Friday, October 12, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, OCT. 12, 2007 – 1:57 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Rep. Regula Joins Growing List of Retiring Republicans
  • Senate Retirements Create Big Gap for Republicans
  • Veto Override Vote Caps Crowded House Agenda Next Week
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Today in Washington

The House  is not in session; reconvenes for legislative business at 2 p.m. Monday.

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

The President  attends a Republican National Committee luncheon in Pinellas Park, Fla., then makes a speech on trade policy in Miami.

In Washington,  the Energy Department holds its third Solar Decathlon with students from 20 universities showing their solar-powered homes. National Mall between 10th and 14th Sts.

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Top Stories

Rep. Regula Joins Growing List of Retiring Republicans

Republican Rep. Ralph Regula, a veteran appropriator and dean of the Ohio delegation in the House, announced Friday that he will retire at the end of this Congress.  [Read More]

Senate Retirements Create Big Gap for Republicans

A historic disparity in the partisan distribution of retiring senators is creating headaches for Republican strategists, who already faced an uphill battle to regain control of the chamber.  [Read More]

Veto Override Vote Caps Crowded House Agenda Next Week

A showdown over President Bush’s veto of a children’s health bill highlights a packed House agenda next week, while the Senate will resume work on fiscal 2008 appropriations bills.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Peoria Journal Star reports, that New Lenox, Ill., Mayor Tim Baldermann has become the first Republican to seek the seat being vacated by Rep. Jerry Weller, R-Ill. Baldermann says the Republican party needs to reform and recommit to core principles. The leading Democratic candidate is state Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson. Weller announced last month that he would not seek re-election to an eighth term because he wants to spend more time with his wife, a Guatemalan legislator, and their infant daughter.

Television station KTIV in Sioux City, Iowa, reports that Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., told reporters Thursday that some problems remain from his December brain hemorrhage but his health and speech are improving. He said the most frustrating thing for him is “that my intellect isn’t reflected in my speech. It’s slower than my mind and I have concerns about that.” But the senator made no commitment to discussing whether he will seek re-election in 2008, saying only that “I face unique circumstances.”

The Idaho Press-Tribune reports that elk rancher Rex Rammell of Rexburg has entered next year’s Republican primary race to succeed retiring Sen. Larry E. Craig, R-Idaho. Rammell is known in Idaho for his long-running property rights battle with the state, but says, “I want to let (people) know that I am a lot broader than that.” He will face Lt. Gov. Jim Risch in the GOP primary. Former Rep. Larry LaRocco is the only announced Democratic candidate.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
CLEVELAND: New School Security Plan Follows Shootings
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Soccer Team Owner Eyes Move to Suburbs
NEW YORK STATE: SEC Probing State Pension Fund
PENNSYLVANIA: State to Sign Lease to Toll I-80
CALIFORNIA: Sex-Offender Roundup Defies Court
GEORGIA: Park Ends Snow-Making During Drought

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Political Trivia

Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, R-Ala., grew up with politics. When he was 5, he wrote a campaign letter touting his father, a judge, in a local election, and he recalls meeting then-Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., when he was about 11. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, OCT. 11, 2007 – 2:21 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Budget Deficit Continued To Shrink in Fiscal 2007
  • Democratic Leaders Hold Up Water Bill Until After Children’s Health Veto Showdown
  • Democrats Seek Options To Help Ease Mortgage Woes
  • Johanns Launches Bid for Nebraska Senate Seat
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Today in Washington

The House  is not in session; reconvenes at 11 a.m. tomorrow in pro forma session. Reconvenes at 2 p.m. Monday for legislative business.

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

The President  meets with his economic policy team.

In Washington,  the Kennedy Center will award the 10th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor to Billy Crystal. 8 p.m., Opera House.

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Top Stories

Budget Deficit Continued To Shrink in Fiscal 2007

For the third straight year, the federal budget deficit diminished in fiscal 2007, dropping to $162.8 billion, according to figures released Thursday.  [Read More]

Democratic Leaders Hold Up Water Bill Until After Children’s Health Veto Showdown

Democratic congressional leaders are holding back a $23.2 billion measure for water resources projects that President Bush has threatened to veto until after next week’s showdown over the president’s veto of a children’s health bill.  [Read More]

Democrats Seek Options To Help Ease Mortgage Woes

A senior Democratic lawmaker Thursday unveiled legislation aimed at temporarily giving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac greater ability to help subprime borrowers in danger of foreclosure.  [Read More]

Johanns Launches Bid for Nebraska Senate Seat

Republican Mike Johanns, a former Nebraska governor who resigned Sept. 20 as President Bush’s secretary of Agriculture, has formally launched his bid for the Senate seat of retiring Republican Chuck Hagel.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that Ethan Berkowitz , a well-known figure in an Alaska Democratic Party that has struggled for years in the conservative-leaning state, announced Wednesday that he will challenge embattled Republican Rep. Don Young next year. Berkowitz, a former state House minority leader who was the Democrats’ nominee for lieutenant governor in 2006, enters a field of legitimate Democratic contenders that is unusually crowded, spurred in part by ethics controversies that have cast a cloud over Young, who has held Alaska’s lone House seat since a 1973 special election. Also in the August 2008 Democratic primary mix are Diane Benson, a writer and political activist who held Young to a subpar 57 percent of the vote as the 2006 Democratic nominee, and Jake Metcalfe, a labor union lawyer who is a former chairman of the state Democratic Party.

