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SEIU crunched the numbers, and according to the union's new report, the nation's largest banks are on track to pay out $150 billion in bonuses and compensation this year. That's enough to balance the budget in all 50 states next year -- with $8 billion left over for several hundred thousand kick-ass holiday parties for all those budget-balanced state workers.

The union looked at the entirety of the money paid out in compensation by the nation's largest banks to come up with the $150 billion figure. "Although we can't say for certain who got the bonuses, it's fair to assume that money is going to the guys in the top suites, not front-line bank workers," SEIU spokesperson Christy Setzer told TPMDC.

The union says that thanks to the government bailout of the financial sector this year, the money for the $150 billion they claim Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Morgan Stanley will dole out in compensation "comes straight out of taxpayers' pockets." And SEIU's new report breaks down what that money could have done had it stayed in government coffers. Some highlights after the jump.

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A GOP congressman's reported intervention with Georgia officials to preserve a sweetheart business setup for his auto salvage inspection company has drawn the attention of the House ethics committee, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported this week.

After the newspaper first revealed the actions of Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA) in August, an investigator for the ethics panel said in an e-mail that the panel planned to issue a subpoena in the case, indicating the seriousness of the matter, according to documents the Journal-Constitution obtained through an open records request. The ethics panel declined to comment about any investigation.

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Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) has done something we wouldn't usually expect from a Republican: Sympathize with China, and otherwise consider international affairs from the perspective of a country not friendly to the United States. On the other hand, this does involve undermining the Obama administration on climate change.

Barton, one of the GOP members of Congress visiting the Copenhagen conference for the purpose of telling delegates that America won't pass cap-and-trade, told Politico yesterday : "I don't consider what China is doing to be obstruction, I consider it to be reality."

"They are not going to, all of a sudden, put aside all of the technology and economic development they are doing just to meet some political goal in the West... I don't hold it against them," he added. "What would we have done in 1850 if England, France and Germany said... 'You can't build factories'? We would have told them to go jump in a lake."

DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer put out a statement lambasting Barton and the GOP for siding with another country against America: "Republicans joined the Taliban in cheering when the U.S. failed to land the Olympics, they talk down any good economic news and now we have leading House Republicans siding with China and against America while abroad. Unfortunately, for the American people, today's Republican Party does not hesitate to throw America under the bus if the establishment thinks it will help return them to the failed policies of President Bush that left our economy in shambles."

A finding from a new Research 2000 poll suggests Democrats and Independents are deeply disappointed with President Obama's unwillingness to truly engage in the fight for a public option.

Commissioned by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and Democracy for America, the question, to 800 likely voters was: "President Obama has said he favors a public health insurance option. Senator Joe Lieberman is widely credited with forcing Senate Democrats to take the public option off the table in order to win his vote. Do you think President Obama should have done more to pressure Lieberman to allow the public option to move forward?"

Overall, 63 percent said yes, 29 percent said no, and 8 percent had no opinion.

But among Democrats, and Independents, the numbers are far more striking.

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With no bill or CBO score in hand, a maximum of 57 committed "yes" votes when he needs 60, and 90 to 100 hours of procedural down time ahead of him before he can finally hold an up-or-down, majority-rules vote on health care, it seems virtually impossible that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will be able to pass a reform bill by Christmas.

But Senate leadership aides say it could happen, if everything goes according to plan.

Early this morning--in a rare 1 a.m. vote--Democrats invoked cloture on a defense spending bill. Unless Republicans cede back some time, Senate rules allow them to eat up 30 hours debating that bill before it can pass...at 7 a.m. Saturday morning. Then it's back to health care.

"Following passage of the DoD bill, Reid would file cloture on the manager's amendment, substitute amendment and the underlying bill on health care," reads an outline provided yesterday afternoon by a senior Senate aide. "This would set up the first cloture vote on the manager's amendment on Monday morning at 1 am."

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Obama: Imperfect Climate Deal Better Than None Speaking at the Copenhagen climate conference, President Obama declared that an imperfect climate deal would be better than no deal at all. "No country will get everything that it wants," said Obama, also saying: "We are running short on time. We are ready to get this done today. But there has to be movement on all sides."

Obama's Day In Copenhagen President Obama arrived at 8:30 a.m. local time (2:30 a.m. ET) in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the conference on climate change. He held a 9:30 a.m. bilateral meeting with Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, delivered brief remarks at a 10 a.m. plenary session, and met at 11 a.m. with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. At 12 p.m., he participated in an official photo with heads of state and the heads of the U.S. delegation. He met at 2:15 p.m. with Brazilian President Lula da Silva. He will participate in a 3 p.m. afternoon plenary session. He will meet at 4:30 p.m. with President Dmitry Medvedev. Later, he will depart from Copenhagen, en route back to Andrews Air Force Base in Washington.

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The climate change summit in Copenhagen is nearing its conclusion and reports from the scene suggest the talks are hanging in the balance.

Upon arrival instead of his planned schedule, Obama joined 18 world leaders in hopes of salvaging a deal. After speaking to about 8,000 United Nations delegates, Obama held a private meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao for nearly an hour.

Obama and Wen asked negotiators to get together one-on-one "to see if an agreement can be reached," a White House official told reporters.

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