Friday, February 15, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, FEB. 15, 2008 – 2:04 P.M.

In This Issue

  • FISA Talks Start as White House, Republicans Assail Democrats
  • FDA, House Staff Meet on Blood Thinner Safety Concerns
  • Walker Resigning GAO Post To Lead New Public Policy Foundation
  • Political Trivia for Feb. 15
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Today in Washington

The House meets in pro forma session.

The Senate  meets in pro forma session.

The President  meets with bicameral Republican leadership; then meets with Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations; departs with Mrs. Bush on a trip to Africa.

In Washington,   a panel discussion moderated by actor and activist Clayton LeBouef at the unveiling of the prototype of the Benjamin Banneker Memorial explores the impact on history of the 18th century African-American mathematician, astronomer, clockmaker and publisher. 7 p.m., McGowan Theater, National Archives, Constitution Ave., between 7th and 9th Sts. N.W.

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Top Stories

FISA Talks Start as White House, Republicans Assail Democrats

Congressional Republicans and the White House feuded anew with Democrats Friday over the impending expiration of a temporary surveillance law, as top Democrats began meeting on a more lasting electronic eavesdropping overhaul.  [Read More]

FDA, House Staff Meet on Blood Thinner Safety Concerns

Food and Drug Administration staff met with congressional investigators Friday to discuss safety concerns over the blood thinner Heparin, a day after a House subcommittee chairman called for the resignation of the FDA commissioner..  [Read More]

Walker Resigning GAO Post To Lead New Public Policy Foundation

David M. Walker, the U.S. comptroller general and head of the Government Accountability Office, announced Friday that he will resign in March to lead a new foundation focused on long-term public policy challenges.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Feb. 15

Which former GOP presidential nominee saw his comeback hopes ended in the 1944 Wisconsin primary?  [Read More]

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The Defense Budget

This TheCapitol.Net course, held each year in mid-February, concentrates on the president's new fiscal year defense budget proposal and how Congress responds to it. Experienced faculty members explore and study key documents, charts and graphs, budget allocations and projections provided in this budget. The defense budget request is carefully analyzed, focusing on winners and losers, the Defense Department's budget authority by title, weapons systems, budget by service, military transformation and Congress' response.
WHERE: Goethe-Institut, 812 Seventh Street, N.W.
WHEN: February 29, 2008, 8:30 am to 4:15 pm
Registration Fee: $595
Full program description and online registration, or call our registrar at 202-678-1600.
This training conference is sponsored by TheCapitol.Net, exclusive provider of Congressional Quarterly Executive Conferences.

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Political Clippings

The Beatrice Daily Sun in Nebraska reports that Democrats have finally gotten their first House candidates. Max Yashirin, a 25-year-old former Marine, said he will challenge Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb. In the 2nd District, Jim Esch is reconsidering his decision not to seek a rematch with GOP Rep. Lee Terry, though he would face a primary challenge from economics professor Richard Carter.

The Salisbury Post reports that truck driver Duskin C. Lassiter became the first Democrat to file as a candidate against Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C. Investment banker Jim Neal and state Sen. Kay Hagan have announced they also will enter the Democratic primary race but have not yet filed. Lassiter introduced himself in a video on his campaign Web site, saying voters can return to “the same old policies that don’t work, or we can choose a better way.” He wants to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour, expand basic education to include two years of college and implement universal health care. He also says free trade should be replaced with “balanced trade.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
DEKALB, Ill.: Six Dead in University Shootings
HOUSTON: City to Offer Police $12,000 Signing Bonuses
CHICAGO: Trains, Buses to Get $227 Million Makeover
THE NATION: Bond Crisis Threatens State, Local Finances
FLORIDA: Poll: Little Support for Evolution-Only Education
WASHINGTON STATE: Embattled Crime Lab Chief Resigns

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, FEB. 14, 2008 – 2:25 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Republicans Stage Walkout Over Surveillance Law Standoff
  • Contempt Citation Sparks House Battle
  • Partisan Dustup Mars Lantos Memorial Service
  • Bernanke Urges Action on Housing-Related Measures
  • Political Trivia for Feb. 14
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Today in Washington

The House  considers a resolution to cite former White House counsel Harriet Miers and chief of staff Joshua B. Bolten for contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas from the House Judiciary Committee.

The Senate  considers a bill to reauthorize Indian Health Services program.

The President  makes remarks on Africa policy at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art; makes statement about the expiring Protect America electronic surveillance law.

In Washington,  the Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a discussion with Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., about U.S. policy towards Pakistan. 4 p.m., CSIS B1 Conference Center, 1800 K St., N.W.

