Thursday, March 22, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2007 – 2:23 P.M.

In This Issue

  • As Debate Begins on Supplemental, Democrats Closer to Enough Votes
  • AMT Fix Bogged Down in Debate Over Details
  • Senate Committee OK’s Subpoenas for Bush Aides
  • Edwards Presses Ahead With Presidential Bid Despite Wife’s Health
  • House Members Unveil New Immigration Bill
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Today in Washington

The House considers legislation (HR 1433) to give the District of Columbia a vote in the House and add a new congressional district to Utah; legislation (HR 1591) providing emergency fiscal 2007 supplemental funding for the Iraq war, agricultural disaster relief and other purposes.

The Senate considers the fiscal 2008 budget resolution (S Con Res 21).

The President participates in a roundtable discussion with leaders of the Iraq Provincial Reconstruction Team, the civil-military intermediary between U.S. and coalition forces and provincial Iraqi governments.

In Washington, the National Press Club and the Newseum present a forum on covering terrorism, the Iraq war and the Middle East. Participants include various journalists and scholars who cover the region, 6:45 p.m., National Press Club, 14th and F Sts., N.W.

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Top Stories

As Debate Begins on Supplemental, Democrats Closer to Enough Votes

House leaders remained short of a majority for a controversial war spending bill, leadership aides said today, despite the support of several previously uncommitted Democrats.  [Read More]

AMT Fix Bogged Down in Debate Over Details

Members of a House Ways and Means panel share a broad consensus that the alternative minimum tax must be changed to prevent it from ensnaring millions more middle-class taxpayers.  [Read More]

Senate Committee OK’s Subpoenas for Bush Aides

The Senate Judiciary Committee today authorized subpoenas for three White House aides to testify about their role in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys.  [Read More]

Edwards Presses Ahead With Presidential Bid Despite Wife’s Health

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards today announced he is pressing ahead with his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, despite concerns about the health of his wife, Elizabeth Edwards, whose cancer has recurred.  [Read More]

House Members Unveil New Immigration Bill

A bipartisan group of House members today unveiled an immigration overhaul bill and promised action before summer, jumping ahead of Senate colleagues who are struggling to reach consensus.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that even though House candidates have until April 15 to file their first-quarter financial reports, some PACs associated with top party officials file monthly. These documents show that an early push is under way to fill the campaign coffers of potentially vulnerable Democrats. The PAC of Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., last month contributed $5,000 apiece to the campaigns of five freshman House Democrats and four veterans who could face competitive contests in 2008. The freshmen: Jason Altmire, Pa.; Michael Arcuri and Kirsten Gillibrand, N.Y.; Ed Perlmutter, Colo., and Zack Space, Ohio. The veterans: John M. Spratt Jr., S.C.; John Barrow, Ga.; Melissa Bean, Ill., and Baron Hill, Ind.

According to the Denver Post, Colorado Republicans were left scrambling yesterday when former Rep. Scott McInnis unexpectedly dropped out of the 2008 race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Wayne Allard.Democratic Rep. Mark Udall is already running hard for what is currently the only open Senate seat in the next cycle. The GOP has lost ground in recent elections, but state party chairman Dick Wadhams said he had “no qualms” about finding a strong candidate. Former Rep. Bob Schaffer “is mulling a run,” and others mentioned include radio talk-show host Dan Caplis, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers and retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Bentley Rayburn. “Many GOP insiders have also floated former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton as a possibility.”

The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that Louisiana Democrats are frozen in place waiting for former Sen. John B.Breaux to decide whether to jump into this year’s governor’s race now that incumbent Democrat Kathleen Blanco has dropped out. “Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu said Wednesday he will seriously consider running for governor” if Breaux does not, the paper reported. Other potential Democratic contenders, including former Rep. Chris John and former Attorney General Richard Ieyoub, also said Breaux “is a factor in whether they run.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
CHICAGO: $12 Million Fund to Compensate Rigged-Hiring Victims
THE WASHINGTON, D.C., REGION: Census: Suburbs' Growth Slowing
CALIFORNIA: Governor Orders Pay Raises for Psychiatrists
THE NATION: Coastal States Pooling Insurance Resources

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Political Trivia

In 2005, as part of a broad energy policy overhaul, Sen. Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., won an extension of Daylight Savings Time. He promoted the change at the request of a second-grade teacher and her class in Sheridan, Wyo., who wanted more daylight for trick-or-treating on Halloween. Enzi, whose daughter Amy is a teacher, was following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Republican Sen. Alan K. Simpson, who also tried several times to pass the bill. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21, 2007 – 2:09 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Democrats Edge Closer to a Majority for War Spending Bill
  • Subpoenas Authorized for White House Aides Over Attorney Firings
  • Democratic Amendment Tests Pay-As-You-Go Rules; House Budget Plan Adds Spending
  • Two Down, One to Go for Genetic Discrimination Bill
  • Obey Extends Earmark Request Deadline To April 27
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Today in Washington

The House considers measures under suspension of the rules, including legislation (HR 740) to prohibit unauthorized caller-ID “spoofing” and legislation (HR 1227) to provide affordable housing for low-income families affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The Senate considers the fiscal 2008 budget resolution (S Con Res 21).

