Thursday, September 20, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, SEPT. 20, 2007 – 2:18 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Bush, Democrats Swap Blame for Expected Veto of Children’s Health Bill
  • Senate Likely to Vote Soon to Raise Debt Limit
  • GOP Hold Dropped, Clearing Way for Final Passage of FDA Bill
  • Debate Over Spying Becomes Heated
  • Gates Seeks to Shore Up Backing for Iraq Policy as Senate Debate Bogs Down
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Today in Washington

The House considers a bill (HR 2881) to authorize appropriations for the Federal Aviation Administration for fiscal years 2008 through 2011.

The Senate resumes consideration of the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill (HR 1585).

The President announces resignation of Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns; holds televised news conference.

In Washington,  The American University holds a panel discussion on Iraq and Iran, with Akbar Ahmed, American University; Daniel Ellsberg, former Defense and State Department official; Max Friedman, American University; Larry Johnson, former CIA analyst; Peter Kuznick, American University; and others. 8 p.m., Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.

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Top Stories

Bush, Democrats Swap Blame for Expected Veto of Children’s Health Bill

President Bush on Thursday said congressional Democrats would bear the blame if a health insurance program for poor children is not renewed by Sept. 30, halting the flow of federal funds.  [Read More]

Senate Likely to Vote Soon to Raise Debt Limit

The Senate is expected to vote before its Columbus Day recess on legislation to raise the ceiling on the national debt to almost $10 trillion.  [Read More]

GOP Hold Dropped, Clearing Way for Final Passage of FDA Bill

The Senate on Thursday was expected to clear the largest expansion of Food and Drug Administration regulatory power in a decade, after a Republican senator said he would drop his hold on the bill.  [Read More]

Debate Over Spying Becomes Heated

House Democrats on Thursday sharply questioned the credibility of the nation’s spy chief, while Republicans said inaction on a longterm reauthorization of executive branch surveillance authority could endanger lives.  [Read More]

Gates Seeks to Shore Up Backing for Iraq Policy as Senate Debate Bogs Down

As the Senate’s debate of a $648.3 billion Defense authorization bill bogged down in a partisan squabble over newspaper ads, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates met with about 23 House Republicans Thursday to solidify support for the Bush administration’s Iraq policy.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that Democrat Katrina Swett is expected to drop out of the New Hampshire Senate race tomorrow and endorse former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, clearing the way for Shaheen to mount a strong challenge to GOP Sen. John E. Sununu. Her campaign said Swett, a business consultant and daughter of Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., would make an announcement Friday at 10 a.m. in Concord, N.H. Swett’s expected withdrawal would follow that of Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, who dropped out Sept. 15, a day after Shaheen announced she would run.

The Boston Globe reports that former President Bill Clinton will campaign later this month for Democrat Niki Tsongas, who is running in a special House election in Massachusetts’ 5th District. Meanwhile, her Republican opponent, Jim Ogonowski, said he would decline if President Bush offered to campaign for him. The daily said Ogonowski’s “fallback strategy” is to “downplay the value of celebrity visits.”

The Kane County Chronicle reports that, as expected, GOP Illinois state Sen. Chris Lauzen announced his plans to seek the House seat being vacated by former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. Lauzen portrayed himself as “the only traditional conservative in the Republican primary” and criticized his main primary opponent, dairy magnate Jim Oberweis. “I know there are candidates out there who will spend millions on robotic telephone calls and TV commercials filled with false promises . . . . No one should be able to buy public office,” Lauzen said.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
MINNEAPOLIS: Colorado Firm to Replace Collapsed Bridge
DETROIT: Mayor: State Shutdown Won't Close Casinos
HOUSTON: Comptroller: Tax Appraisals Cost Schools Millions
TENNESSEE: Judge: Lethal Injections Unconstitutional
THE NATION: AGs Say Schools Underreport Crime, Violence
MONTANA: Survey Finds Plummeting Meth Use

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Political Trivia

When Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., was elected to the House in 1986, his wife gave up her tenured position as a University of South Dakota social work professor to move the family to Washington, where she became a public school social worker. All three Johnson children went to school in Virginia but returned to South Dakota for college. Johnson introduced legislation in the 108th Congress (2003-04) to bar telemarketers from calling between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. as a way of keeping family dinner hours “sacred.” (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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