Wednesday, December 13, 2006

CQ Today Midday Update

CQ Today Midday Update
Highlights from today's news on www.cq.com
Published by Congressional QuarterlyE-mail the editor
TUESDAY, DEC. 12, 2006 – 2:21 P.M.
Edited by Martha Angle

Note to Readers:

    The next edition of the CQ Midday Update will be published on Monday, Dec. 18.

Lawmakers Protest FBI’s Stonewalling on Anthrax Probe

    Lawmakers upset about the FBI’s refusal to brief Congress on the five-year-old probe of anthrax attacks on Capitol Hill today released a letter to the attorney general pressing for information on the investigation.
    Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Rush D. Holt, D-N.J., said the FBI’s stonewalling was part of a pattern aimed at thwarting congressional oversight. “Unfortunately, the FBI’s refusal to provide briefings to Congress following the 2001 anthrax attacks appears to be the rule rather than the exception,” Grassley said. “In one of the most important terrorism investigations ever undertaken by the FBI, it is unbelievable to me that members of Congress, [including] some who were targets of the anthrax attacks, haven’t been briefed for years.”
    The letter, signed by 33 senators and House members from both parties, follows two earlier attempts by Grassley and Holt to get information about the FBI’s probe of the anthrax-laced letters sent to then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., in October and November 2001.
    “Congress cannot be cut off from detailed information about the conduct of one of the largest investigations in FBI history,” Grassley and Holt protested. “That information is vital in order to fulfill its constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight of the executive branch.”

White House Cool to Continuing Resolution

    The White House has reacted warily to the Democrats’ proposal for finishing off the fiscal 2007 spending bills with a long-term continuing resolution that would wipe out earmarks.
    The GOP-led Congress cleared only two of the 11 annual spending bills, frustrating Democrats who wanted to begin the new session with a clean slate. The incoming Appropriations Committee chairmen, Rep. David R. Obey, D-Wis., and Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., announced Monday that they would move a continuing resolution (CR) for the balance of the 2007 fiscal year, one that would contain no earmarks.
    Unlike the three stopgap spending measures that Congress has already cleared, the next one will not set funding at the lowest of the House-passed, Senate-passed or fiscal 2006 spending levels. Instead it will make “limited adjustments” allowing appropriators to provide more money for priorities such as health, education and veterans’ medical care.
    Rob Portman, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, called the long-term CR “disappointing” in a statement issued late yesterday. But he said the White House “will certainly work with the agencies and the Congress to ensure there are no major disruptions to essential government services.”

D.C. Delegate Wants Her Old Voting Privileges Back

    Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton, the non-voting delegate from the District of Columbia, wants to be able to vote on floor amendments to bills in the House, just as she did before Republicans took away those privileges in 1995.
    Norton yesterday wrote to incoming Rules Chairwoman Louise M. Slaughter, D-N.Y., requesting the return of her voting privileges when the House is acting in the “Committee of the Whole.” In that parliamentary framework, it debates and votes on amendments to legislation before “rising” and completing action on a bill.
    In the 103rd Congress (1993-94), Norton and the other four non-voting delegates were given voting rights in the Committee of the Whole. But after Republicans took control of the House in the 1994 elections, they changed the chamber’s rules to take away their right to vote.
    Norton noted that when limited voting rights for delegates were first proposed, Republicans sued but both the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Court of Appeals agreed that a vote in the Committee of the Whole was constitutional, provided there was a revote by the full House in any instance where the delegates’ votes would be decisive.