The President meets with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.

In Washington, more than 30 Medal of Honor winners will gather as part of festivities for the first “National Medal of Honor Day,” scheduled to be observed March 25. The date is designed to bring greater public awareness to the historical achievements of these veterans, 6 p.m., Russell Senate Office Building, Caucus Room.

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Top Stories

House Democrats Edge Closer to a Majority for War Spending Bill

After a fierce lobbying effort, House Democrats said today they are edging closer to the 218 votes needed to pass a massive war spending bill setting a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq.  [Read More]

Subpoenas Authorized for White House Aides Over Attorney Firings

A House Judiciary subcommittee authorized the issuance of subpoenas today to five White House and Justice Department officials in an effort to seek more information regarding the firings of eight U.S. attorneys.  [Read More]

Democratic Amendment Tests Pay-As-You-Go Rules; House Budget Plan Adds Spending

Senate Democrats splintered today over the centerpiece of their fiscal 2008 budget plan: The enactment of tough new pay-as-you-go rules requiring offsets for tax cuts and new entitlements.  [Read More]

Two Down, One to Go for Genetic Discrimination Bill

A genetic discrimination bill should get a vote on the House floor next week, after a final committee marks up the bill Thursday.  [Read More]

Obey Extends Earmark Request Deadline To April 27

House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey has extended the deadline for submitting earmark requests, announcing his intention to the ranking Republican of the panel, Jerry Lewis of California, in a letter dated yesterday.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that Louisiana Democratic Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, whose political standing plummeted after public frustration with hurricane recovery efforts, said Tuesday she will not seek a second term, avoiding a difficult re-election contest Oct. 20 against the leading Republican candidate, two-term Rep. Bobby Jindal, who lost narrowly to Blanco in 2003 but has been polling well ahead of the governor in his rematch campaign. Blanco’s decision paves the way for a candidacy by former Democratic Sen. John Breaux, who has expressed interest in running but declined to run against Blanco. A Jindal-Breaux race would produce an interesting matchup between two gifted Louisiana politicians.

The Denver Post reports that former Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Colo., is still assessing a run for the Senate seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Wayne Allard even though he said in January that “there was no question” he would run. The daily cites as reasons a national political environment unfavorable to Republicans and the dissatisfaction of GOP leaders with some of McInnis’ past political decisions and current status as a lobbyist. Also, “former Sen. Bill Armstrong, known as the godfather of the state GOP, ... has thrown his support behind former Rep. Bob Schaffer — who hasn’t decided whether he is running.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
ORANGE COUNTY, Calif.: Labor Concessions Slash Retiree Health Costs
NORTHERN VIRGINIA: State: Homeowners' Assn. Funds Probably Embezzled
NEW JERSEY: Couples Not Rushing to Civil Unions
CALIFORNIA: State Slammed over Prison Drug Purchasing
LOUISIANA: Home-Rebuilding Program Back on Track

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Political Trivia

As a young girl attending segregated schools in Waco, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, initially made it her goal to go to medical school and become a doctor. But she was encouraged by her high school counselor to be a nurse because “nurses were more feminine.” Although she never fulfilled her dream of getting a medical degree, Johnson has been a trailblazer for women and minorities in politics, becoming in 1992 the first African-American elected to represent Dallas in Congress, (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2007 – 2:09 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate Passes Bill to Revoke Authority to Bypass Confirmation for Prosecutors
  • Hoyer: House Democrats Have Yet to Find Enough Votes to Pass Supplemental
  • Senate Panel Not Likely to Include Iraq Withdrawal Language in Supplemental
  • Senators Plan Legislation to Pressure Oil Companies on Royalties
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Today in Washington

The House considers two measures under suspension of the rules, including legislation (HR 1227) to provide affordable housing for low-income families affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The Senate considers legislation (S 214) to limit the tenure of interim U.S. attorney appointments; considers the fiscal 2008 budget resolution (S Con Res 21).

The President tours the General Motors assembly plant in Fairfax, Kan.; tours the Ford assembly plant and speaks on energy initiatives in Claycomo, Mo.

In Washington, Georgetown University holds a panel discussion on the privatization of U.S. national security, with professors Phillip Karber, Catherine Lotrionte and Anthony Arend of Georgetown University, and Professor Albert Pierce of National Defense University, 6:30 p.m., Georgetown University, Copley Formal Lounge.

