Friday, February 22, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, FEB. 22, 2008 – 1:55 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Arizona Rep. Renzi Indicted in Land Swap Investigation
  • House Panel Subpoenas Owners of Utah Mine
  • Justice Department Says Its Probe Will Address Waterboarding Advice
  • Senate to Take Test Votes on Bills to Change Iraq Policy
  • Political Trivia for Feb. 22
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House is not in session; reconvenes for legislative business at 4 p.m. Monday.

The Senate  meets in pro forma session; reconvenes at 3 p.m. Monday to resume consideration of an Indian health care bill.

The President  has no public events scheduled.

In Washington,  The George Washington University community celebrates the birthday of the nation’s first president and university namesake, with music and a cherry pie-eating contest. 6:30 p.m., Continental Ballroom, third floor of the Marvin Center, 800 21st Street, N.W.

---------------------------------

Top Stories

Arizona Rep. Renzi Indicted in Land Swap Investigation

A federal grand jury in Arizona has indicted Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., on conspiracy, fraud, extortion, and money laundering charges after an investigation lasting more than a year.  [Read More]

House Panel Subpoenas Owners of Utah Mine

A House committee issued two subpoenas Friday in its ongoing investigation of a deadly 2007 Utah mine collapse.  [Read More]

Justice Department Says Its Probe Will Address Waterboarding Advice

The Department of Justice has informed two Democratic senators that concerns they raised about departmental advice on harsh interrogation techniques are part of an internal investigation.  [Read More]

Senate to Take Test Votes on Bills to Change Iraq Policy

The Senate will vote Tuesday on whether to limit debate on Democrats’ efforts to call up two measures intended to force changes in U.S. Iraq policy, but the primary attempt is unlikely to succeed.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Feb. 22

How many states cast electoral votes for George Washington in his first election for president?  [Read More]

---------------------------------

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.

---------------------------------

Political Clippings

The Lake County News-Sun reports that the national Democratic Party” is flexing its muscles behind” candidate Dan Seals in Illinois’ 10th District, “something that didn’t occur in 2006 when Seals lost a fairly close election to incumbent U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk,” drawing 47 percent of the vote to 53 percent for Kirk. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, joined Seals at a rally Thursday, and said “the national party will support Seals financially, and said it has already paid for ads and is participating in fund-raising events” with Seals.

According to the Raleigh News and Observer, Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C., may face “an old nemesis in the fall. Former state Sen. Hugh Webster told the N.C. Republican Roundtable that he intends to file next week to run as a Republican in the 13th Congressional District.” Miller, who first must surmount a primary challenge by Derald Hafner of Franklinton, jousted often with Webster when the two served in the state Senate. “Webster’s beef: Miller was a smarty-pants. Miller’s gripe: Webster asked ridiculous questions.”

Foster’s Daily Democrat reports that the contest for the Republican nomination in New Hampshire’s 1st District “is now a three-man race,” with Air Force veteran Jim Forsythe joining the fray. Forsythe chairs “the Strafford Taxpayers Coalition and founded New Hampshire Parents for Educational Freedom, a school-choice advocacy group that’s gotten him familiar with the Statehouse. He also volunteered for U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential campaign, where he met people now helping him set up an online fundraising network.” Former GOP Rep. Jeb Bradley of Wolfeboro and John Stephen, a former state Health and Human Services commissioner, are also vying for the nomination to take on Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., in November.

---------------------------------

Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
Miami-Dade County: Marlins Win New Ballpark
Los Angeles: Gang Mayhem Shuts Down Part of City
Milwaukee: Consultant: Redeploy Police, Employ Civilians
San Francisco: Justice Backs Health-Plan Employer Payments
Durham, N.C.: Lacrosse Players Sue over Rape Prosecution
Idaho/Montana/Wyoming: Gray Wolves Coming Off Endangered List

---------------------------------

Thursday, February 21, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, FEB. 21, 2008 – 2:05 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate Democrats Will Try to Move Housing Stimulus Package
  • White House Shares Surveillance Documents With House Judiciary
  • Appeal May Delay Start of Rep. Jefferson’s Trial
  • Political Trivia for Feb. 21
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House meets in pro forma session; reconvenes for legislative business at 2 p.m., Feb. 25.

The Senate  meets in pro forma session; reconvenes for legislative business at 3 p.m., Feb. 25.

The President  and First Lady Laura Bush spend the day in Monrovia, Liberia, meeting with President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and participating in various activities, including greeting embassy staff, reviewing Liberian troops and participating in a roundtable discussion about teacher training at the University of Liberia.

