Friday, May 11, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, MAY 11, 2007 – 2:22 P.M.

In This Issue

  • White House Threatens Veto of Spending Bills Exceeding Bush’s Target
  • Reid Agrees to Allow Extra Day for Immigration Negotiations
  • Administration Takes Aim at Senate Water Projects Bill
  • GOP Leaders Tap Rep. Calvert to Replace Doolittle on Appropriations
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session; reconvenes at 10:30 a.m. Monday.

The Senate is not in session; reconvenes at 2 p.m. Monday.

The President delivers commencement address at graduation ceremony of Saint Vincent College at the Robert S. Carey Student Center in Latrobe, Pa.; speaks at a ceremony commemorating Military Spouses Day and presents the President’s Volunteer Service Awards.

In Washington, the New School and New America Foundation hold a forum on the future of the U.S. and global economies, 10:45 a.m., Room 902, Senate Hart Bldg.

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Top Stories

White House Threatens Veto of Spending Bills Exceeding Bush’s Target

White House Budget Director Rob Portman warned congressional Democrats today that he will recommend that President Bush veto fiscal 2008 spending bills if they exceed the administration’s request.  [Read More]

Reid Agrees to Allow Extra Day for Immigration Negotiations

With the White House and Senate Republicans pleading for more time to work out an agreement on comprehensive immigration legislation, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., agreed Friday to give negotiators an extra day to haggle.  [Read More]

Administration Takes Aim at Senate Water Projects Bill

The White House today voiced strong objections to a bill the Senate will consider next week that would authorize billions of dollars for water resources projects. But it but stopped short of threatening a veto.  [Read More]

GOP Leaders Tap Rep. Calvert to Replace Doolittle on Appropriations

The House Republican Conference has chosen Ken Calvert to replace fellow California Republican John T. Doolittle on the Appropriations Committee.  [Read More]

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TheCapitol.Net: Capitol Hill Workshop

This TheCapitol.Net workshop features an intensive 3-day overview of Congress and gives you an overview of the legislative process while highlighting the forces that influence decision making in Congress.
WHERE: In Washington, D.C.
WHEN:June 13 - 15, 2007, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Registration Fee: $1295
Full program description and online registration, or call our registrar at 202-678-1600.
This training conference is sponsored by TheCapitol.Net, exclusive provider of Congressional Quarterly Executive Conferences.

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that numerous groups, most of them non-partisan, are engaged in trying to improve the historically lagging participation of young voters. One such organization, Declare Yourself, has devoted the past four years to registering and boosting turnout among 18-year-olds, the youngest of the nation’s eligible voters. Organized by Hollywood producer Norman Lear, the group is stepping up its efforts in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election. There is evidence that voting participation among young voters may already be on the rise. Lear says “research shows that getting a young person to register and vote at age 18 is the strongest predictor of lifelong voting behavior.”

According to the Idaho Statesman, “former University of Idaho professor and international affairs expert Rand Lewis has joined the 2008 race for Idaho’s 1st Congressional District. Lewis will face — so far — former Micron Technology attorney Larry Grant in the Democratic contest for who will challenge first-term Congressman Bill Sali, who beat Grant last fall. Lewis, a retired military officer and former director of U of I’s Martin School of International Affairs, lives in Coeur d’Alene and is the president of Transnational Strategic Solutions, which specializes in homeland, infrastructure and personal safety.” So far, Sali faces no opposition in the GOP primary.

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GovSec: Government Security & Conference

Virginia Tech, Va, Amish Country, Penn. and Park County, Colo. — see the chiefs of police, commissioners and sheriffs from all three sites at a free panel on school shootings, “It Could Happen to You” — only at GovSec, May 9-10, Washington D.C. Convention Center. FREE to Congressional staff with code: CQ07.

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Political Trivia

While Sen. David Vitter, R-La., was an undergraduate at Harvard, he wrote in a Rhodes scholarship application that he aspired to change the reputation of cronyism and corruption typified by Louisiana’s legendary Gov. Huey Long. Vitter won the scholarship and was eventually elected to the U.S. House in a special election in 1999 at age 38, then won a Senate seat in 2004. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, MAY 10, 2007 – 2:05 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Moves Toward New Votes on Iraq War
  • Democrats Scale Back Campaign Finance Elements in Lobbying Bill
  • House Committee Will Begin Markup of New Farm Bill This Month
  • House Panel OKs Bill to Improve Treatment of Veterans With Brain Injuries
  • Unrelated Partisan Spat Stalls Senate Action on Water Resources Bill
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Today in Washington

The House considers bills that would increase the government’s small-business procurement goal to 25 percent, from 23 percent (HR 1873), authorize fiscal 2008 appropriations for intelligence (HR 2082), provide for the redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq (HR 2237) and provide short-term Iraq war funding (HR 2206).

