Friday, May 02, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

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

In This Issue

  • White House Details Its Request for Fiscal 2009 War Funding
  • Farm Bill Conferees Near Goal Line, With Final Push Next Week
  • Senate Stalls Again, Leaves Town Until May 6
  • Political Trivia for May 2
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session; reconvenes at 2 p.m. Monday for legislative business.

The Senate met for speeches only; will reconvene at 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 6.

The President tours and makes remarks at the World Wide Technology Inc. headquarters in St. Louis, then departs for his Crawford, Texas, ranch, where he will spend the weekend.

In Washington, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon makes the rounds, hosting a lunch for Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke at the French ambassador’s residence and meeting with Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., among others.

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Top Stories

White House Details Its Request for Fiscal 2009 War Funding

The White House on Friday sent Congress a detailed request for $70 billion in fiscal 2009 war funding that probably will be tacked on to a pending supplemental spending bill for fiscal 2008.  [Read More]

Farm Bill Conferees Near Goal Line, With Final Push Next Week

After last night’s meeting on the farm bill spilled into Friday morning, House and Senate negotiators decided to put off further talks until next week.  [Read More]

Senate Stalls Again, Leaves Town Until May 6

Frustrated by a lack of progress on a major aviation policy overhaul, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has sent the Senate home for a long weekend.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for May 2

How many Senate Republican incumbents are running this year in states that favored Democrat John Kerry for president in 2004?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Las Vegas Review Journal reports that Democratic state Sen. Dina Titus announced last night she will seek to unseat three-term Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., in the 3rd District two years after she lost a race for governor to former GOP Rep. Jim Gibbons. Titus, 57, a professor of political science at University of Nevada Las Vegas, has served in the state Senate for 20 years, 15 of them as the Democratic leader. She is “entering the race late following the sudden withdrawal earlier this week of former prosecutor Robert Daskas, who had been the Democratic establishment’s candidate. She starts at a financial disadvantage to Porter, who had more than $1 million in campaign money on hand as of March 31,” the paper said. But the 3rd District race is expected to be one of the closest in the country; Porter won in 2006 by just under 2 percentage points.

The New York Daily News reports that Steve Harrison, a Democrat campaigning to unseat 13th District Rep. Vito J. Fossella, R-N.Y., said Fossella should “seriously consider leaving Congress” after the lawmaker was arrested in Virginia this week for drunk driving. “It’s not an ‘embarrassment,’ it’s a crime,” Harrison said. “I think we’re dealing with a lot of words. He didn’t admit anything. What the error in judgment is, he doesn’t say.” Fossella apologized Thursday, saying, “As a parent, I know that taking even one drink of alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a car is wrong.” Fossella was charged with driving while intoxicated as a first offense, which under Virginia law requires a blood-alcohol level of 0.08% or higher, the newspaper reports.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
CALIFORNIA: Long-Term Drought Feared for State
PENNSYLVANIA: Market Turmoil Shrinks Field of Turnpike Bidders
AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine: River Leaves Swamped Buildings, Roads
NEW YORK CITY: Mayor's Budget Plan Halts Spending Growth
ATLANTA: Error Brings $371,000 in Mileage Overpayments

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, MAY 1, 2008 – 2:04 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Passes Landmark Ban on Genetic Discrimination
  • Senate Bill Would Authorize $612.5 Billion for Defense Next Year
  • Timing Still Unclear, But Details Start to Emerge for War Supplemental
  • Aviation Bill Still Trapped in Senate Holding Pattern
  • Trade Group Discloses Membership While Its Appeal Proceeds
  • Political Trivia for May 1
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Today in Washington

The House is completing work on a bill to ensure the availability of student loans and legislation that would ban discrimination based on genetic information, along with another temporary extension of the 2002 farm bill.

The Senate continues work on an aviation policy bill that would pave the way for modernization of the air traffic control system.

The President makes remarks on the National Day of Prayer in the Rose Garden; later speaks at the celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

In Washington, the second annual Climate Action Conference, sponsored by George Washington University, begins with a panel discussion on the role of small organizations, communities, projects and networks of citizens play in helping to address climate crises. 7 p.m., 1957 E St. N.W., 7th Floor.

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Top Stories

House Passes Landmark Ban on Genetic Discrimination

Landmark legislation banning discrimination based on genetic information moved within steps of enactment Thursday.  [Read More]

Senate Bill Would Authorize $612.5 Billion for Defense Next Year

The Senate’s newly drafted defense authorization bill would authorize $612.5 billion in fiscal 2009, including $70 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Armed Services Committee said in a statement Thursday.  [Read More]

Timing Still Unclear, But Details Start to Emerge for War Supplemental

House Democrats appeared Thursday to be backing off plans to unveil and consider the fiscal 2009 war supplemental spending measure next week, as the caucus continues to struggle over funding and process.  [Read More]

Aviation Bill Still Trapped in Senate Holding Pattern

In an effort to get an aviation policy bill off the ground, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid turned to the Finance Committee Thursday to try to overcome Republican objections to certain tax provisions.  [Read More]

Trade Group Discloses Membership While Its Appeal Proceeds

The National Association of Manufacturers has rung a bell that cannot be unrung.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for May 1

