Wednesday, July 02, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, JULY 2, 2008 – 2:09 P.M.

In This Issue

  • High Gas Prices Shift Public Views on Domestic Oil Drilling, Poll Shows
  • New Report Suggests Ways to Reduce Tax Gap
  • High Court’s Campaign Finance Ruling Poses Threat to State Laws
  • Political Trivia for July 2
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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 has adjourned for the July Fourth recess; reconvenes at 2 p.m. Monday, July 7.

President Bush makes a statement about the 2008 G8 Summit in Japan, which he will attend next week.

In Washington, the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, featuring a salute to Texas music, food and wine, and a celebration of Bhutan, resumes on the National Mall, daily through July 6, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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Top Stories

High Gas Prices Shift Public Views on Domestic Oil Drilling, Poll Shows

Soaring gasoline prices appear to be changing public views about the merits of oil and gas drilling in environmentally sensitive areas like Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a new poll shows.  [Read More]

New Report Suggests Ways to Reduce Tax Gap

A new Government Accountability Office report is reigniting the interest of Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus in closing the “tax gap” between taxes owed and taxes paid.  [Read More]

High Court’s Campaign Finance Ruling Poses Threat to State Laws

Last week’s Supreme Court decision nullifying the “millionaire’s amendment’’ in federal campaign finance laws means renewed legal challenges to programs in at least eight states and two cities that provide more in public funds to candidates running against privately financed foes.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for July 2

How many times have the Democrats begun their national convention on July 4?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

Minnesota Public Radio reports that Democrat Al Franken, who is seeking to oust Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, says he no longer would support an increase in the federal gas tax in light of recent price surges. “Last year, Franken said he would not rule out a small increase in the gas tax to help pay for infrastructure improvements,” the station reports. “However, that was in the wake of the I-35W bridge collapse, when gas was selling below $3 a gallon.” Franken wrote on his Web site that Minnesotans are feeling the squeeze after a nearly 50 percent jump in gas prices since the bridge collapse. “We need to take that option off the table and find another way to fund our infrastructure,” Franken wrote. Coleman has opposed increasing the federal gas tax.

The Los Angeles Times reports that “San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who built a national reputation pushing cutting-edge — and controversial — policies on same-sex marriage, health care and other issues, launched an exploratory bid for governor Tuesday.” The 40-year-old, two-term mayor is part of a “a large Democratic field eyeing the race to succeed Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is barred by term limits from running again in 2010.” Among others “widely discussed” as potential candidates are Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown, a former governor; Lt. Gov. John Garamendi; former Controller Steve Westly, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2006, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “Among Republicans, state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner is seen as likely to run.”

The Concord Monitor reports that former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen plans to use incumbent GOP Sen. John E. Sununu’s voting record against him. She said their rematch will be a referendum on what Sununu has done since winning the seat in 2002. Polls indicate Shaheen has an 11-point lead. “He’s running as an incumbent senator now...who voted with this administration 90 percent of the time and got us to where we are today: with $9 trillion in debt, a war in Iraq with no end, a housing crisis, gas prices that are the highest in history, and no energy plan,” Shaheen said. But Sununu spokeswoman Julie Teer attacked “Jeanne Shaheen’s legacy of failed leadership and higher taxes.” Shaheen is a former three-term governor, and much of the 2002 race focused on her record. Now she hopes to turn the tables, the paper said.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
DETROIT: Four Council Members Targeted in Corruption Probe
NEW YORK CITY: Hospital Agency Vows Reforms after Videotaped Death
OAKLAND, Calif.: Mayor Fires City Administrator
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Proposal Allows Loaded Guns for Self-Defense
PHILADELPHIA: City Union Authorizes Strike
RHODE ISLAND: Court Overturns Statea??s $2.4 Billion Lead-Paint Victory
FLORIDA: State Resumes Executions
THE WEST: Governors Avoid ’Balkanization‘ on Climate Change

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