Friday, June 15, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 2007 – 2:10 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Passes Homeland Security Spending After Earmarks Deal Ends GOP Protest
  • Reid Threatens Weekend Session Over Delays on Energy Bill
  • Amendment Addresses Concerns of Homegrown Terrorism
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Today in Washington

The House continues consideration of the fiscal 2008 Homeland Security spending bill (HR 2638); considers the fiscal 2008 Military-Construction-VA spending bill (HR 2642).

The Senate continues debate on an energy bill (HR 6) requiring investment in clean, renewable and alternative energy resources.

The President speaks at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in Washington; visits the Boys and Girls Club of South Central Kansas in Wichita, Kan.; speaks at a fundraising luncheon for Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., in Wichita.

In Washington,  Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff participates in a panel discussion with the Harvard Law School Worldwide Alumni Congress on modern terrorism and its impact on the rule of law, 4 p.m., Willard Inter-Continental Hotel, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

House Passes Homeland Security Spending After Earmarks Deal Ends GOP Protest

The House today passed the fiscal 2008 Homeland Security spending bill after three days of delay while leaders bickered over the handling of earmarks. The bill still faces a potential White House veto over funding levels and wages for federal contractors.  [Read More]

Reid Threatens Weekend Session Over Delays on Energy Bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today he might have to pull the energy bill off the floor next week to revive a comprehensive immigration overhaul, although he vowed to complete both before closing shop for the July Fourth recess.  [Read More]

Amendment Addresses Concerns of Homegrown Terrorism

Growing concern of a terrorist threat cultivated within the United States has led key House members to push to create a commission to better understand the root causes of violent extremism.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Union Leader in New Hampshire reports that Democrat Jay Buckey Jr., a professor of medicine at Dartmouth and a former astronaut, will seek the Senate seat held by Sen. John E. Sununu, R-N.H. Buckey, who advocates a new “Apollo program” for U.S. energy research, joins a crowded field that includes Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand and Katrina Swett, a former House candidate. Former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen has not ruled out running as well.

The San Antonio Express-News reports that abortion may become an issue in next year’s Democratic Senate primary now that a well-funded abortion opponent has entered the race. Millionaire San Antonio trial lawyer Mikal Watts, an abortion opponent, has formed an exploratory committee to challenge Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. The 39-year-old Watts launched his bid for the Democratic nomination by donating and loaning his campaign fund a total of $3.8 million — an amount equal to Cornyn’s cash on hand.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NATION: Foreclosure Rate Highest in 50 Years
INDIANA/ILLINOIS: States End Electronic-Toll Feud
NEW JERSEY: Experts: Early Retirements Up Pension Costs
OHIO: Agency's Investment Losses Bring 19th Indictment

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Political Trivia

Sen. Gordon H. Smith, R-Ore., entered politics in 1992, winning a state Senate seat and then becoming Senate president in just two years. In a bid to move to the U.S. Senate, he battled veteran Democratic Rep. Ron Wyden in a January 1996 special election to replace Republican Bob Packwood, who had to resign because of personal and financial transgressions. Wyden won that race but in 2002, Smith beat Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury to join his former opponent in the Senate. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2007 – 2:19 P.M.

In This Issue

  • GOP Says Deal Reached on Earmarks; Democrats Say No
  • Dispute Stalls Senate Consideration of Energy Measure
  • FAA Bill Begins Moving Through Science Committee
  • Senate Panel Approves Bill to Aid Probes of Unsolved Civil Rights-Era Crimes
  • And Finally ...
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Today in Washington

The House continues consideration of the fiscal 2008 Homeland Security spending bill (HR 2638); considers the fiscal 2008 Military-Construction-VA spending bill (HR 2642).

The Senate continues debate on an energy bill (HR 6) requiring investment in clean, renewable and alternative energy resources.

The President speaks to the Associated Builders and Contractors national legislative conference.

