Monday, October 12, 2009


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Trade permits to pollute?
In the next few months, the Senate will consider a sweeping effort to cap the greenhouse gases scientists say cause climate change. If the legislation is signed into law, it would transform the U.S. economy and revolutionize the way energy is produce and consumed. The details of a climate bill — and its ultimate fate in Congress — rest with a group of moderate lawmakers who fear that regulating emissions from fossil fuels could hurt their home state economies.
Visit the home page to read a rundown of the proposed cap and trade bill or to write your senators.

The Never-on-the-Ballot Caucus
A quick trivia question: Who are the top unelected officials in Washington?

The Supreme Court? The president's Cabinet? The Federal Reserve?

How about the six members of the U.S. Senate who were appointed, rather than elected, to their jobs?

That's a record number of appointed Senators in modern history -- a byproduct of constitutional politics and dumb luck. And there could be more by the end of the year.
This group could have a profound influence on public policy, with big votes on major legislation on the near horizon, and the sheer number of them as has set off a debate about the best way to replace a departing U.S. Senator.
Read more about the Never-on-the-Ballot Caucus here.

How to call Congress for free
Is calling Congress racking up long-distance charges on your phone bill?
One interesting quirk about the U.S. Capitol is that there are no official toll-free lines to the Congressional switchboard.

That means you foot the bill most times you call the official number (202-224-3121 for the Senate; 202-224-3121 for the House) with a question or concern for your elected officials.
But toll-free lines offered by different lobbyist groups present a free alternative to calling the official Congressional numbers.

Some members also foot the bill for their constituents calls.

Visit to see a list of official toll-free numbers or read more about lobbyist-paid numbers.

Bills of the Week
H.R. 3761 would extend the first-time homebuyers tax credit program.
Click here to tell your Members of Congress what you think of this bill.

H.R. 3746 would give tax credits for making homes more water-efficient.
Click here to tell your Members of Congress what you think of this bill.

How They Voted
Department of Defense Appropriations
The Senate approved the 2010 fiscal year appropriations bill for the Department of Defense.
Vote: 93-7 in the Senate. The bill now heads to the president.


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