Wednesday, November 21, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, NOV. 21, 2007 – 2:25 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Editor’s Note
  • Michigan Supreme Court Allows Jan. 15 Primary
  • House Democrats Maintain Big Fundraising Lead Over GOP
  • Backers of Initiative to Divide California Electoral Votes Are Optimistic
  • FEC Ruling Paves Way for Pre-Election Issue Ads That Name Candidates
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Today in Washington

The House  is not in session; will reconvene at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 4.

The Senate  is not in session; meets in pro forma sessions Nov. 23 at 10 a.m.; Nov. 27 at 9 a.m.; and Nov. 29 at 9:30 a.m.; returns to work Monday, Dec. 3, at 2 p.m.

The President  spends Thanksgiving weekend at Camp David with First Lady Laura Bush.

In Washington,  60 images from the prestigious 2007 Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards competition are on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., 10th Street and Constitution Ave, N.W.

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Top Stories

Editor’s Note

In observance of Thanksgiving, the CQ Midday Update will next publish on Monday, Nov. 26. We wish you a happy holiday.  [Read More]

Michigan Supreme Court Allows Jan. 15 Primary

Michigan’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the state could proceed with its Jan. 15 presidential primary, triggering an expected response from New Hampshire that is likely to intensify the unprecedented frontloading of the 2008 campaign.  [Read More]

House Democrats Maintain Big Fundraising Lead Over GOP

The campaign arm of the House Democratic majority raised $4.1 million in October, expanding the lead it has been building all year long over its Republican counterpart.  [Read More]

Backers of Initiative to Divide California Electoral Votes Are Optimistic

California Republicans are expressing confidence they can gather enough signatures by the end of this month to place an initiative on the state’s June ballot allocating electoral votes by congressional district rather than the current winner-take-all system.  [Read More]

FEC Ruling Paves Way for Pre-Election Issue Ads That Name Candidates

New rules approved Tuesday by the Federal Election Commission could open the way for a wave of negative ads by outside groups in the weeks running up to the first presidential primary elections, campaign reform advocates say.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that Wyoming state Rep. Dan Zwonitzer of Cheyenne, a Republican, Tuesday announced formation of an exploratory campaign committee to run for the House seat of retiring Republican Rep. Barbara Cubin. Zwonitzer, 28, the youngest member of the state legislature, joins several other Republicans who have announced plans to run for the House seat next year, including “Kenn Gilchrist, a Casper businessman; Swede Nelson, a substitute teacher and motivational speaker from Cheyenne; and Bill Winney, a retired Navy captain who lives in Sublette County.” State Rep. Colin Simpson, son of former U.S. Sen. Alan K. Simpson, is “still evaluating all the opportunities and how they fit with my family,” he said. Democrat Gary Trauner, who narrowly lost to Cubin last year, is making his second bid for the House seat.

According to the Dallas Morning News, public schoolteacher Ray McMurrey “declared his candidacy for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination Tuesday, vowing to be ‘the poorest man’ in that elite body.” McMurrey, of Corpus Christi, “will take on state Rep. Rick Noriega for the right to face incumbent Republican John Cornyn. Mr. McMurrey said the Democratic Party needs ‘an authentic voice,’ and he fears Mr. Noriega, a National Guard officer and energy company marketing manager from Houston, is too cozy with corporations.” Either Democrat will face an uphill climb to surmount Cornyn’s big lead in name recognition and fundraising.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
FLORIDA: Local Governments Deserting State Investment Pool
NEW YORK CITY: Governor Blocks Subway Fare Hike
SAN FRANCISCO: Manager-Employee Sex Ban Rejected
THE MILWAUKEE REGION: Big Savings Seen from Wastewater Outsourcing
CALIFORNIA: Attorney General Sues Toy Firms over Lead
VIRGINIA: Governor Pushed to Restore Abstinence Funds

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Political Trivia

Raised by a single mother who operated a dance school out of the home, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and his three siblings grew up quickly, vacuuming the house and handling adult household chores at a young age. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, NOV. 20, 2007 – 2:42 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Appropriators Dig in On War Funding Conditions
  • Democrats Pare Down Energy Legislation
  • New Hampshire Officials Waiting for Michigan Decision on Primary
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Today in Washington

The House  has adjourned for the Thanksgiving recess and will reconvene Tuesday, Dec. 4.

The Senate  is not in session; returns to work Monday, Dec. 3.

The President  pardoned the National Thanksgiving Turkey; spends Thanksgiving weekend at Camp David with First Lady Laura Bush.

In Washington,  historian Dr. Edward Smith leads a discussion about the historic Shaw section of Northwest Washington, home to educator Anna J. Cooper, poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, and many of Howard University’s faculty during the 19th and 20th centuries. 7 p.m., Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Place, S.E.

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Top Stories

House Appropriators Dig in On War Funding Conditions

House appropriators said Tuesday there would be no more emergency war funding without a policy change in Iraq, as the White House demanded unconditional funding by the end of the year.  [Read More]

Democrats Pare Down Energy Legislation

House Democrats plan to propose a pared-down energy bill when they return from Thanksgiving recess that would include stronger fuel economy and renewable fuel mandates, but would sideline a controversial tax package and renewable portfolio standard.  [Read More]

New Hampshire Officials Waiting for Michigan Decision on Primary

The early 2008 presidential primary calendar is riding on Michigan, where the state Supreme Court has to decide whether to allow the state to hold its Jan. 15 primary.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Lincoln Journal Star, citing an “informed source,” reported that Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning plans to withdraw from the Republican Senate race next week. Bruning’s campaign manager, Jordan McGrain, called the report “gossip and speculation. . . . We’re running hard,” he said. “We’re prepared to go to the end. The rumor mill is overheated.” Bruning faces Mike Johanns, a popular former governor who resigned as Agriculture secretary to return to Nebraska and seek the GOP nomination for the seat being vacated by Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb.

