Friday, June 08, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, JUNE 8, 2007 – 2:02 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Pace Ousted as Joint Chiefs Chairman in Bid to Avert Senate Battle
  • Immigration Bill’s Backers Vow to Continue Efforts
  • Rep. Jefferson Pleads Innocent at Federal Court Arraignment
  • Administration Eases Passport Rule for Western Hemisphere Travel
  • GOP Activist Pleads Guilty in Abramoff Scandal
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Today in Washington

The House convenes at 4 p.m. for a pro forma session, with no votes expected.

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

The President attends working sessions on the last day of the 33rd Annual Group of Eight Summit in Germany; meets with President Nicolas Sarkozy of France at the summit; travels to Rome with a side trip to Jurata, Poland, to meet with President Lech Kaczynski of Poland; returns to Rome.

In Washington,  Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States, hosts an “American Conversation” with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., providing a retrospective on his life and career. 7 p.m., William G. McGowan Theater, National Archives, 7th St. and Constitution Ave., N.W.

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Top Stories

Pace Ousted as Joint Chiefs Chairman in Bid to Avert Senate Battle

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Friday he will ask President Bush to replace Marine Gen. Peter Pace as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff rather than risk a contentious Senate confirmation battle by seeking a second term for Pace.  [Read More]

Immigration Bill’s Backers Vow to Continue Efforts

Sponsors of a comprehensive immigration overhaul that has stalled in the Senate today vowed to persevere in seeking passage of the legislation this summer.  [Read More]

Rep. Jefferson Pleads Innocent at Federal Court Arraignment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Rep.William J. Jefferson pleaded innocent to federal corruption charges today and vowed to fight to clear his name.  [Read More]

Administration Eases Passport Rule for Western Hemisphere Travel

The State Department and Department of Homeland Security have temporarily suspended passport requirements for U.S. citizens traveling by air to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda who have applied for but not yet received passports.  [Read More]

GOP Activist Pleads Guilty in Abramoff Scandal

The founder of a Republican environmental group pleaded guilty today in federal court to obstruction of a Senate committee probe and tax evasion.  [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 Senate Republicans, who will be defending 22 seats next year to 12 for the Democrats, should be able to count on holding seven of those. There is a new and previously unscheduled contest in the November 2008 lineup that CQ has not yet rated — a special election in Wyoming to fill the final four years of the term of Republican Craig Thomas, who died on June 4. State law requires appointment of another Republican in the interim, and Wyoming is normally a heavily Republican state. Meanwhile, the other safe GOP seats as of this date are Ted Stevens, Alaska; Larry E. Craig, Idaho; Pat Roberts, Kan.; Mitch McConnell, Ky.; Thad Cochran, Miss.; and Chuck Hagel, Neb.

According to the Des Moines Register, “Republican Rep. Tom Latham of Iowa said today he has moved his residence from Alexander, in rural Franklin County, south to Ames, in Story County.” He said he made the move to be closer to his grandchildren and “more central for his travels around the 4th District. . . . There has also been speculation that Latham might mount a challenge to incumbent Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat up for re-election in 2008.” Latham said the move “had nothing to do with a more central location for a statewide bid.” Asked if he’s consideing a Senate bid, he said: ‘“I have not said no.’ But he added: ‘That doesn’t mean I’ve said yes.’”

The Jackson Hole Guide reports, “Two days after pundits raised his name as a possible replacement for deceased U.S. Sen. Craig Thomas, Jackson native Matt Mead resigned his post as U.S. attorney for Wyoming.” Mead “released a statement from his Cheyenne office saying his departure would be effective midnight Thursday. . . . Like others whose names have surfaced as possible replacements for Thomas, Mead would not address the prospect that he could be one of three nominated for the post by Wyoming’s Republican Party. . . . Gov. Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat who was U.S. attorney before Mead, will appoint Thomas’ replacement from among the party’s nominations,” which must be submitted by June 20. “Mead is the grandson of former U.S. Sen. and Wyoming Gov. Cliff Hansen.”