In Washington,  The Independent Institute hosts a forum on efforts to end world poverty titled “The Secret to Making Poor Nations Rich.” With Benjamin Powell and Alvaro Varga Llosa from The Independent Institute, and George Ayittey of American University. 6 p.m., The Independent Institute, 1319 18th St., N.W.

---------------------------------

Top Stories

Senate Democrats Will Try to Move Housing Stimulus Package

Senate Democratic leaders will try to move housing-focused stimulus legislation early next week that contains a controversial change to bankruptcy law and tax breaks for businesses.  [Read More]

White House Shares Surveillance Documents With House Judiciary

The Bush administration agreed this week to show the full House Judiciary Committee legal documents related to its post-Sept. 11 warrantless surveillance program.  [Read More]

Appeal May Delay Start of Rep. Jefferson’s Trial

The trial of Rep. William J. Jefferson, D-La., on federal bribery and corruption charges — slated to begin Feb. 25 — is likely to be postponed because he intends to appeal a judge’s decision permitting the case to go forward.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Feb. 21

What kind of business did former President George Washington establish at his Mount Vernon estate?  [Read More]

---------------------------------

Political Clippings

The Cleveland Plain Dealer, in its politics blog, reports that the campaign of Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, D-Ohio, has acknowledged in a news release that he faces the toughest re-election fight of his congressional career in the March 4 Democratic primary. The daily also endorsed Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman, his leading opponent, saying “voters should retire the show horse and hitch up a workhorse,” even though Cimperman lives just outside the boundaries of the 10th District.

The Cape Cod Times reports that retired Air Force officer James Ogonowski, who surprised observers with his strong showing before losing to Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., in a special House election last year, is bringing his “citizen legislator” campaign to the Senate. Ogonowski, whose brother piloted one of the four hijacked aircraft in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, is one of two Republicans seeking to challenge Democratic Sen. John Kerry. The other, Jeffrey Beatty, announced last week that he would run. A third, Kevin Scott, a former Wakefield selectman, dropped out of the race and endorsed Ogonowski, but his name remains on the September primary ballot.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on a new poll showing that New Jersey residents believe Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., is too old (Sen. Lautenberg is 84) to effectively serve another six-year term, by 58 percent to 36 percent, but prefer him to a generic Republican challenger, 37 percent to 30 percent. The Quinnipiac University survey of 1,803 voters conducted February 13-18 had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.

---------------------------------

Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
JERSEY CITY, N.J.: 'All Would Die' Note Triggers Campus Lockdown
DETROIT: State Withholds $26 Million over Late Audit
HOUSTON: City Offers $12,000 Police Signing Bonuses
GEORGIA: State Drops Office Depot over Overcharges
ARIZONA: Solar Plant to Supply 1.1 Million Customers
COLORADO: Report: 2 Million Acres of Forest at Risk

---------------------------------

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, FEB. 20, 2008 – 2 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Former Rep. Ney Transferred to Halfway House
  • Negotiations Under Way on Higher Education Bill as Deadline Nears
  • House Moves Up Start of August Recess
  • Political Trivia for Feb. 20
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House meets in pro forma session; reconvenes for legislative business at 2 p.m., Feb. 25.

The Senate  meets in pro forma session; reconvenes for legislative business at 3 p.m., Feb. 25.

The President  and First Lady Laura Bush spend the day in Ghana, meeting with President of Ghana John Kufuor and participating in local events, including lunch with Peace Corps volunteers and watching a tee ball game.

In Washington,  the Washington International Trade Association hosts a discussion: “Trade Policy Monitoring and Enforcement Abroad.” Speakers include Dan Brinza, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Monitoring and Enforcement, and others. 4:30-6:30 p.m., Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Suite Hemisphere A, Concourse Level, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.

---------------------------------

Top Stories

Former Rep. Ney Transferred to Halfway House

Former Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, convicted in a corruption probe tied to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, has been released from a minimum security federal prison in Morgantown, W.Va., and transferred to a halfway house.  [Read More]

Negotiations Under Way on Higher Education Bill as Deadline Nears

Aides to leaders of the House and Senate education panels have begun “pre-conference” discussions aimed at finishing an overhaul of the nation’s primary higher education law, but time is of the essence.  [Read More]

House Moves Up Start of August Recess

Updated plans call for the House to adjourn Aug. 1 for a five-week summer recess that will include the two major parties’ presidential nominating conventions.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Feb. 20

The U.S. Olympic hockey team’s “Miracle on Ice” win over the U.S.S.R. team took place during which Cold War crisis?  [Read More]

---------------------------------

Political Clippings

The Knoxville News-Sentinel reports that former Knox County Clerk Mike Padgett says he’ll seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Sen. Lamar Alexander, D-Tenn.Padgett said his formal announcement will come March 4, his birthday. Alexander, a former governor, is a heavy favorite to win re-election. The daily said Mike McWherter, son of former Gov. Ned McWherter, and former state Democratic Chairman Bob Tuke both decided not to run, though Tuke said he is being asked to reconsider.

