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12 May 2011 11:31


Politics: Democrats take on big oil companies over tax subsidies

  • Businesses should make a profit — that’s what drives the economy — but do these very profitable companies actually need taxpayer subsidies? Energy incentives should help us build the energy future we want to see — not pad oil company profits.
  • Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus • Speaking during a Congressional hearing about big oil profits and tax breaks. The oil industry’s answers during the hearing were predictable. Here’s Chevron’s CEO, John Watson: “Tax increases on the oil and gas industry — which will result if you change long-standing provisions in the U.S. tax code — will hinder development of energy supplies needed to moderate rising energy prices.” So, who’s right, Max or the oil industry? We’re guessing Max is. source

02 Dec 2010 21:52


Politics: Deficit committee may not have needed votes by tomorrow

  • Our debt crisis is a threat not just to our way of life but to our national survival. And the threat that we face is so real and so close that we do not have further time for gridlock or inaction. It’s necessary that we take strong, aggressive action now.
  • Idaho Sen. (and deficit committee member) Mike Crapo • Revealing that he, along with Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, would be voting in favor of the deficit committee’s proposal Friday. That means that, along with retiring Sen. Judd Gregg, three Republicans would be voting to send the proposal for a vote in Congress. Problem is, that brings the grand total up to around nine votes. Fourteen of the nineteen members need to vote yes. At least three other  Republicans (including our boy Paul Ryan) and one Democrat (Max Baucus) will vote against it. But that may not matter, according to committee co-chairman Alan Simpson. “Whether we get two votes or 18, this baby ain’t goin’ away,” he said. He’s right; the ideas will remain no matter what happens. source

24 Dec 2009 09:50


U.S.: Campaign contributions didn’t affect the vote that much, it seems

  • $9.27 million the amount Republican John McCain has gotten from the health care industry; Orrin Hatch and Mitch McConnell were also well-compensated
  • $8.34 million the amount Democrat John Kerry got; Max Baucus (the bill’s biggest influencer) and Arlen Specter also got slightly bigger paydays than Hatch & McConnell source

05 Dec 2009 09:48


Politics: Max Baucus wasn’t cheating; he was just ethically unsound


  • There has to be a public option joke we can make here. The Montana senator, who was in the news for months due to his role in the health care debate, recently admitted to nominating Melodee Hanes for the U.S. attorney post while he was having a romantic relationship with her. She backed out, however, after they decided they wanted to move in together. Unlike most situations like this, BTW, this wasn’t cheating. The relationship began when he was separated from his wife – who he has since divorced. source

13 Oct 2009 19:54


U.S.: The Senate Finance Committee lets go of the health care hot potato

  • $829 billion the size of the Senate Finance Committee bill
  • Olympia Snowe the only Republican to vote in favor of the bill source

07 Oct 2009 19:54


U.S.: The Congressional Budget Office weighs in on Baucus’ health plan

  • $829 billion the cost of the new health care plan over the next ten years
  • $80+ billion amount in deficit money the new health care plan will save source

17 Sep 2009 10:37


Politics: Andrew Sullivan sez the Baucus bill could be a “game-changer”

  • If healthcare reform actually lowers the deficit over the long run according to the CBO, then resistance on that score should crumble. That’s why this bill may have more legs than it first appeared. It will appeal to fiscal worry-warts like yours truly. It will be manna for Independents.
  • Atlantic columnist Andrew Sullivan • Discussing the implications of the Baucus health care bill, which he says might pull off the magic trick of giving the working poor reasonable health care AND not raising the deficit. Sullivan, who has a pretty strange mix of political ideologies, suggests that if conservatives don’t support a bill like this, “then the joke in the end is on them.” • source

16 Sep 2009 21:47


16 Sep 2009 10:32


U.S.: More on the health care bill to end all health care bills

  • For the uninsured The uninsured will be offered a lower barrier to medicaid – 133% of the poverty line. For those between 100% and 300% of the poverty line, subsidies will be available. Between 300%-400%, premiums are capped at 13% – a little high, but still cheaper than right now.
  • Paying for it The bill, which requires all families to have insurance (or pay a $3,800 fine), asks for employers to defray costs of government subsidies. High-end insurance plans would also be taxed at 35%, and players in the medical industry would help pick up part of the bill.
  • What’s missing?The big one: There’s no public option. Instead, it relies on nongovernmental consumer cooperatives. Also, Republicans dislike the way cost has been handled and say issues related to abortion and illegal immigration have not been quashed in this bill. source

16 Sep 2009 10:00


U.S.: It’s finally here: The (non-bipartisan) Baucus health care plan

  • $856 billion the cost of the plan, which is about $24 billion less than estimates from yesterday
  • zero support what Baucus has from the Republicans after months and months of working with them source