The Albuquerque Tribune reports that Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White, 44, “enters as the apparent Republican front-runner for the 1st Congressional District seat” that GOP Rep. Heather A. Wilson is relinquishing to run for the Senate. And the Democratic field “is gaining names,” with former state Health Secretary Michelle Lujan Grisham, 47, expected to enter the race this afternoon. The cousin of former Rep. Manuel Lujan, who held the seat for 20 years ending in 1989, she joins a Democratic field “that already includes City Councilor Martin Heinrich, who has been campaigning for several months. Meanwhile, state Rep. Al Park, an Albuquerque Democrat who last week said he would consider pursuing the U.S. House seat, told The Tribune on Wednesday he has ruled out a run.”

According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, “Democrat Steve Beshear has spent more than $2 million buying air time for his television ads and nearly $75,000 to produce them, according to his campaign finance report filed yesterday.” The Democratic gubernatorial nominee’s “report shows that he raised a total of $5.3 million since the May 23 primary and had $1.7 million on hand to spend” by the Nov. 6 election. In comparison, “Gov. Ernie Fletcher, Beshear’s Republican opponent, raised $3.5 million and had $1.2 million at the end of the reporting period.” Beshear led the incumbent by 20 percentage points in a Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll last month.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
CLEVELAND: High School Student Wounds 5, Kills Himself
CHICAGO: Mayor Pushes $293 Million in Tax Hikes
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.: Council President Replaces Mayor
LOS ANGELES: Deal Allows Homeless to Sleep on Sidewalks
MASSACHUSETTS: Limits on Stem Cell Research Repealed

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Political Trivia

The career of Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hawaii, is a study in quiet perseverance. After graduating from the Kamehameha School for Boys, he served in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II. Returning home, he got a degree in education from the University of Hawaii and became a teacher, then a principal, rising through the Honolulu education bureaucracy to prevail in a tough primary contest for the 2nd District seat in the House in 1976. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, OCT. 10, 2007 – 2:35 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Divided House Panel Approves Surveillance Overhaul Opposed by White House
  • Will Overture to Bush Lead to Budget Detente?
  • House Moves to End IRS Program
  • House Panel Approves Mental Health Parity Measure
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Today in Washington

The House considers a bill (HR 2895) creating a national housing trust fund for low-income families, and a bill (HR 3056) to repeal the authority of the Internal Revenue Service to use private debt collection companies and other purposes.

The Senate is not in session; reconvenes at 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15.

The President makes remarks at a Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration at the White House.

In Washington,  the Association of the United States Army holds its annual meeting through today. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place N.W.

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Top Stories

Divided House Panel Approves Surveillance Overhaul Opposed by White House

The House Judiciary Committee split along partisan lines Wednesday to approve legislation requiring more judicial and congressional oversight of foreign intelligence surveillance.  [Read More]

Will Overture to Bush Lead to Budget Detente?

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Wednesday he used a private moment with President Bush to extend a hand of peace before the budget battles yet to come.  [Read More]

House Moves to End IRS Program

The House was expected to pass a measure Wednesday aimed at ending an IRS program that outsources some tax collection functions, despite a veto threat from the White House.  [Read More]

House Panel Approves Mental Health Parity Measure

The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee approved a mental health parity bill by voice vote Wednesday after Democrats defeated several Republican amendments that would have made the bill (HR 1424) more like legislation the Senate passed last month.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that few one-on-one congressional matchups have endured as long as that in Indiana’s 9th District, between Democratic Rep. Baron P. Hill and Republican former Rep. Mike Sodrel — whose announcement Tuesday that he is running again in the 2008 contest sets up a re-re-rematch between the two. Hill, a centrist Democrat who was first elected to the House in 1998, won his first matchup with Sodrel — the owner of a trucking, shipping and motor coach company — by a 5 percentage-point margin in 2002. Sodrel then captured the seat for the GOP in 2004 by a margin of half a percentage point. But Hill took the seat back in 2006 by fractionally less than 5 points in a campaign year marked by Republican setbacks nationwide.

The Scranton Times & Tribune reports that Republican Dan Meuser, owner of a company that manufactures motorized wheelchairs, announced Tuesday he will challenge Rep. Christopher Carney, D-Pa. Meuser pointed to the growth of his company, Pride Mobility Products, to contrast himself with Carney. “I think the contrast is my experience, it’s one of accomplishment . . . and job creation,” Meuser said. He said he supports a balanced-budget amendment and extending President Bush’s tax cuts but opposes an immediate withdrawal from Iraq.