The Senate considers a bill (HR 1495) to authorize water resources projects.

The President visits Pentagon for a briefing on the Iraq war; speaks at an Asian Pacific American Heritage Month event and presents the President’s Volunteer Service Awards; delivers remarks at a Republican National Committee gala at the Washington, D.C., Armory.

In Washington, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights holds its annual Hubert Humphrey Civil Rights Awards Dinner, honoring former President Clinton, historian John Hope Franklin and others, 7 p.m., Washington Hilton, 1919 Connecticut Ave., N.W.

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Top Stories

House Moves Toward New Votes on Iraq War

House Democrats prepared for a new round of votes today on the Iraq war, seeking to keep the pressure on President Bush to begin winding down the U.S. presence there.  [Read More]

Democrats Scale Back Campaign Finance Elements in Lobbying Bill

The House is preparing to take up a long-stalled lobbying bill next week, but the legislation has been significantly scaled back, leaving out a key campaign finance provision and regulation of grassroots lobbying.  [Read More]

House Committee Will Begin Markup of New Farm Bill This Month

Rep. Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn., chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, said today that markups will begin the week of May 21 on at least three titles of the 2007 farm bill.  [Read More]

House Panel OKs Bill to Improve Treatment of Veterans With Brain Injuries

The House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee approved a bill today aimed at improving the treatment of veterans with traumatic brain injuries, putting the measure on track for House passage by the end of the month.  [Read More]

Unrelated Partisan Spat Stalls Senate Action on Water Resources Bill

A Senate leadership spat over judicial nominees is delaying action on a bipartisan compromise bill that would authorize billions of dollars in water resources projects, lawmakers said today.  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
CHICAGO: City Clears Way for Nation's Tallest Building
THE NEW ORLEANS REGION: Failures Seen for Incomplete Levees
LOS ANGELES: 'Copters Credited with Containing Park Fire
FLORIDA: Governor Ready to Resume Executions
CALIFORNIA: Governor Mulls Privatizing Lottery
VIRGINIA/NEW YORK CITY: State to City: Back Off on Gun Stings

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that leaders of both parties in Wyoming are awaiting word on whether at-large GOP Rep. Barbara Cubin will seek an eighth term next year. Despite Wyoming’s strong Republican bent, Cubin defeated Democrat Gary Trauner by a scant 1,012 votes in 2006. Trauner, a business executive, said yesterday he is consulting his family before deciding whether to try again. But he said his original reasons for running in 2006 “haven’t changed really all that much.” Cubin could face a primary challenge in 2008, as she did in 2004. Some Republicans fear losing the seat if she runs again, according to B. Oliver Walter, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at University of Wyoming.

According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, “Democrat Christine Jennings is giving up on the courts. After months of waiting for a state court to rule on her challenge of the disputed 13th Congressional District results, Jennings is asking the judge to hold off on making a decision on her case until after Congress intervenes.” A spokesman said Jennings “she believes she has a better chance of overturning the November election results” on Capitol Hill than in the courts. A House task force is investigating her claims that a malfunction in touch-screen voting machines led to GOP Rep. Vern Buchanan’s 369-vote victory over her in the 13th District. “Jennings is disputing those results because about 13 percent of the voters who went to the polls in the Sarasota County did not have a vote tallied for them.” Her attorney filed a motion yesterday seeking a delay in further court proceedings. “Buchanan will oppose Jennings’ motion, said his attorney, Hayden Dempsey.”

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GovSec: Government Security & Conference

Virginia Tech, Va, Amish Country, Penn. and Park County, Colo. — see the chiefs of police, commissioners and sheriffs from all three sites at a free panel on school shootings, “It Could Happen to You” — only at GovSec, May 9-10, Washington D.C. Convention Center. FREE to Congressional staff with code: CQ07.

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Political Trivia

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., spent part of his junior year in college in France on an exchange program. He then went to England, where he traveled with some Gypsies, before embarking on a journey that took him across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He was in the Belgian Congo, he said, when he had an “epiphany” that he should undertake a career in public service. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, MAY 9, 2007 – 2:23 P.M.

