Friday, April 25, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2008 – 2:05 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Tax Rebates Start to Flow Monday as Debate Over Second Stimulus Drags On
  • Bill to Block Medicaid Regulations Readied for Senate Action
  • Senators Want Deeper Inquiry Into Air Force Contract Scandal
  • Political Trivia for April 25
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Today in Washington

The House holds pro forma session; reconvenes for legislative business at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

The Senate is not in session; reconvenes at 2 p.m. Monday, when it will consider motion to proceed to FAA reauthorization bill, with a cloture vote at 5:30 p.m.

The President announces that tax rebate checks will start going out on Monday; visits Northwest Boys and Girls Club in Hartford, Conn.; attends GOP fundraising reception in South Kent, Conn.

In Washington, Amnesty International holds its 2008 Annual General Meeting, through April 28. Hyatt Regency Crystal City, 2799 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, Va.

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Top Stories

Tax Rebates Start to Flow Monday as Debate Over Second Stimulus Drags On

As congressional Democrats debate when and how to advance a second economic stimulus package, President Bush announced Friday that tax rebates approved earlier this year will start going out Monday.  [Read More]

Bill to Block Medicaid Regulations Readied for Senate Action

A House-passed bill to block several Bush administration Medicaid regulations has been fast-tracked for Senate floor action next week, but supporters will have to deal with mounting GOP opposition to the bill.  [Read More]

Senators Want Deeper Inquiry Into Air Force Contract Scandal

Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee are calling on the Pentagon to expand its inquiry into an Air Force contract to include possible improprieties by senior officers.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for April 25

A North Carolina primary played a key role in the Republican presidential campaign in which year?  [Read More]

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Advanced Media Relations

Learn how to pitch your story creatively to reporters, coordinate and prepare for interviews, deal with the media hog and the media mouse, and use the FOIA to your advantage. Students work with each other and our experienced faculty, discussing best practices and professional strategies for handling internal and external challenges. Our Advanced Media Relations course is geared toward practicing public relations professionals with at least three years’ experience.
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Registration Fee: $495
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This training conference is sponsored by TheCapitol.Net, exclusive provider of Congressional Quarterly Executive Conferences.

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Political Clippings

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the campaign of Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken said yesterday his accountant “is trying to sort out” whether the comedian owes more back tax payments to California. “Campaign manager Andy Barr said Franken is eager to resolve the matter, the latest in a series of controversies surrounding his personal corporation, Alan Franken Inc. . . .The latest questions about the personal corporation Franken set up to handle his entertainment enterprises came in the wake of news last week that Franken owes California $5,800 in back taxes and penalties for failing to file state income tax returns for the corporation from 2003 to 2007.” Republicans have been keeping the matter in the news as Franken seeks to concentrate on the race against GOP Sen . Norm Coleman.

According to the Albany Times Union, former New York state Assemblyman Paul Tonko “is one step closer to entering the race for Democrat Michael R. McNulty’s 21st Congressional District seat. Tonko, who heads the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, said he will attend the Albany County Democratic Committee’s screening meeting for potential candidates Saturday and has filled out a questionnaire related to that appearance. But Tonko was still firm Thursday that he hasn’t made a decision about whether he will run. He would join seven other Democrats and two Republicans who have already entered the race.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE RENO, Nev., Region: Multiple Earthquakes Rattle Region
THE WASHINGTON, D.C., Region: 'Mystery Riders' to Assess Transit Service
THE NATION: Cities' Goal: Millions of Trees
CALIFORNIA: Environmental Fears Halt Moth Spraying
FLORIDA: Governor: Allstate Offered State Millions to Avert Threat

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 2008 – 1:42 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Amid GOP Sniping, Democrats Seek Answers to High Gas Prices
  • With Deal Near, Congress Clears Another One-Week Farm Bill Extension
  • Senate Moving Toward Passage of Genetic Discrimination Ban
  • Senate Passes Bill Granting Pensions to Filipino Veterans
  • Senate Panel Approves Resolution on McCain’s Presidential Eligibility
  • Political Trivia for April 24
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Today in Washington

The House  continues work on a Coast Guard reauthorization bill.

The Senate  passes a veterans’ benefits bill and takes up legislation to ban genetic discrimination.

The President  speaks at the White House Summit on Inner-City Children and Faith-Based Schools; meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas; and greets members of the Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride.

In Washington, the Creative Coalition holds a Capitol Hill lobbying day for the arts. Participants include Tim Daly, Lauren Holly, Tyne Daly, Laura Innes, Tim Blake Nelson, Connie Britton, Tom Fontana, Wendie Malick and Richard Schiff.