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EUCI presents: Carbon Emissions: Understanding and Managing Carbon Risk

Congressional attempts at carbon mitigation have also begun to appear more frequently in legislative sessions. The potential for carbon regulatory policy in the U.S. represents a new set of challenges and opportunities for the North American utility and energy industry. This conference will outline regulatory developments, carbon emissions reduction technologies, management and financial support for carbon programs, and more. June 25-26, 2007, Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, Alexandria, Va.

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Political Trivia

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., is the son of a wealthy ambassador, Charles S. Whitehouse, who worked first for the Central Intelligence Agency and then for the State Department. Whitehouse’s grandfather was also a career diplomat. As a young man, the senator taught for a while in Vietnam. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, JUNE 7, 2007 – 2:01 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Republicans Unite to Block Limit on Immigration Debate
  • House Poised to Send Stem Cell Bill to Bush for Second Veto
  • Panel Approves Bill to Restore Habeas Corpus to Guantanamo Detainees
  • Panel Approves Interior-Environment Spending
  • Bush’s New Iraq Adviser Says Surge Progress Is Limited
  • And Finally ...
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Today in Washington

The House considers bills to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research (S 5) and to extend federal recognition to the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina (HR 65).

The Senate continues considering amendments to immigration overhaul legislation (S 1348).

The President is in Germany for the 33rd Annual Group of Eight Summit; attends summit sessions and meets separately with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In Washington,  the International Association of Airport and Seaport Police begins its annual conference, with Memorial Award Dinner honoring former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, 7:15 p.m., Renaissance Washington Hotel, 999 9th St., NW.

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Top Stories

Republicans Unite to Block Limit on Immigration Debate

A comprehensive immigration overhaul was hanging in the balance today, with Senate Republicans blocking an effort to cut off debate and the Democratic leader tossing blame at President Bush.  [Read More]

House Poised to Send Stem Cell Bill to Bush for Second Veto

After a fiery reprise of arguments that have played out repeatedly over the years, the House was poised to pass legislation this afternoon that would expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.  [Read More]

Panel Approves Bill to Restore Habeas Corpus to Guantanamo Detainees

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill today that would restore habeas corpus rights to detainees held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  [Read More]

Panel Approves Interior-Environment Spending

House appropriators today approved a $27.6 billion Interior-Environment spending bill after adding a provision intended to recoup lost royalties on a series of faulty oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico.  [Read More]

Bush’s New Iraq Adviser Says Surge Progress Is Limited

Although the Senate may confirm Army Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute to be the president’s premier adviser on Iraq and Afghanistan, Democrats attacked the new position Thursday as redundant and perhaps futile.  [Read More]

And Finally ...

The House will work six days next week if that’s what it takes to pass the first four fiscal 2008 spending bills, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey, D-Wis., announced today. “That means members should expect a full day Friday and possibly Saturday” of the week beginning June 11, Obey said. “That’s a fact of life we’re going to have to live with.” The Homeland Security measure will be considered first, followed by the Energy-Water, Military Construction-VA and Interior-Environment spending bills.  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
HOUSTON: 100% Tax Break OKd for Historic Buildings
THE FARGO, N.D., REGION: Dike, Pumps in Place as River Rises
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY: Housing Chief Under Investigation
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Road Rage, Threats Close Highway
MICHIGAN: Benefits Fading for Same-Sex Partners
MARYLAND: Governor Blocks Hike in Motorist Fees

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that freshman Democrats elected to the House last fall from politically competitive districts are departing from the party line on legislative votes far more often than most of their colleagues this year. On votes that pitted most Democrats against most Republicans, House Democrats averaged a 96 percent party unity score in the first five months of 2007. But 12 of the 25 lowest party unity scores were registered by freshmen who hold seats captured from the Republicans last fall. Even these Democrats side with their party far more frequently than not, however.