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Top Stories

House Republicans Stage Walkout Over Surveillance Law Standoff

House Republicans left the chamber en masse Thursday to protest the lack of action on a long-term law governing electronic spying, as Democrats said they will try again to extend a temporary law before it expires this weekend.  [Read More]

Contempt Citation Sparks House Battle

A constitutional confrontation between congressional Democrats and President Bush over an effort to compel testimony of top White House officials led to a heated House debate Thursday, interrupted by a Republican walkout over a separate issue.  [Read More]

Partisan Dustup Mars Lantos Memorial Service

A solemn Statuary Hall memorial service for House Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos, D-Calif., was interrupted Thursday by bells calling members to the floor to vote, triggering an angry partisan wrangle.  [Read More]

Bernanke Urges Action on Housing-Related Measures

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke called on Congress Thursday to pass legislation to modernize the Federal Housing Administration and overhaul regulation of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in order to help the struggling housing market.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Feb. 14

How many members of Congress have had the last name Valentine?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Phoenix Business Journal reports that “Sen. John McCain’s office Wednesday countered speculation that the Arizona Republican would resign this summer to focus on his presidential bid,” as former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., did the summer that he became the 1996 GOP presidential nominee. “McCain spokeswoman Melissa Shuffield told the Phoenix Business Journal that McCain has ‘no current plans’ to step down from his Senate seat.” If he should do so, Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano would appoint an interim senator to serve until a special election in November. “State law requires that appointment to be of the same party as the officeholder.” Talk is already swirling about possible interim contenders, including GOP Rep. John Shadegg, who just announced he will not seek re-election to the House this year.

Long Island Newsday reports, “Suffolk Republican officials yesterday named Lee Zeldin, who served recently in the U.S. Army in Iraq, as their candidate to challenge” Rep. Timothy H. Bishop, D-N.Y., in the 1st District on eastern Long Island. Zeldin “faces an uphill fight against Bishop, who already has $750,000 in his campaign fund and won re-election in 2006 with 62 percent of the vote.” Aides say Zeldin “has raised $170,000, although they could not say how much he has on hand.”

The Galveston Daily News reports, “It’s an uphill battle — financially speaking — for the GOP in its efforts to unseat” Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Texas, who holds the seat once occupied by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas. “That’s because Lampson, running unopposed in the Democratic primary, can sit on his war chest while the 10 Republican candidates spend in an effort to separate themselves from the pack.” Former Houston councilwoman Shelley Sekula Gibbs, whom Lampson narrowly defeated in 2006, “reported $435,467 in cash on hand at the end of 2007, “well behind Lampson, who reported $715,988 in cash on hand,” but “well ahead of former US Senate staffer Pete Olson, who had $190,614 in cash on hand.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
BERKELEY, Calif.: Council Backs Down from Anti-Marine Stance
KENOSHA COUNTY, Wis.: County Executive Charged with Bribery
THE COLORADO RIVER REGION: Scientists: Lake Mead Could Dry Up by 2021
CALIFORNIA: Embattled Highway Patrol Chief Steps Down

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, FEB. 13, 2008 – 2:05 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Republicans Will Force Vote on Senate’s Electronic Surveillance Law
  • Senate Vote Looms on Bid to Bar Torture in Interrogations
  • McCain Gets the Nod from House GOP Leadership
  • Senate Panel Approves Restrictions on Retailer-Owned Loan Companies
  • Lawmakers Propose Reducing Subsidies, Taxes in New Farm Bill
  • Political Trivia for Feb. 13
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Today in Washington

The House  considers a public housing bill, a measure authorizing National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration funding, and a 21-day extension of a temporary law governing electronic surveillance.

The Senate  is debating the conference report on the fiscal 2008 intelligence authorization bill.

The President  signs HR 5140, the economic stimulus bill offering rebate checks to individuals and investment tax incentives to businesses.

In Washington,   the Washington Press Club Foundation holds its 64th Annual Congressional Dinner, beaturing Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. They will be joined by special guests House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. Former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow will emcee, 6:30 p.m., Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 1150 22nd St., N.W.

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Top Stories

House Republicans Will Force Vote on Senate’s Electronic Surveillance Law

As the House turned to a 21-day extension of a temporary law governing electronic surveillance, Republicans prepared a motion to force a vote on the long-term version passed Tuesday by the Senate.  [Read More]

Senate Vote Looms on Bid to Bar Torture in Interrogations

The Senate was headed for a vote Wednesday on a move to strike a provision from the final version of an intelligence authorization bill that would bar a number of harsh interrogation techniques.  [Read More]

McCain Gets the Nod from House GOP Leadership

House Republican leaders on Wednesday endorsed Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the party’s likely presidential nominee, after what he called a “spirited, good discussion.’’  [Read More]

Senate Panel Approves Restrictions on Retailer-Owned Loan Companies

The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to approve a bill that would restrict retail companies from owning banks.  [Read More]