Political Clippings

    CQPolitics.com reports that the last balloting of the 2006 election cycle is under way today in the 23rd District of Texas, where a runoff election pits GOP Rep. Henry Bonilla against former Democratic Rep. Ciro D. Rodriguez. in a court-imposed remap that raised the district’s Hispanic voting-age population to 61 percent from 51 percent under the previous GOP-drawn lines. Bonilla is seeking his eighth House term. A win by Rodriguez would boost Democrats to 233 House seats, a net gain of 30 seats, for the new Congress.
    According to the Concord Monitor, “former New Hampshire governor Jeanne Shaheen is weighing a run for U.S. Senate, her husband said last night. ‘She’s thinking about it,’ Bill Shaheen told the Monitor at a Democratic fundraiser last night in Manchester. ‘She hasn’t ruled it out.’ Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat who served three terms as governor, previously ran for U.S. Senate in 2002, when she lost to then-U.S. Rep. John Sununu. Sununu is up for re-election in 2008. ... In 2002, Sununu won with 50.8 percent of the vote. “The election climate in the state has grown considerably more favorable for Democrats since then,” the paper noted. “Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand is also rumored to be considering a run.”
    The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Kentucky Democrat Steve Beshear “said yesterday he and state Sen. Dan Mongiardo will make an announcement ‘concerning the governor’s race’ next week.” The two are likely to pair up in a run for governor and lieutenant governor in next year’s election. Beshear previously served as a state representative, attorney general and lieutenant governor. Mongiardo narrowly lost to Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., in 2004. Other potential Democratic contenders “include Attorney General Greg Stumbo, House Speaker Jody Richards, former Lt. Gov. Steve Henry, state Treasurer Jonathan Miller, Louisville lawyer Jack Conway, and Louisville businessmen Bruce Lundergan and Charlie Owen.” Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher is seeking re-election.

Political Trivia

    Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, grew up in the eastern Idaho town of Blackfoot, where his father and uncle had a dental practice. He met his wife in high school, and they both attended Utah State University. Simpson did not earn his degree until 2002, however, when he arranged to have some credits from dental school at Washington University in St. Louis transferred to Utah State. (Source: CQ Politics in America 2006) More info
Today in Washington
House
Not in session. The first session of the 110th Congress convenes Jan. 4 to elect a Speaker.
Senate
Not in session.The first session of the 110th Congress convenes Jan. 4 for swearing-in ceremony.
The President
Participates in a video teleconference with military commanders and Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. ambassador to Iraq; meets with Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi in the Oval Office.
In Washington
Department of Defense Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Ken Krieg along with the Office of Force Transformation hosts the ninth in a series of lectures on fossil fuel dependence, featuring author Amory Lovins. 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Doubletree Hotel, 300 Army-Navy Drive, Arlington, Va..
State of American Business: Jan 5
Join the Chamber’s Tom Donohue at “Outlook 2007: The State of American Business” on Jan 5. Hear the Chamber’s 2007 agenda, discuss upcoming legislative issues, and forecast the economic environment.
Today on Governing.com
State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
COLORADO— Audit Slams Online Schools
SOUTH FLORIDA— Judge: Runoff Pumping Broke Federal Law
NEW JERSEY — Multilevel Transit Cars Make Debut
CALIFORNIA— Feds OK Smog Controls for Mowers
NEW YORK CITY— Millions Uncollected Due to Faulty Water Records
CQ Products
CQ Legislative Impact: How New Bills Affect Current Law
Using an enhanced version of our Bill Text product and integrating it with our new Public Law Text and U.S. Code services, CQ Legislative Impact shows you the connections between pending bills and current law more accurately — and faster — than ever before.
Comprehensive news and legislative tracking, including floor and committee coverage, schedules, member profiles, news and hearing transcripts and government documents.
CQ's weekly news magazine has been redesigned to cover all the forces that shape public policy. From Capitol Hill to K Street to the White House, CQ Weekly provides fresh perspectives on how policy is shaped and who is shaping it.
Forward-looking articles on each day's important Hill activity plus comprehensive coverage of the previous day's congressional news and the Hill's most accurate daily schedule. Print edition or e-mail PDF delivered by 7 a.m.
Stay ahead of the curve with customized notifications of breaking news based on your CQ Today alerts profile.
Enhanced CQ BillTrack brings you same-day notification of critical bill action.
A one-stop Web site and daily e-mail newsletter for tracking the federal budget and appropriations.
CQ offers the text of committee amendments — often before they've even been acted upon.
The new CQ Green Sheets is a revolutionary resource that gets inside the energy and environmental policy landscape.
Same-day coverage of federal health care policy.
CQ provides ongoing coverage of the largest reorganization of the federal government in more than 50 years.
Analysis of every bill and amendment scheduled for consideration on the House floor, briefings on the final versions of bills reported by conference committees, plus much more.
A free Web site with original news and analysis from Congressional Quarterly's reporters and editors. Election forecast map, balance of power scorecards, Craig Crawford and more. Every District. Every State. Every Day.
Your first source for information on politics, policy and people.
Get the appropriations draft bills and reports you need all in one easy-to-use resource, plus access to CRS, GAO, CBO, OMB documents, press releases, and much more.

