Friday, December 07, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, DEC. 7, 2007 – 2:02 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate Seeks Rewrite After Blocking House-Passed Energy Bill
  • Democrats Plan 2008 Economic Stimulus Package
  • Senate Democrats Urge Probe of CIA’s Destruction of Interrogation Tapes
  • Amendment Deal in Hand, Senate Resumes Work on Farm Bill
  • Political Trivia for Dec. 7
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Today in Washington

The House  is not in session; reconvenes in pro forma session at 3 p.m. Monday and at noon Tuesday for legislative business.

The Senate  blocks action on House amendments to a comprehensive energy bill; resumes consideration of amendments to a five-year farm policy bill.

The President  meets with Northern Ireland First Minister Ian Paisley and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

In Washington,  the U.S. Navy Memorial holds events to commemorate Pearl Harbor Day, including a screening of the film, “Tora! Tora! Tora!” at 3 p.m., 701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 123.

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Top Stories

Senate Seeks Rewrite After Blocking House-Passed Energy Bill

The Senate will begin to negotiate changes to a House-passed energy bill this weekend, likely stripping out a controversial tax package and renewable electricity mandate, and tweaking a requirement to infuse billions more gallons alternative fuels into gasoline.  [Read More]

Democrats Plan 2008 Economic Stimulus Package

Congress will consider an economic stimulus package next year, driven by fear that the economy will slow significantly, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., said Friday.  [Read More]

Senate Democrats Urge Probe of CIA’s Destruction of Interrogation Tapes

Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin on Friday called on the Justice Department to investigate whether the Central Intelligence Agency engaged in illegal obstruction of justice by destroying videotapes of its 2002 interrogation of terrorism suspects.  [Read More]

Amendment Deal in Hand, Senate Resumes Work on Farm Bill

After reaching a last-minute deal on amendments to the farm bill, lawmakers resumed debate Friday on the five-year reauthorization measure.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Dec. 7

In what year did Arkansas Republican Mike Huckabee lose a race for the U.S. Senate?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that "two high-profile Democratic officials who had considered taking on U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell next year are signalling that they're less likely to take the plunge after all." State Auditor Crit Luallen and outgoing Attorney General Greg Stumbo are both backing away from a Senate race, the paper reported, although Stumbo hasn't officially ruled out running. Stumbo told the daily he plans to "talk to some folks in Washington" before announcing his decision later this month. "Should Luallen and Stumbo both officially bow out in the coming weeks, that will shift the party's attention to Andrew Horne, a Louisville lawyer and Iraq war veteran" who lost a 2006 primary challenge to Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky.

In Illinois, the Aurora Beacon reports that the State Board of Elections on Thursday certified Republican House candidate Michael Dilger on the Feb. 5 primary ballot in the 14th District, rejecting objections filed last month to his nominating petitions. Dilger joins three other Republicans seeking to replace former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., for a two-year term: dairy magnate Jim Oberweis, state Sen. Chris Lauzen and Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns. The four Democrats in the race are Bill Foster, Jotham Stein, John Laesch and Joe Serra. It's not known if Dilger plans to run in the Feb. 5 special primary to select a nominee for the rest of Hastert's current term. Hastert resigned Nov. 26.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
WASHINGTON, D.C.: City Seeing String of Revenue Gushers
SAN FRANCISCO BAY: Ship's Pilot Charged in Oil Spill
MICHIGAN: EPA: State Complicit in Dioxin Cleanup Delay
ARIZONA: Utilities Plan Major Solar Power Project

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, DEC. 6, 2007 – 2:12 P.M.

In This Issue

  • White House Renews Veto Threat Against Energy Bill
  • Year-End Tax Package Again Stalls in Senate
  • House Democrats Plan To Fund War in Afghanistan, Not Iraq
  • Defense Policy Bill Advances Without Hate-Crimes Provision
  • Democrats Back White House Proposal to Freeze Subprime Interest Rates
  • Kyl, Alexander Move Up in Senate GOP Leadership
  • Political Trivia for Dec. 6
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Today in Washington

House  considers comprehensive energy legislation.

