Friday, July 06, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, JULY 6, 2007 – 2:17 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Democrats Launch New Effort to Force Withdrawal of U.S. Troops From Iraq
  • House Tackles Drug Safety, Student Loans and Other Domestic Issues
  • Appeals Court Dismisses Challenge to NSA Surveillance Program
  • House Has Second Thoughts on Dollar Coin Design — $600 Million Later
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session; reconvenes at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 10.

The Senate is not in session; reconvenes at 2 p.m., Monday, July 9, when it will begin debate on the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill (HR 1585).

The President has no public events scheduled; travels to Camp David with First Lady Laura Bush.

In Washington,  the Smithsonian hosts the second session of the 41st annual Folklife Festival, July 4-8. 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m., National Mall.

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Top Stories

Democrats Launch New Effort to Force Withdrawal of U.S. Troops From Iraq

When Congress returns to work next week, lawmakers plan to begin debate on a series of Iraq-related measures in a bid to pressure President Bush into changing course in the war.  [Read More]

House Tackles Drug Safety, Student Loans and Other Domestic Issues

While the Senate debates defense policy and the war in Iraq, the House next week will focus on domestic issues.  [Read More]

Appeals Court Dismisses Challenge to NSA Surveillance Program

A federal appeals court has vacated a lower court ruling against President Bush’s warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens.  [Read More]

House Has Second Thoughts on Dollar Coin Design — $600 Million Later

The House has apparently changed its mind about how the new dollar coins honoring U.S. presidents should display the national motto “In God We Trust,” after more than 600 million of them have been produced.  [Read More]

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TheCapitol.Net: Preparing and Delivering Congressional Testimony

This TheCapitol.Net 1-day course will give you the information and confidence you need to present your case to Congress. The faculty will cover all aspects of testimony preparation, including research, the process of persuasion, and specifics of how to effectively structure written and oral testimony. Participants will learn effective delivery and listening techniques, how to deal with the anxiety associated with preparing and delivering congressional testimony, and how to deal with Q&A and difficult situations.
WHERE: Hall of the States, 444 North Capitol Street, N.W., Room 285, Washington, D.C. (1 1/2 blocks from the Union Station Metro stop)
WHEN: July 12, 2007, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Registration Fee: $595
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 a longstanding divide among Kansas Republicans has opened anew in the eastern 2nd Congressional District as former Rep. Jim Ryun, a conservative, squares off against more moderate state Treasurer Lynn Jenkins for the 2008 nomination. Ryun, upset last year by Democrat Nancy Boyda, has backing from conservative groups such as the Club for Growth and the House Conservatives Fund, headed by conservative Republican House incumbents. Efforts by these groups to define Jenkins in an unfavorable manner could force her to respond in defense of her record, using up precious resources early in the campaign. If this occurred, it could place her at a financial disadvantage to Ryun as the primary campaign heats up next year.

According to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, three-term South Dakota state Rep. Joel Dykstra “filed candidacy forms for U.S. Senate this week, spurring the question, ‘Who’ next?’’’ Dykstra, a Republican, is the first to file candidacy papers for the seat held by Democrat Tim Johnson, who is recovering from a brain hemorrhage suffered last December. “South Dakota voters are still waiting to hear if Johnson will run for re-election,” the paper noted. “If Johnson declines to run again, Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin may be the Democratic Party’s leading contender.”

The Helena Independent Record reports that Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, “has raised slightly more than $600,000 for his 2008 re-election campaign and reported having about a record $500,000 left in the bank on June 30, a report filed Thursday showed. ... As in his 2004 campaign for governor, Schweitzer refuses to take money from political action committees. ... So far, no Republican candidates have declared their candidacies for governor.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va.: Residency Checks to Target Illegal Immigrants
MILWAUKEE COUNTY: County Has Plan to Go Green
LOS ANGELES COUNTY: Lawsuit Memos No Longer Public
MASSACHUSETTS: Land Deal Protects Trees that Predate Pilgrims
ARIZONA: Property-Rights Law Limits Land-Use Changes

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Political Trivia

Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, first gained notoriety for his unorthodox and tough sentencing of criminals as a Texas criminal court judge. He still prefers to be called “judge” over “congressman,” favoring his 22-year judicial career in Harris County, where he would publicly shame convicts in what became known as “Poe-etic justice.” (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, JULY 5, 2007 – 2:18 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Takes Break From Appropriations Bills Next Week
  • House Oversight Panel to Focus on Iraq Embassy
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session; reconvenes at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 10.

The Senate is not in session; reconvenes at 2 p.m., Monday, July 9, when it will begin debate on the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill (HR 1585).

The President has no public events scheduled.

In Washington,  the Smithsonian hosts the second session of the 41st annual Folklife Festival, July 4-8. 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m., National Mall.