In Washington,  Esperanza, a faith-based Hispanic organization, hosts the Mujeres de Esperanza National Health Initiatives Dinner, with remarks from Anne Romney and Grace Nelson, and release of a study on how Latino churches can respond to the AIDS epidemic, 7 p.m., JW Marriott, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.

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Top Stories

GOP Says Deal Reached on Earmarks; Democrats Say No

House Republican leaders triumphantly announced a deal today that would require 10 of the 12 fiscal 2008 appropriations bills to come to the floor with earmarks, with their sponsors listed.  [Read More]

Dispute Stalls Senate Consideration of Energy Measure

Senate Democrats closed ranks today to table a GOP proposal intended to ward off a federal renewable electricity mandate, but Republicans say they plan to force a 60-vote threshold to end debate on the issue.  [Read More]

FAA Bill Begins Moving Through Science Committee

A House panel today quickly approved its portion of this year’s Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill.  [Read More]

Senate Panel Approves Bill to Aid Probes of Unsolved Civil Rights-Era Crimes

The Senate Judiciary Committee today joined its House counterpart in approving legislation to help reopen criminal cases from the civil rights era.  [Read More]

And Finally ...

A man imprisoned after pleading guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges related to his dealings with Rep. William Jefferson owes the congressman money — at least $1,001 and maybe as much as $15,000 — according to the lawmaker’s annual financial disclosure statement. The disclosure, made public today along with those of other House members, lists a loan of undisclosed purpose from Vernon Jackson, the former head of iGate, the telecommunications company at the center of a federal corruption case against Jefferson.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that the 2008 campaign will feature the earliest-starting schedule of congressional primaries ever. A new law in Maryland establishes Feb. 12 as the date for its 2008 presidential and congressional primaries. The Illinois legislature last month cleared a bill setting that state’s congressional primary even earlier: on Feb. 5. Paul S. Herrnson, a political scientist at the University of Maryland in College Park, said early primaries work to the advantage of incumbents, who generally are “already visible among voters and don’t need a long campaign season to get their names out and to win a primary.”

The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that Republican Georgia state Sen. Chip Rogers has ruled out a primary challenge to Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Rogers, author of tough new state immigration laws, said he received hundreds of e-mails and phone calls after appearing on “The News Hour With Jim Lehrer” on PBS June 12, but has decided to remain in the legislature. Chambliss has taken hits from conservatives for supporting a comprehensive immigration overhaul bill in the Senate.

WIBW.com in Wichita, Kan., reports that GOP state treasurer Lynn Jenkins, a candidate for the 2nd District House seat, is accusing former Rep. Jim Ryun, R-Kan., of being behind the Club For Growth’s ad hitting her for voting for tax increases as a state legislator. Jenkins’ campaign manager, Pat Leopold, released a statement accusing Ryun of producing the commercial. Ryun is seeking a rematch with Democratic Rep. Nancy Boyda in 2008.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
NEW JERSEY: Court Limits Towns' Property Seizures
CLAY CITY, Ky.: Police Chief Shot to Death
DENVER: Ex-City Attorney Charged in Computer Theft
SEATTLE: Can Government Function Without Popcorn?
CALIFORNIA: Governor: Emissions Lawsuit Against Feds 'Inevitable'
WISCONSIN: Court: Meeting Notices Must Be Specific
WASHINGTON, D.C./UTAH: Senate Panel OKs D.C. Voting Bill

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Political Trivia

After rising to the rank of lieutenant in the Navy, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., became one of the nation’s most prominent demonstrators against the Vietnam War when he returned to the United States. He got front-page coverage in 1971 when he asked the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” He tried to exploit the publicity by moving to Lowell and running for an open House seat in 1972. He won the primary, but lost in the fall to Republican Paul Cronin. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13, 2007 – 1:59 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Earmark Dispute Stalls Homeland Security Spending
  • House Passes Bill Enhancing Background Checks for Gun Purchases
  • Senate Rejects Measure to Promote New Refineries
  • Judiciary Panels Issue Subpoenas to White House, Former Aides in Prosecutor Probe
  • Senate Panel Approves Military Construction-VA Spending
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Today in Washington

The House considers a bill (HR 2640) under suspension of the rules to increase the amount of electronic data available to states for checking the criminal and mental health records of gun buyers; considers the fiscal 2008 Homeland Security spending bill (HR 2638); considers the fiscal 2008 Military-Construction-VA spending bill (HR 2642); considers the fiscal 2008 Energy and Water Appropriations spending bill (HR 2641).