The Senate  refuses to take up a House-passed tax package that would prevent the alternative minimum tax from hitting up to 25 million Americans in 2007.

The President  participates in a meeting on the mortgage crisis, followed by a statement; with the first lady, participates in 5 p.m. ceremony for lighting the National Christmas Tree at the Ellipse, just south of the White House.

In Washington,  Georgetown University holds a roundtable discussion on the Annapolis Conference on the Middle East, with Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha and Ambassador Phillip Wilcox of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. 5:30 p.m., Copley Formal Lounge, on campus.

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Top Stories

White House Renews Veto Threat Against Energy Bill

As the House headed toward a vote on sweeping energy legislation Thursday, the White House renewed a threat to veto the bill over tax provisions and renewable electricity mandate.  [Read More]

Year-End Tax Package Again Stalls in Senate

Senate Republicans again blocked Democratic efforts to call up a year-end tax bill Thursday, throwing attempts to limit the reach of the alternative minimum tax into further disarray.  [Read More]

House Democrats Plan To Fund War in Afghanistan, Not Iraq

House Democratic leaders are preparing an omnibus fiscal 2008 appropriations package that would provide billions in emergency spending for the war in Afghanistan and for some domestic defense needs, but would not offer any new funds for operations in Iraq.  [Read More]

Defense Policy Bill Advances Without Hate-Crimes Provision

Senate conferees have dropped their insistence on including a hate-crimes provision in the final fiscal 2008 Defense authorization bill, paving the way for the conference report to be signed Thursday.  [Read More]

Democrats Back White House Proposal to Freeze Subprime Interest Rates

Democratic leaders welcomed a White House proposal to freeze interest rates for certain struggling subprime borrowers, but some GOP lawmakers worried the proposal could further disrupt troubled housing markets.  [Read More]

Kyl, Alexander Move Up in Senate GOP Leadership

Senate Republicans recast their leadership team Thursday, elevating Jon Kyl of Arizona to succeed Trent Lott as Senate minority whip and electing Lamar Alexander of Tennessee to replace Kyl as GOP Conference chairman.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Dec. 6

Who did “No Preference” beat in the 1980 Iowa Republican caucus?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Homer News reports state Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux of Kodiak is challenging veteran Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, in the GOP primary. “Elected to the Alaska House of Representatives in 2004, LeDoux was Kodiak Island Borough Mayor before that. Raised in California with bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of California, Berkley, she’s a lawyer in private practice with a specialty in maritime law.” Diane Benson, who lost to Young in 2006, “has filed again for the Democratic Party nomination.” She faces two opponents, Jake Metcalfe and Ethan Berkowitz, in the primary.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports that Dothan, Ala., dentist Craig Schmidtke “is the latest to announce his candidacy for the congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Terry Everett.” Schmidtke, a 37-year-old oral surgeon, “joins a growing list of those who have either announced or said they are considering a run for Everett’s seat. Those who formally have announced include state Sen. Harri Ann Smith, R-Slocomb, and state Rep. Jay Love, R-Montgomery. Still considering a run are Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright, David Woods, president of Montgomery’s WCOV-TV, and Tim James, son of former Gov. Fob James.”

The Cleveland Plain Dealer, in an editorial this morning, called the Democratic presidential aspirations of Rep. Dennis Kucinich “a fantasy” and endorsed City Councilman Joe Cimperman, one of four Democrats challenging Kucinich in the 2008 primary in Ohio’s 10th District. “No matter how deep Kucinich’s roots may be in Greater Cleveland, he has lost his laser-like focus on the needs of this region,” the paper said. “Even that’s putting it mildly. Here’s the unvarnished truth: No matter how earnest he may be on the issues that obsess him, Kucinich doesn’t get much done. Not even Democratic rule on Capitol Hill has changed that.” The Plain Dealer said Kucinich would “almost certainly” win a multi-candidate primary, and said Cimperman would be the strongest candidate to take on the incumbent.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
OMAHA, Neb.: Mall Shooting Spree Leaves Nine Dead
ORANGE COUNTY, Calif.: Treasurer: $460 Million in Debt Faces Downgrade
NEW YORK CITY: Subway Lines to Compete in Management Overhaul
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md.: County Pushes to Cut Pedestrian Deaths
FLORIDA: Manatees to Stay on Endangered List
GEORGIA: State to Buy, Conserve 19,465 Acres

