Friday, April 18, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2008 – 2:02 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Bush Names SBA Chief to Replace Jackson as HUD Secretary
  • Farm Bill Negotiators Break With Little Progress
  • Trade Deal Gets Boost as South Korea Lifts Limits on U.S. Beef Imports
  • Pelosi Did Not Promise Trade Vote This Year, Colombians Say
  • NAM Loses Another Round in Fight Against Disclosure of Membership
  • Political Trivia for April 18
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Today in Washington

The House  reconvenes for legislative business at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

The Senate  reconvenes at 3 p.m. Monday to debate a motion to consider a bill tightening employment discrimination laws..

The President   speaks at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast; announces he will nominate Small Business Administration chief Steve Preston to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development; departs for Camp David, Md., where he will meet with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak.

In Washington,  U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Neil Romano and U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans Employment and Training Charles S. Ciccolella will speak following a viewing of the documentary “Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq and Afghanistan.” 5 p.m., Navy Memorial Museum, 701 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

Bush Names SBA Chief to Replace Jackson as HUD Secretary

President Bush said Friday he will nominate Small Business Administration chief Steve Preston to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  [Read More]

Farm Bill Negotiators Break With Little Progress

Farm bill negotiators will meet again next week after Friday’s talks broke off without much progress on the remaining contentious issues.  [Read More]

Trade Deal Gets Boost as South Korea Lifts Limits on U.S. Beef Imports

Efforts to garner congressional support for a pending free-trade agreement with South Korea received a boost Friday when the country announced it would lift limits on beef imports from the United States.  [Read More]

Pelosi Did Not Promise Trade Vote This Year, Colombians Say

Colombia’s top officials have received no assurances that the pending free-trade agreement will come up for a vote this year following last week’s House vote to suspend action on the pact’s implementing legislation, the country’s vice president said Friday.  [Read More]

NAM Loses Another Round in Fight Against Disclosure of Membership

A federal judge Friday rejected the National Association of Manufacturers’ request to delay enforcement of a new lobbying law requirement while the group appeals a decision last week upholding the mandate.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for April 18

How many Democrats filed to run in the 1996 special election in Maryland’s 7th District?  [Read More]

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Understanding Congressional Budgeting and Appropriations

This 1-day course explores basic congressional budget process concepts along with key players, their roles and relationships. Learn about discretionary and mandatory spending, the budget resolution and reconciliation process. You will also learn about the relationship of authorization and appropriations legislation, hear real, modern-day examples that illustrate the process, and have ample time to discuss concerns and roadblocks encountered with the budget process.
WHERE: Goethe-Institut, 812 Seventh Street N.W.
WHEN: May 16, 2008, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Registration Fee: $595
Full program description and secure 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 Boston Herald reports that “a GOP dogfight” is shaping up between former Air Force Lt. Col. Jim Ogonowski and Jeff Beatty, a former Delta Force commando and CIA counterterrorism operative, for the right to challenge Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. Beatty has raised $1 million to $307,000 for Ogonowski, whose brother was a pilot of one of the hijacked airliners in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. “It clearly shows that people have looked at what Jeff is bringing in terms of credentials,” said Beatty spokesman Joe Manzoli. Ogonowski spokeswoman Alicia Preston downplayed the money race: “Jim is very focused on what he’s been doing to get his campaign up and running. He’s thrilled with his fund-raising numbers.”

The Capital in Annapolis, Md., says Lynn Caligiuri, the top campaign aide to Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, R-Md., has switched over to become finance coordinator for the campaign of Queen Anne’s County State’s Attorney Frank Kratovil, the Democratic nominee for Gilchrest’s House seat. Caligiuri, who has worked for Gilchrest since 1992, said Kratovil is more moderate than state Sen. Andy Harris, who beat Gilchrest in the Feb. 12 GOP primary.

