Spotlight on Congress

MapLight research on the influence of money and politics in U.S. Congress.

Lieberman Among Top Recipients of Health Insurance Money; Opposes Medicare Expansion

December 15, 2009 - MAPLight.org reported yesterday that the public health care option died in the Senate, replaced by a compromise provision that would allow those aged 55-64 to purchase Medicare. Hours later, the Medicare buy-in compromise was also rejected, under pressure from Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT). Over the past six years Lieberman has received $114,900 in campaign contributions from health insurers and HMOs, which places him among the top 10 Senate recipients.

Public Option Dies in Senate While Health Industry Money Flows

December 14, 2009 - The health care industry’s multi-million dollar investment in the Senate seems to be paying off, as the proposals for a publicly funded health insurance option are continually weakened.

The evolution of negotiations for a public option included in the health care reform bill are well-documented. Beginning with a robust proposal as introduced in the House—leveraging bulk purchasing power to achieve low rates—the compromise version that passed included negotiated rates, which could result in higher premiums than the average private insurance plan.

Committee Dems Voting No to Tougher Finance Regulations Received Twice as much Money

November 19, 2009 - The House Financial Services Committee voted yesterday to give regulators the authority to break up large financial firms that create too much systemic risk, in an effort to prevent future financial crises. The vote passed by a 38-29 margin, but three Democrats joined with all Republicans voting no. Those three Democrats--Melissa Bean (D-IL), Dan Maffei (D-NY), and Gregory Meeks (D-NY)--received an average of $99,483 from banks' PACs in the last two years, 119% more than the average of $45,358 received by the 38 Democrats voting for tougher regulation.

Dems Voting to Exempt Auto Dealers from Financial Oversight Receive More Money

November 4, 2009 -  The House Financial Services Committee marked up and voted on the Consumer Financial Protection Act (H.R. 3126) in late October. Roll call votes on the bill were largely along party lines, with the exception of Amendment #24, sponsored by Rep. John Campbell [R-CA] and Rep. Bill Posey [R-FL], where 19 Democrats broke party lines to vote with 28 Republicans to exclude auto dealers from oversight by the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). 

Senators supporting public option received half as much money from health insurers

October 8, 2009 - Earlier today, 30 Senators wrote to Majority Leader Harry Reid, asking him to ensure that the Senate's final health care reform bill include a public insurance option. All Senators who signed the letter were either Democrats or Independents that caucus with the Democrats.

The 30 Senators who signed the letter in support of the public option received an average of $15,937...