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, DEC. 5, 2007 – 2:25 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Vote on Energy Bill Could Slip
  • Straight Extension of Children’s Health Program Likely
  • Senate Panel Begins Marathon Climate Change Markup
  • Lawmakers Seek Delay in Relaxing Media Ownership Rules
  • Nursing Groups Lobby to Save Increased Funds for Education
  • Political Trivia for Dec. 5
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House  is expected to consider a revised energy bill as well as bills on banking regulations, small-business programs, arson prevention, child pornography, housing for the elderly and the Capitol police.

The Senate  debates motion to consider a bill (HR 3996) that extends expiring tax breaks and prevents expansion of the reach of the alternative minimum tax.

The President  participates in a meeting on health care in Omaha, Neb., and attends a fundraiser for GOP Senate candidate Mike Johanns, a former secretary of Agriculture and Nebraska governor.

In Washington,  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., lights the Capitol Christmas tree, 5 p.m., west front of the Capitol.

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Top Stories

House Vote on Energy Bill Could Slip

The timetable for House action on a sweeping energy bill appeared to be slipping Wednesday, as lawmakers attempted to nail down final details of the package.  [Read More]

Straight Extension of Children’s Health Program Likely

Prospects for a breakthrough agreement on expanding a popular children’s health insurance program look bleak, and lawmakers now expect Congress to pass a long-term extension of the program instead.  [Read More]

Senate Panel Begins Marathon Climate Change Markup

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee began a marathon session Wednesday to draft global warming legislation, with Republicans offering numerous amendments aimed at the bill’s economic impact.  [Read More]

Lawmakers Seek Delay in Relaxing Media Ownership Rules

With time running out for legislative action this year, a House committee has decided to resort to jawboning instead to persuade the Federal Communications Commission to delay a scheduled Dec. 18 vote on relaxing media ownership rules.  [Read More]

Nursing Groups Lobby to Save Increased Funds for Education

As Congress struggles to finish its work on fiscal 2008 spending bills, hospital and nursing groups are beseeching lawmakers to stick with their plans to increase funds for the education of nurses.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Dec. 5

Which state favored Bush for president in 2000 but Kerry in 2004?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that Nebraska businessman Tony Raimondo, co-CEO of Behlen Manufacturing Co., "moved into position Tuesday for a 2008 Senate bid. Raimondo switched his party registration from Republican to Democratic and said he expects to make a decision about the Senate race before the end of December." Raimondo, a lifelong Republican, said, " 'I've always been a moderate and my record shows I've been bipartisan.' " He initially considered running for the Senate seat of retiring Republican Chuck Hagel as a Republican but backed off when former GOP Gov. Mike Johanns entered the race. Democrats have been searching for a candidate to take on Johanns; "2006 congressional nominee Scott Kleeb of Hastings is pondering a possible Senate bid."

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Republican Anne Evans Estabrook yesterday opened her campaign to unseat” Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J. Estabrook, 63, a real estate developer, could face a Republican primary. “Morris County Republican Assemblyman Joseph Pennacchio, recently elected to the state Senate, said he would make a campaign announcement in January.” While she “said she wouldn’t discuss Lautenberg’s age — he will be 84 in January — she said, ‘People like our own Sen. Frank Lautenberg have had their chance,’” and it was time for new approaches.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, D-Ohio, “may be traveling around the country campaigning for president, but the six-term congressman is planning for his re-election at home.” Kucinich “has already told the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party that he will seek another term and wants its endorsement, says party boss Jimmy Dimora.” But yesterday, “the second Democratic officeholder in as many days confirmed plans to jump into the primary race for Kucinich’s 10th Congressional District seat. . . . North Olmsted Mayor Thomas O’Grady said he will launch his campaign for Congress on Thursday. Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman kicked off his campaign Tuesday.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
INDIANA: State to Buy 150 Miles of Abandoned Railway
FLORIDA: Local Investment Pool Reopens with Limits