The Press of Atlantic City reports that former Rep. Dick Zimmer made his candidacy for New Jersey’s Senate seat official Thursday. Zimmer, who replaced former Goya Foods executive Andy Unanue on the GOP primary ballot, dismissed state Sen. Joseph Pennacchio’s challenge to his candidacy. The daily said “Zimmer was best known for his financial conservatism and authorship of Megan’s Law,” during his 1991-1997 House service.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE MIDWEST: Earthquake Rattles Region
NEW JERSEY: Energy Plan Envisons New Nuclear Plant
GEORGIA: Romance Brings Transportation Chairman's Resignation
CALIFORNIA: State Targets Canceled Health Policies
MINNESOTA: A.G. Sues Foreclosure-Consulting Firms
TEXAS: Underage-Marriage Fears Cited in Polygamist Raid
PHILADELPHIA: NRA: Arrest the Mayor

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, APRIL 17, 2008 – 2:14 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Passes Bill To Head Off Student Loan Crisis
  • Senators Unveil New Package of Tax-Break Extenders
  • Senate Clears One-Week Farm Law Extension
  • House GOP Whip Joins Call for Probe of Highway Bill Earmark Change
  • GAO Critique of Pakistan Strategy Fires Up Democrats
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Today in Washington

The House  considers legislation to address the credit crisis in the student loan market.

The Senate  continues work on a bill making largely technical changes to the 2005 highway law.

The President  meets with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

In Washington,  Pope Benedict XVI holds Mass this morning at Washington Nationals stadium, delivers an address to Catholic educators at Catholic University at 5:15 p.m. and participates in an interreligious gathering at Pope John Paul II Cultural Center with Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Jain and Hindu communities. 6:30 p.m., 3900 Harewood Road N.E.

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Top Stories

House Passes Bill To Head Off Student Loan Crisis

The House on Thursday passed legislation intended to ensure that students can get federally backed loans for school this fall, as lenders faced more bad news.  [Read More]

Senators Unveil New Package of Tax-Break Extenders

Senate Finance Committee leaders Thursday released a bipartisan package of extensions to existing and expired tax breaks, reigniting a debate that lawmakers dropped late last year.  [Read More]

Senate Clears One-Week Farm Law Extension

The Senate cleared a one-week extension of the current farm law Thursday, but impatient senators made clear they will not agree to further delays in completion of a new five-year farm bill.  [Read More]

House GOP Whip Joins Call for Probe of Highway Bill Earmark Change

House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said Thursday the “whole issue’’ of post-passage changes to legislation by aides or others “needs to be looked at.’’  [Read More]

GAO Critique of Pakistan Strategy Fires Up Democrats

Lawmakers reacted with outrage Thursday to a new government report that says the United States has failed to address a terrorist safe haven in Pakistan’s tribal areas and lacks a comprehensive strategy to deal with threats there.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Daily Times reports that Internet software entrepreneur Tim Smith on Wednesday launched his bid for the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., D-Del. Smith promoted a conservative agenda for what he termed a “David and Goliath” campaign, saying he would work to cut malpractice insurance, curb lawsuit abuse, seal U.S. borders and “cut down on forced free health care that drives hospitals and doctors out of business.” Smith will likely face Christine O’Donnell in the GOP primary. O’Donnell finished third in the 2006 primary for a chance to challenge Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del.

The Syracuse Post Standard reports that Democrat Dan Maffei has raised more than $855,000 from more than 3,000 donors, according to campaign finance reports filed this week. The reports also said Maffei had about $675,000 cash on hand at the end of the first quarter, giving him a clear fundraising advantage over his eventual Republican rival. None of the four Republicans seeking the nomination to replace Rep. James T. Walsh, R-N.Y., reported raising any money in the first quarter, as GOP leaders debate which one to endorse. One of the four, former Onondaga County Legislature Chairman Dale Sweetland said he is aware that the eventual Republican nominee will start out with a financial disadvantage.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
NEWARK, N.J.: Former Mayor Convicted of Corruption
BOSTON: Feds Probe Firefighters' Disability Claims
ATLANTA REGION: Water Plan: Use Less, Pay More
WASHINGTON, D.C., REGION: Push Is On to Run Buses on Shoulders
THE NATION: Executions to Resume in Some States
NEW JERSEY: Monitor Lauds Child-Welfare Reforms

