Friday, October 26, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, OCT. 26, 2007 – 2:21 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate Judiciary Chairman Presses White House, Mukasey for More Info
  • Senate Test Set Next Week on Latest Children’s Health Insurance Bill
  • Amtrak Bill on Track to Senate Passage
  • Panel Republicans Seeking Changes in Global Warming Bill
  • New York’s McNulty Becomes First House Democrat to Retire
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session; reconvenes Monday at 12:30 p.m., with legislative business beginning at 2 p.m.

The Senate adjourned after consideration of a bill (S 294) to reauthorize Amtrak, the nation’s passenger rail service; reconvenes Monday at 2 p.m.

The President met with Joseph Kabila, president of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In Washington,  the Reason Foundation opens two-day “Reason in D.C.” conference. Assistant Transportation Secretary Tyler Duvall discusses road construction and funding at 2:30 p.m.; SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins discusses securities regulation and competitiveness at 4 p.m. Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 1150 22nd St., N.W.

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Top Stories

Senate Judiciary Chairman Presses White House, Mukasey for More Info

As President Bush’s attorney general nominee awaits a Senate confirmation vote, Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy has renewed his demands for documents related to the Bush administration’s interrogation policies.  [Read More]

Senate Test Set Next Week on Latest Children’s Health Insurance Bill

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., paved the way Friday for Senate action next week on a revised children’s health insurance bill that faces another presidential veto threat.  [Read More]

Amtrak Bill on Track to Senate Passage

The Senate is headed for a vote early next week on legislation to reauthorize funding for Amtrak, with passage likely despite continued efforts by GOP critics to chip away at the passenger railroad’s routes and subsidies.  [Read More]

Panel Republicans Seeking Changes in Global Warming Bill

Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee are beginning to outline changes they want in global warming legislation that is headed for subcommittee consideration Nov. 1.  [Read More]

New York’s McNulty Becomes First House Democrat to Retire

Rep. Michael R. McNulty, D-N.Y., will announce Monday that he intend to retire at the end of his current term, a senior Democratic aide said.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., busy barnstorming for president, had missed 39 consecutive roll call votes before breaking the string this week to vote against one of President Bush’s appeals court nominees Oct. 24. Before that, Obama had not cast a roll call vote in the Senate since Sept. 27. The other five presidential candidates in the Senate — make that four, now that Sam Brownback, R-Kan., has withdrawn — have shown up for votes a little more often.

According to the Connecticut Post, “It’s full steam ahead for Rep. Chris Shays as he seeks a 12th term representing Connecticut’s 4th District. Shays no longer has any qualms about running again after having spoken with a number of Republican leaders who assured him that he is next in line to be the GOP’s top dog on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.” Last month, Shays said publicly he would not run unless assured he would get the committee post if and when it opens up. A moderate, he was passed over once before by conservative party leaders.

The Tennessean reports that voters in Tennessee are likely to have few choices in next year’s congressional elections. Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander so far has no Democratic opponent, and only two challengers have emerged in the state’s nine House districts. Party leaders and political scientists say the power of incumbency and the way House district boundaries are drawn help representatives fend off challengers. They also cite a drought of money for campaign donations because so much was siphoned off in last year’s Senate race and is being gobbled up by presidential candidates, especially Republican Fred Thompson, a former Tennessee senator.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
DETROIT: City May Sell 92 of Its Parks
THE WASHINGTON, D.C., REGION: Hikes Proposed for Transit Fares, Parking
ALABAMA | FLORIDA | GEORGIA: Governors Seek Truce in Water War
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Fires' Threat to Homes, Business Ebbs

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Political Trivia

The father of Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., was a school principal, his mother a math teacher. Cochran was a standout in high school, valedictorian of his class, a Boy Scout leader, a member of the 4-H Club and an athlete, lettering in football, basketball, baseball and tennis. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, OCT. 25, 2007 – 2:10 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Republicans Dig In Against Revised Children’s Health Bill
  • Ways and Means Chairman Lays Out Massive Tax Code Overhaul
  • Senate to Vote on Permanent Internet Access Tax Ban
  • Senators Reject Cuts in Amtrak Service
  • White House Offers Surveillance Documents to Senate Judiciary Leaders
  • Senate Agriculture Panel Approves 2007 Farm Bill
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Today in Washington

The House considers a bill (HR 3963) reauthorizing state health insurance for children.

