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Thursday, Jul 31st

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Harry Reid to force vote on insider trading bill

Seeking to break a deadlock on a high-profile reform bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has moved to force a Senate vote on legislation to bar insider trading by lawmakers and staff.

Reid and McConnell want to move forward on the House version of the legislation. Two significant provisions were dropped by the lower chamber, angering some Democratic and Republican lawmakers in both chambers. The House also expanded the bill to cover executive branch agencies.

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Democratic Senators Issue Strong Warning About Use of the Patriot Act

Patriot ActFor more than two years, a handful of Democrats on the Senate intelligence committee have warned that the government is secretly interpreting its surveillance powers under the Patriot Act in a way that would be alarming if the public — or even others in Congress — knew about it.

On Thursday, two of those senators — Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado — went further. They said a top-secret intelligence operation that is based on that secret legal theory is not as crucial to national security as executive branch officials have maintained.

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Democratic Women Boycott House Contraception Hearing After Republicans Prevent Women From Testifying

Democratic women walk out of House hearingThis morning, Democrats tore into House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) for preventing women from testifying before a hearing examining the Obama administration’s new regulation requiring employers and insurers to provide contraception coverage to their employees.

Republicans oppose the administration’s rule and have sponsored legislation that would allow employers to limit the availability of birth control to women.

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‘Congress ready to increase Israel defense funding’

US legislators set to more than make up for White House cuts to missile defense spending, Capitol Hill sources tell the ‘Post’; if Israel asks for more money, “without a doubt they would get it,” Congressional aid says.

Congress is set to significantly increase funding for Israeli missile defense to more than make up for White House cuts to the program, Capitol Hill sources told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday.

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Senate Passage of FAA Reauthorization Attacks Collective Bargaining Rights

US SenateThe Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) today issued the following statement after the U.S. Senate passed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill that contained a vicious attack on bargaining rights for workers in the aviation and rail industries:

"AFA has long been a proponent of passing a comprehensive funding bill that allows the FAA to move forward on vital safety and airport improvement projects that help to enhance the world's greatest aviation system. Corporate interests and right-wing ideologues took this vital piece of legislation and used it to destroy collective bargaining affecting workers across the country.

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Congress, rules keep Obama from closing Guantanamo Bay

Gitmo prisonCongress has used its spending oversight authority both to forbid the White House from financing trials of Guantánamo captives on U.S. soil and to block the acquisition of a state prison in Illinois to hold captives currently held in Cuba who would not be put on trial — a sort of Guantánamo North.

The latest defense bill adopted by Congress moved to mandate military detention for most future al Qaida cases. The White House withdrew a veto threat on the eve of passage, and then Obama signed it into law with a “signing statement” that suggested he could lawfully ignore it.

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Congressmen are Paid to Vote for War

US CongressCongressmen regard "public service" as an opportunity to enrich themselves, their families and friends.

According to reports from OpenSecrets.org, in 2006, 151 members of Congress had $195.5 million invested in defense corporations. Their average net worth was $910,000 compared to $100,000 for American families in general. Over 50 range between $5 million and $190 million. John Kerry is at the top end of the scale.

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