Mephiticity

Posts Tagged ‘senate

via Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s top aides met frequently with lobbyists and health care industry heavyweights as his administration pieced together a national health care overhaul, according to White House visitor records obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.

The records disclose visits by a broad cross-section of the people most involved in the health care debate, weighted heavily toward those who want to overhaul the system.

The list includes George Halvorson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Health Plans; Scott Serota, president and CEO of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association; Kenneth Kies, a Washington lobbyist who represents Blue Cross/Blue Shield, among other clients; Billy Tauzin, head of PhRMA, the drug industry lobby; Richard Umbdenstock, chief of the American Hospital Association, and numerous lobbyists.

The AP in early August asked the White House to produce records identifying communications that top Obama aides — including chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, senior advisers David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett and Pete Rouse, and 18 others — had with outside interests on health care. The AP in late September narrowed its request to White House visitor records for those officials on the topic of health care.

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via Washington Post:

Democrats had little time to savor their weekend Senate health-care victory, as two of the lawmakers who voted to move the debate forward Saturday night indicated Sunday that they will not vote to pass the package if it includes a government-run insurance program.

Despite the success in the test vote, the fragile consensus in the Democratic caucus will face its greatest test yet as the health-care debate moves to the Senate floor and Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) struggles to stave off internal schisms. The cracks in the 60-member caucus are most obvious over the public insurance option.

As somebody who has lived without health insurance for a period of time…I can’t stress the importance of the public option enough.

Via WSJ:

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule Monday aimed at reducing pollution from construction sites, saying that it will significantly improve the quality of water nationwide.

The rule will be phased in over four years, starting in February, and when it is fully in effect, the EPA estimates there will be four billion fewer pounds of sediment discharged from construction sites each year.

Nearly 82,000 home builders, commercial and industrial building contractors, and civil-engineering companies are expected to be covered by the rule, which the EPA estimates will impose about $953 million of annual costs.

Such costs could raise home prices and cause a small number of builders to go out of business, resulting in some job losses, the EPA said in a draft version of the final rule.  It said job losses may be temporary given the relatively high turnover in the construction industry, and acknowledged that the new rule is being introduced at a time when construction has fallen off sharply.

Via CSMonitor:

The US appears ready to offer emissions-reductions targets at global climate talks next month that approximate levels in the energy and climate bill working its way through the US Senate.

Among other goals, the legislation aims to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions across the US economy by 3 percent below 2005 levels by 2012, 20 percent by 2020, 42 percent by 2030, and 83 percent by 2050.

… Developing countries have been insisting that developed countries aim high in terms of cutting emissions – a sore point that led a group of African negotiators to briefly walk out on pre-Copenhagen talks in Barcelona earlier this month.