The Senate resumes consideration of a bill (S 294) to reauthorize Amtrak, the nation’s passenger rail service.

The President travels to Southern California to view wildfire destruction.

In Washington,  Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks to the Center for a New American Security on Iraq and Afghanistan. 7 p.m., Grand Ballroom, Renaissance Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Ave., N.W.

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Top Stories

Republicans Dig In Against Revised Children’s Health Bill

President Bush vowed on Thursday to veto a minimally revised children’s health insurance bill, as House Republicans attempted to block a vote on the hastily scheduled measure.  [Read More]

Ways and Means Chairman Lays Out Massive Tax Code Overhaul

Charles B. Rangel’s mammoth tax code overhaul checked in Thursday at a cost of $1.3 trillion, as the House Ways and Means Committee chairman unveiled his ambitious fiscal agenda.  [Read More]

Senate to Vote on Permanent Internet Access Tax Ban

The Senate appears likely to vote within days on whether to extend an expiring ban on Internet access taxes or ban such levies permanently.  [Read More]

Senators Reject Cuts in Amtrak Service

Senators turned back a Republican attempt to eliminate Amtrak’s most costly long-distance routes Thursday, with more votes expected throughout the day.  [Read More]

White House Offers Surveillance Documents to Senate Judiciary Leaders

The White House has offered leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee access to legal documents related to the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program, senators said Thursday.  [Read More]

Senate Agriculture Panel Approves 2007 Farm Bill

The Senate Agriculture Committee approved a five-year farm bill Thursday that includes a new subsidy proposal advocated by Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that one of the most intriguing 2008 senatorial races has become the most expensive: Democratic challenger Al Franken and Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., have raised a combined $10 million so far during the 2008 cycle, according to recent filings with the Federal Election Commission, making it the highest in total receipts for any active senatorial race. Actor-comedian Franken has collected $5.2 million this year to Coleman’s $4.9 million. But the GOP incumbent still has twice as much cash on hand, nearly $5 million to Franken’s $2.4 million. And despite his strong fundraising, Franken still has to win the party’s nomination against several Democratic contenders, including wealthy trial lawyer Michael Cirisi, who raised $312,000 for the third quarter and has a total of $608,000 on hand.

According to the Omaha World-Herald, Nebraska Democrats are scrambling for a new U.S. Senate contender after former Sen. Bob Kerrey yesterday said he will not run for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel. “Democratic leaders are now hoping for a Senate run from either Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey or Hastings College adjunct professor Scott Kleeb, who ran unsuccessfully last year for Nebraska’s 3rd District seat in the U.S. House. They also hope that whoever runs can reverse the party’s lackluster showing in statewide races the past few elections.” Three Republicans are vying for the GOP nod: former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, a former governor; state Attorney General Jon Bruning; and Pat Flynn, a Schuyler businessman.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that New Mexico state Sen. Lee Rawson yesterday “removed his name from a list of potential Republican contenders for the 2nd Congressional District seat” that Republican Steve Pearce is leaving to run for the Senate. But several other contenders have “stepped forward,” including three Democrats: state Rep. Joseph Cervantes, state Rep. Jeff Steinborn, and state Sen. John Arthur Smith. “In addition, former Roswell Mayor Bill Owen, a Republican, said he’s interested.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
DENVER: Sweeping Plan Aims to Cut Greenhouse Gases
SOUTHEAST FLORIDA: Counties: Ending Sewage Dumping Would Cost Billions
NEW YORK CITY: City Tries Again on Restaurant Calorie Posting
MILWAUKEE: Tab to Stop City Hall Sinking: $15 Million
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Subsiding Winds Ease Fire Siege
WASHINGTON STATE: Hospitals Relent on Disclosure of Medical Errors

