lobbyist

Opponents of abortion rights won a significant political victory last night, making it more likely that millions of American women will no longer be able to purchase insurance that covers abortion services. At issue is what happens inside the new insurance exchanges, through which small businesses and people purchasing coverage on their own would shop for insurance. People purchasing coverage through the exchanges would be eligible for subsidies if their household incomes were below four times the poverty level.

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A banking industry lobbyist I spoke with this evening alerts me to a fascinating development in the House Financial Services Committee: Pennsylvania Rep. Paul Kanjorski is about to introduce an amendment to the systemic risk bill moving through the committee (see my discussion here and here) that would give regulators the power to break up too-big-to-fail firms. The details are a little unclear--as it stands, the current bill would give the Fed some vague powers in this vein. But the soon-to-be Kanjorski amendment appears to go much further, and the banks are freaking out about it.

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The ‘Civilian Surge’ Myth: Stop Pretending That the U.S. Can Actually Nation-Build, by Steven Metz A Geek Grows in Brooklyn: Jonathan Lethem and the Disappearing Line Between High and Low Art, by William Deresiewicz From Supreme Allied Commander to … Ethanol Lobbyist? The Strange Journey of Wesley Clark. by Lydia DePillis Scheiber: Was Wall Street Safer in the Hands of Stodgy WASPs? Cohn: Tearing Apart the Latest Misleading Report on Health Care Hey Conan, Here’s the Real Reason Why You Don’t Want to Live in Newark, by Jonathan Rothwell Why Won’t Baseball Adopt Instant Replay Already?

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Cohn on Ignagni

As the Senate Finance Committee prepares to vote on the Baucus bill, the influence of Karen Ignagni hangs over the proceedings. As the president of America Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)--the health insurance lobby--she is a central player in the health care debate. Ignagni has stood behind a new AHIP study which argues against the bill currently under discussion.

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Jonathan Cohn has a good critique of the health insurance lobby's new "study" claiming that the Senate Finance Committee's health care bill will cause raise to skyrocket. Ezra Klein has a lot more. What I want to know is why they were able to find these devastating rebuttals and the Washington Post's Ceci Connolly didn't in her front page story. Obviously, Cohn and Klein are health care policy experts.

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Bank Shot

Congress's attempts to deal with the housing crisis this spring created surprising rifts within the financial industry, particularly between big banks and investors (at hedge funds and elsewhere).

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The Operator

The first time I remember speaking with Karen Ignagni was via a TV satellite, for a debate about health care policy on CNN. It was the summer of 2007, not long after the debut of Michael Moore's Sicko, and each of us was playing our usual role. Ignagni is the telegenic president of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and arguably Washington's most influential health-industry lobbyist.

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The Obama administration continues to have trouble filling positions because of the ironclad rules it has installed to keep lobbyists from holding positions where they have authority over issues on which they once lobbied. According to the New York Times, the latest casualty is Tom Malinowski, the advocacy director for Human Rights Watch.

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On the evening of January 22, a few hours after his administration's debut news conference, Barack Obama made a surprise visit to the cramped quarters of the White House press corps. It was meant to be a friendly event, and Obama glad-handed his way through reporters and cameramen, exchanging light banter as he went. But Politico reporter Jonathan Martin wasn't there to chat. Martin pressed Obama about the president's decision to nominate William J. Lynn III, a former defense lobbyist, to deputy defense secretary and about Obama's pledge to curtail the influence of lobbyists.

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Open Tab

On the morning of February 21, David Perel, the editor-in-chief of the National Enquirer, was sitting in his Boca Raton office when he pulled up The New York Times website.

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