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Jan 8, 2009

We've all known it since Nov. 4, but it became official today: Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States. Congress certified the electoral college votes, with Obama receiving 365 electoral votes and wild (for Congress anyway) applause from his House and Senate colleagues and McCain receiving 173 votes and a standing ovation.

As president of the Senate, current Vice President Dick Cheney had the honor of declaring Obama president--and it may very well be his final act in that role. The full video is below; Cheney reads off the vote tallies at the 24-minute mark.

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Posted: Jan 8, 2009 3:39pm
Jan 5, 2009

Good news for working women is coming out of Washington this week. A New York Times article highlights President-elect Obama's committment to overturn the Ledbetter v. Goodyear Supreme Court decision about sex-based pay discrimination:

As a senator, Mr. Obama was a co-sponsor of a bill to overturn the Supreme Court decision. In the final presidential debate, he said he would appoint judges who understood the struggles of "real-world folks" like Ms. Ledbetter.

The legislation would essentially relax the statute of limitations under various civil rights laws, giving people more time to file charges. President Bush threatened to veto the bill, but Mr. Obama is eager to sign it.

"Obama said he would see me in the White House when he signs the bill," Ms. Ledbetter said in an interview.

Mr. Obama describes the bill as part of a broader effort by his incoming administration to "update the social contract," reinvigorate civil rights and close the pay gap between men and women.

And even better news? The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act--legislative efforts to overturn the Supreme Court decision--both appear on the House Majority Leader's schedule for the first week of the 111th Congress. Their presence on this week's schedule reinforces the new Congress's committment to ensuring equal pay for equal work.

In the Civil Rights blog, Samer did a great job of explaining the history of the Ledbetter case and what it means for Americans today. And a recent study by the Center for American Progress Action Fund shows that women lose an average of $434,000 of income because of the differences in median wages between men and women in a 40-year period.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce opposes fair pay legislation, but women deserve pay equality to deliver economic security for them and their families. If you support fair pay standards, sign the petition to urge the Chamber of Commerce to withdraw their objections.

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Posted: Jan 5, 2009 10:57am
Jan 2, 2009

With a 27-second pro forma session this morning, the Senate adjourned, essentially closing the book on the 110th Congress. Such pro forma sessions (when one senator appears to open and immediately close the chamber) are necessary every four days to keep the president from making any interim appointments--a power he has if the Senate is in extended recess.

The 111th Congress will be sworn in at noon on Tuesday, despite a few seats still under debate (Minnesota's Senate contest between Al Franken and Norm Coleman remains unresolved, and the Blagojevich scandal in Illinois has cast doubt upon his pick of Roland Burris to fill Obama's vacant Senate seat).

Democrats are looking forward to greater majorities in both the House and Senate for the 111th Congress, hoping that bills like the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, the Employee Free Choice Act, the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act and the State Children's Health Insurance Program authorization--all of which stalled or failed with the 110th Congress--might gain traction.

And, of course, the biggest task in front of the 111th Congress will be to develop an economic stimulus plan that will actually stimulate our economy. Given the economic situation, Congress is also prioritizing confirmation hearings for the financial and national security cabinet nominations. It's expected that confirmation hearings will go fairly smoothly; there have been few objections to any of Obama's choices.

What issues do you hope to see on the front burner for the 111th Congress when they return on Tuesday? Leave them in the comments.

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Posted: Jan 2, 2009 2:54pm
Dec 11, 2008

The Bush Administration's controversial auto bailout plan seems headed for failure in the Senate, despite the fact that it made it through the House last night in a 237-170 vote. The $14 billion plan, brokered by the White House, would send emergency loans to General Motors and Chysler with the intent to have them postpone a decision about bankruptcy until March.

But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans broke with the White House and resoundingly denounced the bill, instead supporting a five-page amendment from Senator Bob Corker.

Politico has the details:

In essence, Corker would toughen the underlying administration bill by setting out specific steps which bondholders and labor must take to reduce GM's debt and operating costs by the end of March or see the company go into bankruptcy.

Corker's proposal has drawn the interest of GM management--given the company’s dire cash situation. And after discussions between Corker and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), United Auto Workers staff came to the Capitol and were meeting with Democratic and Republican aides to see if some agreement could be reached on language.

Look for action on the Corker amendment to come soon, since any changes to the bill would have to be run through the House again, and representatives have been making plans to return home. The Bush Administration would prefer to reach out to reticent senators personally in an effort to get the existing measure passed, according to The Hill.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino declined to tell reporters which senators Bush is targeting, but said he is making the case that legislation to be taken up in the Senate "is the most effective and reasonable approach" to helping the ailing domestic auto industry.

Perino said there "is a chance" the measure will pass.

Should Congress pass the $14 billion auto bailout? Leave your views in the comments.

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Posted: Dec 11, 2008 8:31pm
Dec 11, 2008

The new Obama administration is ushering in a theme of change throughout Washington, D.C., and Care2 is responding with some change of our own. Many of you have followed the Election '08 channel as we broke down the important races and issues that defined this fall's election cycle.

But now that the last few special elections and runoffs are over, and (save for a few ongoing recounts) we know who will make up the 111th Congress, it's time to shift the focus from the election in particular to politics in general--with an eye toward the most important issues dominating the discourse and action in D.C. and around the country. This move coincides nicely with the launch of our Care2 Causes.

While the Election '08 section and the Care2 Election Blog have been a great source of news and information throughout the election cycle, the Politics Cause Channel will enable you to get the latest information but also connect with other politically minded Care2 members and take action for change in our government. The new Politics Cause blog will retain all your favorite aspects of the Election '08 channel (the Friday Rant & Rave, posts on big news items that prompt discussion in the comments and the best of TV's political comedy, for example). We'll also be including more blog posts that provide some extended background information on some of our politics-oriented petitions on ThePetitionSite, more opinion pieces from a variety of voices about what's hot in the world of politics and more guest blogs from our non-profit partners.

Like the Election '08 section, the Politics Cause will focus on U.S. political content--or, for example, posts on U.S. foreign policy. If you're interested in international politics, we encourage you to join in the discussion on one of the Care2 politics groups that discusses world issues. Ultimately, our goal for the Politics Cause is to give you one central location for everything politics-related on Care2.

Have a suggestion for what content you'd like to see in this blog space? Leave it for us in the comments.

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Posted: Dec 11, 2008 8:28pm

 

 
 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.

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LiAnna D.
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