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Congress And Lawmakers

The Takeaway

Will our listeners get their stimulus wishes?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

All week we've been asking you how you would like to see the money in the stimulus bill spent, and you've come up with some great suggestions. Now that we know where the money is going to go, Takeaway Correspondent Andrea Bernstein will tell some of our listeners if their stimulus dreams will come true.

ShovelWatch is a joint project of the non-profit investigative outfit ProPublica, the morning news program The Takeaway and WNYC, New York's flagship public radio station. With investigative reporting, interactive features and help from you, we're tracking the stimulus bill dollars from Congress to your community.

Follow the dollars online and tell us how the stimulus plan is playing out in your community. We're sharing your stories online and on air, and we'll continue the investigation with your help.

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The Takeaway

Ladies and Gentlemen: We have a stimulus bill

Thursday, February 12, 2009

After duking it out for almost 24 hours, Congress finally passed an economic stimulus bill. The final number? $789 billion, which is big, but is a smaller sum than the original House and Senate versions. The bill is expected to be passed by the House and Senate tomorrow and signed into law by President Obama on Monday. We now turn to Capitol News Connection's Todd Zwillich, who was in the conference committee meeting where the details of the bill were worked out.

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The Takeaway

Operating without a net: Salmonella outbreak reveals a broken food safety system

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Today the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations subcommittee is holding a hearing to examine the recent salmonella outbreak associated with peanut butter manufactured by the Peanut Corporation of America. An extensive investigation into this nationwide outbreak, which now involves the FBI, looks at how contaminated peanut products, from one plant in Blakely, Georgia, could taint hundreds of other foods. Currently eight people have died from salmonella poisoning and nearly 600 people, in 44 states, have fallen ill. Joining us to discuss the break down in America’s food safety infrastructure is Benjamin England. England, is a 17-year FDA veteran and co-founder of FDA Imports.com.

The FDA's recall list for peanut butter and related food products has hundreds of items on it. Click here to see what is on the list that might hiding in your pantry.

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The Takeaway

The response to the new bailout from Wall Street to Main Street

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Forget TARP and get used to F.S.P. That's the Financial Stability Plan that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner unveiled yesterday and the markets had a clear response: They hated it. To find out what may be bothering the markets, we turn to Peter Morici, an economist and professor at the University of Maryland. But we are also curious how Main Street was reacting to the revamped bailout and we asked John Fetterman, the mayor of Braddock, PA to join us for his point of view.

ShovelWatch is a joint project of the non-profit investigative outfit ProPublica, the morning news program The Takeaway and WNYC, New York's flagship public radio station. With investigative reporting, interactive features and help from you, we're tracking the stimulus bill dollars from Congress to your community.

Follow the dollars online and tell us how the stimulus plan is playing out in your community. We're sharing your stories online and on air, and we'll continue the investigation with your help.

Timothy Geithner talks about the Financial Stability Plan at his recent press conference.

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The Takeaway

Where the stimulus money would go: A visual comparison of the Senate and House plans

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Senate passed a $838-billion economic stimulus bill Tuesday, two weeks after the passage of a $819-billion House bill, but it has different notions of where the money should go. The Senate's version has an additional $76 billion in tax cuts but a reduction to state budget aid. Here's a complete comparison of the spending from both bills.

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The Takeaway

Obama's "New Deal" raises questions about the success of FDR's original

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Senate will vote today on the passage of the $838 billion economic stimulus bill. And with Senators expected to pass what has been called President Obama’s New Deal, an old debate about the original New Deal is bubbling up again. Did FDR’s heralded program really drag the U.S. out of the Great Depression or was it World War II that put us back on track? The Takeaway is looking at both sides of that coin with Amity Shlaes, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, and Nick Taylor author of American Made, a history of FDR's Works Progress Administration.

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The Takeaway

Republicans push for changes in stimulus bill, then don't support it

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Senate Democrats advanced the $800 billion plus stimulus bill yesterday, but just three Republicans voted for the bill in a procedural vote, and no additional Republican support is expected in the final vote today. Even though they don't support the bill, Republican Senators pushed for many changes in it. Takeaway Correspondent Andrea Bernstein and Susanna Capelouto, News Director of Georgia Public Broadcasting, join Todd and Katherine to talk through why that might be.

Follow the dollars online and tell us how the stimulus plan is playing out in your community. We're sharing your stories online and on air, and we'll continue the investigation with your help.

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The Takeaway

Call for transparency in spending of TARP funds

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Should banks be required to explain how they spend taxpayer dollars? That was the 700 billion dollar question the Bush administration struggled with last fall while constructing the TARP. Today as we anticipate the reworked version of the TARP, it seems the Obama administration has a whole new set of questions, like how to restore public faith in the bailout. David Barstow, a New York Times reporter covering the bank bailout, joins us this morning.

For more on this, read David Barstow's article, Calls for Clarity in New Bailout for U.S. Banks, in today's New York Times.

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The Takeaway

TARP take two

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Today Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will announce how the second half of the $700 billion Congress approved to bailout troubled banks will be spent. The Bush Administration's implementation of the so-called “Troubled Asset Relief Program,” or TARP, got plenty of criticism. Will Obama and his crew do better? Lizzie O'Leary, Washington-based reporter for Bloomberg News, and Tom McCool, Director of the Center for Economics at the Government Accountability Office, join Todd and Katherine to look at how TARP may be different the second time around.

