read Full Article
 

Reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) withstood a true ordeal in the House on Wednesday, but difficult times still lie ahead. After a long day of strained debate, the House approved the reauthorization bill, H.R.3162, by a near party-line vote of 224-197 -- four Republicans broke rank to vote for its passage. The bill provides a funding increase of $50 billion over five years, which will allow about 5 million uninsured children to gain health care coverage. ...

Read Full Article
 

Who's Telling the Truth About S-CHIP?

August 1, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

During the House and Senate debates to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) today, Democrats and Republicans called upon distinctly different rhetorical devices. The bill would provide more money for the program than it currently receives -- $50 billion more over five years in the House version and $35 billion in the competing Senate version. While congressional Democrats consider this increase an opportunity to provide a healthy start to every child in America, R...

Read Full Article