Lawmakers Propose Reducing Subsidies, Taxes in New Farm Bill

In an effort to win White House support for a new version of the farm bill, House lawmakers are proposing to reduce the measure’s agriculture subsidies as well as the tax revenue designed to pay for them.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Feb. 13

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

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Political Clippings

The Portsmouth Herald News reported that former astronaut Jay Buckey withdrew from the Senate race, clearing the way for fellow Democrat and former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen to challenge Sen. John E. Sununu without a primary election fight. Buckey said he does not have the resources to campaign full-time until November against well-financed opponents. As of Dec. 31, Sununu had $3.4 million on hand compared to Shaheen’s $1.4 million and $32,000 for Buckey. Shaheen, who lost to Sununu in 2002, is leading in most polls.

The Arizona Republic reports that Paradise Valley Mayor Ed Winkler became the first Republican to seek the House seat being vacated by Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz. Several other Republicans are weighing a run for the seat in the heavily Republican district. Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, meanwhile, said he’s not interested in challenging fellow Democrat Bob Lord in a primary. Lord’s campaign said he expects even greater support from local and national Democrats now that Shadegg is out, and announced the endorsement of Jim Pederson, the shopping-center developer who lost to Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., in 2006 and was expected to seek Shadegg’s seat.

The Goshen News in Indiana reports that businessman Luke Puckett will seek the Republican nomination to challenge Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., in November. He will face attorney Tony Zirkle in the May 6 primary election. Donnelly, a freshman, ousted former GOP Rep. Chris Chocola in 2006.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
BERKELEY, Calif.: Council Backs Down from Anti-Marine Stance
KENOSHA COUNTY, Wis.: County Executive Charged with Bribery
THE COLORADO RIVER REGION: Scientists: Lake Mead Could Dry Up by 2021
CALIFORNIA: Embattled Highway Patrol Chief Steps Down

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, FEB. 12, 2008 – 1:56 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate Expected to Pass Electronic Surveillance Bill
  • Lenders Agree to 30-Day Hold on Foreclosures
  • Senators Demand Tighter Controls on U.S. Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Trivia for Feb. 12
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Today in Washington

The House  takes up several bills under suspension of the rules, including a resolution marking the death of Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif.

The Senate  continues work on an electronic surveillance bill and may begin debate on the conference report on the fiscal 2008 intelligence authorization.

The President  meets with the President Amadou Toumani Touré of Mali; attends a Republican National Committee luncheon; and makes remarks at White House celebration of African-American History Month.

In Washington,  voters in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia are casting ballots in the “Potomac Primary.”

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Top Stories

Senate Expected to Pass Electronic Surveillance Bill

Legislation overhauling the ground rules for electronic surveillance was moving toward passage in the Senate Tuesday after surmounting all major challenges.  [Read More]

Lenders Agree to 30-Day Hold on Foreclosures

The Bush administration on Tuesday unveiled its latest effort to help struggling homeowners stave off foreclosure, including both subprime and other borrowers in the plan.  [Read More]

Senators Demand Tighter Controls on U.S. Nuclear Weapons

Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday insisted that the Air Force fix what Defense Department officials described as the U.S. military’s loss of focus in safeguarding its nuclear weapons.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Feb. 12

Who was the first presidential candidate to win electoral votes from the District of Columbia?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Schenectady Gazette reports that Schenectady Mayor Brian Stratton said he would not run for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Michael R. McNulty, D-N.Y., opting instead to focus on his city’s continued revitalization. Stratton, a Democrat, is the son of former Rep. Samuel S. Stratton, who represented the area in Congress for 30 years. Local Democrats have not settled on whether to endorse local party committee chairman Phil Steck or Tracey Brooks, a former aide to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y. On the Republican side, J. Chris Callaghan, who ran unsuccessfully for state comptroller two years ago, is considering a run.

The Denver Post reports that former Rep. Bob Schaffer is reinventing himself as a healer for fractured Republicans in his bid to succeed Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., this year. It’s a switch from his last Senate campaign in 2004, when Schaffer engaged in a bitter primary fight against beer company executive Pete Coors, attacking Coors from the right on issues such as abortion, beer ads and homosexuality. The daily said many state Republicans are willing to put old differences aside to beat Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., and keep the seat in GOP hands, and Schaffer is glad to oblige, shedding his advocacy of wedge issues and pushing a pro-business message.

