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Congress: Finalizing the Wall St. bill

“Lawmakers finalizing Wall Street overhaul legislation are set this week to take up the hardest issues remaining in the 2,000-page bill,” The Hill writes. “The 43-member House-Senate conference committee last week worked through some differences between the two chambers’ bills, but lawmakers put off several of the toughest issues. They will focus closely on new consumer protection regulations and new powers over the $600-trillion market for financial derivatives.”

Per the AP, “Democrats say they have enough votes to end the Senate’s longstanding and much-criticized practice of allowing the use of anonymous holds to block nominations.”

Roll Call reports on Sen. John Kerry’s efforts to get energy legislation passed: “Kerry was only half-joking about being a broken record when it comes to climate change legislation. His office estimates that over the past year he has had 292 meetings and phone calls with more than 50 Senators, including hourlong talks with 44 Democrats and eight Republicans. The problem for Kerry is all that work may be for naught if he can’t persuade a handful of Republicans and as many as 10 to 15 fellow Democrats to take a leap of faith on the issue.”

Kagan filibuster on the table? “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that it was ‘premature’ to predict whether Republicans would filibuster the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan,” Roll Call writes.

That’s the sound of conservative heads exploding: “A new government report may help restore ACORN’s tarnished reputation but its release comes as the group is preparing to shutter its doors,” The Hill reports. “The preliminary findings of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation indicate the controversial grass-roots organization did not misuse the more than $40 million in taxpayer funds it received between 2005-2009.”