The Senate continues debate on an energy bill (HR 6) requiring investment in clean, renewable and alternative energy resources.

The President speaks via satellite to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting; announces the appointment of a new White House counselor; participates with Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales in the release of a report on the Virginia Tech shooting; speaks at the 2007 President’s Dinner at the Washington Convention Center.

In Washington,  the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee hold the President’s Dinner. 7 p.m., Washington Convention Center, 801 Mt. Vernon Place, N.W.

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Top Stories

Earmark Dispute Stalls Homeland Security Spending

House members returned today to the fiscal 2008 Homeland Security spending bill amid a simmering dispute over the disclosure of earmarks that has stalled consideration of the measure.  [Read More]

House Passes Bill Enhancing Background Checks for Gun Purchases

The House passed legislation today that intends to strengthen gun buyer background checks and is supported by both the National Rifle Association and gun control groups.  [Read More]

Senate Rejects Measure to Promote New Refineries

Democrats shot down today a Republican amendment to the energy bill intended to encourage new refineries and other alternatives for producing transportation fuels.  [Read More]

Judiciary Panels Issue Subpoenas to White House, Former Aides in Prosecutor Probe

Democrats ratcheted up their confrontation with President Bush over the dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys last year, issuing subpoenas to the White House and two of the president’s former key aides.  [Read More]

Senate Panel Approves Military Construction-VA Spending

A Senate appropriations panel adopted a massive spending bill today that would substantially boost funding for the care of wounded veterans.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Mobile Press-Register reports that Alabama Agriculture and Industries Commissioner Ron Sparks said he will not run for the U.S. Senate because he expects state Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, a fellow Democrat, to enter the race. Figures said she was in “deep prayer” over possible plans to challenge GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions. “I think (Sparks) is one of best agricultural commissioners that we have ever had,” Figures said. “But in regard to my intentions to run for the U.S. Senate, an announcement will be forthcoming.”

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that Democrat Christine Jennings and her supporters will have to wait longer than they had hoped for the new Democratic Congress to hear her challenge to the results in last year’s 13th District House race. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, D-Texas, who chairs a three-member task force looking into the dispute, “would not commit to any timetable, saying that despite the political pressures the investigation must be allowed to run its course.”

The Chicago Daily Herald reports that Republican businessman Steve Greenberg said he will challenge Rep. Melissa Bean, D-Ill. Greenberg had earlier considered a run against Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., but opted to run for the House after considering the impact a pricier statewide race would have on his wife and three young children. A National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman called Greenberg’s entry into the race “one of our best recruiting successes to date.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
SAN JOSE, Calif.: Charges Against Ex-Mayor, Aide Thrown Out
NEW YORK CITY: STATE: Transit Agency Lags on Antiterror Projects
SACRAMENTO, Calif.: Pension Taking Over Condo Tower Project
THE NATION: Finance Officers: GASB Must Go
COLORADO: Losses Mount for State Fair
ILLINOIS: Newspaper Sues State High Court

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Political Trivia

Born in Hopkinsville, near the Tennessee border, Rep. Edward Whitfield, R-Ky., is the son of a railroad conductor; his mother worked in finance at a local hospital. Whitfield spent a year at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington before switching to law school. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 2007 – 2:13 P.M.

In This Issue

  • GOP Protests Earmark Rules With Amendment Blitz
  • Senators Hopeful That Bush Can Make a Difference on Immigration Bill
  • Panel Approves Foreign Aid Spending
  • Flood Program Must Be Overhauled Soon, Panel Says
  • House Votes to Stiffen Penalties for Child Labor Law Violations
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Today in Washington

The House considers measures under suspension of the rules; considers the fiscal 2008 Homeland Security spending bill (HR 2638).