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Political Trivia

A fourth-generation Californian, Republican Rep. John Campbell is a member of the Sons of Union Veterans and has occasionally participated in Civil War re-enactments. He grew up in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles, in a house built in 1922 by his maternal grandfather. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, OCT. 24, 2007 – 2:06 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate Blocks Bill to Aid Children of Illegal Immigrants
  • Senate Confirms Southwick to 5th Circuit
  • Democrats Aim to Nail Down First Spending Bill Next Week
  • Senate Armed Services Chairman Seeks Conditions on War Funding
  • Regulators Urge Balance in Addressing Mortgage Woes
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Today in Washington

The House considers a bill (HR 505) recognizing Native Hawaiians, and a parks and public lands management bill (HR 1483).

The Senate resumes consideration of the nomination of Leslie Southwick to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

The President holds video teleconference with administration officials on California wildfires; makes a speech on Cuba policy at the State Department.

In Washington,  Martin Luther King III attends screening of his documentary, “Poverty in America,” with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and others. 6:30 p.m., AmericanLife TV, 650 Massachusetts Ave., N.W,

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Top Stories

Senate Blocks Bill to Aid Children of Illegal Immigrants

The Senate on Wednesday blocked the latest effort to address the thorny immigration issue, refusing to call up legislation that would allow some children of illegal immigrants to legalize their status in the United States.  [Read More]

Senate Confirms Southwick to 5th Circuit

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed the controversial nomination of Leslie Southwick to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, after thwarting a potential Democratic filibuster that Republicans warned would set a bad precedent for future Democratic presidents.  [Read More]

Democrats Aim to Nail Down First Spending Bill Next Week

Democratic leaders hope to complete House and Senate negotiations on at least one fiscal 2008 spending bill late next week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday. But he would not say which measure that will be.  [Read More]

Senate Armed Services Chairman Seeks Conditions on War Funding

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Wednesday he would like the next emergency war spending bill to contain less than a year’s worth of funding and to include language on redeploying troops from Iraq.  [Read More]

Regulators Urge Balance in Addressing Mortgage Woes

Federal regulators on Wednesday warned Congress to take a balanced approach to changing mortgage regulations in response to the problems roiling the subprime mortgage market.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the history of the Senate, has not let a burgeoning ethics controversy keep him from amassing an imposing pile of cash for his 2008 re-election bid. As of Sept. 30, Stevens had raised $1.3 million this year and had $1.1 million cash on hand, according to his most recent campaign finance report to the Federal Election Commission. Democrats’ hopes depend on their ability to recruit a well-known candidate who could raise significant money quickly. Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich is considering the race but is in no hurry to make a decision.

In Allentown, Pa., the Morning Call says 12-term Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., is facing what could be the most difficult re-election fight of his two-decade House career. Kanjorski recently sent a mailer to constituents touting his anti-immigration votes in recent years, a bid to position himself as tough on immigration in the face of a possible challenge from Republican Hazelton Mayor Lou Barletta. Barletta, prominent for proposing a law to crack down on illegal immigrants in Hazleton last year, said he won’t decide until after his mayoral election in November.

The New Hampshire Union Leader reports that veteran Republican activist R. James “Jim” Steiner said he will seek the 2nd District House seat held by Rep. Paul W. Hodes, D-N.H. Steiner, a lawyer, has already hired a campaign chairman, set up a Web site, www.joinjim2008.com, and printed bumper stickers. State Sen. Robert Clegg and Grant Bosse, a legislative aide to Sen. John E. Sununu are also considering seeking the Republican nomination for the seat.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
MILWAUKEE: School Choice Advocates' Report Discouraging
COOK COUNTY, Ill.: County Mulls Health Care Co-Pays
NEW YORK CITY: 28,000 Child Care Providers to Unionize
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: 1,155 Homes Destroyed as Fires Rage
GEORGIA: Retirement System Facing $16 Billion Gap

