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It's A Free Country ®

How the 111th Congress Changed Our Lives

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Congress usually draws the most attention for the things it doesn’t accomplish. The 111th session was no different, but all the partisan bickering, deadlock, and frequent threats of filibuster overshadowed one reality: these legislators actually got a heck of a lot done. With the new session beginning on January 3rd, it's time to ask: How has the 111th Congress changed our lives? Here are just a few of the ways that lawmakers made America different over the past two years.

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The Takeaway

Congress Convenes Without a Kennedy For the First Time in Nearly 50 Years

Monday, December 27, 2010

When the 112th Congress convenes next week, it will be the first class of legislators in nearly fifty years that does not include a member of the Kennedy clan. From Jack to Bobby to Ted to Joseph, and finally to Patrick — who decided against running for reelection this year as representative from Rhode Island  — the Kennedys have been a mainstay in Washington D.C. for decades.

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WNYC News

Redistricting: The Northeast Slide Continues

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Numbers released earlier this week by the U.S. Census Bureau show that the population of the United States continues to shift to the South and West. Based on the census numbers, both New Jersey and New York will have to redraw their Congressional districts.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Lame Duck Not-So-Lame

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's been a busy month in Washington. Susan Page, USA Today Washington bureau chief, looks back at legislation passed during the lame-duck session, and looks forward to President Obama’s 2011.

 Read More And Join The Conversation At It's A Free Country

The Takeaway

Weapons Decreased by a 'New START'

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A final vote on the New START Agreement is expected this week, after 67 Senators — exactly the two-thirds majority necessary to ratify the treaty — voted yesterday to break a GOP filibuster of the bill. The treaty would significantly decrease the number of nuclear weapons held by the United States and Russia. We're looking at which specific classes of nuclear weapons would be decreased by START, and why we worry about these weapons instead of others.

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It's A Free Blog

No DREAM for Yesica

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

WNYC
I realized around the age of thirteen, from an ominous sick feeling at the pit of my stomach, that one day I would be faced with certain challenges I wouldn’t be able to surpass. I was not aware of any of the laws, but from watching my parents struggle with work, I knew it would be just as difficult for me.

- Radio Rookie, Yesica, on the DREAM Act

Read More

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The Takeaway

Top of the Hour: Dream Act Doomed, Morning Headlines

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Many have been celebrating the lame duck Congress's capability for getting a few last liberal agenda items done: repealing "don't ask, don't tell," among the big news. But one big bill never made it...the Dream Act.  

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The Takeaway

Top of the Hour: Census Tracks Large Population Movements, Morning Headlines

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Shifting populations detailed in new Census data also hint at political changes and a different future for some states. As Americans change the location of their homes, the lines of districting also change — and that may be good news for Republicans. 

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The Washington Report

WQXR's The Washington Report

Monday, December 20, 2010

The NYT's David Sanger discusses what's happened and what's to come in the Congressional lame duck session.

The Takeaway

Documents Reveal Congressional Safety Concerns Prior to BP Disaster

Friday, December 17, 2010

Long before the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, officials in Congress were concerned about the "cozy" relationship between federal regulators and the oil industry and the failure of regulators to spend funds on safety measures, according to documents recently acquired by The New York TimesThe documents were acquired through the Freedom of Information Act, and include emails between Congressional officials and the Minerals Management Service. Was the M.M.S. "stonewalling" all along? And how will Gulf residents take the news?

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The Takeaway

Senate Passes Tax Cut Deal

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The White House/GOP deal to extend both the across-the-board Bush-era tax cuts and unemployment benefits passed the Senate yesterday. Next stop: the House of Representatives. But unlike the Senate, the House's members on both sides are further out on the fringes, making a "yea" vote for the deal more difficult to garner. Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich joins us to look ahead at the wrangling to come.

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The Takeaway

This Week's Agenda: Tax Cuts and Lame Duck Business

Monday, December 13, 2010

Many Congressional Democrats are not happy with President Obama's compromise with Republicans on extending tax cuts. House Democrats showed that by voting not to bring up the tax bill last week. Callie Crossley, host of the Callie Crossley Show on WGBH in Boston, and Charlie Herman, economics editor for The Takeaway and WNYC, look at how the Senate plans to vote today on the bill.

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It's A Free Country ®

Guide and Slideshow: Meet the New Committee Chairs

Monday, December 13, 2010

WNYC

The Republican victories in the 2010 elections last month means a new influx of GOP committee chairs. House Republicans have announced the names of the new chairs, and it is worth a closer look at some of the personalities who will be heading these important panels in the House.

» Check out the slideshow below.

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WNYC News

9/11 Health Bill Falls Short in Senate

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Senate Republicans blocked the long-awaited 9/11 health care and compensation bill, making good on a pledge to reject all legislation until the Bush-era tax cuts are passed.

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The Takeaway

The Battle for the Dream Act Begins

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Yesterday, the House of Representatives narrowly passed the Dream Act, which would allow certain illegal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as minors a chance to become U.S. citizens, if they enter college or military service. Those eligible are people who were brought into the U.S. before they were 16, have been living here for at least five years, and have earned a high school diploma. In order to gain citizenship, they would have to join the military for two years, or attend a four year college for two years.

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The Takeaway

Dream Act: A Snowball's Chance in Congress?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

There are a lot of items on the agenda today for Congress: votes on the so-called Dream Act, a repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the military, and tax cuts. But will any of them pass? We speak with Takeaway Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich to get a better idea of what might actually get through Congress and what's likely to be dead on arrival. 

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Transportation Nation

So You're Thinking Of Starting An Infrastructure Bank...

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

President Barack Obama speaks about infrastructure in Virginia. (Image:Pete Souza, via Wikimedia Commons)

(Matt Dellinger - Transportation Nation)  The GOP takeover of the House has reshuffled the cards for transportation policy. Already, Republicans are floating the idea of pulling back stimulus funds for infrastructure—particularly high-speed rail—and they’ve proposed a moratorium on earmarks, a practice routinely defended by outgoing House Transportation Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN). Last week, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform proposed a 15-cent hike in the gas tax. But will a new, more conservative Congress balk? It seems likely.

But there may be one reform on which the Obama Administration and the new House regime can agree: the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank, or NIB for short.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Congressman-Elect Grimm on Tax Compromise

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Read a recap of this conversation at It's A Free Country.

Michael Grimm, newly elected congressman from NY-13, which includes Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, talks about the new compromise between the Obama administration and congressional Republicans on the Bush tax cuts.

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The Takeaway

Top of the Hour: Obama Faces Own Party on Tax Cuts, Morning Headlines

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

President Obama is facing angry members of his own party over the deal he cut with Congressional Republicans, in which Bush-era tax cuts would be temporarily extended in exchange for an extension of unemployment benefits. 

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It's A Free Country ®

Comments Roundup: Your Take on the Tax Cuts Deal

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

WNYC

If Obama had not cut a deal on this, you could forget about DADT, the Dream act, and more once the new congress gets in next month.

-RLewis in New York

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