President and Editor-in-Chief: Robert W. Merry
Editor and Senior Vice President: David Rapp

Executive Editors: Anne Q. Hoy, Mike Mills and Susan Benkelman
Managing Editors: Randy Wynn and Mark Stencel
Assistant Managing Editor: Daniel J. Parks
Deputy Editor: Chris Wright
Associate Editor: Martha Angle
Midday Update Product Editors: Arwen Bicknell, Jessica Scheuer, Jesse Stanchak and Paul Volpe

Reporters: The staff of Congressional Quarterly
Political Clippings compiled from BNN Frontrunner and CQ Politics.com

Publisher and Senior Vice President: Keith A. White
V.P. Advertising, Beth Bronder
Chief Marketing Officer: Greg Hamilton
V.P., Sales: Jim Gale
Chief Information Officer: Larry B. Tunks
Chief Financial Officer: Diane Atwell
Director, Strategy and Development: Neil Maslansky

Copyright 2006 Congressional Quarterly Inc. All rights reserved.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

CQ Today Midday Update

CQ Today Midday Update
Highlights from today's news on www.cq.com
Published by Congressional QuarterlyE-mail the editor
MONDAY, DEC. 11, 2006 – 2:26 P.M.
Edited by Charles Hoskinson

From CQ Homeland Security: Key House Democrats Skeptical of DHS Plan to Have ‘Interoperable’ Communications in 2008

    Leading Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee are skeptical of the administration’s plan to have cohesive emergency communications systems across the country by the end of 2008.
    “It is disappointing that it has taken five years since the attacks of September 11th for the Administration to finally turn its attention to this issue,” incoming committee chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Rep. Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., wrote in a Dec. 8 letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
    The department released a report Dec. 8 that did not reveal any major surprises. But it is the first of its kind and the department hopes it will point officials in the right direction when it comes to solving the problem of first-responders’ abilities to talk to each other during emergencies.
    According to the department’s 2006 National Interoperability Baseline Survey, the majority of agencies across the country need to establish the proper governance structures to achieve interoperable communications and make sure everyone involved knows how the systems work before an emergency.
    “I don’t know how he’s going to do it,” Thompson said of Chertoff’s promise to achieve nationwide interoperability by the end of 2008.

Political Clippings

    McClatchy Newspapers reports that Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., “shook up the embryonic 2008 presidential campaign Sunday, igniting a tumultuous response” in his first visit to New Hampshire. Local organizers called the turnout of more than 1,500 Democrats at a celebration of the party’s November election victories unprecedented. The crowd “roared its approval when Gov. John Lynch speculated that Obama might run, and they interrupted the senator’s half-hour speech several times with ovations.”
    The New York Post reported that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., is outpacing her potential Democratic presidential rivals in fundraising, with a war chest of $14.4 million. The only potential rivals who come close are Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass, with more than $13 million left over from his 2004 White House bid, “but his popularity and presidential prospects went into the tank last month when his ‘botched joke’ insulted the intelligence of U.S. troops.” Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana is next with $11 million. The Post noted that Clinton was successful in attracting contributions “from small-money grass-roots donors in every state who were targeted by a direct-mail operation that could pay huge dividends down the stretch in 2008.”
    The Elgin Herald News in Illinois reports that speculation over whether House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert will resign is causing potential GOP replacements in his Illinois House district to position themselves for a run. “Historically, few House speakers have rejoined the rank and file, and so many observers are ignoring his office’s statements to the contrary and predicting Hastert will decide soon that it is finally time to permanently trade in his Washington, D.C., digs for his spread near Plano,” the daily said.