The Senate considers an energy bill (HR 6) requiring investment in clean, renewable and alternative energy resources.

The President speaks at the dedication of the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington, meets with Republican senators at the Capitol.

In Washington,  Elena Bonner, widow of the late Soviet dissident and Nobel laureate Andrei Sakharov, will give the keynote address at a dinner to honor the dedication of the Victims of Communism Memorial, 6 p.m., J.W. Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

GOP Protests Earmark Rules With Amendment Blitz

Minority House Republicans are aiming a full arsenal of floor weapons at a Democratic-written Homeland Security appropriations bill to protest the majority’s rules for earmarking and its decision to add member-requested projects at the final stages of the legislative process.  [Read More]

Senators Hopeful That Bush Can Make a Difference on Immigration Bill

President Bush arrived on Capitol Hill today hoping to revive a sweeping immigration overhaul in the Senate that his administration helped draft.  [Read More]

Panel Approves Foreign Aid Spending

A House panel approved a fiscal 2008 foreign aid bill today after defeating a Republican bid to restore Iraq funding eliminated from the measure’s $34.2 billion in discretionary spending.  [Read More]

Flood Program Must Be Overhauled Soon, Panel Says

House lawmakers are again pushing to overhaul the National Flood Insurance Program, which is swamped with $20 billion in debt.  [Read More]

House Votes to Stiffen Penalties for Child Labor Law Violations

The House passed a bill today that would increase fines for companies and individuals who violate child labor laws.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that Republican Jim Whitehead, a former Georgia state senator, has become the leading target of opponents as early voting began in the June 19 special House election in the 10th District. Some have accused Whitehead of waffling on the issue of illegal immigration. He also has been criticized for missing some candidate forums. Yet the upside of being the apparent leader in the crowded race has been greater than the downside for Whitehead, who was the only sitting lawmaker to file for the race and was a personal friend of former Rep. Charlie Norwood, who died Feb. 13.

The Gloucester Daily Times reports that defense attorney Edward J. O’Reilly, who announced at the Massachusetts state Democratic Party convention last month that he will challenge Sen. John Kerry, is hoping to capitalize on what he believes is the discontent of rank-and-file Democrats over Kerry’s vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq and “his inability to stand for anything but himself.” O’Reilly, who opposes the war, says it is one of the main reasons he is running.

The Contra Costa Times reports that former investment banker and university professor Jim Losi is considering an independent challenge to Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif. Though Losi is a registered Republican, he has ruled out running on the GOP ballot or any other party’s. “It wouldn’t be intellectually honest for me to run as a Republican or any of these parties,” he said. Losi would need about 11,000 signatures on a petition — about 3 percent of those who voted in the last election — to gain ballot access as an independent.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Mayor Ousting School Superintendent
MARION COUNTY, Ind.: 35 Years of Federal Jail Oversight End
LOS ANGELES COUNTY: County Board Scrutinizing Hilton Release
THE NATION: Study: Suburbs Graying Faster than Cities
MISSISSIPPI: A.G. Sues State Farm over Katrina Claims
VIRGINIA: Report: Mental Health System Failing

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Political Trivia

Rep. John Tanner, D-Tenn., voted in favor of giving Bush the authority to wage war in Iraq, and in the 2004 anti-war documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11,” filmmaker Michael Moore stopped Tanner and several other lawmakers on the street outside the Capitol to ask whether they would like to enlist their own kids to serve in Iraq. Tanner gave Moore a friendly greeting, accepted a military recruitment brochure from him and exchanged a few polite words. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Monday, June 11, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

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

In This Issue

  • Obey Outlines Earmark Procedures for Appropriations Bills
  • Reid Hopes to Make Quick Work of Energy Bill
  • Bush Plans to Ignore Gonzales No-Confidence Vote
  • Johnson’s Doctors Clear Him for Full-Time Work
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Today in Washington

The House considers measures under suspension of the rules, including a bill (HR 1441) to prohibit the sale of F-14 fighter aircraft parts.

