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Today in Washington – May 6, 2010

The Senate continues debate on S.3217 the “Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010″ (The ObamaBailout bill) and votes on amendments will be fast and furious today.  The House is voting on “Cash for Caulkers” later this afternoon.  The House will complete some committee work on a campaign finance bill and Attorney General Eric Holder will be testifying to a Senate Appropriations Committee asking for money.  Conservatives should watch the Senate floor today and monitor developments to understand if Congress is going to rid the ObamaBailout bill of legislative language that authorizes a permanent bailout of Wall Street.

Conservatives should watch the following issues today:

  • ObamaBailout – Yesterday, two votes were completed on the bill and a flood of amendments were filed for consideration.  Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Chris Dodd (D-CT) cut a deal on language to make it less likely that banks would bailed out.  The Shelby-Dodd Amendment was adopted 93-5.  The amendment deleted the controversial $50 billion bailout fund that would have been pre-funded by Wall Street to bailout creditors of a failing Wall Street firm.  Some would argue that the bill still has problems, because, although the bailout fund is gone, the bailout authority still exists.  Now the federal government can liquidate firms but will use taxpayer monies on the front end of a bailout instead of tapping the $50 billion fund.  This Amendment did contain a provision that will protect the taxpayers from emergency lending to insolvent companies.  The Senate also passed the Boxer Amendment on a 96-1 vote to bar the federal government from funding a financial rescue plan.  Debate and votes should continue all day in the Senate.
  • Fed Transparency – An issue that is becoming a sticking point for the Administration is the Sanders Amendment to force transparency on the Federal Reserve in the form of an Amendment by Senator Bernie Sanders (S-VT).  From the Wall Street Journal via Senator Bernie Sanders Web site – “The amendment would remove restrictions on Congress’s ability to audit the central bank. Congress currently cannot review the Fed’s monetary-policy decisions, direct loans to commercial banks or transactions involving foreign central banks or governments. The provision would also require the central bank to disclose the low-interest loans and other financial assistance it gave financial companies during the recession.  Mr. Sanders argues the Fed shouldn’t be allowed to keep its deliberations private.”  Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) has also been fighting this issue.  An interesting right left coalition is fighting the White House elites and Wall Street “Fat Cats” on this issue.
  • Cash for Caulkers – Today the House will vote on H.R. 5091, the Home Star Retrofit Rebate Program.  This bill will cost the taxpayers $6 billion and is yet another special interest carve out for homeowners who want to make improvements to their homes and for contractors to retrofit homes to make them more energy efficient.  Expect this program to turn out like Cash for Clunkers disaster.  As Michelle Malkin wrote in August of last year, “”Cash for Clunkers may be ending — for now. But I guarantee you, the architects of this auto entitlement subsidy will be back. The redistributionist impulse is incurable.”  Corporate welfare for those with hammers and nail guns is not a jobs program that will continue for more than a few months.
  • First Amendment Limitation Legislation – H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE Act, will receive a hearing today in the House Administration Committee.  This bill would narrow the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court case that allowed for more First Amendment activity during campaigns.  You know, the case that President Obama used as an excuse to intimidate and bully the court during his State of the Union earlier this year.  Now the Congress is trying to modify that decision before the fall elections.

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