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Wednesday, Nov 26th

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After nearly 200 years, House page program ending

Page programe endsAfter nearly 200 years, the House is killing the messengers. Leaders are ending the page program that began in the 1820s, allowing high school students to serve as messengers while getting a behind-the-scenes look at Congress that few Americans ever get.

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote House members Monday that the Internet and email have left the pages with little to do. Their message - delivered via mail - said the House could no longer justify the $5 million annual expense.

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House of Representatives 'Most Anti-Environment' in History

The House has voted to block action to address climate change, to stop actions to prevent air and water pollution, to undermine protections for public lands and coastal areas, and to weaken the protection of the environment in dozens of other ways.

Representatives Henry Waxman of California and Edward Markey of Massachusetts have released a fact sheet detailing all 110 anti-environment votes taken by the House of Representatives this year.

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Most Anti-Environment House of Representatives in History Tries to Do More Damage

US House of RepresentativesTea Party leaders in the House have dramatically stepped up their assault on America's environmental and public health safeguards. Last week alone they used about 50 floor votes and more than 30 policy riders on spending bills to undermine the protections that keep our air safe, our water clean, and our public lands intact.

Another barrage of anti-environment bills is on its way. The upcoming debate in the full House on funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department will likely feature votes on even more policy riders designed to prevent the government from upholding basic environmental standards.

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GOP Bill Would Undermine the Clean Water Act and Should Provoke Backlash

clean waterBack in 1995, the last time conservative Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, one of the first laws they attacked was the Clean Water Act. As early as today, the House will vote again to undermine that 1972 landmark law, and I hope the results will be the same: a public backlash that stalls environmental rollbacks.

The measure the House is considering this week (H.R. 2018) is narrower than the more comprehensive rewrite of the Clean Water Act that House Republicans failed to get enacted in 1995, but it's just as destructive. The bill targets the very heart of the Clean Water Act: the notion that a federal backstop is needed to ensure that states don't give a pass to polluters.

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Goldman Sachs misled Congress after duping clients, Senate panel chairman says

Goldmann SachsGoldman Sachs misled clients and Congress about the firm’s bets on securities tied to the housing market, the chairman of the U.S. Senate panel that investigated the causes of the financial crisis said.

Senator Carl Levin, releasing the findings of a two-year inquiry yesterday, said he wants the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission to examine whether Goldman Sachs violated the law by misleading clients who bought the complex securities known as collateralized debt obligations without knowing the firm would benefit if they fell in value.

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Eric Cantor needs a lesson in how a bill becomes law in the US

Eric CantorHouse Republicans will introduce legislation, likely by the end of this week, that would make it so that if Congress is unable to come to an agreement over an operating budget, the GOP’s version would simply become law of the land.

The bill, titled “The Government Shutdown Prevention Act,” is designed for the purposed described in its title. In terms of partisan equity, it’s lacking.

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Group to tell Senate panel about 42 disease clusters in 13 states

National Resources Defense CouncilAn environmental group will tell a Senate panel Tuesday that it has identified 42 suspected clusters of cancer, birth defects and other illnesses in 13 states.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, working with the National Disease Clusters Alliance, wants to step up the federal response to investigating suspected clusters. The 42 clusters — either confirmed or under active investigation — are in Texas, California, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Delaware, Louisiana, Montana, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. The groups plan to look at all 50 states.

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