The Senate begins debate on the motion to proceed to an energy bill (HR 6) requiring investment in clean, renewable and alternative energy resources; debates the motion to proceed to a non-binding resolution (S J Res 14) expressing “no confidence” in Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.

The President met with Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov and Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev in Sofia; participated in a roundtable discussion at the University of Bulgaria.

In Washington,  children of the late President Gerald R. Ford join in the unveiling of a commemorative stamp honoring Ford during the annual Gerald R. Ford Foundation dinner. The stamp will be issued later this summer. The foundation also will honor former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind., 6:30 p.m., JW Marriott, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.

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Top Stories

Obey Outlines Earmark Procedures for Appropriations Bills

House Appropriations Chairman David R. Obey, D-Wis., today outlined how earmarks will be disclosed before conference, and warned that if Republicans “demagogue” the issue there might be no earmarks in the fiscal 2008 bills.  [Read More]

Reid Hopes to Make Quick Work of Energy Bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today he hopes to complete work on an energy bill in “four or five days” to leave time for passage of the 2008 defense authorization bill before the July recess.  [Read More]

Bush Plans to Ignore Gonzales No-Confidence Vote

President Bush said today he will not allow a Democratic move to express “no confidence” in Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to affect whether he keeps the embattled official on the job.  [Read More]

Johnson’s Doctors Clear Him for Full-Time Work

Sen. Tim Johnson has been cleared by his doctors to eventually resume full-time work in the Senate, but his staff declined to set a timetable for his return.  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
NEWARK, N.J.: Former Mayor Target of Corruption Probe
ST. PAUL, Minn.: Mayor Freezes City Hiring
INDIANAPOLIS: Foam to Replace Dirt over Library Garage
LOS ANGELES COUNTY: In Hilton Case, It's Courts v. Sheriff
THE FARGO, N.D., REGION: Dikes Remain as River Level Falls
COLORADO: State to Fight Feds on Gas-Drilling Plan
WASHINGTON STATE: Prisons Fined $541,000 over Withheld Records

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Political Clippings

The Savannah Morning News reports that Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., already has drawn two Democratic challengers and could also face competition from within his own party because of his support for an immigration overhaul bill. Chambliss was booed last month at a Republican convention because of his support for the bill, and Democrat Dale Cardwell, a veteran Atlanta television reporter, has been running to the right of the incumbent on the issue, saying he not only wants to stop illegals at the borders, but also wants to make it a crime to hire them.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that the U.S. attorney for Wyoming, Matt Mead, resigned last week and is widely expected to seek to replace GOP Sen. Craig Thomas, who died June 4. “I’m not ready to make any comment about that, other than I think this week it’s better for the people of Wyoming to reflect upon Sen. Thomas’ life and legacy,” Mead said. He said his abrupt resignation has nothing to do with his name appearing on a list of federal prosecutors Justice Department officials considered firing last year.

The Northwest Herald reports that both Bill Scheurer and his wife, Randi, are planning to challenge Rep. Melissa Bean, D-Ill. He plans to run as a third-party candidate; she as a Democrat in the party primary. Bill Scheurer took 5 percent of the vote in 2006, meeting the minimum standard to become an established party in the district, allowing him much easier access to the ballot than last year, when he had to collect 13,950 signatures.

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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.
STEM CELLS: House clears Senate bill to expand federal funding of stem cell research, President Bush threatens veto.
SURGEON GENERAL: Bush nominee may face confirmation fight.
DRUG SAFETY: House panel to mark up legislation to overhaul Food and Drug Administration drug safety process. | Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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Political Trivia

A multimillionaire former real estate executive, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., attributes his passion for education to his father, Edwin Andrew Isakson, a high school dropout. After his older sister died as a young child, his father repeatedly told Isakson he was destined to be the first in the family to attend college. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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