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Top Stories

Senate Passes Bill to Revoke Authority to Bypass Confirmation for Prosecutors

The Senate passed legislation today to roll back a provision in the 2006 anti-terrorism law allowing the attorney general to appoint U.S. attorneys who can serve indefinitely without Senate action.  [Read More]

Hoyer: House Democrats Have Yet to Find Enough Votes to Pass Supplemental

As Democratic leaders work to convince the most liberal and conservative fringes of their caucus to support the $124-billion-plus war supplemental spending bill scheduled for a floor vote this week, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer acknowledged today that the legislation still lacks sufficient support for passage.  [Read More]

Senate Panel Not Likely to Include Iraq Withdrawal Language in Supplemental

The Senate Appropriations Committee is unlikely to send the Senate a war spending measure that includes language endorsing a withdrawal from Iraq, the panel’s second-ranking Democrat said today.  [Read More]

Senators Plan Legislation to Pressure Oil Companies on Royalties

Two senior senators on the Appropriations Committee are planning to draft separate bills to pressure oil companies operating on flawed Gulf of Mexico leases into paying royalties to the federal government.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports that prominent current and former members of Congress from Tennessee are urging former Sen. Fred Thompson to enter the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. Reps. Zack Wamp and John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr., have formed a “Draft Fred Thompson 2008” committee. The creation of the committee follows weeks of speculation that Thompson, now a television actor, will enter the race. Former Tennessee Sens. Howard Baker and Bill Frist have both also urged Thompson to run and current Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker have said he’d be an excellent candidate.

The Indianapolis Star reports that architect Jim Schellinger on Monday became the second Democrat to enter the Indiana governor’s race. Schellinger, a political novice, already has lined up some powerful supporters, including Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, Rep. Julia Carson, D-Ind., and former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg, who said Schellinger is a fiscal conservative “who will be able to win over independents and disgruntled Republicans, and I think there are a lot of disgruntled Republicans.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
HOUSTON: Charter School Network Plans Vast Expansion
LOS ANGELES: Mayor Vetoes Air-Rights Sale
TEXAS: Audit: Parks Inflated Visitor Numbers
THE GREAT LAKES REGION: Conservationists: Ban Foreign Ships
PENNSYLVANIA: Governor Secretive on Toll-Road Bidders

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Political Trivia

Burly and athletic, Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., is a combination of serious competitor and affable colleague, whether on the field or on the House floor. A baseball catcher in his junior varsity days at West Point, he is the star GOP pitcher in the annual congressional baseball game. In 2004, he won for the third year in a row, and in two of those games he was named the Most Valuable Player. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Monday, March 19, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2007 – 2:03 P.M.

In This Issue

  • President Bush Wants War Funding ‘Without Strings’
  • Senate Set to Act on U.S. Attorney Measure as Talks on Testimony Continue
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Today in Washington

The House considers measures under suspension of the rules, including a bill (HR 902) to study potential methods to purify water produced as an energy development byproduct.

The Senate considers legislation (S 214) to limit the tenure of interim U.S. attorney appointments.

The President meets with the 2006 NCAA football champion Florida Gators.

In Washington, Robert Litwak, director of international security studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, will address the U.S. response to rogue states and strategies for regime change. His lecture will draw from his new book, “Regime Change: U.S. Strategy through the Prism of 9/11.” George Washington University, City View Room, 7th floor, 1957 E St. N.W.

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Top Stories

President Bush Wants War Funding ‘Without Strings’

As the war in Iraq entered its fifth year today, President Bush called on Congress to pass a supplemental spending bill providing $95.5 billion for military operations “without strings and without delay.”  [Read More]

Senate Set to Act on U.S. Attorney Measure as Talks on Testimony Continue

The White House and Congress haggled today over testimony related to the firing of eight federal prosecutors as the Senate began consideration of a bill that would revoke the authority that sparked the current firestorm.  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY: Scandals Led to Transit Chief's Ouster
SAN DIEGO: City Gets Clean Audit—for 2003
MILWAUKEE: Franchise Deal Greenlights Internet TV
LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va.: FBI Steps Up Corruption Probe
MARYLAND: Violent 128-Year-Old Prison Shut Down
CALIFORNIA: Stem Cell Grants Up to $158 Million
FLORIDA: Feds: Ex-Governor Owes $318,000 in Taxes

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Political Clippings

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports that Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has been talking about running for the seat being vacated by Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo. Suthers, a Republican who has served in his current post since 2005, said he’s not actively pursuing the seat, but will consider doing so. “It’s my impression that no one is gaining a great deal of momentum right now, and I’m keeping my powder dry, as they say in politics,” he said. “So, I haven’t ruled it out, but I haven’t jumped in.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Georgia state Sen. Ross Tolleson recently had discussions with the National Republican Congressional Committee about challenging Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Ga., next year. The daily said a spokesman for Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., confirmed that the lawmaker had met with Tolleson about the race. Democrats are lobbying Marshall, who narrowly won re-election last year in a mostly-Republican district, to take on GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss next year.

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This Week in Health Policy on the Hill

Health on the Hill with kaisernetwork.org and CQ are weekly audio updates from CQ reporters highlighting the latest health policy developments on Capitol Hill. A podcast of the report is also available.
GENETIC ANTI-DISCRIMINATION: House panel approves measure that would prohibit discrimination based on a persona??s genetic profile.
FISCAL 2008 BUDGET: Senate panel approves fiscal 2008 includes funds for SCHIP, veterana??s health care.
CANCER SCREENING: House and Senate committees approve a cervical and breast cancer screening measure. | Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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Political Trivia

The early biography of Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., contributes to his image as an independent-minded politician. He was one of eight children growing up on a ranch in Colorado’s mountainous San Luis Valley that his Mexican ancestors bought in 1850. Their home did not have electricity until after Salazar graduated from law school in 1981. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles

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