Friday, May 18, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2007 – 2:06 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Standoff Continues Over Iraq War Funding
  • House Panel Boosts FEMA Funding, Approves Homeland Security Bill
  • Republicans Seek Reprimand of Murtha for Alleged Earmark Threat
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session.

The Senate is not in session.

The President participates in photo opportunities with an AmeriCorps member and with recipients of the 2006 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching; attends private Virginia Republican Party reception in Richmond.

In Washington, Hirshhorn After Hours celebrates the opening of a new exhibition by German artist Wolfgang Tillmans, who is known for capturing often overlooked subjects and moments in everyday life. 8 p.m. - midnight, Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Independence Avenue at Seventh Street, S.W.

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Top Stories

Standoff Continues Over Iraq War Funding

Top Republicans and Democrats met with White House officials this morning to discuss the stalled Iraq fiscal 2007 war spending bill, but they made no discernible progress toward a deal.  [Read More]

House Panel Boosts FEMA Funding, Approves Homeland Security Bill

The House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee approved a $36.3 billion fiscal 2008 draft spending measure today, the first of the 12 annual appropriations bills to start moving.  [Read More]

Republicans Seek Reprimand of Murtha for Alleged Earmark Threat

House Republicans plan to force a floor vote next week aimed at embarrassing Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Pa., for an alleged threat to retaliate against a GOP lawmaker who sought to eliminate one of his earmarks.  [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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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va.: County Pushes New Look for Big Boxes
DETROIT: Media Pack Scotches Mayor's Hawaii Trip
CALIFORNIA: State Targets Farm Pesticide Fumigants
NEW JERSEY/PENNSYLVANIA: Shipping-Channel Stalemate Broken

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Political Trivia

Born in Baltimore, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., was one of seven children of working-class parents who had migrated from the South. He recalls a childhood in which “we did not have many opportunities. . . . We did not play on grass. We played on asphalt.” But he was set on a productive course by “two very strong parents,” who scrimped and saved to buy their own home in a city neighborhood that was integrating. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2007 – 2:25 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senators Strike a Deal on Immigration Overhaul
  • House Defies Veto Threats, Passes Fiscal 2008 Defense Authorization
  • House GOP Conservatives Seek to Back Up Bush’s Budget Veto Threats
  • Senate Passes ‘Placeholder’ Iraq War Funding Bill
  • Judiciary Panel Strips Longer ‘Revolving Door’ Ban from Lobbying Bill
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Today in Washington

The House considers the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill (HR 1585), the fiscal 2008 budget resolution (S Con Res 21), and legislation (HR 1427) that would overhaul regulation of housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The Senate considers supplemental spending legislation (HR 2206) that would provide $95.5 billion for activities in support of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and for the war on terrorism; votes on a conference report on the fiscal 2008 budget resolution (S Con Res 21).

The President meets with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and participates in a Joint Reserve Office Training Corps commissioning ceremony.

In Washington, actor Djimon Hounsou, singer Angelique Kidjo and Oxfam America President Raymond Offenheiser participate in discussion on farm bill reform, 5:30 -7:30 p.m., Room B-354, Rayburn House Office Building.

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Top Stories

Senators Strike a Deal on Immigration Overhaul

A bipartisan group of senators today reached an agreement on immigration overhaul, and the bill’s first test will not be long in coming: a key procedural vote will be held May 21.  [Read More]

House Defies Veto Threats, Passes Fiscal 2008 Defense Authorization

The House today passed the largest defense authorization bill since World War II, ignoring White House veto threats against several provisions of the measure.  [Read More]

House GOP Conservatives Seek to Back Up Bush’s Budget Veto Threats

As the House and Senate moved toward adoption of a fiscal 2008 budget resolution that paves the way for $21 billion more in discretionary spending than President Bush has requested, House GOP conservatives were rounding up signatures on a pledge to support vetoes of any spending bill exceeding Bush’s target.  [Read More]

Senate Passes ‘Placeholder’ Iraq War Funding Bill

The Senate today passed a “placeholder” fiscal 2007 Iraq war supplemental spending bill, paving the way for a formal conference with the House. But the real decisions will be made in closed-door negotiations among top congressional leaders and the White House.  [Read More]

