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"A Defining Moment"

United States Senator Dianne Feinstein Publicly Accuses C.I.A. of Spying on Congress. 'The chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday accused the Central Intelligence Agency of improperly removing documents from computers that committee staff members had been using to complete a report on the agency’s detention program, saying the move was part of an effort to intimidate the committee.' 'Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and the chairwoman of the committee, suggested on the Senate floor that the agency had violated federal law and said the C.I.A. had undermined Congress’s constitutional right to oversee the actions of the executive branch.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Mar 11, 2014 - 164 comments

 

US Senate Democrats vote to change filibuster rules

You may find this brief history of the US Senate's filibuster fight timely and interesting, as the chamber just voted to end it for "executive branch and judicial nominees, except for the Supreme Court."
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Nov 21, 2013 - 163 comments

I'll only do so if it's fully inclusive.

By a vote of 64-32. the United States Senate has passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Full passage of ENDA would make it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. It is already illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, nationality, religion, age or disability. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Nov 7, 2013 - 90 comments

"October is a fine and dangerous season in America"

Happy Political Clusterf*ck Day (U.S.)! In one corner: the first federal government shutdown since 1996, born of the House GOP/Tea Party faction's crusade to delay, defund, and destroy Obamacare (and the Democratic Senate and President's resolve to not do that). "Continuing resolutions" have ping-ponged between the two houses, fighting over language to cancel healthcare reform (plus a few other items, such as the implementation of Mitt Romney's entire economic agenda). National parks are closed, contractors are hamstrung, and 800,000 federal workers furloughed until Speaker Boehner drops the "Hastert Rule" and passes a bill the other branches can agree to. In the other corner, heedless of the chaos (though not without glitches of its own): the official rollout of the Affordable Care Act and its state insurance exchanges. The portal at Healthcare.gov is your one-stop shop for browsing, comparing, and purchasing standardized, regulated insurance coverage with premium rebates, guaranteed coverage, and expanded Medicaid for the poor (in some states). A crazy day, overall -- but peanuts compared to what might happen if the debt ceiling is breached in 16 days. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 1, 2013 - 2207 comments

Fiscal-Cliff-Diving

There's been a lot of talk in the US media about the "Fiscal Cliff" and the "Grand Bargain" What are they?
The "fiscal cliff" is a confluence of three legal changes taking effect Jan. 1: the expiration of a payroll-tax cut, the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, and the advent of mandatory spending cuts known as "sequestration."
Fiscal Cliff 101: 5 Basic Questions Answered. What's Happening: Fiscal Cliff Explained [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 1, 2012 - 214 comments

Harry Reid Endorses New Filibuster Reform Proposal

As the least-productive Congress in a generation draws to a close, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has spoken in support of a new proposal to reform the filibuster. The proposed changes would not eliminate the filibuster, but would restore the talking filibuster, which requires that the opposition explain their objections and keep talking in order to delay a vote on the bill under consideration. [more inside]
posted by wintermind on Nov 16, 2012 - 54 comments

Mark Kirk & the Candy Desk

What do John McCain, Rick Santorum, and George Voinovich have in common? They have all been seated at the Senate's candy desk throughout their careers. [more inside]
posted by Bukvoed on Mar 27, 2012 - 35 comments

Send Congress To Boot Camp

Lt. Gen. Russell Honore has a solution to the increasing splintering and radicalization of Congress: send all the members of Congress to boot camp and keep them there until they recognize their duty to America.
posted by reenum on Aug 5, 2011 - 56 comments

Pencils down.