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Top Stories

Amid GOP Sniping, Democrats Seek Answers to High Gas Prices

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday called on the Bush administration to stop adding oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, as Republicans and Democrats blamed each other for high gasoline prices.  [Read More]

With Deal Near, Congress Clears Another One-Week Farm Bill Extension

With a deal on a new farm bill in sight, the Senate on Thursday passed a fourth short-term extension of current farm law.  [Read More]

Senate Moving Toward Passage of Genetic Discrimination Ban

The Senate was moving toward passage Thursday of legislation that would bar employers and health insurers from discrimination based on genetic testing results.  [Read More]

Senate Passes Bill Granting Pensions to Filipino Veterans

The Senate on Thursday passed a broad measure to increase veterans’ benefits that includes a controversial provision to provide benefits to Filipino veterans who fought alongside U.S. forces in World War II.  [Read More]

Senate Panel Approves Resolution on McCain’s Presidential Eligibility

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bipartisan resolution Thursday making clear that Sen. John McCain is a “natural-born” U.S. citizen under the Constitution.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for April 24

Which North Carolina Democrat ran as a “favorite son” candidate in the state’s 1972 Democratic presidential primary?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Statesville Record & Landmark reports that a law firm representing Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C., issued a “cease and desist” order to his 10th District opponent Lance Sigmon for using “defamatory statements” in television and Web site ads.

In the letter from the law offices of Williams, Williams & Eustice, McHenry claims statements in the ads “are not verifiable and have been found to be inaccurate.”

“The notice points out that ‘it is a Class 2 Misdemeanor to use defamatory statements against any candidate in political campaign advertisements,’” the newspaper states.

Among the statements made by Sigmon that McHenry claims are false are: An allegation that McHenry compromised troop locations by placing a video on the internet; the video led to the death of two Americans; and McHenry could “face ten years in prison” because of his actions.

The Wilkes Barre Times Leader reports that Dan Meuser called Chris Hackett Wednesday to concede the Pennsylvania Republican primary for the 10th District seat.

Meuser refused to concede the race Tuesday, but results showed that Hackett was the victor in the race for the Republican nomination. He now prepares to take on incumbent freshman Democrat Christopher Carney.

In response, Hackett said, “I think Dan deserves a lot of credit for running a good, smart campaign. He spent a lot of money on this race and worked very hard.”

The newspaper stated, “Hackett said he knows he has work to do to unify the party that was split during the hotly contested race. Negative ads dominated the news in the last two weeks of the campaign, and Hackett said he has already started calling elected Republican officials to schedule meetings.”

The Newark Star-Ledger reports that a New Jersey appeals court panel will quickly hear a dispute over ballot position for the candidates for U.S. Senate.

Democrat “Rep. Robert [E.] Andrews is trying to block county clerks from bracketing Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., with candidates for other offices on the June 3 primary ballot. A judge in Trenton turned him down Wednesday,” the paper states.

Appellate Division Judge Clarkson Fisher told lawyers to file papers with the court by 10 a.m. Thursday and be ready for oral arguments at 11 a.m. Monday in Hackensack.

The judge said the deadline for submission of ballots to ballot printers is Wednesday, but said, “I assume from past experience that there is some flexibility in that date.”

“The Andrews campaign fears Democratic clerks in counties where party leaders have endorsed Lautenberg may give the incumbent a prime ballot position and place challengers in a less visible spot,” the newspaper states.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE SEATTLE REGION: Study: Heavy Tolling Could Unclog Roads
NEW YORK CITY: City to Inspect 'High Risk' Construction Sites
MIAMI: Panel: Chief's Free SUV May Have Violated Ethics Laws
TIVETON, R.I.: Settlement Reached in Blue-Soil Contamination
WISCONSIN: Great Lakes Eyed for Wind Farms
TEXAS/CALIFORNIA: Texas Schools Wooing Laid-Off California Teachers

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23, 2008 – 1:48 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Democrats Will Defy Bush on War Spending Bill Totals
  • Petraeus Promoted to Head U.S. Central Command
  • White House Pressures Congress on Student Loans
  • Bush Threatens Veto of Coast Guard Bill Over LNG Security
  • House Corrects Error in Debt Relief Bill
  • Political Trivia for April 23
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Today in Washington

The House  considers a Coast Guard reauthorization bill, a small business technology measure, government contracting bills and other measures. Also votes on legislation to delay until next year enforcement of new Medicaid regulations that could shift some costs to the states.

The Senate  continues to work on a veterans’ benefits bill and will vote on whether to limit debate on a motion to proceed to an employment discrimination bill.

The President  attends a congressional gold medal ceremony at the Capitol honoring famed heart surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey, holds photo opportunity with recipients of the Baldrige National Quality Award and speaks on National Small Business Week.