According to the Wilmington News Journal, “State treasurer Jack Markell launched his campaign for governor on his Web site Wednesday night, ending months of speculation and setting up the first Democratic primary for the state's top office since 1992. With a 4 1/2-minute video on www. markell.org, the Democrat chose the political trail less traveled in Delaware — the one without the escort of party leaders. Instead, Markell will face Lt. Gov. John C. Carney Jr., in a September 2008 primary, rejecting a deal Democratic Party leaders proposed — that Markell run for lieutenant governor and Carney for the state's top elected office. Carney announced his intention to run for governor in June 2005.”

The Manchester Union Leader reports, “If former Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen won’t enlist to run for the U.S. Senate, it appears she’ll be drafted. Former state Democratic Party Chairman Kathy Sullivan has launched a movement to draft Shaheen to run next year against incumbent Republican Sen. John Sununu, Sullivan confirmed yesterday.” Three other Democrats — Katrina Swett, Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand and former astronaut Jay Buckey — have said they will seek the nomination. Sununu defeated Shaheen, a three-term governor, in 2002. ‘“It’s so important for us to take back the Senate seat that I think we need our best candidate,’ Sullivan said. ‘These are great candidates . . . We need our greatest candidate.”’

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EUCI presents: Carbon Emissions: Understanding and Managing Carbon Risk

Congressional attempts at carbon mitigation have also begun to appear more frequently in legislative sessions. The potential for carbon regulatory policy in the U.S. represents a new set of challenges and opportunities for the North American utility and energy industry. This conference will outline regulatory developments, carbon emissions reduction technologies, management and financial support for carbon programs, and more. June 25-26, 2007, Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, Alexandria, Va.

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Political Trivia

Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo., shot to prominence in Congress during her first term as the chief House sponsor of a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. She pursued the amendment again in the 109th Congress (2005-06), only to see it defeated a second time. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2007 – 2:13 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate Rejects Effort to Bar Legalization of Many Immigrants
  • Chairman Obey Seeks to Quell Earmark Controversy
  • Senate Bill Sets Conditions for Funding European Missile Defense
  • House Panel Approves Energy-Water Spending
  • Baucus Wants Updated Trade Adjustment Assistance
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Today in Washington

The House considers various measures under suspension of the rules, including bills to bar human cloning (HR 2560), to extend the Higher Education Act (HR 2559) and to authorize $100 million through fiscal 2011 for grants to promote research and training in health information technology (HR 1467). Also considers bill (HR 2446) to authorize $6.4 billion in aid to Afghanistan.

The Senate continues considering amendments to immigration overhaul legislation (S 1348).

The President is in Germany for the 33rd Annual Group of Eight Summit; lunches with the Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany; attends reception and dinner with G-8 leaders and spouses in Hohen Luckow, Germany.

In Washington,  the Asia Program hosts a presentation, “Taiwan’s Dilemma: A Democracy Divided Over National Security,” 3:30-5:30 p.m., Sixth Floor Auditorium, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

Senate Rejects Effort to Bar Legalization of Many Immigrants

Supporters of a tenuous immigration overhaul today beat back an attempt to deny millions of illegal immigrants who have violated deportation orders the right to stay in the country.  [Read More]

Chairman Obey Seeks to Quell Earmark Controversy

House members will have plenty of time to review earmarks before they are added to the annual spending bills later this year, House Appropriations Chairman David R. Obey, D-Wis., said today.  [Read More]

Senate Bill Sets Conditions for Funding European Missile Defense

The fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee would bar funding for President Bush’s proposed missile defense sites in Eastern Europe until strict conditions are met, including a certification that the interceptor missiles will work.  [Read More]

House Panel Approves Energy-Water Spending

House appropriators approved a $31.6 billion spending bill today that boosts funding for energy research and other priorities while scaling back various nuclear weapons and nuclear energy initiatives.  [Read More]

Baucus Wants Updated Trade Adjustment Assistance

Congress needs to expand government aid to workers displaced by trade and globalization, but it should not tie that to renewal of the president’s trade negotiating authority, the Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said today.  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
FARGO, N.D.: Rising River Threatens Downtown
CLEVELAND: City Loses Bid for Special Olympics
NEW YORK CITY: Two Ex-Officials Begin Serving Sentences
CALIFORNIA: Sprawl Targeted in Global Warming Battle

