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Congress And Lawmakers

The Takeaway

Roundtable discussion on the stimulus vote

Thursday, January 29, 2009

President Obama's $819 billion stimulus plan passed the House last night. Despite the new president’s calls for bipartisanship, all House Republicans and eleven Democrats opposed the bill. What does this mean for the future of bipartisanship and the bailout? We are joined by Nate Silver, founder of FiveThirtyEight.com, a blog that analyzes political data, who has been looking at which Congress members support the president’s bill and why. Greg Ip, U.S. Economics Editor at The Economist, also joins The Takeaway with an analysis of which parts of the bill are likely to have the most effect. Finally we speak with Republican Congressman Vernon Ehlers of Michigan’s 3rd District. Ehlers didn't vote for the bill because he didn't think it had projects to create the kind of jobs that would stimulate Michigan’s ailing economy.

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The Takeaway

Show me the money! The stimulus bill from a lobbyist's point of view

Thursday, January 29, 2009

If the stimulus bill passes the Senate in its current form, $30 billion will be set aside for highway construction. It sounds like a windfall for the asphalt industry, but Jay Hansen, lobbyist for the National Asphalt Pavement Association, isn’t doing a happy dance just yet because he’s still got a lot of work to do. He'll tell John what the bill looks like from a lobbyist's perspective.

We're investigating the stimulus bill with our friends at ProPublica and WNYC. Follow the coverage here.

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The Takeaway

Stimulus package passes the House

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed their version of the stimulus bill with a vote of 244 to 188. Despite President Obama’s calls for bipartisan support, not one Republican voted for the bill. Chris Hayes, Washington Editor of The Nation, joins The Takeaway to hash over the bill, the votes and exactly how the dollars are allotted.

"It's still going to be Barack Obama's bill, it's still going to be a Democratic Congress. Your only hope is that it fails and you can then say 'I told you so.'"
— Chris Hayes, editor of The Nation on the partisan vote on the economic stimulus bill

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The Takeaway

A Republican Congressman takes on the President's stimulus package

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Yesterday House Republican leaders met with President Obama to voice their objections to his stimulus plan. Representative Kevin Brady of Texas' 8th Congressional District was there. He joins John and Adaora with a report on what happened in the meeting, what his hopes are for bipartisan compromise, and what's next for the bill.

For President Obama's take on the meeting, here's his post-meeting press conference:

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The Takeaway

How the Harvard Law Review prepared President Obama for bipartisan politics

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

On the campaign trail Barack Obama promised to be a leader of bipartisan politics. Now he’ll try to make good on his word as he works to pass his $825 billion recovery plan. Yesterday, in an effort to get the bipartisan ball rolling, President Obama met with House Republicans who are resisting his stimulus plan. For a look at whether or not Mr. Obama has the ability to effectively reach across the aisle we are joined by Bradford Berenson. Berenson repeatedly saw Mr. Obama walk a fine line between two radically different worlds when they were classmates at Harvard Law School and editors for The Harvard Law Review. Berenson was also a top lawyer in the White House counsel’s office from 2001-2003.

For more on President Obama's past as a bipartisan player, watch the Frontline documentaries Dreams of Obama and The Choice.

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The Takeaway

RNC Chairmanship up for grabs

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Republican National Committee begins its winter meeting today and by the end of the week they will have elected a new chairman. The race for the chairmanship has just started to heat up and there are no shortage of contenders for the job. Politico reporter Alex Burns joins us from Washington, D.C. for a look at the horse race. Or is that an elephant race?

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The Takeaway

Obama courts the GOP

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The President will meet with Republican House and Senate members today in the hopes of selling them on his stimulus package. GOP party leaders have so far been unswayed. One of the lawmakers meeting with President Obama today is Jason Chaffetz, the Republican Representative for the 3rd Congressional district in Utah. He joins us to explain his take on the president's proposal.

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The Takeaway

President Obama heads to Capitol Hill to plead for economic aid

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A busy day is ahead on Capitol Hill as President Obama pleads his case for the stimulus package to Senate and House Republicans. Vice President Joe Biden will also be on the Hill for the swearing in of New York’s newest senator, Kirsten Gillibrand. Capitol News Connection’s Todd Zwillich tells us what we should expect from the President and Vice-President's tag-team.

Follow The Takeaway's coverage of the stimulus package

"The last time they passed a stimulus like this was never. Nobody's ever done this before."
— Todd Zwillich, reporter for Capitol News Connection, on President Obama's $825 billion stimulus plan

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The Takeaway

White House role in slashing stimulus bill transit funding questioned

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Who's responsible for allocations in the stimulus package? Who decided that roads would get $30 billion, transit would get $9 billion, and that the "smart grid" would get $11 billion? According to transit advocates who've talked with House transportation committee chair James Oberstar, D-Minn., it was Lawrence Summers, director of the White House's National Economic Council.

ShovelWatch is a joint project of the non-profit investigative journalism organization ProPublica, The Takeaway and WNYC Radio.
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The Takeaway

Si se puede! Is it an Obama moment for Latino politicians?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Over 10 million Hispanic voters turned out on Election Day and they overwhelmingly cast their support for President Obama, who received twice as many votes from the Hispanic community than John McCain. Now that Obama is in the Oval Office it’s time for Latinos to cash in and push their agenda. The question is: are they organized enough to maximize the power that they’ve earned? Joining us for a look at how Latinos need to leverage their political influence is Gebe Martinez. She’s a longtime Washington watchdog and a Politico contributor.