Political Trivia

    Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., grew up in an apartment above the Los Angeles grocery store run by his father. Waxman’s political career began at UCLA in the 1960s, when he and fellow student — and now House colleague — Rep. Howard L. Berman, D-Calif., became active in California’s Federation of Young Democrats. (Source: CQ Politics in America 2006) More info
Today in Washington
House
Not in session. The first session of the 110th Congress convenes Jan. 4 to elect a Speaker.
Senate
Not in session.The first session of the 110th Congress convenes Jan. 4 for swearing-in ceremony.
The President
Meets with senior State Department offficials on Iraq at the State Department; meets with outside experts on Iraq in the Oval Office.
In Washington
The Open Society Institute hosts a discussion with the UN Panel on Liberia. 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 6th Floor Auditorium, Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Today on Governing.com
State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NATION— Hundreds of Local Initiatives Attack Global Warming
SEATTLE — Tree Removal Triggers 'War on Christmas' Furor
THE WASHINGTON D.C. REGION — Transit Deficit May Bring Fare Hikes
ERIE, PA.— Acquitted Ex-Mayor Suing Cityt
CONNECTICUT— State Leads in Support for Stem-Cell Research
CQ Products
CQ Legislative Impact: How New Bills Affect Current Law
Using an enhanced version of our Bill Text product and integrating it with our new Public Law Text and U.S. Code services, CQ Legislative Impact shows you the connections between pending bills and current law more accurately — and faster — than ever before.
Comprehensive news and legislative tracking, including floor and committee coverage, schedules, member profiles, news and hearing transcripts and government documents.
CQ's weekly news magazine has been redesigned to cover all the forces that shape public policy. From Capitol Hill to K Street to the White House, CQ Weekly provides fresh perspectives on how policy is shaped and who is shaping it.
Forward-looking articles on each day's important Hill activity plus comprehensive coverage of the previous day's congressional news and the Hill's most accurate daily schedule. Print edition or e-mail PDF delivered by 7 a.m.
Stay ahead of the curve with customized notifications of breaking news based on your CQ Today alerts profile.
Enhanced CQ BillTrack brings you same-day notification of critical bill action.
A one-stop Web site and daily e-mail newsletter for tracking the federal budget and appropriations.
CQ offers the text of committee amendments — often before they've even been acted upon.
The new CQ Green Sheets is a revolutionary resource that gets inside the energy and environmental policy landscape.
Same-day coverage of federal health care policy.
CQ provides ongoing coverage of the largest reorganization of the federal government in more than 50 years.
Analysis of every bill and amendment scheduled for consideration on the House floor, briefings on the final versions of bills reported by conference committees, plus much more.
A free Web site with original news and analysis from Congressional Quarterly's reporters and editors. Election forecast map, balance of power scorecards, Craig Crawford and more. Every District. Every State. Every Day.
Your first source for information on politics, policy and people.
Get the appropriations draft bills and reports you need all in one easy-to-use resource, plus access to CRS, GAO, CBO, OMB documents, press releases, and much more.

President and Editor-in-Chief: Robert W. Merry
Editor and Senior Vice President: David Rapp

Executive Editors: Anne Q. Hoy, Mike Mills and Susan Benkelman
Managing Editors: Randy Wynn and Mark Stencel
Assistant Managing Editor: Daniel J. Parks
Deputy Editor: Chris Wright
Associate Editor: Martha Angle
Midday Update Product Editors: Arwen Bicknell, Jessica Scheuer, Jesse Stanchak and Paul Volpe

Reporters: The staff of Congressional Quarterly
Political Clippings compiled from BNN Frontrunner and CQ Politics.com

Publisher and Senior Vice President: Keith A. White
V.P. Advertising, Beth Bronder
Chief Marketing Officer: Greg Hamilton
V.P., Sales: Jim Gale
Chief Information Officer: Larry B. Tunks
Chief Financial Officer: Diane Atwell
Director, Strategy and Development: Neil Maslansky

Copyright 2006 Congressional Quarterly Inc. All rights reserved.

To sign up for this newsletter, visit:
To be removed from this mailing list: