Friday, September 07, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, SEPT. 7, 2007 – 2:22 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Petraeus to Report Drop in Sectarian Violence in Iraq
  • Student Loan Bill Heads to House for Final Action
  • Job Report Fuels Demand for Interest Rate Cut
  • House Poised to Pass Patent Law Overhaul
  • House Scraps Most Action Next Week
  • Tough ‘08 Primary Looms for New GOP House Member
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Today in Washington

The House prepares to clear student loan bill (HR 2669) for the White House; considers patent law overhaul legislation (HR1908).

The Senate adopts conference report on the student loan reconciliation bill (HR 2669).

The President speaks at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Sydney, Australia; meets with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and with Russian President Putin.

In Washington,  Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, president of the U.N. General Assembly, lectures on “Women in the Arab World: Law and Practice,” discussing the personal and family codes crucial to improving the conditions of women in several Arab countries, and other issues. 5:30 p.m., City View Room, 7th floor, 1957 E St., N.W.

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Top Stories

Petraeus to Report Drop in Sectarian Violence in Iraq

The top U.S. commander in Iraq indicated Friday he will report a significant decrease in sectarian violence there when he testifies before Congress next week, disputing the conclusion of a Government Accountability Office study Democrats have held up as proof President Bush’s “surge” of troops isn’t working.  [Read More]

Student Loan Bill Heads to House for Final Action

Legislation that would make the most sweeping changes to federal student aid programs in more than a decade moved within a step of final congressional action Friday morning.  [Read More]

Job Report Fuels Demand for Interest Rate Cut

Key Democratic lawmakers called on the Federal Reserve to take action following a surprisingly anemic jobs report Friday that sent markets plunging lower and raised fears that troubles in the housing sector may be spreading to the broader economy.  [Read More]

House Poised to Pass Patent Law Overhaul

The House was expected to pass legislation Friday overhauling the nation’s patent laws after adopting a rule that limited the number of amendments.  [Read More]

House Scraps Most Action Next Week

House leaders have scrapped plans to bring to the floor next week legislation requiring a paper record for every vote cast nationwide, beginning in 2008.  [Read More]

Tough ‘08 Primary Looms for New GOP House Member

Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., won his seat by a very narrow margin July 17 over former Republican state Sen. Jim Whitehead in a special election outcome that was widely viewed as an upset.  [Read More]

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TheCapitol.Net: Congressional Dynamics and the Legislative Process

This TheCapitol.Net full-day course offers an in-depth examination of Congressional operations; House and Senate legislative procedures, including the drafting, introduction and referral of legislation; the work of committees; floor procedures; reconciling differences between the houses; and presidential action.
WHERE: Goethe-Institut, 812 Seventh Street NW, Washington, DC
WHEN: September 19, 2007, 9 a.m. to 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

The Chicago Tribune reports that Rep. Jerry Weller, R-Ill., who has invested heavily in land development in Nicaragua, “didn’t declare the extent of his holdings on his required congressional disclosures, and he indicated dramatically different purchase prices for the land in American and Nicaraguan records.” After repeated requests to explain the discrepancies, Weller’s spokesman said he would not answer questions and had no comment.

The Chillicothe Gazette reports that Fred Dailey, a farmer and former director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, planned today to announce that he will challenge freshman Democratic Rep. Zack Space in the 18th District. Dailey joins a crowded field of Republican challengers for the seat formerly held by former Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, who resigned after his conviction in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that former NBA coach and television sports analyst Dick Versace said he will run as a Democrat for the House seat in Illinois’ 18th District being vacated by GOP Rep. Ray LaHood. Versace was head coach of the Indiana Pacers from 1988-90 and later was general manager of the Memphis Grizzlies. From 1978-86, he was head men’s basketball coach at Bradley University, which is located in the 18th District.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
NEW JERSEY: Corruption Sting Catches 11 Officials
NEW YORK CITY: City Puts Hospital Error Data Online
THE WASHINGTON, D.C., REGION: Disaster Planning Gets More Muscle
THE NATION: Ice Cream Trucks Getting Cold Reception
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Schools Might Snare Tax Windfall
THE NATION: Utilities Get Incentives to Save Kilowatts
NEW MEXICO: Ex-treasurer Cuts Deal for His Role in Kickback Scheme
THE SOUTHWEST: Navajo Jails in Crisis

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Political Trivia

Rep. Melissa Bean, D-Ill., grew up exploring the shop floor and drafting room of the engineering and manufacturing firm her father owned, and Bean says she knew she’d go into business herself one day. She recalls playing office there with her younger brother. From the purchasing office, she’d call him in engineering, shouting, “I have an order and I need it quick!” Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, SEPT. 6, 2007 – 2:14 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate Passes Military Construction-VA Spending by Wide Margin
  • Partisans Continue Battle to Frame Next Phase of Iraq Debate
  • Democrats Look Outside Traditional Conference Process to Move SCHIP Bill
  • Bush Expected to Sign Student Loan Bill
  • Senate Panel Approves Voter Intimidation Measure
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Today in Washington

The House passes a bill (HR 2786) to reauthorize housing assistance programs for American Indians.

The Senate passes the fiscal 2008 Military Construction-VA appropriations bill (HR 2642); begins debate of State-Foreign Operations spending bill (HR 2764).

The President meets with Australian Labor Party Leader Kevin Rudd in Sydney; visits the Australian National Maritime Museum; meets with President of China Hu Jintao.

In Washington,  a two-day Generic Pharmaceuticals Policy Conference convenes. Participants include Reps. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., and Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., industry representatives, Wall Street analysts, and FDA and other government officials, who will discuss legislative, regulatory and business issues shaping the industry. Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 1330 Maryland Ave., S.W.

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Top Stories

Senate Passes Military Construction-VA Spending by Wide Margin

The Senate overwhelmingly passed its fiscal 2008 spending bill for military construction and veterans’ affairs Thursday, adding emergency funding for security at next year’s national political conventions.  [Read More]

Partisans Continue Battle to Frame Next Phase of Iraq Debate

Partisans on both sides of the Iraq War debate stepped up their efforts Thursday to influence the public’s assessment of President Bush’s troop surge and the need for a continued massive U.S. military commitment in the year ahead.  [Read More]

Democrats Look Outside Traditional Conference Process to Move SCHIP Bill

Leading House Democrats said Thursday they will negotiate compromise children’s health insurance legislation informally with their Senate counterparts if Senate Republicans continue to block a formal conference committee on the bill.  [Read More]

Bush Expected to Sign Student Loan Bill

House Education and Labor Chairman George Miller, D-Calif., said Thursday that President Bush will sign legislation that would cut roughly $20 billion from lender subsidies and use the funds to beef up aid to college students and reduce the interest rates they must pay on their loans.  [Read More]

Senate Panel Approves Voter Intimidation Measure

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation Thursday that would create penalties for voter intimidation, after first rejecting Republican attempts to add language targeting voter fraud.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that Michigan Democratic Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm signed into law a measure setting a Jan. 15 presidential primary date. The move is likely to prompt a bid by both Democratic and Republican party leaders to punish the state for violating scheduling rules by holding its primary earlier than Feb. 5. It has bipartisan support in the state’s political community, and Granholm described the new date as final. “Our richly diverse electorate deserves a primary process that requires candidates to address the issues they will be held accountable for in the general election,” she said in a statement.

The Seattle Times reports that Democratic Washington state Sen. Rodney Tom abruptly withdrew his bid for the 8th District House seat, “clearly wowed” by the fundraising of Darcy Burner, the party’s unsuccessful nominee in 2006 against Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash. Tom’s departure left Burner as the favorite in her bid for a rematch with Reichert. Tom, a former Republican who switched parties last year, had campaigned as a moderate with a record of public service.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Democratic state Sen. Walter Boasso entered the crowded race for Louisiana governor Wednesday. Boasso, the sixth candidate to qualify for the race, trails poll leader Rep. Bobby Jindal, R-La., by a wide margin. Other possible candidates include businessman John Georges, who may run as a Republican, a Democrat or an independent, and Democratic New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, described as a “wild card.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NATION: Housing Slump Strains Budgets of Cities, States
LOS ANGELES COUNTY: Court Interpreters Strike for Pay Raise
NEW YORK CITY: Cabs Are on Strike, But on the Street, Too
SAN FRANCISCO: Red-Light Cameras Credited with Big Drop in Accidents
LOUISIANA: Court Speeds Hurricane Lawsuits
NEW JERSEY: Police Win Praise for Efforts to End Profiling

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Political Trivia

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, comes from a political family — her parents each served as mayor of the town of Caribou — yet she has followed a path that has taken her far beyond the woodsy confines of northern Maine. As a high school senior, Collins visited the U.S. Capitol and spent time talking with Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, a Republican trailblazer and one-time presidential candidate. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 5, 2007 – 2:08 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Democrats May Try Again to Force Iraq Withdrawal Timetable
  • Ohio Rep. Gillmor Found Dead
  • Market Turmoil Could Last Awhile, Regulators Warn
  • Chertoff Says He’s Staying Put at Homeland Security
  • FEC Rejects Challenge to Liberal Political Bloggers
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Today in Washington

The House considers measures under suspension of the rules.