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Political Trivia

Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., 64, is a one-time “boy wonder” who entered the Maryland House of Delegates at the age of 23, before he had even graduated from the University of Maryland Law School. He was elected to a seat that had been held by his father and his uncle. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, OCT. 23, 2007 – 2 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate Sets Test Vote on Immigrant Education Bill
  • Effort Under Way to Avoid Filibuster of Southwick Nomination
  • Senate Nearing Vote on Biggest Domestic Spending Bill
  • Panel Targets U.S. Internet Companies That Cooperate With Abusive Regimes
  • House Passes Bill Regulating Fertilizer Chemical Used by Terrorists
  • Virginia Sets Dec. 11 Special Election to Replace Rep. Davis
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Today in Washington

The House considers measures under suspension of the rules, including a bill (HR 1955) to prevent homegrown terrorism and a bill (HR 1680) to regulate the sale of ammonium nitrate.

The Senate continues to consider amendments to the fiscal 2008 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education appropriations bill (HR 3043).

The President speaks to the National Defense University’s Distinguished Lecture Program at Fort McNair.

In Washington,  Catholic University’s School of Theology and Religious Studies presents annual Cardinal John Dearden Lecture, “The Role of Religion in a Pluralistic Society,” by the Most Rev. Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington and chancellor of the university. 4:30 p.m., Caldwell Auditorium, 620 Michigan Ave. N.E.

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Top Stories

Senate Sets Test Vote on Immigrant Education Bill

Senate Democrats will resume the immigration debate tomorrow with an effort to call up legislation to allow some children of illegal immigrants to remain in the United States and earn legal status.  [Read More]

Effort Under Way to Avoid Filibuster of Southwick Nomination

A moderate Senate Democrat is working behind the scenes to line up enough Democrats to force a confirmation vote on a contentious appellate court nominee, while winning concessions from Republicans in return.  [Read More]

Senate Nearing Vote on Biggest Domestic Spending Bill

The Senate was pushing to wrap up action Tuesday on its biggest fiscal 2008 spending bill, which would provide billions of dollars to labor, health and education programs.  [Read More]

Panel Targets U.S. Internet Companies That Cooperate With Abusive Regimes

A House panel Tuesday approved legislation to punish U.S. Internet companies for sharing information with foreign governments that restrict access to the Internet.  [Read More]

House Passes Bill Regulating Fertilizer Chemical Used by Terrorists

The House Tuesday passed a bill that would regulate the production, sale and purchase of explosive chemicals like those used in the Oklahoma City bombing.  [Read More]

Virginia Sets Dec. 11 Special Election to Replace Rep. Davis

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine on Tuesday scheduled a Dec. 11 special election in the 1st District, to replace Republican Rep. Jo Ann Davis, who died Oct. 6 of breast cancer.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

CQPolitics.com reports that the Democrats’ House campaign organization, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, hauled in more money last month from Democratic House members — $2.9 million — than the counterpart Republican House campaign unit raised from all sources combined ($2.6 million.) House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., transferred $300,000 from his own campaign coffers to the DCCC last month, bringing his total transfers in this election cycle to $585,000. Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California also has transferred $585,000 this year, while Majority Whip James E. Clyburn of South Carolina has topped them both, transferring $685,000 to the DCCC to date.

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, former Louisiana Gov. David Treen “said Monday he will be a candidate for the 1st District congressional seat soon to be vacated by Gov.-elect Bobby Jindal, R-Kenner. Treen, a Republican who served as governor from 1980-84 and was defeated for re-election by Edwin Edwards, said he has contacts in Washington that he can tap to help the state.” Treen, 79, “ran for the 1st District seat in 1999 and narrowly lost a runoff” to Republican David Vitter, then a state senator and now Louisiana’s junior U.S. senator. A special election will be called when Jindal leaves his House seat, which could be before he is sworn in as governor Jan. 14. “Treen said his age should not be a factor but his political experience and ties should. ‘Wisdom comes with age,’ Treen said.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
JERSEY CITY, N.J.: Four Judges Charged with Fixing Parking Tickets
LOS ANGELES: Fired Transit Chief Gets $95,000
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Judge in $54 Million Pants Suit to Lose Job
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Firestorms Bring Massive Evacuations
THE NATION: Vermont, Oregon, Washington Ranked Greenest
NEW ENGLAND: Fish Disaster Declaration Denied

