In his State of the Union address this week, President Obama urged members of Congress to be more transparent about their interactions with lobbyists. Yet this same week, members of the House Republican Caucus will attend a retreat sponsored by the non-profit Congressional Institute, where they will mingle privately with lobbyists.
The debate over banks and banking came front and center this week. In his toughest language yet, President Barack Obama vowed to veto financial reform legislation that is not tough enough on Wall Street. "The lobbyists are already trying to kill it," Obama told Congress in his State of the Union address. "Well, we cannot let them win this fight.
Oil and tobacco companies and other businesses hoping to press their agenda in the California legislature picked up most of the tab for a gathering of about 25 Republican state legislators and a dozen of their aides at a luxurious beach resort in Santa Barbara, California.
The Tea Party movement is putting on its "First National Tea Party Convention" next month in Nashville, Tennessee, but the event is drawing the wrath of some Teabaggers.
The health insurance lobby is laying the groundwork to block federal health care reform by working through think tanks to pass state laws invalidating federally-mandated reforms.
Despite proclaiming a need to cut medical costs, the Senate health care reform bill contains a provision that will benefit large drug companies while hurting manufacturers of generic drugs. As it is now written, the bill will keep less-expensive generic drugs from entering the market for fully 12 years, far longer than the five to seven years President Barack Obama had advocated. The concession to Big Pharma companies, which manufacture expensive brand-name drugs, follows an $80 billion agreement made earlier this year between the White House and large drug makers like Merck and Pfizer, who promised to support President Obama's health reform plan, cut drug prices and pay additional taxes to help expand health insurance coverage over the next 10 years. Kathleen Jaeger, President and CEO of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, said the health reform bill passed by the Senate " ... unfortunately, amounts to a treasure trove to brand drug companies who stand to make enormous profits from health care reform -- putting brand drug profits over patients ... With generics saving the health care system one billion dollars every three days, Congress should be looking at increasing, not decreasing, access to safe effective and affordable generic and biogeneric medicines."