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that Senate Republicans face a tough election next year, when they will be defending 22 seats to 12 for the Democrats. And five of those are in states that appear likely to produce highly competitive contests, compared with just two such races in states where Democrats now hold the seat. The most competitive races for GOP-held states are shaping up in Colorado, where Sen. Wayne Allard is retiring; Maine (Susan Collins); Minnesota (Norm Coleman), New Hampshire (John E. Sununu) and North Carolina (Elizabeth Dole).

According to the Omaha World-Herald, “It looks like Jon Bruning’s days of exploring a 2008 U.S. Senate bid are coming to an end. Bruning, who has printed campaign posters touting ‘Bruning, United States Senate,’ has scheduled a press conference for Thursday at the State Capitol in Lincoln to talk about his political future. All signs — including recent public comments from Bruning — indicate that the second-term attorney general will officially get into the race, setting the stage for a possible primary challenge against fellow Republican and incumbent Sen. Chuck Hagel. Hagel, who has angered many rank-and-file party members with his criticism of the Iraq war, has not announced whether he will run for a third term. He plans to make his decision in the fall.”

The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph reports, “Promising a focus on core values and a staunch defense of Robins Air Force Base, Republican Rick Goddard formally announced his candidacy Tuesday for the 8th Congressional District seat now held by Democrat Jim Marshall. The retired Air Force major general and former commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins Air Force Base will be seeking his first political office in the 2008 election campaign. . . . The National Republican Congressional Committee expressed its support for Goddard on May 21 ‘We consider him to be one of our best recruiting successes so far,’ committee spokesman Ken Spain told The Telegraph.”

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EUCI presents: Carbon Emissions: Understanding and Managing Carbon Risk

Congressional attempts at carbon mitigation have also begun to appear more frequently in legislative sessions. The potential for carbon regulatory policy in the U.S. represents a new set of challenges and opportunities for the North American utility and energy industry. This conference will outline regulatory developments, carbon emissions reduction technologies, management and financial support for carbon programs, and more. June 25-26, 2007, Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, Alexandria, Va.

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Political Trivia

Raised in La Crosse, Wis., on the banks of the Mississippi River, Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., grew up hunting, fishing, camping and biking. “I am a river rat,” he says. The outdoor life fostered “a greater appreciation of the importance of preserving and protecting our resources.” Kind is teaching his two young sons to hunt and fish. In 2006, he was named “Fisheries and Habitat Conservation Legislator of the Year” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, JUNE 5, 2007 – 2 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Rep. Jefferson Gives Up Sole Committee Seat
  • Senate Mourns Death of Wyoming Republican Craig Thomas
  • Differing Rules for Treatment of Stock Options May Cost Taxpayers Billions
  • Senators Unveil Bill to Tackle TB Threat
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Today in Washington

The House considers various measures under suspension of the rules, including a resolution calling on the government of Iran to release Haleh Esfandiari, an Iranian American scholar under detention and accused of anti-government activities (H Res 430).

The Senate resumes consideration of amendments to immigration overhaul legislation (S 1348).

The President is in Prague, meeting with Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus and Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek at Prague Castle; also meets with Social Democratic Party leader Jiri Paroubek at the Hilton Hotel Atrium; makes remarks at Czernin Palace and greets democracy advocates; flies to Rostock, Germany, for the 33rd Annual Group of Eight Summit, which begins tomorrow.

In Washington,  the George C. Marshall Foundation marks the 60th anniversary of the Marshall Plan speech, originally delivered at Harvard University in 1947, with an awards reception and dinner honoring former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind., and Sen. John W. Warner, R-Va. 6:30 p.m., National Building Museum, 401 F St. N.W.

