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Congress And Lawmakers

The Takeaway

'No Labels' Political Movement Launches

Monday, December 13, 2010

Today a new political movement is launching in New York City called “No Labels.” It’s ambitious. It’s inclusive. The crème de la crème of analysts and strategists are on board, as are former and current politicians of both parties as well as independent. But what exactly is "No Labels?"

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The Takeaway

Not All Dems in Congress Hate Tax Cuts Deal

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Senate is scheduled to vote on President Obama's tax cuts bill today, most people are confident it will pass. The real battle will then come as the bill heads to the House, where many Democrats have staked out a clear position against the deal.  Some House Democrats support the bill, however, including Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who represents the 28th District of Texas. He shares with us his reasons for supporting the bill, and what he thinks is the likelihood of it passing.

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The Takeaway

Republicans Block Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Friday, December 10, 2010

Senate Republicans blocked what may have been one of the last real attempts to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy before Republicans take control of the House next year. But all is not lost for those supporting repeal. Yesterday outgoing speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted: "An army of allies stands ready to pass standalone repeal in House." Currently, Democrats need only two GOP Senators to reach the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. In January, they will need the support of at least seven Republicans. Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich explains why this is such a crucial moment for Democrats to push through a repeal of the policy.

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The Takeaway

Morning Wrap: Democratic Insurrection

Friday, December 10, 2010

Are we seeing the start of a Democratic insurrection? Our conversation this morning with Oregon Democrat Rep. Peter DeFazio suggests we are. Here's how he responded to John's question this morning about whether he'd support a Democratic challenge to Obama in 2012: "I'm going to withhold my support until I see who's on the ballot."

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The Takeaway

Dem Rep. Peter DeFazio: Against Tax Cut Deal, Undecided on Obama in 2012

Friday, December 10, 2010

House Democrats rebelled Thursday against President Barack Obama's tax cut deal with Republicans, threatening to keep it off the floor. This comes after the House Democratic Caucus met yesterday and approved a motion to reject the provisions of the compromises — most notably the provisions related to the estate tax. Currently the deal struck between the President and Republicans would extend Bush-era tax cuts for the super-rich, and drastically ease the estate tax burden. We speak with the man leading the charge in the House Democratic caucus, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). He also weighs in on whether President Obama can count on his support in 2012. 

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The Takeaway

GOP, White House Reach Deal on Tax Cuts, Unemployment Benefits

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The White House and Senate Republicans reached a tentative agreement yesterday that would see a GOP priority, Bush-era tax cuts extended for rich and poor alike, accepted in return for a Democratic priority: extending unemployment benefits to help keep the economy moving. Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich watched the deal in the making.

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The Takeaway

The Agenda: Wrangling Over Tax Cuts, Euro Zone Debt

Monday, December 06, 2010

Will we or will we not see an extension to the Bush-era tax cuts? That is what we’re all waiting to see play out this week. Democrats want to return to Clinton-era taxes on the wealthy, and Republicans are holding out for preserving the status quo. But President Obama and Democrats may be backing off on their stance, as a compromise looks like it could be in the works. The Bush-era cuts would be temporarily extended to everyone, rich and poor, for two years...if unemployment benefits are extended as well.

 

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The Takeaway

House Censures Rep. Charlie Rangel

Friday, December 03, 2010

Yesterday afternoon, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) became only the 23rd Representative to be officially censured in Congressional history. Some members had called for an official reprimand, instead, but the House voted overwhelmingly for censure, 333 to 79. A defiant Rangel took to the floor in response, saying, "Even though it is painful to accept this vote, I am fully aware that this vote reflects, perhaps, the thinking of the members, but the political tide and the constituency of this body.”

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The Takeaway

Congress Set to Vote on Tax Cuts, Censure for Rangel

Thursday, December 02, 2010

There is a lot on the agenda today for this lame-duck Congress. Senate hearings begin on the military funding bill that contains a legislative repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," while the House will vote on a motion to censure New York Rep. Charlie Rangel, recently convicted of 11 ethics violations. And later, the House will vote on whether to extend Bush-era tax cuts. Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich gives us the low-down on the day's votes.

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The Takeaway

Congress Approves Black Farmers' Settlement

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Back in February, the Obama Administration approved a $1.25 billion court-ordered settlement for Black farmers who filed a class action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture, claiming racial discrimination. Congress failed to approve these funds seven times since the settlement was announced.

But yesterday, after a long battle, Congress approved the 2010 Claims Settlement Act, which now awaits President Obama’s signature.