In This Issue

  • White House Threatens to Veto New Iraq War Funding Bill
  • Senate Passes Bipartisan FDA Drug Safety Bill
  • White House Threatens Veto of Homeland Security Bill Over Personnel Issue
  • Democrats Beat Back Efforts to Restore Bush’s Defense Priorities
  • Fiscal 2008 Budget Conference Likely to Begin Thursday
  • And Finally ...
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Today in Washington

The House considers bills that would crack down on improper financial arrangements between colleges and companies that make student loans (HR 890), to reauthorize Department of Homeland Security programs (HR 1684) and to increase the government’s small-business procurement goal to 25 percent from 23 percent (HR 1873).

The Senate considers a bill (S 1082) to reauthorize prescription drug user fees for the Food and Drug Administration and votes on the nomination of Debra Ann Livingston to be a judge on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The President visits Greensburg, Kan., which was hit by an F-5 tornado earlier this week.

In Washington, Business Executives for National Security holds its 25th anniversary gala, with Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England as the featured speaker. 7:30 p.m., Reagan Trade Center.

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Top Stories

White House Threatens to Veto New Iraq War Funding Bill

A day before the House is expected to take up the latest Democratic proposal to fund the Iraq War, the White House today threatened to veto the measure.  [Read More]

Senate Passes Bipartisan FDA Drug Safety Bill

The Senate today passed legislation to overhaul the Food and Drug Administration’s procedures for ensuring drug safety, after a week of behind-the-scenes negotiations that saw some provisions watered down.  [Read More]

White House Threatens Veto of Homeland Security Bill Over Personnel Issue

The White House today issued a veto threat against a $39.8 billion fiscal 2008 homeland security authorization bill because of a provision that would eliminate the Department of Homeland Security’s controversial special personnel system.  [Read More]

Democrats Beat Back Efforts to Restore Bush’s Defense Priorities

The battle between future and current needs of the U.S. military highlighted debate today as the House Armed Services Committee began a marathon markup of the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill.  [Read More]

Fiscal 2008 Budget Conference Likely to Begin Thursday

House-Senate negotiations on the fiscal 2008 budget resolution are expected to get under way tomorrow, after the Senate has completed the procedural steps needed to appoint its conferees on the measure.  [Read More]

And Finally ...

Rep. Martin T. Meehan, D-Mass., made it official today, resigning his House seat effective July 1. Meehan had announced March 13 that he would leave Congress to become chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. The House currently has two vacancies, which were created by the deaths of Charlie Norwood, R-Ga., and Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-Calif.  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
LOS ANGELES: Fire Scorches City Park, Threatens Landmarks
ALCONA COUNTY, Mich.: Scammed Treasurer Pleads Guilty
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Parts of Mayor's School Plan Lifted
THE NATION: 31 States Target Warming Emissions
TENNESSEE: Lethal-Injection Appeals Denied, Inmate Executed

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that Democratic strategists who ignored Ohio’s 16th District race last year now are taking aim at Republican Rep. Ralph Regula. The 82-year-old lawmaker won with just 58 percent of the vote in 2006 against a political unknown who did not even raise enough money to file campaign reports with the Federal Election Commission. “It’s time for a change,” said state Sen. Boccieri, who filed his candidacy papers today. Boccieri is a friend and political ally of Ohio Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland.He also is an Air Force Reserve Major and a commander of C-130 aircraft who has served in Iraq.

According to the Winston-Salem Journal, Democrats are having trouble recruiting someone to challenge Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., in 2008. “‘I am absolutely convinced that Sen. Dole is defeatable,’ said Caroline Valand, the executive director of the N.C. Democratic Party. But so far only one Democrat, U.S. Rep. Brad Miller of the 13th District, has shown any interest in taking on Dole, who is in her first term. ‘Obviously, I wouldn’t be thinking about running if I didn’t think she was vulnerable,’ said Miller, a three-term congressman.”

The Portland (Maine) Press Herald reports that yesterday’s decision by Democratic U.S. Rep. Tom Allen to run for the Senate in 2008 “raised the prospect of a political free-for-all” to succeed him in the 1st District seat. At least 11 people from both parties are seen as possible contenders, but “only three have confirmed that they will run.” Those include two Democrats who lost U.S. Senate races in 2000 and 2002, respectively — Mark Lawrence and Chellie Pingree, along with Democrat Michael Brennan, a former state Senate president. Steve Abbott of Portland, chief of staff to GOP Sen. Susan Collins, said he is “definitely interested,” the paper reported.