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Top Stories

House Takes Break From Appropriations Bills Next Week

When Congress returns to work next week, House members will get a short break from the long days that have characterized consideration of the appropriations bills this year.  [Read More]

House Oversight Panel to Focus on Iraq Embassy

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has announced a July 26 hearing on construction delays and other problems plaguing the new U.S. embassy in Baghdad.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., has announced that she raised $1.2 million for her re-election campaign during the second quarter this year, her “second consecutive million-dollar quarter.” She reported $2.8 million on hand. “Despite the financial showing, Landrieu is not likely to scare off opposition. Running for her third six-year term, Landrieu’s seat has been called the most vulnerable in the Senate due to her two previous close elections and the exodus of much of her African-American base in New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina.” Possible GOP contenders include Louisiana Secretary of State Jay Dardenne, Rep. Richard H. Baker, and state Treasurer John Kennedy, a Democrat who is being wooed to switch parties.

According to the San Antonio Express, “Republican Lyle Larson remains coy about whether he’ll seek his party’s nomination” in the 23rd Congressional District, now held by Rep. Ciro D. Rodriguez, D-Texas. “But he’s clear about this: He won’t run for another term as county commissioner in 2008.” That decision “is the strongest sign yet that he’ll run” in the March congressional primary. “Francisco ‘Quico’ Canseco, a San Antonio attorney, is already chasing the Republican nomination . . . Larson expects to announce his intentions later this summer.”

The Idaho Press Tribune reports that Iraq War veteran Matt Salisbury “announced his intention Wednesday to seek Idaho’s 1st Congressional District seat” in next year’s GOP primary against freshman Rep. Bill Sali. “Salisbury’s statement comes on the heels of” an announcement earlier this week that Democrat Larry Grant, who lost to Sali in 2006, will seek a rematch in 2008. “In his announcement Wednesday, Salisbury described himself as a lifelong Republican, with both ‘local and national experience.’” He “has held management positions in the technology, heavy-duty automotive and import industries,” and “is an account manager for Phillips Industries, responsible for major OEM accounts throughout the United States and Mexico.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
MINNEAPOLIS: City Urged to Privatize Parking Lots
CHICAGO: Once-Banned Firm Raking in City Contracts
MIAMI: Housing Chief Suspended, Offered Lesser Post
CALIFORNIA: Court Rejects Bonds to Fund Pensions
THE SOUTHEAST: Severe Drought Wilting Region

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Political Trivia

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo.,was deeply affected at age 10 by the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and inspired by the civil rights movement he led. “It hit me, the whole idea of social justice and fighting for equality. I decided I was going to become a lawyer,” she recalls. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, JULY 3, 2007 – 1:51 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Democrats Denounce Clemency for Libby But Cannot Counter Bush’s Move
  • Passengers’ Rights Advocates Seek Stronger Protections in FAA Bills
  • Critics Decry Limited Definition of Earmarks in Defense Bill
  • Security Threats Surround Caribbean Ports, GAO Says
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session; reconvenes at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 10.

The Senate is not in session; reconvenes at 2 p.m., Monday, July 9, when it will begin debate on the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill (HR 1585).

The President visits with wounded military personnel at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

In Washington,  participants in the Capitol 4th Concert hold full dress rehearsal for tomorrow night’s performance, 7:35 p.m., U.S. Capitol.

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Top Stories

Democrats Denounce Clemency for Libby But Cannot Counter Bush’s Move

Frustrated Democrats are lambasting President Bush’s decision to commute the 30-month prison sentence of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, but they can do little but criticize the president’s move.  [Read More]

Passengers’ Rights Advocates Seek Stronger Protections in FAA Bills

Advocates for airline passengers are pressuring lawmakers to strengthen consumer protection language in House and Senate bills to reauthorize operations of the Federal Aviation Administration.  [Read More]

Critics Decry Limited Definition of Earmarks in Defense Bill

The fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill to be considered by the Senate next week understates by billions of dollars the amount of earmarks included in it, critics say.  [Read More]

Security Threats Surround Caribbean Ports, GAO Says

Political corruption, organized gang activity, illegal migration and the growing influence of Islamic radical groups and other foreign terrorist organizations are security concerns in Caribbean ports, according to a Government Accountability Office report released yesterday.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that former Boise technology executive Larry Grant is seeking a rematch next year against freshman Rep. Bill Sali, R-Idaho, who defeated him by just 5 percentage points last year. Grant already has competition for next year’s Democratic primary; retired Army Lt. Col. Rand Lewis announced in March that he would run for the seat. Grant’s unusually strong 2006 showing may be hard to replicate: It took place during a national swing in voter sentiment against the GOP and attacks on Sali from Republican primary opponents.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Republican Sen. Norm Coleman raised more than $1.5 million for the second consecutive quarter in his bid to retain his U.S. Senate seat, his campaign announced Monday. Coleman's campaign has nearly $4 million on hand after two quarters of fundraising for the 2008 race. . . . Minneapolis attorney Mike Ciresi plans to report fundraising of $735,000 since beginning his bid for the DFL nomination in May, press secretary Leslie Sandberg said. The Ciresi campaign will report $625,000 on hand. . . . Together, Coleman and Ciresi have raised as much in the first half of this year as all the major Senate candidates had reported at this point in 2005. And DFL hopeful Al Franken has yet to reveal his second quarter totals.”