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 2008 – 2:04 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Nussle Warns Against Add-Ons in Supplemental
  • House Panel Poised to Approve Extension of Jobless Benefits
  • House Passes One-Week Farm Law Extension
  • Specter Says Cancer Recurrence Won’t Slow Him Down
  • House Foreign Affairs Democrats Ask Carter to Cancel Hamas Meeting
  • Political Trivia for April 16
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Today in Washington

The House  considers foreign debt relief and beach protection legislation after passing a one-week extension of the current farm law.

The Senate  continues work on the highway funding revisions bill.

The President  meets with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in the Oval Office; later hosts a dinner with Mrs. Bush in honor of the Pope.

In Washington,  Members of Congress and Georgetown University Law School faculty and staff face off in the 21st Annual Home Court Charity Basketball Game. “Hill’s Angels” play “Hoya Lawyas” to raise money for the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. 7:30 p.m., Gonzaga College High School, 19 I St. N.W.

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Top Stories

Nussle Warns Against Add-Ons in Supplemental

White House budget director Jim Nussle again warned Congress Wednesday not to add domestic spending to a $108.1 billion request for war operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  [Read More]

House Panel Poised to Approve Extension of Jobless Benefits

The House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday was moving to approve an extension of unemployment benefits, as House Democrats began to shape a new package of measures to aid struggling workers and stimulate the economy.  [Read More]

House Passes One-Week Farm Law Extension

The House passed a one-week extension of the current farm law Wednesday to give conferees a few more days to negotiate a new five-year farm bill.  [Read More]

Specter Says Cancer Recurrence Won’t Slow Him Down

The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee vowed Wednesday to stick to his schedule and seek re-election in 2010 despite a recurrence of the cancer he battled three years ago.  [Read More]

House Foreign Affairs Democrats Ask Carter to Cancel Hamas Meeting

Two top Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee wrote former President Jimmy Carter Wednesday asking him to cancel a planned meeting with Khaled Mashaal, leader of the militant Palestinian group Hamas.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for April 16

Which Pennsylvania Republican staged a late-starting challenge to Barry Goldwater for the 1964 GOP presidential nomination?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Sarasota Herald Tribune reports that Jan Schneider has filed to challenge Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., as an independent. Schneider was the Democratic nominee for the seat in 2004, and analysts say she could make it harder for this year’s likely nominee, Christine Jennings, to win. Schneider said she will run as an anti-war candidate dedicated to bringing U.S. troops home, saying Jennings has not been strong enough on that issue. Jennings, who beat Schneider for the nomination in 2006, said she tried to make peace, but received no response.

The Bangor Daily News says Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, “raised $963,261 since the start of the year,” while Democratic challenger Rep. Tom Allen “raised ‘more than $700,000’ in the same time period.” The total raised by both candidates amounts to more than $9 million, a fundraising record for the state. “Allen’s campaign indicated it has raised a total of $3.7 million, nearly $2.7 million of which is cash on hand. Collins has raised a total of more than $5.5 million and has more than $4.5 million as cash on hand, according to her campaign.”

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that Democrat Darcy Burner “raised more than $500,000 for her 2008 congressional campaign in the first three months of the year, more than doubling the amount collected in that time by her opponent, incumbent Republican Rep. Dave Reichert, according to campaign finance reports filed Tuesday. Burner has raised $1.37 million total for her current campaign while Reichert has attracted $1.14 million in contributions.” The daily says Burner’s fundraising during her 2006 campaign “added credibility to her effort to unseat Reichert and helped win her the financial support of the Democrats’ national congressional campaign apparatus.”