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GovSec: Government Security & Conference

Virginia Tech, Va, Amish Country, Penn. and Park County, Colo. — see the chiefs of police, commissioners and sheriffs from all three sites at a free panel on school shootings, “It Could Happen to You” — only at GovSec, May 9-10, Washington D.C. Convention Center. FREE to Congressional staff with code: CQ07.

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Political Trivia

Rep. John E. Peterson, R-Pa., was born and raised in the small town of Titusville, near the spot where Edwin Drake drilled the country’s first oil well. A year after completing high school, Peterson joined the Army Reserve and then opened a small grocery store in nearby Pleasantville with his brother and a family friend, who put up the money. Peterson eventually bought out his partners and expanded the store, which he sold in 1984. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, MAY 8, 2007 – 2:12 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Likely to Consider Short-Term War Funding Bill This Week
  • Issue of Tax Cut Extension Stalks Budget Conference
  • House Panel Approves Increased Military Training, Readiness Funds
  • Senate Panel Endorses Increased Gas Mileage Standards
  • White House Opposes Small Business Measure
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Today in Washington

The House considers a bill to extend federal recognition to the Chickahominy Indian tribe (HR 1294); considers a rule paving the way for the appointment of conferees on the fiscal 2008 budget resolution (S Con Res 21); considers a slate of measures under suspension of the rules.

The Senate considers a bill to reauthorize prescription drug user fees for the Food and Drug Administration (S 1082).

The President meets with President Rene Preval of Haiti; dines with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip of the United Kingdom at the British Embassy.

In Washington, the Center for Strategic and International Studies holds a discussion on Brazil’s foreign policy, with Ambassador Antonio Patriota, 3:30 p.m., B-1 conference level, 1800 K St. N.W.

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Top Stories

House Likely to Consider Short-Term War Funding Bill This Week

House leaders are moving fast to write a short-term, $30.4 billion war supplemental that would force President Bush to return to Congress in July with a request for an additional $53 billion.  [Read More]

Issue of Tax Cut Extension Stalks Budget Conference

The House was set to appoint its conferees on the fiscal 2008 budget resolution this afternoon, but not before Republicans attempted to force a politically tough vote for Democrats on tax policy.  [Read More]

House Panel Approves Increased Military Training, Readiness Funds

A House Armed Services subcommittee today voted to authorize increased funding for military readiness and training, as well as improvements to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  [Read More]

Senate Panel Endorses Increased Gas Mileage Standards

Legislation to increase automotive fuel economy standards was approved today by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee after the adoption of an amendment to ban price gouging in petroleum markets during national emergencies.  [Read More]

White House Opposes Small Business Measure

The White House announced its opposition today to a measure intended to increase the amount of federal contracts awarded to small businesses.  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
GAINESVILLE, Fla.: City Rated Best Place to Live
LOS ANGELES: Two Police Commanders Ousted over Rally Violence
GREENSBURG, Kan.: Residents Credit Tornado Warning
VIRGINIA: State Targets Surge in Syphilis

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that Democrats next year will be battling to hold Connecticut’s 2nd District House seat, which Rep. Joe Courtney won by 83 votes in the closest election of 2006. Republicans are turning to Sean Sullivan, the former commander of the Groton submarine base in the district, to challenge the freshman. Courtney and House Democratic leaders are well aware of the importance of military issues in the 2nd District. Courtney serves on the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, where he is looking out for Groton’s interests.

According to theLouisville Courier-Journal, former GOP Rep. Anne Northup, who is seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination in the May 22 primary, last night accused incumbent Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher of “‘not having a personal ethical standard.’ ... During the candidates’ second debate on Kentucky Educational Television, Fletcher tried to divert attention from Northup’s focus on ethical issues and talked about his record in office with claims that he increased funding for education, built roads and cut taxes for most people.” But Northup assailed Fletcher over a hiring scandal, contributions to his legal defense fund and his “use of state resources to campaign.”

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports that “Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Onondaga, stung by attack ads financed by anti-war groups, released a letter to constituents Monday saying that he wants to give U.S. commanders in Iraq until September to make progress before he'll consider any legislation to withdraw” U.S. troops. His refusal to back a war supplemental spending bill that set a deadline for a withdrawal drew a barrage of critical TV ads from anti-war groups. “Walsh, who narrowly won re-election last year in a district where opposition to the war is strong, believes his letter to constituents will provide ‘needed clarification and solicit respectful feedback and suggestions,’” the paper said.