The Aspen Times reports that Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., is leading former Rep. Bob Schaffer in fundraising, though the two are about even in polling for the Senate set now held by Republican Wayne Allard. The latest data shows Udall’s campaign raised $1.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2007, giving his campaign $3.6 million. Schaffer’s campaign raised $646,731 and has $2.1 million.

The Hendersonville Times-News reports that former Henderson County Republican Party Chairman Spence Campbell filed Tuesday to run for North Carolina’s 11th District House seat. Campbell, a retired Army colonel, took aim at incumbent freshman Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., saying “our current incumbent votes with the liberal Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi over 80 percent of the time. The people of this district deserve a representative who will vote with them 100 percent of the time.” Asheville City Councilman Carl Mumpower is also seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Shuler.

---------------------------------

Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Tax-Scam Losses Pegged at $50 Million
SAN FRANCISCO: Mayor Names City Climate Chief
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va.: Immigrant Program Drains County Reserves
FLORIDA: Schools to Teach Evolution as 'Theory'
MASSACHUSETTS: Pike Chief: Agency's Finances, Culture Bleak

---------------------------------

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, FEB. 19, 2008 – 2:07 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Presidential Candidates Welcome Castro’s Resignation
  • Farm Bill Deal Remains Elusive After Weekend Negotiations
  • Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Warrantless Surveillance
  • Political Trivia for Feb. 19
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House meets in pro forma session; reconvenes for legislative business at 2 p.m., Feb. 25.

The Senate  meets in pro forma session; reconvenes for legislative business at 3 p.m., Feb. 25.

The President  met with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and opened the U.S. embassy in Kigali with First Lady Laura Bush; travels to Accra, Ghana.

In Washington,  the Food and Drug Law Institute holds its 6th Annual Conference on “Enforcement and Litigation: Consent Decrees, Criminal Cases and Corporate Integrity Agreements,” with a panel discussion featuring FDA officials on “What Sparks an Investigation?” 3:45 p.m., L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, 480 L’Enfant Plaza SW.

---------------------------------

Top Stories

Presidential Candidates Welcome Castro’s Resignation

Presidential candidates of both parties Tuesday welcomed Cuban President Fidel Castro’s announcement that he would step down, though they all noted that it was only the first step on a path to democracy.  [Read More]

Farm Bill Deal Remains Elusive After Weekend Negotiations

A long weekend of negotiations left House and Senate lawmakers still searching Tuesday for a deal on a new five-year farm bill.  [Read More]

Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Warrantless Surveillance

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a challenge to the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Feb. 19

Who was the first president who was born in the United States of America?  [Read More]

---------------------------------

Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
BIG SPRING, Texas: Refinery Explosion Shakes Region
SAN JOSE, Calif.: Pension Trustees Resist New Audit
MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL: Aging Stormwater Tunnels Threaten Streets Above
LOS ANGELES/LONG BEACH: Port Officials Split over Truck Pollution
CALIFORNIA: Inmate-Term Errors May Cost Millions

---------------------------------

Political Clippings

The Nashua Telegraph reports that Grant Bosse, 35, a broadcast journalist and former aide to Sen. John E. Sununu, R-N.H., yesterday “became the fourth Republican candidate to officially seek his party’s nomination” to take on freshman Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H., in the 2nd District. “I have seen how government works and seen the price we pay when it doesn’t work, as well,” Bosse said. Other Republicans seeking the nod to take on Hodes include state Sen. Robert Clegg, former Telegraph columnist and radio talk show host Jennifer Horn and Concord lawyer James Steiner.

According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, former state fair Director Peter Cappuccilli has become the first Republican to announce a bid for the seat of retiring Rep. James T. Walsh, R-N.Y., in the 25th District. Others eyeing the race include “Randy Wolken, president of the Manufacturers Association of Central New York; former state Sen. Nancy Larraine Hoffmann; East Syracuse Mayor Dan Liedka; and state Assembly Deputy Minority Leader Robert Oaks.” Dan Maffei, the Democrat who lost narrowly to Walsh two years ago, is the only Democrat in the field thus far, “but Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll and Fayetteville businessman John H. Rhodes are considering candidacies.”

---------------------------------

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: Administration sends Medicare “trigger” legislation to Capitol Hill.
MEDICAID: Senate votes to block Medicaid rule on targeted case management.
FDA: House lawmakers raise concerns about agency’s drug safety process. | Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

---------------------------------