It's Election Day in America, and as is so often the case in this fickle land, the results of the 2010 midterm elections are up in the air. Although President Obama's party is expected to suffer significant losses, record numbers of districts remain competitive, and even minute errors in polling could mean the difference between a historic Republican landslide and an unexpectedly robust Democratic defense. At stake are control of not just the Senate and House, but myriad state and local offices, many of which will play key roles in the dynamics of the 2012 presidential race -- and, more subtly but no less crucially, the once-in-a-decade congressional redistricting process. Much uncertainty surrounds the behavior of the electorate -- how many will turn out, and how informed will they be? To help move those statistics in the right direction, look inside for voter guides, national and state fact checkers, and an assortment of other resources to keep tabs on as the results roll in. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 2, 2010 - 858 comments

$40bn and you get the Senate back unharmed

[A] seminal moment in the evolution of Republican obstructionism. [A] seminal moment in the history of Congress.
Senate Held Hostage. America Held Hostage.
Richard Shelby Shuts the Government Down. [more inside]
posted by jckll on Feb 5, 2010 - 282 comments

a very long article

How America Can Rise Again by James Fallows
Is America going to hell? After a year of economic calamity that many fear has sent us into irreversible decline, the author finds reassurance in the peculiarly American cycle of crisis and renewal, and in the continuing strength of the forces that have made the country great: our university system, our receptiveness to immigration, our culture of innovation. In most significant ways, the U.S. remains the envy of the world. But here's the alarming problem: our governing system is old and broken and dysfunctional. Fixing it—without resorting to a constitutional convention or a coup—is the key to securing the nation's future. (via|previously)
posted by kliuless on Jan 6, 2010 - 61 comments

Health Care Has Passed

The House of Representatives just passed the health reform bill in a vote of 220-215.
posted by reenum on Nov 7, 2009 - 425 comments

An Economic Stimulus Without the Stimulus?

A list of cut, halved, and quartered items from the Senate version of the stimulus bill was released to CNN. [more inside]
posted by WCityMike on Feb 7, 2009 - 162 comments

We're Coming to You Tube!

Welcome to Congress, YouTube. Check out House Hub and Senate Hub for a state by state directory of YouTube videos created by House Representatives and Senators for the purpose of, among other things, "increasing transparency." [more inside]
posted by lunit on Jan 15, 2009 - 12 comments

Former United States Senator Jesse Helms, 1921 - 2008.

Fmr. US Senator Jesse Helms, 1921 - 2008. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jul 4, 2008 - 315 comments

What's the difference between Democratic and Republican congressmen? $55,000.

Want to live it up at the U.S. party conventions and get access to Senators and Congressmen? USA Today has posted the campaign committee price lists:
Democratic Senate and Congress
Republican Senate and Congress

If you've got the dough, you may conveniently request a convention package online from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The National Republican Congressional Committee and the NRSC have other price lists on their sites, but it seems like the DSCC and DCCC sites keep theirs under wraps.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim on May 1, 2008 - 10 comments

Congress 2.0

Opencongress.org is a website for keeping track of the U.S. Congress. (previously) But, now it also a social network. So, sign-up and see what your favourite Senator has been doing, track bills and, follow important issues. Then, share that information with your friends or write about it on your blog.
posted by geos on Feb 4, 2008 - 20 comments

Taxation without Representation

Senate kills bill to give D.C. representation (L.A. Times). [more inside]
posted by Navelgazer on Sep 19, 2007 - 76 comments

"Make Congress more transparent and encourage civic engagement"

OpenCongress.org is a site that aggregates data about the United States Senate and House. Keep track of your senators or representatives through rss feeds, read bills on topics that are important to you, and find out what industries are behind the scenes providing money to your politicians in Washington among many other uses of this new resource.
posted by rfbjames on Feb 27, 2007 - 18 comments

History of the Senate desks

From the Candy Desk to the Cherokee Strip, the desks in the U.S. Senate Chamber have a long and fascinating history.
posted by Vidiot on Jan 4, 2007 - 21 comments

Foley was a Republican, but those Dems are TELEMARKETERS!

