Monday, June 30, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, JUNE 30, 2008 – 1:40 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Administration Delays Medicare Payment Cuts for Now
  • Court Refuses to Suspend Medicare Durable Equipment Bidding Awards
  • Bush Signs Final War Spending Bill of His Presidency
  • Political Trivia for June 30
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Today in Washington

The House has adjourned for the July Fourth recess; reconvenes at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 8.

The Senate meets in pro forma session, then adjourns for the July Fourth recess; reconvenes at 2 p.m. Monday, July 7.

President Bush signs this year’s war supplemental appropriations act; attends a White House T-ball game.

In Washington, Freedom House hosts a briefing with representatives of Zimbabwe’s opposition party, civil society organizations and the U.S. State Department to discuss the country’s political crisis. The discussion will examine possible courses of action for international and African bodies seeking to resolve the political standoff with President Robert Mugabe. 3 p.m., SEIU Building, 1800 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.

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Top Stories

Administration Delays Medicare Payment Cuts for Now

The Bush administration has announced that it will hold off processing new Medicare claims from physicians to give Congress more time to avert deep cuts in doctors’ payments set to take effect Tuesday.  [Read More]

Court Refuses to Suspend Medicare Durable Equipment Bidding Awards

Companies that lost out on bids to provide home medical supplies to Medicare patients also lost another round in court on Monday, when a federal judge in Washington declined to issue an injunction against the bidding program.  [Read More]

Bush Signs Final War Spending Bill of His Presidency

President Bush on Monday signed a $186.5 billion supplemental spending bill that provides funding for another year of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan while greatly expanding GI Bill education benefits for veterans of the two wars.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for June 30

How many Republicans have been nominated for president in the states where they resided?  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
DETROIT: Council President's Aide Taped Taking Cash
THE MIDWEST: Flooded Towns' Dilemma: Rebuild or Relocate?
WASHINGTON, D.C.: City Weighing New Gun Controls
OAKLAND, Calif.: Mayor Puts Embattled City Administrator on Leave
SOUTH DAKOTA: Injunction Lifted for Abortion Law
THE WEST: Governors Move to Coordinate Wildlife Management
CALIFORNIA: Judge Orders Minutemen Adopt-a-Highway Sign Restored
NEW YORK STATE: Governor's Cataract Surgery Successful

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Political Clippings

The Hartford Courant reports that Democrats are upbeat about the possibility that Jim Himes can unseat Connecticut’s Christopher Shays, “the only Republican holding a House seat in New England.” The 4th District lawmaker has survived close races in recent elections. “With an influx of new Democratic voters, many of them drawn to the party by Sen. Barack Obama, the Himes campaign says the [district] is ripe for a change,” the newspaper reports. But first Himes faces “an unexpected hurdle” in an August primary against Lee Whitnum, a substitute teacher who petitioned her way onto the ballot. Himes sees the primary as a chance talk to voters about the issues of the campaign. For his part, Shays says the primary could raise the profile of his likely challenger.

The Daily Times of Salisbury, Md., reports that Democrat Frank Kratovil is getting some serious fundraising help in his race for Maryland’s 1st District House seat. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee held a fundraiser for Kratovil in Washington last week that raised nearly $80,000 and has targeted the race for extra help. Leading Democratic lawmakers from the state — including Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer — stressed the importance of beating state Sen. Andy Harris in November. Harris defeated nine-term GOP Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest in a February primary. Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the DCCC, says Kratovil is “more in line with the tradition of Gilchrest, who is known as an independent and moderate.” The GOP, meanwhile, says Harris’ “commitment to lower taxes and decreasing wasteful government spending” is in line with district voters.

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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.
MEDICARE: Congress adjourns for the July 4 recess without passing legislation that would stop a scheduled pay cut in Medicare physician payment rates scheduled to go into effect July 1.
HHS: Senate panel passes measure to fund the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other agencies but action on House version of bill stalls.
HEALTH IT: House committee approves measure to encourage widespread use of health information technology. | Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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