Judiciary Panel Strips Longer ‘Revolving Door’ Ban from Lobbying Bill

The House Judiciary Committee has stripped from a lobbying overhaul bill a provision that would have extended the current ban on “revolving door” practices from one year to two.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that Illinois is not only joining the growing roster of states that will hold 2008 presidential nomination contests next Feb. 5, nine months before the November general election, it also is moving up its congressional primaries to that date. Democratic Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich has said he plans to sign the election legislation, which shifts the Illinois primary to the first Tuesday in February from its long-held position on the third Tuesday in March in even-numbered years (whether presidential or midterm election years). That would require prospective candidates for Congress to file nominating papers with state election officials by early November. The first congressional primary contests of 2006 were held on March 7 in Texas.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports, “Talk about former U.S. Attorney John McKay’s political potential has intensified lately, and it’s about to get even louder. McKay, who was fired by the Bush administration, is scheduled to speak at the Mainstream Republicans of Washington convention in Wenatchee this weekend. The group puts a lot of muscle behind moderate Republican candidates and boasts high-profile members, including former Rep. Sid Morrison, former Gov. Dan Evans and former Secretary of State Ralph Munro. . . . The political machinations that got McKay fired and the publicity that followed set the stage for a campaign if he decides to run for a statewide office, political observers say.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
MINNEAPOLIS/HENNEPIN COUNTY: City Workers OK Library Merger
KING COUNTY, Wash.: Hybrid Bus Fleet to Triple
THE NATION: Coalition Pushes Energy Efficiency for Cities
CALIFORNIA: Court Upholds Stem Cell Program
OHIO: Governor Restoring Gay-Discrimination Ban

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Political Trivia

Sen. Pete V. Domenici, R-N.M., now in his sixth term, was a good enough pitcher in college to receive a contract from a Brooklyn Dodgers farm team in 1954. But he gave up baseball after a season, taught math for a year and then went to law school. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2007 – 2:08 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Budget Deal Defies Bush on Domestic Spending
  • Senate Rejects Deadline for Troop Withdrawal From Iraq
  • Hagel Seeks Gonzales’ Resignation
  • Senate Banking Approves Overhaul of Foreign Investment Reviews
  • Senate Presses to Pass Water Resources Bill
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Today in Washington

The House considers the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill (HR 1585).

The Senate considers legislation (HR 1495) that would authorize roughly $14 billion for Army Corps of Engineers water development projects on flood control, storm protection, environmental restoration and inland navigation.

The President welcomes British Prime Minister Tony Blair to White House, 6:30 p.m.

In Washington, the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves holds a two-day meeting to discuss the effect of the high operational tempo of the military over the past four years on Guard and Reserve readiness. Sheraton National Hotel, 900 South Orme St., Arlington, Va.

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Top Stories

Budget Deal Defies Bush on Domestic Spending

The House and Senate announced an agreement today on a $2.9 trillion fiscal 2008 budget plan that sets up a showdown with President Bush over domestic spending in areas such as education, housing and veterans programs.  [Read More]

Senate Rejects Deadline for Troop Withdrawal From Iraq

Frustrated Senate Democrats today failed to muster even a simple majority in favor of legislation to mandate a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.  [Read More]

Hagel Seeks Gonzales’ Resignation

Chuck Hagel today became the third Republican senator to call for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.  [Read More]

Senate Banking Approves Overhaul of Foreign Investment Reviews

The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee today approved legislation that would revamp the way the federal government assesses national security threats posed by foreign investments.  [Read More]

Senate Presses to Pass Water Resources Bill

Leaders of the Environment and Public Works Committee are trying to resolve the concerns of two fiscal conservatives in a bid to win Senate approval of a water projects bill today.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that Democrat Jerry McNerney, the wind turbine executive who scored an upset over Rep. Richard W. Pombo, R-Calif., last year, has drawn his first official GOP challenger for 2008 — Dean Andal, a former state assemblyman and tax administrator. In an interview, Andal linked himself to a far more famous California Republican, the late President Ronald Reagan, and said he will advocate “citizen Reagan principles,” such as lowering taxes and reducing government regulation. Andal recently completed two four-year terms as an elected member of the state Board of Equalization, which oversees the state’s tax system. He is banking on the 11th District’s Republican lean as he seeks to oust the freshman Democrat.