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GovSec: Government Security & Conference

Virginia Tech, Va, Amish Country, Penn. and Park County, Colo. — see the chiefs of police, commissioners and sheriffs from all three sites at a free panel on school shootings, “It Could Happen to You” — only at GovSec, May 9-10, Washington D.C. Convention Center. FREE to Congressional staff with code: CQ07.

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Political Trivia

When Rep. Robert E. Andrews, D-N.J., was 14, he went to work for the Suburban Newspaper Group, a local newspaper chain, hoping to cover basketball and football. Instead, he was assigned to report on local government, for $6 an article. “The experience covering government and what went on in the local scene made me want to be a part of it,” he says. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Monday, May 07, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, MAY 7, 2007 – 2:18 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Republicans Warn Patience on Iraq Is Waning
  • Clock Ticking on Appropriations as Budget Talks Loom
  • N.J. Gov. Corzine Back on the Job
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Today in Washington

The House considers a slate of measures under suspension of the rules and a rule paving the way for the appointment of conferees on the fiscal 2008 budget resolution (S Con Res 21).

The Senate convenes at 2:15 p.m. to resume consideration of a bill to reauthorize prescription drug user fees for the Food and Drug Administration (S 1082), with votes set on two amendments and a motion to limit debate on the substitute amendment.

The President welcomes Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip of the United Kingdom to the White House and hosts a state dinner in their honor.

In Washington, the Asia program of the Woodrow Wilson Center hosts an event, “Beyond the Divide? Sino-Japanese Relations and the Implications for the United States.” Speakers include Michael Yahuda, professor emeritus at the London School of Economics, and Woodrow Wilson Fellow Jing Huang of The Brookings Institution, 3:30 p.m., Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, sixth floor, One Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

Republicans Warn Patience on Iraq Is Waning

Republican leaders in Congress, faced with an increasingly restive rank and file, are warning that they will demand a change of course in Iraq unless they see clear evidence of progress by October.  [Read More]

Clock Ticking on Appropriations as Budget Talks Loom

The chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations committees should know this week whether they can claim a good start toward their goal of clearing all 12 fiscal 2008 spending bills by the Oct. 1 beginning of the fiscal year.  [Read More]

N.J. Gov. Corzine Back on the Job

New Jersey Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine headed back to work today, still in pain from severe injuries he received when the speeding SUV in which he was riding went off the highway and crashed April 12.  [Read More]

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GovSec: Government Security & Conference

Virginia Tech, Va, Amish Country, Penn. and Park County, Colo. — see the chiefs of police, commissioners and sheriffs from all three sites at a free panel on school shootings, “It Could Happen to You” — only at GovSec, May 9-10, Washington D.C. Convention Center. FREE to Congressional staff with code: CQ07.

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Political Clippings

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that two House Democrats vying for the mayoral nomination in the May 15 primary election are trailing frontrunners Michael Nutter, a former city councilman, and Tom Knox, a wealthy businessman. “In recent days, Nutter reeled off a string of news-media endorsements, his TV ads gained traction, and the latest polls suggested that as the campaign enters its final stretch, voters have started to winnow down the five-man Democratic field in the May 15 primary to a contest between Nutter and Knox,” the paper said. Supporters of Reps. Robert A. Brady and Chaka Fattah are “fretting,” and State Rep. Dwight Evans is “bristling” at being asked whether he might withdraw.

The Jackson Hole Star-Tribune reports that Sen. Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., who is up for re-election in 2008, this weekend told state Republican Party officials that next year’s election “will be the toughest in history for Republicans.” Various speakers at the meeting of the state GOP central committee stressed the need to “put their past squabbles behind them and focus on spreading the message and values of the party to voters through grass-roots efforts,” the paper said.

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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.
DRUG REIMPORTATION: Senate scheduled to vote on legislation that would permit drug reimportation from other countries.
MEDICARE & MEDICAID: President Bush to nominate longtime Department of Health and Human Services staff member to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
SCHIP: House fails to override veto of supplemental funding bill that includes money for State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). | Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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Political Trivia

Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., subscribes to the concept of the citizen-politician. He grew up on his family’s ranch, rising at dawn and working until sunset baling hay. After getting his degree in veterinary medicine from Colorado State University, Allard and his microbiologist wife, Joan, opened their own small-animal practice in Loveland, northwest of Denver. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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