Democrats' first 100 hours

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SCOTT JAGOW: The U.S. Congress gets back to work today. The first 100 hours are already packed. Democrats have promised to take on everything from ethics reform to stem cell research in the first few days. Here's Amy Scott.


AMY SCOTT: Those first hundred hours don't officially start 'til next Tuesday but even before then, Democrats plan to ban lawmakers from accepting gifts or meals from lobbyists.

They aim to crack down on deficit spending, raise the minimum wage and cut interest rates in half for federally-subsidized student loans. But some wonder just how far they'll go.

Take the new chairman of the powerful Senate Banking Committee, Christopher Dodd. He gets more campaign money from Wall Street than from any other industry. If he decides to run for President, as many expect he will, he'll need a lot more.

Travis Plunkett is with the Consumer Federation of America.

TRAVIS PLUNKETT: Will the fact that somebody's running for President mean that they'll look for very important changes that need to be made to help consumers, for example? Or will it mean they will be beholden to the large donors?

Others say it was easy for Democrats to push for drastic reforms when they were in the minority. They knew would they would never pass.

In New York, I'm Amy Scott for Marketplace.

About the author

Amy Scott is Marketplace’s education correspondent covering the K-12 and higher education beats, as well as general business and economic stories.

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