According to the Portland Oregonian, “Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., said today he will not challenge Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore, next year. In a statement posted on his campaign Web site and BlueOregon, Blumenauer said he carefully considered a run, but he decided not to run.... Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., last month said he will not challenge Smith. . . . Rep. Darlene Hooley, D-Ore., has said she will not run for Senate, so the only remaining Democratic member of Congress not to rule out a bid is Rep. David Wu.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md.: County Bans Trans Fats in Restaurants, Markets
THE PUGET SOUND REGION: Ports Move to Cut Air, Water Pollution
THE NATION: NYC Mayor: Cities Must Take Lead on Warming
SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY: Forest Fire Sparked by Aircraft Flare

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Political Trivia

Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., is a one-time “boy wonder” who entered the Maryland House of Delegates at the age of 23, before he had even graduated from the University of Maryland Law School. He was elected to a seat that had been held by his father and his uncle. He went on to become the youngest House Speaker in Maryland in 100 years before being elected to a Baltimore-area House seat in 1986. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2007 – 2:09 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Ashcroft, Top Justice Team Almost Resigned in 2004
  • Final Action on War Funding May Slide Into June, Hoyer Says
  • No Deal in Sight on Senate Immigration Bill
  • Senate Rejects Coburn’s Bid to Delay San Diego Beach Project
  • Blue Dog Democrats Tout Defense Procurement Oversight
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Today in Washington

The House considers measures under suspension of the rules, including legislation (HR 1700) authorizing $6.9 billion over six years for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, and a bill (HR 1593) to authorize $360 million over two years for programs to help former prisoners obtain housing, employment, education and health care.

The Senate considers legislation (HR 1495) that would authorize roughly $14 billion for Army Corps of Engineers water development projects on flood control, storm protection, environmental restoration and inland navigation.

The President meets with Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt of Sweden; speaks at the Annual Peace Officers’ Memorial Service at the Capitol.

In Washington, Pete Hamill, contributing author, will discuss key points in early 20th century Mexican history in conjunction with the photographic exhibit “Mexico: The Revolution and Beyond,” featuring nearly 100 photographs from the Casasola Archives covering the period between 1900-1940, 7 p.m., Cultural Institute of Mexico, 2829 16th St., N.W.

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Top Stories

Ashcroft, Top Justice Team Almost Resigned in 2004

Former Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee today that he, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, their top aides and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III nearly resigned in early 2004 after the administration went ahead with a classified program without Justice Department approval.  [Read More]

Final Action on War Funding May Slide Into June, Hoyer Says

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., today said that Congress may not be able to clear a second version of the Iraq war funding bill before the Memorial Day recess, as Democratic leaders earlier pledged to do.  [Read More]

No Deal in Sight on Senate Immigration Bill

Hours before a decisive meeting on immigration legislation, senators today painted a dim view of the chances for a deal, saying more than two dozens issues remain unresolved.  [Read More]

Senate Rejects Coburn’s Bid to Delay San Diego Beach Project

The Senate today overwhelmingly rejected an amendment by Tom Coburn, R-Okla., that sought to delay federal funding for a beach nourishment project in California — the home state of the Environment and Public Works chairwoman.  [Read More]

Blue Dog Democrats Tout Defense Procurement Oversight

Conservative House Democrats today touted their success in adding increased oversight and accountability provisions to the fiscal 2008 Defense authorization bill.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that Missouri Democrat Kay Barnes’ eight-year tenure as mayor of Kansas City came to an end two weeks ago — and she is not wasting any time embarking on her next political venture, a 2008 challenge to Republican Rep. Sam Graves in the state’s northwestern 6th District.Barnes, who formally announced her candidacy Monday, is the most formidable challenger that Democrats have ever fielded against Graves in a district that includes part of Kansas City, suburbs east and north of Missouri’s largest city, and ample rural territory beyond.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, “the 2008 election is almost 18 months away, but Colorado’s U.S. Senate race seems to have shaped up as Democratic Rep. Mark Udall versus former Republican congressman Bob Schaffer.” Schaffer is seeking the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Wayne Allard. “Monday, two other prominent Republicans who were looking at the race said they will defer to Schaffer and avoid the kind of costly infighting that has led to GOP losses in the past two major statewide contests.” State Attorney Gen. John Suthers and retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Bentley Rayburn both bowed out. “No other major Democrats or Republicans have indicated serious interest in the race.”