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/359114_fundraising16.html

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
CALIFORNIA: Former Prosecutor Latest to Head Prisons
TEXAS: 800 Punished Since '04 for Abusing Disabled
THE NATION: States, Cities Targeting Foreclosures
NEW YORK CITY: Foreign Visitors Sustaining City's Economy
SEATTLE: Governor to NBA: Keep Sonics in Seattle

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, APRIL 15, 2008 – 2:06 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Tax Day Brings Calls for Reform
  • FDA to Station Inspectors in China After Drug Safety Lapses
  • House GOP Whip Says War Spending Should Not Be Split Up
  • Farm Bill Conferees Make Progress, But Deal Still Elusive
  • GOP Objections Mean Uncertainty for Paper Ballot Bill
  • Political Trivia for April 15
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Today in Washington

The House  takes up a number of bills, including legislation to halt outsourcing of IRS tax debt collections and to authorize grants to states to provide a paper trail for electronic voting this November.

The Senate  resumes consideration of a motion to proceed to a highway funding revisions bill.

The President  presents Lifetime President’s Volunteer Service Award at the White House; with Mrs. Bush, greets His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI upon his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base.

In Washington,  the School of Advanced International Studies holds a discussion, “Spies: Future Challenges for U.S. Intelligence” with John McLaughlin, former acting director of the CIA; Ron Kessler, journalist and author and Burton Gerber, retired CIA officer. 4:30 p.m., Kenney Auditorium, 1740 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

Tax Day Brings Calls for Reform

The annual deadline for filing tax returns triggered a fusillade of partisan fire Tuesday as Republicans and Democrats blamed each other for the burdens imposed by the tax code.  [Read More]

FDA to Station Inspectors in China After Drug Safety Lapses

The head of the Food and Drug Administration said the agency will have permanent inspectors in China by May as the agency move to beef up drug safety.  [Read More]

House GOP Whip Says War Spending Should Not Be Split Up

House Minority Whip Roy Blunt on Tuesday blasted the notion of splitting the upcoming war supplemental bill into separate funding measures for Iraq and Afghanistan.  [Read More]

Farm Bill Conferees Make Progress, But Deal Still Elusive

Conferees approved three of the 11 sections of a new five-year farm bill Tuesday, a small step toward finishing the measure before an extension of current law expires April 18.  [Read More]

GOP Objections Mean Uncertainty for Paper Ballot Bill

Republican opposition may mean defeat or at least a strategic retreat Tuesday for a bill offering federal help to localities that don’t trust their electronic voting machines.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for April 15

What was Virginia Sen. John W. Warner’s winning margin over Democrat Mark Warner in 1996?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., “raised $12.2 million for his re-election campaign and has $7.8 million cash on hand. McConnell will report the first-quarter fundraising numbers to the Federal Election Commission soon, campaign manager Justin Brasell said in a statement. ‘We held a lot of small fundraisers all over Kentucky in the first three months of this year, and we’ve been thrilled with the outpouring of support we’ve received from every corner of the Commonwealth,’ Brasell said in the statement.” McConnell, who is seeking a fifth term, is the Senate GOP leader.

The Baltimore Sun reports that Republican state Sen. Andy Harris has outpaced Democrat Frank Kratovil Jr. nearly two to one in fundraising over the past two months in Maryland’s 1st District House race. Harris raised more than $400,000 compared to about $190,000 for Kratovil through March 31, according to the campaigns and Federal Election Commission reports. Harris, who defeated incumbent Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, R-Md., in the Feb. 12 primary, has raised nearly $1.5 million and spent about $1.3 million, with $204,000 on hand. Kratovil, the Queen Anne’s County state’s attorney, “has raised a total of about $430,000 and has about $180,000 on hand.”