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Political Trivia

Growing up as one of 11 children, Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., paid his way through school by cleaning out horse stalls and digging graves. Murphy also taught himself to play guitar and performed in acoustic bands in high school, college and graduate school. The bands played coffeehouses where, he said, he would earn enough to buy an expensive hamburger. But he also once opened in Cleveland for banjo legend Earl Scruggs. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Monday, October 22, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, OCT. 22, 2007 – 1:53 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Bush Sends War Supplemental to Capitol Hill
  • House Chairman Seeks Tighter Regulation of Mortgage Industry
  • 59 World Bank Protestors Arrested at House Office Building
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Today in Washington

The House considers measures under suspension of the rules, including a bill (HR 3776) to promote energy storage and a bill (HR 3775) to increase commercial energy efficiency.

The Senate resumes consideration of the fiscal 2008 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education appropriations bill (HR 3043).

The President meets with President of Mongolia Nambaryn Enkhbayar; makes statement on fiscal 2008 Iraq war supplemental; presents the Medal of Honor to the family of Navy Lt. Michael Murphy, who was killed in Afghanistan in June 2005; attends Republican Governors Association reception at Decatur House.

In Washington,  the Carnegie Institution hosts “Climate Action,” a scientific conference on climate change. Carnegie Institution, 1530 P St. N.W.

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Top Stories

Bush Sends War Supplemental to Capitol Hill

The Bush administration on Monday formally asked Congress for an additional $45.9 billion in fiscal 2008 emergency spending for military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to congressional aides.  [Read More]

House Chairman Seeks Tighter Regulation of Mortgage Industry

House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank planned to introduce legislation Monday that would significantly tighten regulation of the mortgage industry in an effort to prevent another crisis in the subprime lending markets.  [Read More]

59 World Bank Protestors Arrested at House Office Building

The Capitol Police arrested 59 demonstrators Monday morning in and around the Cannon House Office Building.  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
PHILADELPHIA: 10,000 Men Volunteer to Patrol Streets
MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz.: Criminal Charges Against Newspaper Dropped
VENTURA COUNTY, Calif.: Retiring Exec Fixed County's Finances
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Wind-Driven Wildfires Sear Region
GEORGIA: Governor Declares Drought Emergency
KENTUCKY: Ex-Official Hit with Ethics Charges in Hiring Scandal

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Political Clippings

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that shifting voting patterns in Louisiana are favoring Republicans, including a greatly reduced electorate in the heavily Democratic city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Many Democrats are also voting Republican, and the state is seeing a growing number of independents either voting Republican or not showing up on Election Day. These “trends bode ill for next year’s re-election campaign of” Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., “who narrowly won her first two races for the office boosted by building up huge margins in New Orleans.”

The Los Angeles Times reports that Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., who never had a primary challenge since entering Congress in 1995, has been abandoned by local party activists over his support for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Party activists are backing Joe McLaughlin, an Onslow County commissioner and retired Army major “who has launched a hard-charging bid to dispatch Jones in next year’s primary by highlighting Jones’ votes against the war.” Jones, son of former Democratic Rep. Walter B. Jones Sr., is one of several GOP lawmakers who face challenges from party loyalists because of their anti-war views.

The Charlotte Observer reports that Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., raised $1 million in the third quarter of this year and had $2.3 million cash on hand, according to recently filed campaign finance reports. The senator’s war chest has so far helped her fend off high-profile potential challengers: The only declared Democratic candidate is Jim Neal, an investment banker from Charlotte, who filed a statement of organization last month with the Federal Election Commission.

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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 fails to override Bush veto.
MENTAL HEALTH PARITY: Measure heads to House floor.
POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION : House passes legislation to fund research into postpartum depression. | Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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Political Trivia

When Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., was five, his dad was the announcer for the Rock Hill Chicks, a minor league baseball club in North Carolina. Chambliss dreamed of becoming a baseball star. “I almost got there,” he says wistfully: He played second base on the University of Georgia baseball team. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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