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Top Stories

Rep. Jefferson Gives Up Sole Committee Seat

Embattled Rep. William J. Jefferson, D-La., will temporarily give up his sole remaining committee seat while his bribery case is pending, he informed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., today.  [Read More]

Senate Mourns Death of Wyoming Republican Craig Thomas

The Senate opened on a somber tone this morning, as members paid tribute to Sen. Craig Thomas, R-Wyo., who died last evening of acute myeloid leukemia.  [Read More]

Differing Rules for Treatment of Stock Options May Cost Taxpayers Billions

Congress needs to close a gap between accounting rules and tax laws on the treatment of stock options that allows companies to lawfully “short change” the federal government by billions of dollars annually, a key Senator said Tuesday.  [Read More]

Senators Unveil Bill to Tackle TB Threat

As hearings loomed tomorrow on the government’s flawed handling of a tuberculosis patient whose trip to Europe last month touched off a major public health scare, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation aimed at improving detection and treatment of the disease.  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
NEW HAVEN, Conn.: Illegal Immigrants to Get City ID Cards
NASSAU COUNTY, N.Y.: Poet Rejected over Antiwar Writings
MISSOURI: Court Ends Moratorium on Executions
NEW JERSEY: A.G. Nominated to Be Chief Justice

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that Democrats are launching a concerted campaign to challenge Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito in central West Virginia’s 2nd District, after relatively half-hearted efforts in 2004 and 2006 produced easy wins for the centrist Republican. Democrats appear to be rallying behind state Sen. John Unger, who announced last Thursday that he will seek to take on Capito in next year’s election. Unger holds socially conservative views, including opposition to abortion and to gun control measures, and represents a state Senate district in the eastern Panhandle that is friendlier to Republicans than most of the district. A phalanx of top party supporters would appear to ensure that Unger will not face serious opposition in a primary next May.

According to the Rocky Mountain News, Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., a leading anti-immigration lawmaker and longshot candidate for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, “ is threatening to work to unseat any Republican U.S. senator who votes for a pending immigration bill he considers ‘amnesty.’ Before a Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Tancredo . . . plans to announce a ‘Save America’ campaign that he hopes will pressure fellow Republicans into opposing a plan to grant millions of illegal immigrants a way to stay in the country legally.”

The St. Cloud (Minn.) Times reports, “St. Cloud bank owner Bob Olson plans on Tuesday to announce a bid for the DFL nomination for U.S. Senate in 2008. Olson, of Orono, owns the St. Stephen Bank in St. Cloud and is the founder of the American Sustainable Energy Council. He is a tax lawyer in private practice . . . Minneapolis lawyer Mike Ciresi and radio talk show host Al Franken have both announced their candidacies to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn.”

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EUCI presents: Carbon Emissions: Understanding and Managing Carbon Risk

Congressional attempts at carbon mitigation have also begun to appear more frequently in legislative sessions. The potential for carbon regulatory policy in the U.S. represents a new set of challenges and opportunities for the North American utility and energy industry. This conference will outline regulatory developments, carbon emissions reduction technologies, management and financial support for carbon programs, and more. June 25-26, 2007, Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, Alexandria, Va.

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Political Trivia

A former Marine like his father, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., has deep ties to the military and continues to be loyal to the Marines. His uncle, a military attaché to the U.S. embassy in China, survived the 1937 sinking by Japanese planes of the U.S. gunboat Panay. Roberts’ office is decorated with Marine regalia though it has been more than 40 years since his service. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Monday, June 04, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, JUNE 4, 2007 – 2:12 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Appropriators To Shift Defense Funds to Domestic Priorities
  • Indictment of Rep. Jefferson Expected Today
  • Immigration Bill Faces Renewed Amendment Assault
  • Passport Equivalent Card Set For Western Hemisphere Travelers
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session; reconvenes at 2 p.m. tomorrow, June 5.

The Senate reconvenes at 2:30 p.m. to resume reconsideration of immigration overhaul legislation (S 1348).

The President and first lady Laura Bush depart for Prague, the first stop of the president’s trip to the 33rd Annual Group of Eight Summit, which begins June 6 in Germany.