The Nashville Tennessean reports that Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Bob Davis, who has led the state GOP since 2004, “is expected today to announce his plans to leave the party office and is expected to join Fred Thompson’s pending presidential bid, according to two Republican sources familiar with the situation. Davis was Thompson’s state party director during Thompson’s Senate term from 1994 to 2002. He managed Thompson’s 1996 re-election bid, and the two are friends.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
DURHAM COUNTY, N.C.: Disgraced Lacrosse Prosecutor Resigns
DETROIT: Zoo Director Apologizes for College-Degree Lie
CALIFORNIA: Air Board Director Resigns, Slams Governor
NEW JERSEY: Tons of Pennsylvania Fireworks Confiscated
SOUTH FLORIDA: GAO: Everglades Restoration Bogged Down

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Political Trivia

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., spent most of the 1960s as a municipal prosecutor in Tuscaloosa, and he still sometimes cites his law enforcement background. He entered electoral politics by serving eight years in the state Senate, where he often was at odds with Gov. George C. Wallace Jr. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Monday, July 02, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, JULY 2, 2007 – 2:26 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Leahy Threatens Contempt Citations Over U.S. Attorney Probe Subpoenas
  • Four Trade Deals Await Action on Hill as Fast-Track Authority Lapses
  • Democrats, GOP Qualify for Public Funding of Their 2008 Conventions
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session; reconvenes at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 10.

The Senate is not in session; reconvenes at 2 p.m., Monday, July 9, when it will begin debate on the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill (HR 1585).

The President meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Kennebunkport, Maine, followed by news conference.

In Washington,  the Middle East Institute hosts a discussion, “The Iraqi Refugee Crisis: Humanitarian and Political Implications,” with Wendy Chamberlin, Nir Rosen, and Ken Bacon. 3 p.m., Boardman Room, Middle East Institute, 1761 N St. N.W.

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Top Stories

Leahy Threatens Contempt Citations Over U.S. Attorney Probe Subpoenas

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he is prepared to ask the panel to hold the Bush administration in contempt of Congress if officials continue to defy subpoenas issued seeking documents related to the dismissals of eight U.S. attorneys.  [Read More]

Four Trade Deals Await Action on Hill as Fast-Track Authority Lapses

Although President Bush’s fast-track trade negotiating authority has lapsed, four bilateral trade deals completed before the June 30 expiration could still take effect if approved by Congress.  [Read More]

Democrats, GOP Qualify for Public Funding of Their 2008 Conventions

The Federal Election Commission today announced that the convention committees of the two major political parties will receive initial payments of $16,356,000 apiece from the U.S. Treasury for their respective 2008 presidential nominating conventions.  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
SEATTLE: Ex-Governor, Ex-Mayor on Police Review Panel
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.: Bomb Threat Closes Downtown Area
NEVADA: Husband Convicted of Murdering Controller
EASTERN KANSAS: Flooding Brings Disaster Declaration, Oil Spill
WISCONSIN: New Jobs Lacking Despite State Incentives
MINNESOTA: State, Unions Have Contract Deal
KENTUCKY: Ex-Official: Governor Played Politics with Road Projects

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Political Clippings

CQPoliticalMoneyLine reports that Mikal Carter Watts, a wealthy San Antonio trial lawyer, has set up an exploratory committee for a race for the Democratic nomination to take on incumbent GOP Sen. John Cornyn next year. Watts also filed a statement with the U.S. Senate indicating he intends to expend personal funds totaling $10 million. He listed $3.8 million intended for the primary and $6.2 million for the general election.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the four House Democrats who last year picked off seats previously held by Republicans in Pennsylvania appear to be in relatively good shape heading into the 2008 campaign. Patrick Murphy and Joe Sestak appear especially strong, the paper said; Jason Altmire “is a maybe,” and “Chris Carney’s seat in the northeast is probably most endangered.” But Democrats still see possibilities for taking away seats held by Republicans Tim Murphy, Jim Gerlach and Charlie Dent, the paper reported.

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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.
GENERIC BIOLOGICS: Senate panel approves legislation to give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to approve generic versions of complex biotech drugs.
VETERANS: Several veteransa?? health care bills approved by Senate committee.
DOCS AND GIFTS: Senators express interest in national registry to list gifts, payments to physicians. | Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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Political Trivia

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., comes from a politically active family; her father served as state insurance director, and her mother was the first woman to serve on the Columbia City Council. One of four children, she was used to her father giving quizzes on current events at the dinner table. She recalls going to political events wearing sashes and “those obnoxious foam little bowler hats” to advertise candidates’ campaigns. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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