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The dome of the US Capitol is seen in Washington, D.C., September 20, 2008.

Wall Street giveaway threatens possible shutdown

12/11/14 08:00AM

Current funding for the federal government expires tonight at midnight, but at least on the surface, Republican leaders insist there's no cause for alarm. They have a plan.
 
This afternoon, the GOP-led House will hold a vote on a $1.1 trillion spending package, which will draw significant Republican opposition -- it doesn't even try to derail President Obama's immigration policy -- but which Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) expects to pass with some Democratic support. Add some Senate support and possibly a three-day extension on current funding and ... Voila! Shutdown averted.
 
It's a reasonable strategy, though support from House Democrats waned yesterday as members learned more about one specific provision of the spending bill. As Rachel explained on the show last night:
"After the financial crisis, Congress passed something called Dodd-Frank -- a set of regulations designed to keep anything like what happened to the economy in 2008 from happening again.
 
"One of those regulations said to the banks, 'Hey, you know those incredibly risky trades you were doing that almost made the economy implode -- oh, that did make the economy implode --  the federal government is not going to ensure those trades anymore. You can do them yourself if you want, but they`re not going to be insured by the taxpayers. You have to keep those separate from the rest of your business.'
 
"House Republicans in the big budget bill they released last night decided to take that rule change away. They decided to tell the banks that, 'Yes, the American taxpayers would be happy to once again underwrite that kind of high risk trading. Taxpayers would love to be on the hook for that again.'"
We don't know exactly which member of Congress quietly inserted this measure into the spending bill -- wouldn't you know it, no one has been willing to take credit -- but as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) noted on the show last night,  "[T]his was a provision that was written by Citigroup lobbyists. I mean, they literally wrote it. They ... re-edited it and made sure it said exactly what they wanted it to say."
 
It has been subjected to no debate. There have been no hearings. Members have seen no evidence about the change's possible effects.
 
And with this in mind, members of Congress are confronted with a choice: vote for the so-called "Cromnibus" spending package, including this dangerous Wall Street giveaway, or risk a government shutdown.

CIA prisons and other headlines

12/11/14 07:59AM

C.I.A. first planned jails abiding by U.S. standards. (NY Times)

Thailand denies hosting C.I.A. black prison. (Reuters)

So who's voting for and against the big spending bill? The Hill is doing a whip count. (The Hill)

U.S. won't stop Native Americans from growing, selling pot on their lands. (L.A. Times)

Congressman objects to pending Guantanamo transfer. (AP)

Big storm about to smack California. (USA Today)

Take a look at the most expensive photograph of all time. (BuzzFeed)

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US torture a current matter, not yet history

US torture a current matter, not yet history

12/10/14 11:03PM

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse talks with Rachel Maddow about why he believes the Senate report on Bush-era CIA torture had to be released and what should be done as so much of the report pertains to current policy and personnel.  watch

Torture report to be published as book

Torture report to be published as book

12/10/14 09:19PM

Rachel Maddow reports that publisher Melville House will publish the Senate report on Bush-era CIA torture as a book, putting it in the company of the Starr Report and the 9/11 Commission Report, planning an initial printing of 50,000 copies. watch

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