The Senate continues consideration of the fiscal 2008 Military Construction-VA appropriations bill (HR 2642); may call up State-Foreign Operations bill (HR 2764).

The President meets with Prime Minister John Howard in Sydney, Australia, and issues joint statement prior to the start of the 2007 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum; meets with Governor-General Michael Jeffery.

In Washington,  the Recording Academy holds events honoring recording artists and members of Congress, with gala Grammy on the Hill dinner featuring Quincy Jones, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and others. 6:30 p.m., Williard InterContinental Hotel.

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Top Stories

House Democrats May Try Again to Force Iraq Withdrawal Timetable

Bolstered by the release of a pessimistic Government Accountability Office report on Iraq, House Democratic leaders Wednesday declared the Bush administration’s “surge” initiative a failure and said they might try again to mandate a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.  [Read More]

Ohio Rep. Gillmor Found Dead

Rep. Paul E. Gillmor, R-Ohio, 68, a 10-term House veteran, was found dead in his apartment Wednesday morning.  [Read More]

Market Turmoil Could Last Awhile, Regulators Warn

The turmoil that began in the mortgage industry and has roiled financial and credit markets worldwide could continue for some time, financial regulators warned Wednesday, leading a top lawmaker to call for a review of the nation’s regulation of the financial markets.  [Read More]

Chertoff Says He’s Staying Put at Homeland Security

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Wednesday that he intends to remain in his post until the end of the Bush administration, as lawmakers gave him a list of security gaps they wanted him to fix.  [Read More]

FEC Rejects Challenge to Liberal Political Bloggers

The Federal Election Commission has dismissed complaints that two Internet bloggers violated campaign finance laws by advocating for certain candidates.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Boston Globe reports that the Massachusetts Democratic Party is launching a Web site compiling information about Mitt Romney’s record that could be used against the GOP former governor in his White House run. RomneyFacts.com paints Romney as a “flip-flopper” who has traded in his moderate Republican credentials for a new set of conservative beliefs. Asked about the website, Kevin Madden, a spokesman for the Romney campaign, said: “Democrat party operatives are going to continue to peddle distortions and try and attack the governor in every which way possible.”

According to the Greensboro (N.C.) News Record, state Sen. Kay Hagan said Tuesday she is “looking into” challenging Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., next year and would decide “sooner rather than later.” The Greensboro Democrat joins at least two other Democrats in considering a run against Dole: state Rep. Grier Martin and Forsyth County Commissioner Ted Kaplan. Dole’s political stock fell after the 2006 elections, but she is a proven fundraiser and has broad name recognition and appeal. “Taking on Sen. Dole is a like going up Mount Everest,” said Brad Crone, a Raleigh-based political strategist. “It’s not insurmountable, but it’s a very, very tall task.”

The Charlotte Observer reports that Tom Apodaca, the No. 2 Republican in the North Carolina Senate, has announced he “will not run for the congressional seat held by U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, a freshman Democrat whose district could make him one of the most vulnerable Democrats in Congress next year.” National Republican Party leaders “had courted Apodaca for the campaign, given his Henderson County base and tenure as deputy Republican leader in the state Senate.” But he turned them down, preferring to remain where he is. “Former NFL quarterback Shuler unseated then-Rep. Charles Taylor, a Republican, last year after 16 years in office . . . Taylor has not said whether he will run again.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
BROWARD COUNTY, Fla.: Sheriff Resigns, Faces Jailtime for Accepting Bribes
WASHINGTON, D.C.: City Asks Supreme Court to Uphold Gun Ban
KING COUNTY, Wash.: County Could Lose Millions in Credit Downgrade
NEW YORK CITY: Some Taxi Drivers Strike Over Technology Regs
THE NATION: Building Projects Fill Gap in Economy
NEW JERSEY: State to Invest Pension Funds in Jersey-based Companies
ARIZONA: State Takes Over Some School Districts
HAWAII: Ferry Sits Idle Amid Protests and Court Rulings

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Political Trivia

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 1982, then spent a year teaching fifth grade in Philadelphia with the Jesuits. Like his father, he got his law degree, then practiced in Scranton until he won his first election as state auditor general in 1996. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, SEPT. 4, 2007 – 2:03 P.M.