In Washington, Peter Glieck, hydrologist and climate specialist who heads the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security, delivers free public lecture sustainable water in the 21st century. 4 p.m., Keck Center of the National Academies, 500 Fifth St. N.W., room 100.

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Top Stories

House Democrats Will Defy Bush on War Spending Bill Totals

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Wednesday he was “sure” the House will move a war funding bill that exceeds the administration’s request, a move that could set up another veto showdown with President Bush over spending.  [Read More]

Petraeus Promoted to Head U.S. Central Command

President Bush will nominate Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, to lead all U.S. forces in the Middle East and South Asia, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced Wednesday.  [Read More]

White House Pressures Congress on Student Loans

The White House is increasing pressure on Congress to permit the Education Department to buy privately held student loans, dismissing other plans for giving money to lenders.  [Read More]

Bush Threatens Veto of Coast Guard Bill Over LNG Security

President Bush threatened Wednesday to veto a House bill if it includes a provision requiring the Coast Guard to take charge of security around liquefied natural gas sites.  [Read More]

House Corrects Error in Debt Relief Bill

The House on Wednesday corrected a wording glitch that had gutted key portions of a bill granting debt relief to poor countries.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for April 23

Who won the 1968 Democratic presidential primary in Indiana?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Times of Northwest Indiana reports that Republican House candidate Tony Zirkle is defending his speech to a group celebrating Adolf Hitler’s birthday, saying he appeared simply because he was asked. Zirkle, who is seeking the GOP nomination to challenge 2nd District Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said he will speak to any group that invites him. Porter County Republican Chairman Chuck Williams condemned Zirkle’s speech Sunday to the American National Socialist Workers Party in Chicago, where he “stood in front of a painting of Hitler, next to people wearing swastika armbands and with a swastika flag in the background.”

The Idaho Statesman reports that Sen. Larry E. Craig, R-Idaho, told a Boise radio station that he had intended to retire long before his arrest for disorderly conduct in a men’s room incident at the Minneapolis airport, apparently contradicting earlier statements. “It’s probably difficult for some to believe, but my wife and I had already decided that I would retire about a year ago,” Craig said. Craig, who pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct but is now fighting to reverse that plea, announced his intention to resign after the arrest became public, but later changed his mind.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md.: Green-Home Mandate Approved
NEW YORK CITY: Embattled Buildings Commissioner Resigns
NEW YORK STATE: Ex-Prosecutor to Probe State Police
ILLINOIS: Ex-Official Says He Bought Job

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 2008 – 2:01 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Justices Consider Whether Campaign Law Is Unfair to Millionaires
  • Lawmakers Praise New Standard for Measuring High School Dropouts
  • Benefits Bill With Filipino Veterans’ Pensions Wins Senate Test
  • Trade Group Keeps Member List Secret Despite Court Ruling
  • Political Trivia for April 22
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Today in Washington

The House  takes up a number of measures under suspension of the rules, including legislation to block Medicaid regulations that would cut federal funding to the states.

The Senate  considers motion to take up a veterans’ benefits bill.

The President  meets in New Orleans with the North American Competitiveness Council; meets with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Felipe Calderon of Mexico; plants a tree in honor of Earth Day and attends a fundraising reception for GOP Senate candidate John Kennedy.

In Washington,  a number of Earth Day events have been scheduled, including an evening rally with NASA’s James Hansen, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now and Rev. Jim Wallis. 7 p.m., Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University, 730 21st St. N.W..

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Top Stories

Justices Consider Whether Campaign Law Is Unfair to Millionaires

Supreme Court justices seemed skeptical Tuesday about a part of the 2002 campaign finance law that allows candidates facing wealthy self-funding opponents to collect larger contributions from donors than the law otherwise would allow.  [Read More]

Lawmakers Praise New Standard for Measuring High School Dropouts

Key lawmakers Tuesday praised a move by the Bush administration to require states to set uniform standards for measuring high school graduation rates.  [Read More]

Benefits Bill With Filipino Veterans’ Pensions Wins Senate Test

Senators agreed Tuesday to take up a bill to expand veterans benefits almost 10 months after its approval by the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  [Read More]

Trade Group Keeps Member List Secret Despite Court Ruling

The National Association of Manufacturers has filed its lobbying report for the first quarter of the year without naming its members, citing its pending legal battle to overturn that requirement in the law.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for April 22

Which of the following is NOT a feature of north-central Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Newport News Daily Press reports that former Gov. Jim Gilmore is already claiming the GOP Senate nomination a month before Virginia Republicans meet to choose a nominee. “A clear majority of the convention delegates representing more than 6,000 votes have committed to support Governor Gilmore,” wrote Matt Wells, the Gilmore campaign’s political director. “Baloney,” responded a spokesman for Del. Bob Marshall, Gilmore’s rival for the nomination. “It’s absolutely too early to tell,” Bill Kling said. The nominee will face Democratic former Gov. Mark Warner for the seat being vacated by Sen. John W. Warner, R-Va.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that Sen. Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., will reveal Saturday in his hometown of Gillette, Wyo., whether he’ll seek re-election. Enzi’s decision has long been awaited, and the delay has fueled speculation that he plans to retire. But Liz Brimmer, who managed Enzi’s re-election campaign in 2002, said she expects Enzi to run again. “I think the vast majority of people certainly hope he runs for re-election,” she said. “I think he’s been so effective and so active that I would think, given that, I would personally both expect and hope that he would announce re-election on Saturday.”