The Omaha World Herald reports that former four-term Rep. Hal Daub “announced today that he will go on a listening tour to ‘test the waters’ for a potential U.S. Senate bid.” Daub, a former Omaha mayor, “also said he wouldn’t rule out challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, whose term ends in 2008.” Hagel has been weighing a possible presidential race and has not decided whether to launch such a campaign — possibly as an independent — or run for re-election. Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and Columbus businessman Tony Raimondo also are eyeing the Senate race.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
PHILADELPHIA: 35 Hurt as Subway Trains Collide
MILWAUKEE COUNTY: County Plans Raffle to Cut Deficit
LOS ANGELES: Ex-Union Chief Gets Probation for Embezzlement
THE NATION: States Compete for $450 Million Bioterror Lab
MINNESOTA: State, 3M Reach Deal on Cleanups

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Political Trivia

Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, is an ardent fan of the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States. Several portraits of Thomas Jefferson are on display in his Capitol Hill office, including one hung at precisely Jefferson’s 6-foot, 2 1/2-inch height. He has collected other items of Jeffersoniana as well as countless books about the statesman. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Monday, May 14, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, MAY 14, 2007 – 2:31 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Bush Orders Regulatory Initiative to Cut Gasoline Use
  • Maryland Democratic Chairman To Serve as Hoyer’s Chief of Staff
  • Hagel Hints at Independent Bid for White House in 2008
  • House Members Lag in Philadelphia Mayor’s Race
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Today in Washington

The House considers measures under suspension of the rules, including a bill (HR 1124) to reauthorize tuition assistance grants for D.C. high school graduates to attend public colleges or universities nationwide.

The Senate considers legislation (HR 1495) that would authorize roughly $14 billion for Army Corps of Engineers water development projects on flood control, storm protection, environmental restoration and inland navigation.

The President makes a statement on fuel efficiency standards and use of alternative fuels.

In Washington, The Wilson Center for Scholars holds a seminar on Congress and America’s future in space, with former Rep. Robert Walker, R-Pa., former NASA Associate Administrator Lori Garver, others. 3 p.m., 5th floor conference room, Wilson Center, Reagan Trade Building.

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Top Stories

Bush Orders Regulatory Initiative to Cut Gasoline Use

President Bush today announced plans to move forward with regulatory initiatives on biofuels and automotive fuel efficiency, seeking to sidestep congressional Democrats’ initiatives on both fronts.  [Read More]

Maryland Democratic Chairman To Serve as Hoyer’s Chief of Staff

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., today announced that his chief of staff, Bill Cable, is retiring June 1 and will be succeeded by Terry Lierman, currently chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party.  [Read More]

Hagel Hints at Independent Bid for White House in 2008

Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., continues to weigh a 2008 presidential campaign, and he is hinting that he might run as an independent — perhaps in tandem with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  [Read More]

House Members Lag in Philadelphia Mayor’s Race

Pennsylvania Democrats Robert A. Brady and Chaka Fattah are veteran U.S. House members who each represent more than one-third of Philadelphia, the city where they are both running for mayor in tomorrow’s crucial primary election.  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
HOUSTON: Mayor: Cut Pension Fund Payments
CATALINA ISLAND, Calif.: Tourists Return to Scorched Island
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Senator Lifts Hold on School-Control Plan
MILWAUKEE COUNTY: County Official Quits over Pay
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Demand High for Voluntary Cancer Vaccine
NEW JERSEY: High Court Justice Faces Ethics Complaint

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Political Clippings

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., who faces re-election in 2008, has gradually moved to distance himself from President Bush and the conservative core of the GOP. “With Bush’s popularity in the tank, Democrats in 2008 will try to portray Republican incumbents as loyal Bushies, while Republicans will present themselves as independent thinkers,” the paper said. But “one question before Minnesota voters in 2008 may be whether Coleman’s most recent votes make him a moderate, or whether the four-year pattern reveals a talent for being a politically convenient chameleon.”

In an editorial Sunday, the Los AngelesTimes cautioned voters against basing their choices on candidates’ ethnic identity in the special election contest to succeed Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-Calif., an African-American lawmaker who died of cancer April 22. The Long Beach/South Los Angeles district, the paper noted, “has become increasingly Latino,” and a power struggle may result. The paper said, “It would be a shame if black and Latino Democrats — many of whom are lining up behind candidates who would build their own caucus ranks — ended up stoking racial tension rather than building effective coalitions.”

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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 SAFETY: Drug safety provisions included in Senate measure to reauthorize the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA).
SCHIP: Government report concludes State Childrena??s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) has caused some children to lose private coverage.
VETERANS, INDIAN HEALTH CARE: Congressional panels approve legislation to improve treatment of veterans with traumatic brain injuries and reauthorize the Indian Health Service. | Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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Political Trivia

Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-Mo., got an earlier start in politics than most. He remembers at age 8 packing into the family’s Pontiac station wagon for the “Caravan for Carnahan” during his father’s 1966 campaign for the state legislature. Led by a flatbed truck with a piano on the back and loudspeakers, the caravan traveled to small towns, where the family handed out campaign flyers while a piano player belted out tunes. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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