The Syracuse Post Standard reports that Rep. James T. Walsh, R-N.Y., has a comfortable lead in fundraising over his Democratic opponent thanks to big donations from his colleagues. At least 30 GOP lawmakers donated more than $60,000 to Walsh through their campaign committees in the second quarter of 2007, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.” Overall, Walsh raised $194,145 in the quarter, topping the $129,695 raised by Democrat Dan Maffei in the same period. Walsh ended the quarter with $456,414 cash on hand, compared to $314,277 for Maffei.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
SALT LAKE COUNTY: Despite D.A.'s Claims, Crime Stats Down
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Tax Office Issued Earlier Suspicious Refunds
NEW HAVEN, Conn.: Police Chief Leaving for Yale Post
TEXAS: Pensions' Iran Divestiture Lagging
CALIFORNIA: High Court: Speed Up Death-Penalty Reviews

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Political Trivia

At one time, Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala., thought he’d be a journalist, not a member of Congress. As a kid in Camden, Bonner launched a community newspaper with the loan of a press from the local newspaper editor, whose son was a playmate. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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Monday, November 19, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, NOV. 19, 2007 – 2:20 P.M.

In This Issue

  • New Allegations Emerge Against Jefferson
  • Top Bush Homeland Security Adviser Resigns
  • Some House Backers of Thompson Are Starting to Lose the Faith
  • New Jersey’s Ferguson Latest House Republican to Retire
  • Splitting the Difference Could Add Up to Appropriations Success
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Today in Washington

The House  has adjourned for the Thanksgiving recess and will reconvene on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

The Senate  convenes in pro forma session; returns to work Monday, Dec. 3.

The President  visits the Central Virginia Foodbank in Richmond, Va.; visits the Thanksgiving Shrine and makes remarks on Thanksgiving at the Berkeley Plantation in Charles City, Va.

In Washington,  the American Association for the Advancement of Science hosts a “Grand Challenges” discussion on “Managing a Pandemic.” Participants include National Public Radio science correspondent Joe Palca; Rajeev Venkayya, special assistant to the president and senior director for biodefense at The White House; and Julie Fischer, senior associate at the Henry L. Stimson Center. 6-7 p.m., AAAS Auditorium, 12th and H Streets, N.W.

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Top Stories

New Allegations Emerge Against Jefferson

Federal prosecutors have filed papers accusing Rep. William J. Jefferson, D-La., of participating in two additional bribery schemes but do not plan any new charges.  [Read More]

Top Bush Homeland Security Adviser Resigns

Frances Fragos Townsend, President Bush’s top homeland security adviser since 2004, has resigned, the White House said Monday.  [Read More]

Some House Backers of Thompson Are Starting to Lose the Faith

Several House Republicans who endorsed Fred Thompson for president now say that they are frustrated with what they view as an apathetic campaign, and at least one regrets having committed to the former Tennessee senator.  [Read More]

New Jersey’s Ferguson Latest House Republican to Retire

Saying he wants to spend more time with his family, New Jersey Republican Rep. Mike Ferguson announced Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2008.  [Read More]

Splitting the Difference Could Add Up to Appropriations Success

Democrats appear to have a new strategy that could help complete the appropriations process when Congress returns in December.  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
BROWARD COUNTY, Fla.: Former Sheriff Gets Prison for Corruption
DETROIT: City's No. 1 Crime Ranking Draws Fire
NEW YORK CITY: Feds to OK $1.3 Billion for Long-Sought Subway Line
NORTH GEORGIA: Drought Brings Lake Water-Flow Cut
MASSACHUSETTS: Enrollment Surge Putting Health Plan in the Red
PENNSYLVANIA: Governor Merging Crisis-Response Agencies
TEXAS: Contract-Steering Probe Clears Education Chief
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Fires Close National Forest Areas

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Political Clippings

The Houston Chronicle reports that freshman Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Texas, has tacked to the right as he seeks to fend off Republican efforts to unseat him. Lampson, who returned to Congress in 2006 by capturing the seat formerly held by Tom DeLay, has been targeted by the GOP for defeat in his conservative district. In response, he has shed his moderate-to-liberal reputation and now keeps company with the fiscal conservative Blue Dogs. “I’m not going to be afraid to go against the party,” Lampson said in an interview. “I’m not going to be afraid to do what’s best for the country.”

In an editorial, the Orlando Sentinel suggested that the Democrats’ snub of Florida could hurt the party’s presidential nominee next year. The daily said Democratic candidates are sticking to their pledge not to campaign in the state to punish Florida for scheduling a Jan. 29 primary date, while Republicans such as Rudy Giuliani are making regular public appearances. “The real losers are those Floridians who desire — and deserve — the chance to see and hear the leading candidates from both parties,” the daily said.

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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 and Senate lawmakers have been unable so far to resolve differences over legislation dealing with the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
APPROPRIATIONS: House fails to override President Bush's veto of legislation that would provide for fiscal 2008 funding for health, education and labor programs.
MEDICARE: Legislative package to stop impending Medicare physician pay cut may be part of larger omnibus package. | Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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Political Trivia

After graduating from the Kamehameha School for Boys, Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hawaii, 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. (Source: CQ.com Member Profiles)

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