Abu Gharib? Feh. The newest Dark Side: telemarketing abuse. The National Republican Congressional Committee has launched a $2.1 million campaign calling individuals, including those on the Federal Do-Not-Call Registry, with automated telephone messages scripted to sound as if they are coming from the Democratic candidate up for election, in the hopes of driving away support come Tuesday's elections. "Hello. I'm calling with information about [Democratic candidate]," the recording begins, and then pauses for the traditional hang-up. If the recipient does indeed hang up, they then receive repeated phone calls back. This manner of scripting violates 47 CFR 64.1200(b)(1), which requires that "the identity of the business, individual, or other entity that is responsible for initiating the call" be "state[d] clearly" "at the beginning of the message." The New Hampshire Attorney General got them to stop calling those on the Do-Not-Call Registry, at least. (In their best interests, perhaps, due to the $5,000 fine per call potentially racking up hefty fines.) This is going on at the very least in the Pennsylvania 6th, the Connecticut 4th, the North Carolina 11th,, the New Hampshire 2nd, and nationwide.
posted by WCityMike on Nov 5, 2006 - 142 comments

Bye Bye Funding.

CNN reports that the House passed HR 4241 this morning by a narrow vote almost entirely along party lines. This is part of the Republican Party's Operation Offset (previously discussed here) designed to cut spending to counter the deficit, growing by leaps and bounds because of Iraq & Katrina (among other things). Now they'll have to work to reconcile it with the Senate version, SR 1932 (voting record here). You may want to Write your representative to let them know how you feel. You might also want to express your displeasure to the two Dems who didn't vote, considering the bill passed by a margin of 2. [Budget Filter]
posted by papakwanz on Nov 18, 2005 - 48 comments

"Operation Offset"

"Operation Offset" is what the Republicans are calling their budget cut plan to pay for Hurricane Katrina. Will there be tax cuts for the rich? Nope. The great majority of the proposed cuts target the elderly and the poor, heavily targeting Medicare. They eliminate all federal funding for energy conservation, the "Energy Star" program, energy efficient vehicles, hydrogen vehicles, high-speed rail, light rail, PBS, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, AmeriCorps, the "Even Start" program, the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, security/anti-drug funding for innercity schools, and all federal loans to grad students. Also facing cuts are the Global AIDS Initiative, the EPA, the Center for Disease Control, pensions and healthcare plans for retired federal workers, job programs and revitalization funds for poor neighborhoods, the school lunch program, community health centers, and health care for soldiers.
posted by insomnia_lj on Sep 27, 2005 - 120 comments

I smell a crook

Dirty Dirty men..... America, Mark Twain once said, "is a nation without a distinct criminal class with the possible exception of Congress."
posted by sourbrew on Jul 21, 2004 - 4 comments

Folks, that's the news, and I am outta here

Sen. Dennis Miller, R-California
posted by Espoo2 on Oct 21, 2003 - 83 comments

Congress agrees, citizens shouldn't have the same right to bankruptcy protection as corporations.

Congress agrees, citizens shouldn't have the same right to bankruptcy protection as corporations. The Senate and House, after much lobbying by credit card companies, have decided that consumers don't need protection. Corporations can still file for bankruptcy, leaving stockholders and employees standing in the rain, but Joe Consumer had better not get sick, lose his job, or not pay that usurious 25% interest rate. This is the same bill that Clinton vetoed as being unfair to consumers...but we all know where this regime's loyalties lie...and it ain't the people.
posted by dejah420 on Jul 26, 2002 - 34 comments

Happy November 31st!

Happy November 31st! Senators and Congressmen Order Botched Calendars With an Extra Day.
posted by scottymac on Jan 16, 2002 - 5 comments

Silicon Valley backs Senate bill

Silicon Valley backs Senate bill that would allow companies to report computer network attacks to the government without having to worry about the public finding out. The reasoning: it would encourage more companies to report the problems and help the government track down the culprits. A similar bill is in the House.
posted by thescoop on Sep 25, 2001 - 3 comments

Sen. Biden may scotch missile defense.

Sen. Biden may scotch missile defense. Didn't see any mention of this on the main American news sites I checked, as they celebrate Bush's recent policy triumphs in Congress and wink at his fleeing for his ranch for a month. Even stories about his future challenges don't refer to this, which seems important to me. You can bet the rest of the world is more interested in this story.
posted by aflakete on Aug 3, 2001 - 3 comments

A giant loophole in McCain-Feingold will give oil companies a total exemption from all its propsed spending restrictions. This is levelling the playing field?
posted by aaron on Mar 27, 2001 - 19 comments

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