The Eastern Arizona Courier reports that Republican state Rep. Bill Konopnicki has formed an exploratory committee to decide whether to seek the House seat being vacated by Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz. Konopnicki said he would spend the next several weeks traveling the Pennsylvania-sized district to see what its residents care about most. He said he would seek bipartisan consensus on tough issues such as immigration and Iraq. “I believe I can move those issues past a partisan point of view and into one that is acceptable by everyone,” he said. Three Democrats are also seeking the seat.

.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.: Missing Mayor Was in Mental Health Clinic
CHICAGO: Elite Police Unit Disbanded over Misconduct
MISSISSIPPI: Feds May Buy 17,000 Homes on Coast
NEW JERSEY: Study: Exodus Threatens State's Economy
PENNSYLVANIA: Impeached Justice Sues for Pension

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Political Trivia

A seventh-generation Tennessean, Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander was born and raised in the state’s mountainous east. He worked his way through Vanderbilt University, where, as a student newspaper editor, he led a campaign to desegregate the school. After graduating with a degree in Latin American history, he earned a law degree at New York University. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, OCT. 9, 2007 – 2:07 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Democrats Plan Surveillance Bill With 2009 Sunset
  • House Scrubs Thursday Schedule, Postpones Some Hearings
  • Albuquerque Mayor Jumps Into New Mexico Senate Race
  • Alaska Democrats See Chance to Unseat Stevens
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Today in Washington

The House considers measures under suspension of the rules, including a bill (HR 1124) granting tuition assistance to college students from the District of Columbia and a bill (HR 400) to prohibit “war profiteering.”

The Senate is not in session; reconvenes at 2 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 15.

The President participates in a meeting and makes remarks on reauthorizing the education law known as No Child Left Behind.

In Washington,  former U.S. Mideast envoy Dennis Ross delivers the 2nd Annual Amos Perlmutter Memorial Lecture, “How to Restore America’s Standing in the World.” 7 p.m., The American University, Mary Graydon Center, University Club, 4400 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.

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Top Stories

House Democrats Plan Surveillance Bill With 2009 Sunset

House Democrats unveiled another temporary rewrite of foreign intelligence surveillance law Tuesday that would mandate greater judicial oversight and provide no retroactive liability protection for communications firms.  [Read More]

House Scrubs Thursday Schedule, Postpones Some Hearings

There will be no votes in the House on Thursday so lawmakers can attend the funeral of Rep. Jo Ann Davis, R-Va., who died Oct. 6 of breast cancer.  [Read More]

Albuquerque Mayor Jumps Into New Mexico Senate Race

Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez announced Tuesday he will seek the Senate seat of retiring GOP Sen. Pete V. Domenici, becoming the first high-profile Democrat to enter the race.  [Read More]

Alaska Democrats See Chance to Unseat Stevens

Democrats are plotting a challenge in 2008 to Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, energized by the most serious ethics questions ever faced by the powerful incumbent after four decades in the job.  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.: City in Turmoil over Missing Mayor
INDIANAPOLIS/MARION COUNTY: Council Ends Take-Home Car Perk
NEW YORK CITY: Consultant: Get Tough on Water Deadbeats
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Utility Slashes Water Supply for Farms
TEXAS: Rate Hikes Raise Doubts about Power Dereg

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Political Clippings

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that former Rep. Mike Sodrel, R-Ind., planned to announce this afternoon “whether he’ll run for the 9th District seat in Congress again next year. If he runs, it would be the Republican businessman’s fourth straight head-to-head battle against Democrat Baron P. Hill, who won back the seat last year after losing to Sodrel in 2004. Hill won their first meeting in 2002 . . . Since being out of Congress, the 61-year-old Sodrel said, he has spent time as an adviser for his family’s trucking and bus company.”

According to the Bloomington Pantagraph, “Former Bradley University basketball coach Dick Versace on Monday made his campaign for Congress official, but said it was too early to talk specifics about major issues such as the Iraq war. Versace, a Democrat from Peoria, joins a field of at least three Republicans vying for the 18th Congressional District seat” of retiring Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill. “The primary election is set for Feb. 5, 2008. The three announced Republican candidates so far are Peoria-area businessman Jim McConoughey of Dunlap, former Peoria City Council member John Morris and state Rep. Aaron Schock of Peoria.”

The Chicago Tribune reports that Republican Jim Nalepa, who made unsuccessful bids for Congress a decade ago, now “has pulled the plug on a potential run for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate and instead is backing the candidacy of Steve Sauerberg for the right to take on incumbent Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin . . . Sauerberg, a family physician from Western Springs, responded by calling Nalepa, a West Point graduate, “a patriot and a gentleman.”

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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.
: : :
SCHIP: House Democrats set Oct. 18 for veto override vote.
TOBACCO: House panel holds hearing on measure to give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate tobacco.
VETERANS: Panel recommends improvements in veterans' disability benefits. | Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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Political Trivia

Rep. Julia Carson, D-Ind., began her congressional career as a secretary, and then a district aide, for Democratic Rep. Andrew Jacobs Jr. of Indianapolis. In 1972, she won the first of two state House terms, and in 1976 she moved up to the state Senate, where she served until 1991. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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