The Indianapolis Star reports former Indiana state health commissioner Woody Myers has spent $1.26 million of his own money in his bid for the Democratic nomination for the 7th District House seat. Myers had earlier reported spending $806,000 of his own funds, triggering the so-called “millionaire’s amendment,” and recently reported contributing another $450,000 of his own money. Myers is one of seven Democrats competing with Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., for the nomination.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
TEXAS: DNA Testing Begins for Sect Children
WISCONSIN: State Must Keep Social Security Numbers for Some
ATLANTA: City Owes 4,000 Vendors
ORANGE COUNTY, CALIF.: Jail Brawl Brings Lockdown

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Monday, April 21, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, APRIL 21, 2008 – 2:02 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Appeals Court Rejects Stay of Lobbying Disclosure Ruling
  • House to Back Call for Justice Department Probe of 2005 Earmark
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Today in Washington

The House  is not in session. Reconvenes Tuesday at 2 p.m. for legislative business.

The Senate  convenes 3 p.m., but no votes expected.

The President  speaks at the opening of the Mexican Consulate in New Orleans; meets with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Felipe Calderon of Mexico; speaks at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce reception and participates in a dinner with Harper and Calderon.

In Washington,  the National Press Club hosts a screening of the Iraq War film “Stop-Loss,” followed by a question-and-answer period with filmmaker Kimberly Peirce, soldier Stuart McKenzie and Suzanne Miller, founder of the End Stop Loss Now organization, 7 p.m., Landmark E St. Cinema, 555 11th St. N.W.

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Top Stories

Appeals Court Rejects Stay of Lobbying Disclosure Ruling

A federal appeals court Monday denied an urgent request from the National Association of Manufacturers to delay enforcement of a new lobbying law requiring the group to name its members.  [Read More]

House to Back Call for Justice Department Probe of 2005 Earmark

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has called on the ethics committee to look into the handling of a controversial earmark in the 2005 highway bill, has also decided to accept Senate language calling for a Justice Department probe of the matter.  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
SEATTLE/OKLAHOMA CITY: NBA Owners OK Sonics Move
THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY REGION: CO2 Fees Loom for Region's Businesses
MASSACHUSETTS: Court Upholds Internet Sexual-Predator Law
ALASKA: Governor Flies Home, Delivers Fifth Child

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Political Clippings

The Anchorage Daily News reports that Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, a Democrat, is expected to announce Monday that he will seek to run against veteran GOP Sen. Ted Stevens in the fall election. “Begich, 46, said he will not resign as mayor during the campaign. The 84-year-old Stevens has been in the U.S. Senate since 1968. He’s the longest-serving Republican in U.S. Senate history, and he said in a statement that the contest “will be about who has the experience, the seniority and the proven record to best serve Alaska in the U.S. Senate.” Begich, who was heavily courted by national party leaders, must get by two opponents in the Democratic primary before he can take on Stevens.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Third District Republicans on Saturday endorsed veteran state Rep. Erik Paulsen for the GOP nomination to seek the House seat of Jim Ramstad, a nine-term Republican who is retiring. Democrats in the Third District earlier endorsed lawyer Ashwin Madia, a former Republican and Iraq War veteran, to run for the open seat. Paulsen is a former state House majority leader, “a post he lost when the DFL took control of the Legislature in November 2006.”

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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.
MEDICAID: The House of Representatives sets up a possible veto showdown with the president by sending their Medicaid bill to the floor.
FDA: Food and Drug inspectors are going to China, and lawmakers want to boost agency funding.
HOSPITAL INFECTIONS: A new report says the government isna??t doing enough to cut down on deadly hospital infections. | Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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Political Trivia

What percentage of Pennsylvania’s workforce is blue collar?

a) 10%

b) 16%

c) 18%

d) 26%

Answer: d) As of the 2000 census, 26 percent of Pennsylvanians are blue collar workers, just slightly above the national average of 25 percent. Sixty percent were white collar and 15 percent were service industry workers. The median income in the state is below the national average.

If you look at the districts that lean Democratic (majority voted for John Kerry in 2004), just 20 percent are blue collar workers, less than the state average.



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