Read Gebe Martinez's article, Latinos fight for political recognition at Politico.com

"There clearly is a need for Hispanics to flex that muscle. The question is whether they will and can this year."
— Politico's Gebe Martinez on whether Latino support of President Barack Obama can translate into pro-Latino policy

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The Takeaway

Capitol Hill preview

Monday, January 26, 2009

Things are not slowing down at all this week on Capitol Hill. Among other big events, Tim Geithner is likely to be approved as Treasury Secretary, the new Senator from New York will be sworn in, and the Senate Appropriations Committee will debate the stimulus bill. Todd Zwillich of Capitol News Connection joins Katherine and Adaora with a preview.

"It's a lot easier to have a new tone and be bipartisan when you have 58 Democratic Senators and not 51."
— Todd Zwillich from Capitol News Connection on the likelihood of cooperation in the new Democratic majority in the Senate

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The Takeaway

Gov. Paterson to name Kirsten Gillibrand to U.S. Senate

Friday, January 23, 2009

Just a few hours ago, New York Governor David Paterson picked Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. for Hillary Clinton's now-vacant Senate seat. The governor will formally announce his pick today at noon in Albany. According to the New York Times an aide to Rep. Gillibrand confirmed that she had accepted the appointment. Here to tell us more about the Senate's newest member is Liz Benjamin, a reporter for the New York Daily News.

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The Takeaway

House Republicans resist President Obama's stimulus plan

Friday, January 23, 2009

One of President Obama’s top priorities is to move his $825 billion stimulus plan through Congress. Although there is consensus that the economy needs to be rehabilitated, Obama’s vision of how to fix it is meeting resistance mostly among House Republicans. Joining us is one congressman who is currently withholding his support, Representative Scott Garrett of New Jersey. Congressman Garrett is a Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government-Sponsored Enterprises for the House Financial Services Committee.

Don't like Obama's stimulus plan? Create your own!

"We basically just gave another 350 billion dollars away, still without any plan on how to spend it."
— Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) on why he is withholding his support for President Obama's stimulus plan

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The Takeaway

The view from Capitol Hill

Thursday, January 22, 2009

President Obama’s cabinet is almost confirmed. Despite a last minute delay, even Hillary Rodham Clinton was able to be confirmed as the new Secretary of State. The latest roadblock? Obama's pick for Attorney General, Eric Holder, had his confirmation postponed, which may not bode well for a cordial working relationship between the President and the Congress. With more on the confirmations and the comings and going on Capitol Hill we turn to Todd Zwillich reporter for Capitol News Connection.

The crowds at the Inauguration as viewed from space. Shot courtesy of NASA.

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The Takeaway

Obama Administration? Meet Congress, your new best friend

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

President Barack Obama is newly-ensconced in office and he is rolling up his sleeves to get down to business. He has said he wants to work closely with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to address America's current economic problems. How is this likely to play out as lawmakers grapple with healing the economy? For answers we look to the New York Times' David Herszenhorn for his take on the relationship between the executive and legislative branches in the new administration.

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The Takeaway

Congress and the Obama Administration, Day One

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The festivities are over and today the new president and Congress begin the process of working together. President Obama has said that he will collaborate more closely with Congress than his predecessor, and that he will reach out to Republicans. How is that likely to play out as lawmakers grapple with healing the economy and taking on other major challenges like health care reform? The New York Times' David Sanger joins John and Adaora to take a look at the executive/legislative relationship as the Obama Administration gets underway.

For more, read David Sanger's new book The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power.

For The Takeaway's idea of what President Obama needs to know on his first day in office, check out our Briefing Book series.

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The Takeaway

House Democrats unveil stimulus package

Friday, January 16, 2009

Yesterday, House Democrats released an $825 billion economic stimulus bill designed to create and preserve jobs and get people spending again. At the same time, the Senate released the remaining bailout funds to prop up the flailing financial institutions. The New York Times' David Herszenhorn joins The Takeaway with an analysis.

For more, read David Herszenhorn's article, Senate Releases Second Portion of Bailout Fund, in today's New York Times.

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The Takeaway

The tussle over the TARP

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Senate Republicans who oppose the release of the second $350 billion of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, known as TARP, are facing an uphill battle. It looks as though Congress will approve the release of the money, so what do Senate Republicans need to hear before they feel secure that the money will be handled appropriately? The Takeaway is joined by Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina.

For more, here is Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell discussing the need for more information before the 2nd installment of TARP funds are released.

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The Takeaway

Another frenetic day on Capitol Hill

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Between the ongoing confirmation hearings and increasingly tense negotiations on the stimulus package and TARP, it's sure to be another momentous day on the Hill. Happily, Capitol News Connection reporter Todd Zwillich is with us as a guest host and give us all the insider details.

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The Takeaway

Only in Illinois: Blagojevich swears in State Senate

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

There’s never a dull moment in Illinois State Politics. Today, Governor Rod Blagojevich will preside over the swearing in of the very same state senators that will later this month decide whether or not to remove him from office. The Takeaway talks to Amanda Vinicky, a statehouse reporter for Illinois Public Radio.

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