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September 14, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

A year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, President Obama delivers a relatively gentle address on regulatory reform to Wall Street. Economist Joe Stiglitz says structural problems in the financial are worse now than they were a year ago. The House readies for a vote against Rep. Joe Wilson. And The Senate Finance Committee prepares to release their healtcare legislation. That and more in today's roundup of links on Congress.

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This Week in Congress: The Season for Action

September 14, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

As Obama said in his big healthcare speech last week, it's time for Congress to deliver on healthcare. The action this week will happen mostly behind the scenes - in closed-door meetings and in the Senate Finance Committee - where Democrats will try to finalize the details of their healthcare reform legislation so they can start voting on it. Things will be relatively quiet on the floor of the Senate and the House, but it might get interesting if the House decides to vote on a formal censure of Rep. Joe Wilson [R, SC-2] for shouting "You lie!" at the President.

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Rep. Joe Wilson [R, SC-2], the member of Congress who shouted "You lie!" at President Obama when he said that the healthcare bill would not cover illegal immigrants, voted in 2003 to provide federal funds for illegal immigrants' healthcare. The vote came on the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, which contained Sec. 1011 authorizing $250,000 annually between 2003 and 2008 for government reimbursements to hospitals who provide treatment for uninsured illegal immigrants.

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Shouting Works

September 11, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

That at least appears to be the message from Sen. Kent Conrad [D, ND]: The controversy over Republican Rep. Joe Wilson's shouting out "You Lie!" at the President over his claim that illegal immigrants wouldn't benefit from health-care reform apparently sparked some reconsideration of the relevant language. "We really thought we'd resolved this question of people who are here illegally, but as we reflected on the President's speech last night we wanted to go back and drill down again," said Sen...

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Congress Links

September 10, 2009 - by Avelino Maestas

With the nation seemingly glued to coverage of Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst last night, it's been a slow news day for the rest of Congress. Here are a few links to send you home...

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Censure and Reprimand in the United States Congress

September 10, 2009 - by Paul Blumenthal

At some point in the developmental process human beings recognize that their emotional responses do not need to be immediately verbalized. Sometimes this development allows for some exceptions, berating your congressman at a town hall meeting or yelling at the movie screen to warn a character not to go in there. One place not to lose your cool is the floor of Congress. Especially if you decide to yell "You lie!" to the President of the United States during a speech to a joint session of Congress.

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More Important Questions

September 10, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Here's the real elephant in the room for all of us following policy change proposals in the health industry - is it "health care" or "healthcare"? Astute readers may notice that I personally have transitioned in the past few months form the former to the latter. From my very limited knowledge of Chomskyan linguistics, this is the way language works, and it's OK. As we become more comfortable with certain phrases and spellings, they become the new standard and what is proper changes. Firefox te...

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The Republican Alternative

September 10, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Apparently, those 8.5 x 11 pieces of paper Republicans were waving around last night at Obama's speech were copies of their alternative healthcare legislation. The symbolism doesn't translate very well over the TV, but here's internet equivalent of waving around a piece of paper - a link: H.R. 3400 - Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2009...

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Despite text is the House healthcare bill specifically banning illegal immigrants from receiving subsidies to buy insurance, many conservatives maintain that federal money would flow to he immigrants. They're wrong - any money going to illegal immigrants under the bill would be a failure of government officials in implementation, not a failure of Congress in legislating.

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Obama's Speech

September 9, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Obama's speech to Congress on healthcare Wednesday night sought to reaffirm his commitment to expanding insurance to all Americans, while getting more specific about what he wants in a bill and attacking some of the malicious rumors that have been spread. Click through for more information including full video of the speech.

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Read the Bill: Illegal Immigrants Are NOT Covered

September 9, 2009 - by Conor Kenny

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) angrily shouted "you lie!" in response to President Obama's statement during his Wednesday address to Congress that claims of illegal immigrants being covered by the proposed health care reforms were "false."

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Congress Links

September 9, 2009 - by Avelino Maestas

Congress is back from recess, preparing for a joint-session where President Barack Obama will address the country with a speech on health care reform.

UPDATE: See the OpenCongress Twitter page for a live feed with instant reactions and quotes from the President's speech.

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Americans Want Better Food Safety Regulations

September 9, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Food safety legislation is very unpopular on OpenCongress. Just 6% say they support Congress' leading bill on the matter. But in the wider public, it's a much different matter. A new poll from Pew shows that 83% of likely voters think the government should be responsible for food safety, 89% think they should pass new regulations, and 91% favor regular government inspections of facilities that produce food that have a high-risk of contamination. Of course, they're not polling on the specif...

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Committee Shift Bad for Climate Legislation

September 9, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

As Paul wrote earlier, Sen. Chris Dodd is staying Chairman of the Banking Committee, Sen. Tom Harkin is moving over to lead the HELP Committee, and Sen. Blanche Lincoln will be replacing Harkin as Chair of the Agriculture Committee. What kind of impact will this have on the Democrats' priorities. Kate Sheppard says the shifting around is bad for passing cap-and-trade legislation to address climate change: Lincoln has called for a delay on climate legislation until 2010, arguing that it woul...

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Snowe's Trigger

September 9, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Sen. Olympia Snowe [R, ME] is the Democrats' best chance for getting a Republican on board to vote for healthcare reform legislation. More details have emerged today about the compromises Snowe is looking for in the legislation.

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