The New Hampshire Union Leader reports that Grant Bosse, a former legislative assistant to Sen. John E. Sununu, R-N.H., is planning to jump into the GOP primary for the House seat now held by Democrat Paul W. Hodes. Bosse, the son of former state House Majority Leader Leigh Bosse, will be the fourth Republican in the race, facing talk show host Jennifer Horn, attorney James Steiner and state Sen. Robert Clegg.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NATION: 30 Counties Tops in Disaster Aid
ATLANTA: Court Voids School-Tax Funding for Beltline
TEXAS: Youth-Prison Director Forced Out
FLORIDA: Feds Charge Ex-Official with Child Pornography

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Monday, February 11, 2008

FW: Turn to CQ Budget Tracker on budget day

This is your final opportunity to request a free trial to CQ Budget Tracker. Please see below for details.
 
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Dear Colleague,

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Further, in the coming weeks, CQ Budget Tracker will cover appearances by administration officials as they visit Capitol Hill to defend their agency’s budget.

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CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, FEB. 11, 2008 – 1:59 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Leaders Pay Tribute to House Foreign Affairs Chairman Lantos
  • Charges Filed in Military Court Against Top Sept. 11 Suspects
  • Lawmakers Assail Bush Budget for FAA as House Readies New Extension
  • Lobbyists and Lawmakers Tread Lightly Around New Disclosure Law
  • Political Trivia for Feb. 11
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Today in Washington

The House  is not in session; reconvenes at 2 p.m. Tuesday to consider minor bills under suspension of the rules.

The Senate  continues work on an electronic surveillance bill.

The President  signs the 2008 Economic Report and attends a Heart Truth reception.

In Washington,  The American Enterprise Institute presents a lecture on “Science and Anti-Science: From Washington to the Classroom,” with Case Western Reserve University physicist Lawrence M. Krauss, who will discuss scientific illiteracy with reference to the debate over teaching evolution in schools and the lack of clear scientific thinking on Washington policy issues such as missile defense and global warming. 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., AEI’s Wohlstetter Conference Center, 12th floor, 1150 17th St., N.W.

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Top Stories

Leaders Pay Tribute to House Foreign Affairs Chairman Lantos

President Bush and congressional leaders of both parties paid tribute to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, D-Calif., a Holocaust survivor and champion of human rights, who died Monday morning.  [Read More]

Charges Filed in Military Court Against Top Sept. 11 Suspects

The U.S. government Monday charged six detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — including the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — with murder and war crimes and said it will seek the death penalty.  [Read More]

Lawmakers Assail Bush Budget for FAA as House Readies New Extension

As the House prepares to take up another short-term extension of the Federal Aviation Administration’s funding authority, lawmakers Monday assailed President Bush’s proposed budget for the agency.  [Read More]

Lobbyists and Lawmakers Tread Lightly Around New Disclosure Law

A new bundling disclosure rule for campaign contributions has some lobbyists and lawmakers nervous about avoiding ethical and legal problems this election year.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Feb. 11

Which White House hopeful from Massachusetts lost a Maryland Democratic primary?  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
KIRKWOOD, Mo.: Mayor Improving in Wake of City Hall Shootings
DEARBORN, Mich.: Mayor Who Reached Out to Arab-Americans Dies
PORT WENTWORTH, Ga.: Sixth Body Found After Sugar-Plant Blast
NEBRASKA: Court: Electric Chair Unconstitutional
COLORADO: Open-Space Law Tainted by Abuses

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Political Clippings

The Eagle Tribune reports that Sen. John E. Sununu, R-N.H., is maintaining a sizable fundraising lead over his chief opponent, former Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen. As of Dec. 31, Sununu had $3.4 million on hand compared to Shaheen’s $1.4 million and $32,000 for former astronaut Jay Buckey, who is challenging Shaheen in the Democratic primary.

The Press of Atlantic City reports that Democratic New Jersey state Sen. Jeff Van Drew may be reconsidering whether to challenge Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo, R-N.J., after the massive turnout in the Feb. 5 Democratic presidential primary. Van Drew had widely been expected to take a pass on the race, but party insiders say it appears he may jump in. “I haven’t made a firm decision yet. The people just elected me to the state Senate, which I take very seriously,” Van Drew said.

The Hendersonville News reports that Asheville City Council member Carl Mumpower is relying heavily on e-mail to rally supporters in his challenge to Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C. Mumpower, a Republican, has sent out nearly 50 e-mails giving his analysis and opinion on issues ranging from immigration to gun control. “This is a new century, calling for new methods, and cyberspace has unlimited, untapped potential for a candidate with a mission and the courage to have an honest voice,” Mumpower wrote in his first message. Experts, however, are skeptical of the effectiveness of the Internet in politics, saying there’s no clear evidence the messages get through.

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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.
MENTAL HEALTH PARITY: House passes extension of current law while planning strategy on larger measure.
BUDGET: President Bush promises to veto any spending bills that exceed levels in his fiscal 2009 budget plan.
MEDICARE: Witnesses tell Senate panel of marketing abuses in Medicare Advantage. | Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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