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Congress: Spare some change?

The Washington Post: “President Obama urged reluctant lawmakers Saturday to quickly approve nearly $50 billion in emergency aid to state and local governments, saying the money is needed to avoid "massive layoffs of teachers, police and firefighters" and to support the still-fragile economic recovery.”

“In a letter to congressional leaders, Obama defended last year's huge economic stimulus package, saying it helped break the economy's free fall, but argued that more spending is urgent and unavoidable. "We must take these emergency measures," he wrote in an appeal aimed primarily at members of his own party.”

“Senate Democrats urged BP to set up a $20 billion independent account to pay for the economic and environmental damages from the gulf oil spill,” The Hill writes. “In a letter to BP chief executive Tony Hayward, Democrats said the establishment of such an account would be an "act of good faith" and responsibility.”

“Last fall, Speaker Nancy Pelosi moved her district office into the new federal building in San Francisco. The move quadrupled the rent she pays, and her new $18,736 monthly bill is almost double the next-highest rental paid by a Member of the House,” Roll Call reports. “A database assembled by the Sunlight Foundation in cooperation with Roll Call provides new insight into Congressional spending on district office rents. Not surprisingly, Members from large urban districts with the highest property values are paying the most for district office rental, particularly New York–area Members. But even in these high-rent districts, Pelosi’s new digs blow away the competition.”

“A nonprofit founded by Rep. Gregory Meeks took in more than $1.2 million in taxpayer money over the past 15 years with little to no oversight as to how it was spent, The [New York] Post has found. Meeks funneled pork-barrel money to the Rockaway Peninsula Civic Association as a state assemblyman in the 1990s. He incorporated the charity, which was once based at his parents' house in Far Rockaway, in 1983. It is the second suspicious nonprofit linked to the Queens Democrat.”