In This Issue

  • McConnell Sees Long-term U.S. Troop Presence in Middle East
  • Reid Plans Ambitious Senate Agenda
  • White House Urges Cuts Elsewhere to Offset Increased VA Spending
  • Massachusetts Voters Pick Nominees in 5th District
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Today in Washington

The House considers measures under suspension of the rules.

The Senate will begin consideration of the fiscal 2008 Military Construction-VA appropriations bill (HR 2642).

The President will meet with Prime Minister John Howard in Sydney, Australia, prior to the start of the 2007 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

In Washington,  Malcolm MacPherson discusses and signs copies of his book “Hocus Potus,” a political farce set between the fall of Baghdad and the capture of Saddam Hussein. 6:30 p.m., Borders Books & Music, 18th and L streets, N.W.

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Top Stories

McConnell Sees Long-term U.S. Troop Presence in Middle East

As Congress prepares to receive a trio of reports on the war in Iraq, the top Senate Republican called for a long-term U.S. military presence in the Middle East.  [Read More]

Reid Plans Ambitious Senate Agenda

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., laid out a packed agenda Tuesday for the five weeks before the Columbus Day recess, but acknowledged that Congress will not meet the Oct. 1 deadline for enacting its 12 regular fiscal 2008 appropriations bills.  [Read More]

White House Urges Cuts Elsewhere to Offset Increased VA Spending

The White House on Tuesday again warned Congress to reduce its proposed fiscal 2008 spending, but stopped short of threatening to veto a military construction and veterans’ affairs appropriations measure that exceeds President Bush’s request.  [Read More]

Massachusetts Voters Pick Nominees in 5th District

As the House on Tuesday prepared to swear in one new member, Democrat Laura Richardson of California, Massachusetts voters were taking the first step toward choosing another.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Wilmington News Journal reports that Delaware Democrats are lining up for a shot at Rep. Michael N. Castle in 2008. The eight-term Republican won last year with 57 percent of the vote. “That’s a margin that would have thrilled a lot of politicians, but it was well below Castle’s customary total of 70 percent or more,” the paper noted. Castle, a former lieutenant governor and governor, “said he’s readying himself for the challenge, but not ready to officially announce his 2008 plans. ... Two of Castle’s foes from 2006 — Dennis Spivack and Karen Hartley-Nagle — are looking for a rematch. Spivack beat Hartley-Nagle in the Democratic primary, but she stayed in the race as the Independent Party candidate. Also eyeing runs are veterinarian Jerry Northington and the Rev. Christopher A. Bullock, who left the GOP this year.”

According to the Fargo (N.D.) Forum, “State Sen. Tim Mathern, a Democrat from Fargo, announced today he has formed an exploratory group to help in the planning of a bid for his party’s nomination for the job of governor. ‘With only six months before the Democratic-NPL and Republican conventions, it is time individuals and political parties come forward with ideas for citizens to consider,’ Mathern said in written statement. Mathern, the public policy and non-profit development director at Prairie St. John’s, has been a state senator since 1986.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA: Bay Bridge Reopens Ahead of Schedule
NEW YORK CITY: As Strike Looms, Mayor Vows to Install Taxi Devices
SEATTLE: Were High-Tech Toilets Worth $6.6 Million?
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Experts: Transit Agency Neglecting Development
THE NATION: States Act Swiftly on Bridge Repairs
THE GREAT LAKES REGION: Region's Governors Urged to Join Ballast Fight
THE GULF COAST REGION: Home Insurance Woes Mount in Coastal States
INDIANA | ILLINOIS: Report: BP Can Upgrade Plant for $40 Million
WISCONSIN: Settlements with State Workers Cost Taxpayers

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Political Trivia

The great-grandfather of Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., founded the Laclede Steel Co. of St. Louis, and his father worked there as well. Akin grew up in the St. Louis area and went to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, where he studied engineering and joined the Army ROTC. After serving as an Army combat engineer, Akin sold large computers for IBM in Massachusetts, where he met his wife, Lulli. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Quote of the Day

“Thanks for the question, you little jerk. You’re drafted.” — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in joking response to a high school student in Concord, N.H., who asked the 71-year-old about his age.

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