From Greg Kaufmann:
This Week in Congress
Republicans continued to fight with no holds barred to defend a failed ideology. Thirty-six out of 41 Republican Senatorsvoted for an amendment that would have stripped the Recovery bill of ALL spending. Congressman Barney Frank said, “If anything can persuade Congressional Republicans to stop their hyper partisan sniping at the recovery package these disastrous employment numbers should be it.”(Call your Senators — tell them to pass the Recovery bill including $500 million for the Green Jobs Act.)
President Obama capped exec pay at $500,000 for TARP firms. Senators Bernie Sanders and Claire McCaskill passed their amendment which set maximum compensation at $400,000. The TARP Congressional Oversight board — led by Elizabeth Warren — said that the Treasury overpaid by $78 billion for the assets it received in exchange for $254 billion in bailout money. Warren testified that then-Secretary Paulson had said that the assets received were about equal to the monies given to the banks. Not so. “The Treasury paid substantially more for the assets… than their then-current market value,” Warren said.
Obama signed the SCHIP bill to insure a total of 11 million kids. Congressman Raúl Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), told me: “This bill represents a major step forward by providing coverage to 4.1 million children who are currently uninsured. [But] the United States is the only developed nation in the world that does not provide basic health care for all children, and there are 4.5 million kids who are still uninsured. The CPC will renew our push to cover all uninsured children.”
Confirmation hearings: Holder is in… Daschle a debacle…. and Hilda Solis is on hold.
Looking for extra billions? The non-partisan Commission on Wartime Contracting held its first hearing and Senator Jim Webb testified that he would get it subpoena power if needed. The Commission’s broad mandate includes identifying “waste, fraud and abuse, and ensuring accountability for those responsible.”
Under the radar: Congressman Frank announced that he and the CPC will host a half-day forum on Reasonable Defense Spending on February 24. Stay tuned for details…. And CPC vice chair, Congresswoman Mazie Hirono, co-sponsored legislation to establish a process for the formation of a Native Hawaiian government that could negotiate with the state and federal government on behalf of Hawaii’s indigenous people.