The Buffalo News reports that Erie County Clerk Kathleen Hochul said she would not seek the House seat being vacated by Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds, R-N.Y. The announcement Monday by Hochul, a Democrat, came as a surprise, “just before businessman Jack Davis makes his third congressional candidacy official today; it also paves the way for the expected party backing for another Democrat in the race, Jonathan Powers, who has the support of all party county chairmen except in Erie.” Meanwhile, Republican candidate Christopher Lee received the endorsement of Monroe County Republican Chairman Stephen Minarik III. Lee told Republican officials that he will pledge $1 million of his own money to the effort.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
CHICAGO: Police Kill Cougar in City Alley
THE NATION: Mayors, Wal-Mart Agree on Gun-Sales Measures
LOS ANGELES: Mayor: Boost Trash Fee Again to Hire More Police
TEXAS: Federal Loan, Contract Aided Polygamist Sect
MICHIGAN: Tourism Decline Forecast for State
CALIFORNIA: Scientists: Huge Quake Likely Within 30 Years

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Monday, April 14, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, APRIL 14, 2008 – 1:51 P.M.

In This Issue

  • NAM Will Appeal Court Ruling on Lobbying Law
  • Sen. Vitter Won’t Testify at Trial of ‘D.C. Madam’
  • House Will Try to Make Uncle Sam Use Plain English
  • Senate Intelligence Panel Wants New Appropriations Subcommittee
  • Political Trivia for April 14
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Today in Washington

The House  considers several measures under suspension of the rules, including a bill requiring the use of plain English in government communications that explain how to file taxes or obtain government benefits or services.

The Senate  may consider a bill that would make technical corrections to the 2005 surface transportation law.

The President  meets with his Cabinet, presents the Commander in Chief’s Trophy to the Naval Academy football team and later makes remarks in honor of Thomas Jefferson’s 265th birthday.

In Washington,  the Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a panel discussion on integrating national security approaches with Reps. Susan Davis, D-Calif., and Geoff Davis, R-Ky., as well as Dr. Helene Gayle, President of CARE USA, and Dr. Dov Zakheim, former Department of Defense Comptroller. 4:30 p.m., Room S-207, Capitol.

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Top Stories

NAM Will Appeal Court Ruling on Lobbying Law

The National Association of Manufacturers plans to appeal a federal court decision upholding a new lobbying law that will force the business group to disclose its members.  [Read More]

Sen. Vitter Won’t Testify at Trial of ‘D.C. Madam’

The trial of a woman accused of running an upscale prostitution ring in the Washington area was wrapping up Monday without testimony by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., or other potential defense witnesses.  [Read More]

House Will Try to Make Uncle Sam Use Plain English

There ought to be a law — and now maybe there will be.  [Read More]

Senate Intelligence Panel Wants New Appropriations Subcommittee

Senators on the Intelligence Committee have recommended the creation of an Appropriations Subcommittee on Intelligence, but leaders of the Appropriations panel rejected their call.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for April 14

When was the constitutional amendment permitting a federal income tax ratified?  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
WAYNE COUNTY, Mich.: County, Cities Competing for $1 Foreclosed Homes
OREGON: Small-Town Officials Quitting over Ethics Reporting
ALAMOSA, Colo.: City's Water Cleared for Drinking
MARYLAND: Governor: No Wind Turbines in State Forests
ILLINOIS: Access to Governor's Pardon Files Blocked

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Political Clippings

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that “Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Lunsford has tripped the so-called millionaire’s amendment, allowing some of his opponents in the Democratic primary to accept up to three times the maximum contribution from each donor.” His campaign confirmed that Lunsford has contributed slightly more than $1 million to his campaign for the nomination to run against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The GOP leader had $7.3 million on hand at the end of 2007, the paper reported. “Money for the primary campaign has no bearing on the general election,” so McConnell can’t raise extra funds at this point because of Lunsford’s personal contributions.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that former Gov. Mike Johanns is the leading fundraiser among the three candidates seeking to replace Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. Johanns, the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, raised $641,000 in the first three months of 2008, bringing his total fundraising to $2.1 million, according to campaign finance reports. Democrat Scott Kleeb reported raising $274,000, while leading primary rival Tony Raimondo took in $172,000, including a $100,000 loan to his campaign.

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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.
NEWBORN SCREENING: Measure providing greater federal funding for health screening of newborns sent to White House.
MEDICAID: House panel approves measure to block implementation of Bush Administration Medicaid regulations until next April.
SCHIP: CMS official defends August 2007 SCHIP directive. | Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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