"What they want to do is essentially provide a government guarantee against loss, but an incentive for private investors to do well on the upside if these assets turn around and start performing."
— Bloomberg reporter Lizzie O'Leary on the use of TARP funds

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The Takeaway

Sen. Ben Nelson works hard for peace in the Senate

Monday, February 09, 2009

Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb) has a long history of reaching across party lines to reach consensus on pressing issues in the Senate. His ability to bring together Republicans and Democrats to compromise on key policy has been instrumental to passing important legislation in the past. In the face of the partisan bickering over the stimulus, and the President's statement that he wants a bipartisan solution to the economic crisis, Senator Nelson finds himself in the center of the debate.

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The Takeaway

The week ahead in Washington (not to mention Indiana and Florida)

Monday, February 09, 2009

It's Monday morning and we're gazing ahead to the week in Washington. Might we see new evidence that bipartisanship is possible? Where is President Obama headed? And what's going on with the TARP? Helping us gaze into the future is Stephanie Mehta, the assistant managing editor at Fortune Magazine.

The AP has an interesting report on the multi-billion dollar Troubled Assets Relief Program also known as TARP.

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The Takeaway

Stimulus plan set for vote in Senate

Monday, February 09, 2009

The economic stimulus bill faces its key test vote in the Senate today. If the vote goes according to the Democrats' plan, the bill will be finalized tomorrow. But, the vote in and of itself is not a stimulus plan and the road to passage has been bitterly partisan. Here with a road map for the negotiations ahead are David Herszenhorn of the New York Times and Jay Newton-Small, Washington Correspondent for Time Magazine.

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The Takeaway

Sen. Grassley remains unconvinced over the stimulus bill

Friday, February 06, 2009

After burning the midnight oil — and possibly some bridges to nowhere—The Takeaway checks back with Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa for an update on last night's Stimulus Bill debate.

Click through for the transcript and click here to listen to Senator Grassley's earlier visit to The Takeaway.
"This is a bill to jumpstart the economy. This is a bill we would not even be talking about if we were not in a recession."
— Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa on President Obama's stimulus bill

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The Takeaway

The stimulus and Daschle make for a rough week for President Obama

Friday, February 06, 2009

It was a rough week for President Obama. He lost the candidates he had nominated for two important jobs in his administration and didn't achieve the bipartisan consensus he wanted on the stimulus bill. Takeaway Correspondent Andrea Bernstein and Todd Zwillich, Reporter for Capitol News Connection, join Adaora and John to take a look back at the second full week of the Obama presidency.

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The Takeaway

Economics Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz on the Obama stimulus plan

Thursday, February 05, 2009

As the President makes his case for his economic stimulus bill, we were wondering what economists thought of the plan to dump $800 billion into the economy. Will it work? What would Keynes think? So many questions! For answers we turn to Nobel Prize winning economist and Columbia University Professor Joseph Stiglitz for his thoughts on the pros and cons of President Obama’s economic stimulus plan.

President Barack Obama discusses his view of the $800 billion stimulus bill.

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The Takeaway

ShovelWatch: Is the stimulus bill truly earmark free?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

There's no bridge to nowhere or teapot museum in the economic stimulus package, but that doesn't mean that it's free of earmarks, pet projects, or favors to special interests. As part of the ShovelWatch joint project of the non-profit investigative journalism organization ProPublica, The Takeaway and WNYC Radio, ProPublica's Michael Grabell and WNYC's Matthew Schuerman join us to take a look at some examples of stimulus funds that are being allocated according to local, not national, priorities.

ShovelWatching: We're asking you, Takeaway listeners and readers, to help us report on the stimulus dollars as they travel from Washington, D.C., to your neighborhood. Tell us how the stimulus plan is playing out in your community and we'll share your stories online and on air, and we'll continue the investigation with your help.

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The Takeaway

Shock on Capitol Hill as Daschle withdraws his nomination for HHS

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A day after President Obama announced he would stand by his man, Tom Daschle, the nominee to head the Health and Human Services Department, has withdrawn his name for consideration. His abrupt decision left everyone from reporters to the Obama administration scrambling. In the end, President Obama made the media rounds last night taking full responsibility for the situation. For more we turn to Todd Zwillich of Capitol News Connection in Washington, D.C.

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The Takeaway

In media blitz, Obama touts his stimulus plan

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

President Obama launched a media blitz yesterday, doing so many prime time interviews you would think it was campaign season again. This time, though, he was touting his economic stimulus plan. Every stop on his media tour was peppered with questions about his two failed Cabinet nominations. For a look at the latest on the Obama stimulus and the nagging questions over Daschle, we are joined by April Ryan, the White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks.

"Basically what's happening, the White House and the president are trying to backpedal to make sure that the American public understands that this is not business as usual for the new Obama administration."
— April Ryan, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, on nominees pulling out of contention because of tax issues

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The Takeaway

Senator Charles Grassley takes on the stimulus bill

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Despite President Obama's confidence that the stimulus bill will pass the Senate with bipartisan support, Senate Republicans aren't quite as confident. There are some provisions in the bill that they just aren't comfortable with and won't sign off on. Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa joins us to talk about the GOP's take on the stimulus package.

For more on the partisan political debates over the stimulus package, watch the AP's report courtesy of Youtube:

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