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, DEC. 4, 2007 – 1:46 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate Could Take Up Tax Package With AMT Patch
  • Senate Poised to Clear Peru Trade Pact Legislation
  • House Seeks to Shield Virginia Tech Victims from Tax Liability
  • House Moving to Facilitate Paired Organ Donations
  • Hutchison Drops Out of Senate GOP Leadership Race
  • Political Trivia for Dec. 4
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Today in Washington

The House  returns from Thanksgiving Day recess to a full agenda; among the bills scheduled for consideration are one on dam safety and a measure that would ban imports of illegally harvested timber.

The Senate  resumes consideration of the Peru free-trade pact.

The President  holds a White House press conference; attends a closed Republican National Committee fund-raising luncheon with Mrs. Bush.

In Washington,  Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., delivers remarks at the Treasury Department’s annual holiday reception. 5 p.m., Treasury Department, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Cash Room

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Top Stories

Senate Could Take Up Tax Package With AMT Patch

The Senate could vote as early as Tuesday on a tax package that includes a one-year “patch” to curtail the growing reach of the alternative minimum tax, according to Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus.  [Read More]

Senate Poised to Clear Peru Trade Pact Legislation

The Senate was expected to clear legislation Tuesday implementing a free-trade agreement with Peru, as President Bush urged Congress to grant similar approval to a trade pact with Colombia.  [Read More]

House Seeks to Shield Virginia Tech Victims from Tax Liability

The House on Tuesday was seeking to ensure that victims of last spring’s Virginia Tech massacre and their family members do not have to pay income taxes on payments they received from a memorial fund created with donations from around the country.  [Read More]

House Moving to Facilitate Paired Organ Donations

The House was expected to pass legislation Tuesday to ease the way for organ donations by unrelated living donors.  [Read More]

Hutchison Drops Out of Senate GOP Leadership Race

Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas announced Tuesday she will not seek the Senate Republican Conference chairmanship, clearing the way for a two-man race between Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Richard M. Burr of North Carolina.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Dec. 4

How many U.S. House and Senate incumbents were defeated in primary elections in 2006?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman plans to seek the House seat held by Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, D-Ohio, who refuses to say if he plans to seek a seventh term. Cimperman, a Democrat, planned a Tuesday announcement of his candidacy. If Kucinich does seek re-election, Cimperman, “the political point person on development and housing downtown,” would be his first serious challenger, the daily said. The filing deadline for the seat is a month away.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, R-Md., is backing off his longstanding refusal to take campaign contributions from political action committees. Gilchrest campaign spokesman Tony Caligiuri said contributions to his primary opponent, state Sen. Andrew Harris, from groups such as the Club for Growth forced the incumbent’s hand. “When we realized the Club for Growth was going to dump hundreds of thousands of dollars into this race, it wouldn’t be a fair fight,” Caligiuri said.

The Oregonian reports that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s $93,000 expenditure for Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley’s challenge to Sen. Gordon H. Smith, R-Ore., is further evidence that Merkley is the favored candidate of the party establishment. But the funding has irked Merkley’s primary opponent and his supporters. “It’s their job to help Democrats beat Republicans, not to take sides in a primary,” Steve Novick said. Merkley is backed by Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski and other state Democratic leaders, but former Rep. Les AuCoin on Monday endorsed Novick.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
PHILADELPHIA: High Court Overrules City, OKs Casino
PHOENIX: Mayor: Expand Police Immigration Enforcement
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Ex-Bank Employee Arrested in Tax Scam
NEW YORK CITY: Crime Lab Retesting Thousands of Drug Samples
GREAT LAKES REGION: Environmentalists: State Can Regulate Ship Ballast

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Monday, December 03, 2007

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, DEC. 3, 2007 – 2:13 P.M.