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The Takeaway

Lame-Duck Congress Talks Tax Cuts, Unemployment

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This week, Congress has two extensions on the table. While it looks likely that lawmakers will extend the Bush-era tax cuts for both the wealthy and the middle class, it seems unlikely that they will renew the extension on unemployment payments. What will the fallout be? 

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The Takeaway

Congress Weighs Unemployment Benefits

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Earlier this month, a bill to extend benefits for three months for the long-term unemployed was defeated in Congress. The cost of extending benefits would have equaled roughly $12 billion.

But while Capitol Hill has thus far been unwilling to spend $12 billion for the unemployed, Republicans on the Hill have also announced their intention to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans. The price tag to do so for 2011? Roughly $36 billion.

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda: Lame Duck Congress Returns, Unemployment Benefits Expire

Monday, November 29, 2010

Looking ahead to the week's agenda: Unemployment benefits for an estimated two million Americans is set to expire by tomorrow; Congress will decide whether or not to extend them. Time is running out to pass the new START agreement with Russia, as well.  Two days of debate have been scheduled for Thursday and Friday that will address the Pentagon's soldier survey on "Don't Ask Don't Tell," and whether or not the repeal, backed by the White House, will go through. Also, the highly debated Bush Tax Cuts are set to expire in January for both middle and upper-income brackets...both sides seem to be adamantly sticking to their guns with no compromise in sight.

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The Takeaway

A Very Political Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving approaches, a holiday full of yearly traditions for families across the country. As Americans begin to prepare turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberries for their Thanksgiving meals, we decided to take look at how our nation's capital celebrates this holiday. It seems that Washington lobbyists have their own special traditions in November, and the food we enjoy each Thanksgiving arrives infused with political influence. 

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The Takeaway

An Exit Interview with Utah's Sen Bob Bennett

Monday, November 22, 2010

This past election season was dominated by coverage of the Tea Party — and many outgoing politicians were ousted by Tea Party-backed candidates. Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah) was among the first and most surprising of these casualties, losing to Tea Party-supported Mike Lee in Utah's Republican convention, back in May.

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The Takeaway

Rep. Rangel Guilty on Eleven Ethics Counts

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) was convicted on 11 of 13 counts of rules violation by a House ethics panel. The Takeaway's Washington correspondent, Todd Zwillich, looks ahead to what's next for the embattled Congressman, and what his punishment will likely be.

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The Takeaway

Setting Up Shop in D.C.: The Biggest Mistakes Freshmen Congressmen Can Make

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Forget the new backpack, homecoming bonfires and locker room hazing: Being a "freshman" in Congress is more like setting up a small business, in a city you have never lived in and within a bureaucratic system that dictates your every move. The huge group of "Washington outsiders" arriving on Capitol Hill this week will have to get a team together, set up their offices and make contacts — all while trying to avoid the political quagmire against which many of them campaigned. Can the freshmen survive? 

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The Takeaway

An Exit Interview With Senator Byron Dorgan

Monday, November 15, 2010

After the GOP's successful mid-term elections earlier this month, there will be many Democrats packing up their offices into boxes and heading home. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), is actually leaving on his own terms: retiring after 30 years in Congress. He sat down to talk with us about his career, what he thinks of the Senate, and what he plans to do once he leaves office.

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda: Lame-Duck Congress, Bipartisan Meetings, Potential Israeli Settlement Freeze

Monday, November 15, 2010

The 110th Congress begins its lame duck session today, and the question remains: how much can lawmakers get done before the new members step in? Charlie Herman, economics editor for The Takeaway and WNYC looks at how this session of Congress handles the Bush tax cuts, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and the new START treaty.

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The Takeaway

Republicans Begin to Define Agenda; Tea Party Tests Its Strength

Friday, November 12, 2010

Freshmen senators, insider fighting, and a need to publicly shape the next moves for the party after the midterm election: the Republican party has spent the past week regrouping. In the middle of it all, the candidates elected with Tea Party enthusiasm have begun to flex their new political muscles with mixed results. Minnesota GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann, one of the initiators of the Tea Party movement, has dropped her bid for a leadership role in the Republican House Conference. Delaware's Senator Jim DeMint, the undeclared leader of the group, is pushing for an unpopular ban on earmarking — in an attempt, perhaps, to show how much power he can wield. And new arrivals, like Florida's freshman Senator-elect, Marco Rubio, are finding themselves caught between Tea Party ideals and Washington's realities. How is the party tackling its goals, voter expectations and new majority? 

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