In Washington,  George Washington University hosts an awards ceremony to recognize outstanding federal government service. Keynote by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 6 p.m., Ballroom, Marvin Center, 800 21st St. NW.

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Top Stories

House Appropriators To Shift Defense Funds to Domestic Priorities

The House Appropriations Committee is set to approve allocations tomorrow that would boost spending in fiscal 2008 on domestic priorities such as education, health, veterans and housing programs while providing slightly less than President Bush requested for non-war defense activities.  [Read More]

Indictment of Rep. Jefferson Expected Today

The Department of Justice this afteroon was expected to announce a federal grand jury indictment of Rep. William J. Jefferson, D-La., the subject of a two-year federal bribery probe.  [Read More]

Immigration Bill Faces Renewed Amendment Assault

Senators supporting a complex and contentious immigration overhaul are gearing up for a challenging week filled with numerous attempts to undo their fragile coalition.  [Read More]

Passport Equivalent Card Set For Western Hemisphere Travelers

The State Department intends to start issuing passport-equivalent cards in the spring of 2008, possibly delaying implementation of new passport requirements for entering the United States by land and sea.  [Read More]

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EUCI presents: Carbon Emissions: Understanding and Managing Carbon Risk

Congressional attempts at carbon mitigation have also begun to appear more frequently in legislative sessions. The potential for carbon regulatory policy in the U.S. represents a new set of challenges and opportunities for the North American utility and energy industry. This conference will outline regulatory developments, carbon emissions reduction technologies, management and financial support for carbon programs, and more. June 25-26, 2007, Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, Alexandria, Va.

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that Democrat Steve Marchand, mayor of the New Hampshire city of Portsmouth, is making some progress in his bid for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Sen. John E. Sununu next year. Former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, who lost to Sununu by 4 percentage points in the 2002 Senate race, is still “considering” a bid but has made no move thus far. And Marchard in recent weeks gained the endorsements of dozens of state lawmakers and other public officials. He also has obtained the backing of Democrat Gary Hirshberg, the wealthy president and chief executive officer of the Stonyfield Farm dairy products company, who in March withdrew his own tentative bid to take on Sununu next year.

According to the Salisbury (Md.) Daily Times, Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, “in his ninth term, is facing a certain primary and general election challenge next year.” Frank Kratovil Jr., a Democratic State's Attorney from Queen Anne’s County, has backing from high-ranking Maryland Democrats, including Gov. Martin O’Malley, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Attorney General Doug Gansler. “Christopher Robinson, a Cambridge attorney who lost in the 2006 primary to Jim Corwin, has also filed 2008 paperwork.” Gilchrest first faces a primary battle against three-term state Sen. Andy Harris, a veteran Johns Hopkins University anesthesiologist, who said Gilchrest went “too far” when he was one of two Republicans to vote with Democrats for an Iraq war funding bill that set a timetable for U.S. withdrawal.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Dale Cardwell, who spent 11 years as an investigative reporter for WSB-TV, quit his job Friday and a day later became “a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, looking to knock off Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss. . . . Cardwell, 44, “a six-time Emmy winner,” was making a formal announcement today. “He joins DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones as the only Democrats yet to express public interest in the ’08 race. Cardwell said he will run against what he calls the daily, debilitating corruption of Washington, and promises to eschew money from special interest groups and political action committees.”

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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.
MEDICARE: Report finds abusive marketing practices with some Medicare private fee-for-service plans.
SCHIP: Fiscal 2008 budget resolution includes up to $50 billion in new spending for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
MEDICAL DEVICES: House panel weights reauthorization of medical device user fee act. | Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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Political Trivia

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., often goes her own way. She was the sole Judiciary Democrat in 2006 to support a constitutional amendment to protect the flag. As the committee was drafting the bill, she described how, as a 12-year-old, she saw on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle in February 1945 a big picture of the Marines raising the American flag at Iwo Jima. “I was never the same ever after with respect to the flag,” said Feinstein. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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