In This Issue

  • New Intelligence Estimate Says Iran Halted Nuclear Weapons Program in 2003
  • Supreme Court Turns Down Rep. McDermott’s Appeal
  • Defense Policy Bill Hung Up on Hate Crimes Provision
  • Congress Sets Its 2008 Calendar
  • Political Trivia for Dec. 1-3
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Today in Washington

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

The Senate  convenes at 2 p.m. No roll call votes are expected.

The President  attends a children’s holiday reception and performance on the State Floor of the White House; meets with U.S.-Palestinian Public-Private Partnership.

In Washington,  Attorney General Michael Mukasey lights the National Chanukah Menorah, 5 p.m., the Ellipse in front of the White House, 16th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W.

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Top Stories

New Intelligence Estimate Says Iran Halted Nuclear Weapons Program in 2003

Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and will not be capable of producing and reprocessing sufficient plutonium for a nuclear weapon until 2015, according to a new estimate by the U.S. intelligence community.  [Read More]

Supreme Court Turns Down Rep. McDermott’s Appeal

Rep. Jim McDermott on Monday lost what could be the final round in his protracted legal battle against the House’s top Republican when the Supreme Court refused to review the matter.  [Read More]

Defense Policy Bill Hung Up on Hate Crimes Provision

The House could consider the fiscal 2008 defense authorization conference report later this week, but only if negotiators decide quickly whether to include an unrelated hot-button provision, aides said Monday.  [Read More]

Congress Sets Its 2008 Calendar

The House Democratic leadership Monday issued a schedule for 2008 that anticipates floor votes on at least 11 Fridays next year in a session dominated by election-year politicking.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Dec. 1-3

How many current Virginia U.S. House members first won a special election?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Newark Star-Ledger reports that Republican state Sen. Diane Allen has declined to run for the House seat being vacated by Rep. H. James Saxton, R-N.J., calling it “the surprise of the day.” Allen had widely been considered a strong contender in the Republican-leaning district. But she faced a well-financed run by Democratic state Sen. John Adler and a political feud with Glenn Paulsen, former Burlington County GOP chairman. “Now is not the time in my life that I feel prepared to again fight a Democrat opponent as well as a rogue faction of the Burlington County Republican Party simultaneously,” she said. State Republican Chairman Tom Wilson said Allen would have made a “phenomenal candidate,” but others could keep the seat in the GOP column.

The Sioux City Journal reports that Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said he hasn’t decided whether to challenge Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, next year. King said he’s getting a lot of questions from Iowa Republicans about the race. “Most everywhere I go, for the last year and a half, it comes up constantly,” King said. “The message is mixed. Some say, ‘You’re the only guy who can beat Harkin’ — I don’t know that to be true, but they say that — and then the person next to them will say, ‘We don’t want to lose you from the Iowa House,’ and that can go back and forth like a tennis match until you change the subject.” The filing deadline for the Senate race in March 15.

The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reports that nearly halfway through his term, Rep. Michael Arcuri, D-N.Y., a former Oneida County district attorney, “is one of just three Democrats in swing districts who do not have opponents for the 2008 election.” But Ken Spain, press secretary for the National Republican Congressional Committee, told the paper that Oneida County businessman Richard Hanna, CEO of Hanna Construction Inc., is “strongly considering” entering the race. “Republicans hope to paint Arcuri as too liberal for the 24th Congressional District seat, held by Republican Sherwood Boehlert for 12 terms until he retired last January.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Tax Scam Losses Top $44 Million
CHICAGO: Amtrak Train in Crash Was Travelling Too Fast
NEW YORK CITY: Fishing Ban Lifted in Wake of Oil Spill
MAINE: Governor Eases Logging-Truck Rules
WISCONSIN: State Losing Millions in Out-of-State Driver Fines

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