How many Republican senators are running this year?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Kentucky Senate Democratic primary candidate Bruce Lunsford accused his opponent of improperly using the Justice Department seal in an ad. “A U.S. Department of Justice official confirmed Wednesday that the agency would ask Lunsford’s Democratic opponent, Greg Fischer, to stop using its official seal in a TV ad against Lunsford,” the newspaper reports. Lundsford’s campaign wrote a letter to the Justice Department informing it of Fischer’s use of the department’s seal three times in an ad, “clearly implying that the department endorses or approves of the advertisement,” wrote attorney Joseph E. Sandler of the Washington, D.C., firm of Sandler, Reiff & Young. Federal law prohibits the use of the seal without permission. Kim Geveden, Fischer’s consultant, said he didn’t seek permission to use the seal. “They’re a public agency that issued public documents,” he said. One of those documents was a department press release from 2001 outlining a $219 million settlement Lunsford’s nursing home companies paid to resolve charges that, among other things, the company “knowingly submitted false claims to Medicare.’”

The Deseret News reports that 3rd District incumbent Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, failed to file campaign financial reports to the Federal Election Commission by the April 28 deadline. The newspaper reports, “Cannon’s campaign manager, Ryan Frandsen, said there was confusion about the date the reports were due and that the reports will be filed today. ‘It’s just an oversight on our part,’ he said.” The failure of Cannon to file on time prompted one Republican primary opponent, Jason Chaffetz, to say it showed an inability to get things done in the Cannon office. However, David Leavitt, the other Republican challenger, said it didn’t matter that much.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
MICHIGAN: Governor Faces Weeks of Recovery from Surgery
NORTHERN MAINE: Floods Inundate Downtowns, Threaten Dams and Bridges
FLORIDA/GEORGIA: Florida Protests Georgia Drought Plan
TEXAS: State: Dozens of Sect Children Had Broken Bones
NEW YORK CITY: Court Thows Out Suit Against Gun Industry
PITTSBURGH Region: Region Bumps L.A. as Nation's Sootiest

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30, 2008 – 2 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Farm Bill Negotiators Tighten Income Limits for Subsidy Payments
  • Senate Returns Amended Student Loan Bill to House
  • Senate Aviation Policy Debate Begins With Scrap Over Pension Benefits
  • Standoff Over FEC Nominations Continues
  • Second Stimulus Package Unlikely Before Memorial Day Break
  • Political Trivia for April 30
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Today in Washington

The House welcomes Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, considers more than a dozen minor measures and a bill designed to increase worker protections against combustible dust.

The Senate continues debate on a Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill (HR 2881).

The President participates in photo ops with 2008 national and state Teachers of the Year and later with the New York Giants; attends an evening fundraiser for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

In Washington, the World Affairs Council of Washington holds its annual gala, with keynote speaker Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr., D-Del. 7:30 p.m., Renaissance Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

Farm Bill Negotiators Tighten Income Limits for Subsidy Payments

Farm bill conferees are touting a complicated crop subsidy scheme to make sure wealthy farmers do not collect government payments.  [Read More]

Senate Returns Amended Student Loan Bill to House

Legislation that aims to ensure that student loans remain available despite the ongoing credit crunch was passed by the Senate Wednesday, but only after changes that will require further action by the House.  [Read More]

Senate Aviation Policy Debate Begins With Scrap Over Pension Benefits

The Senate opened debate Wednesday on a major aviation policy overhaul with an argument over proposed changes in airline pension rules that key senators warned could threaten the solvency of some major airlines.  [Read More]

Standoff Over FEC Nominations Continues

A partisan standoff that has left the Federal Election Commission unable to function this election year shows no sign of ending.  [Read More]

Second Stimulus Package Unlikely Before Memorial Day Break

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Wednesday it is unlikely that a second economic stimulus package could be completed before the Memorial Day break.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for April 30

How many House Republicans represent districts that favored Democrat John Kerry for president in 2004?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Wichita Eagle reports former Democratic Rep. Jim Slattery (1983-1995) launched a bid Tuesday to unseat Republican Pat Roberts as the U.S. senator from Kansas. “Slattery, who has been running since last month, made his formal announcement in stops across the state, including the Wichita Hilton Airport Hotel,” the newspaper reports. He blamed incumbents of both parties for economic instability, high fuel prices, low-mileage cars and the Iraq war. “I cannot in good conscience continue to sit on the sidelines and watch career politicians lead our country in the wrong direction,” he said. Roberts campaign wasted no time before counter punching, criticizing Slattery’s post-congressional lobbying job. Slattery “stopped working for Kansas years ago so he could make millions for himself working for special interests,” a campaign statement said.

The San Jose Mercury News reports the race between California District 11 Democratic incumbent Jerry McNerney and challenger Dean Andal is a toss up. “In 2006, McNerney pulled off one of the big upsets of the year when he knocked out Republican Richard Pombo [1993-2007], a committee chairman who earned the ire of environmental groups. Now efforts by the GOP to retake the district...ensure an expensive campaign and one of the state’s most competitive,” the newspaper reports. McNerney raised $1.6 million through March, while Andal raised $638,681. The Republican has benefited from TV and radio spots from a GOP group that is trying to oust McNerney and 14 other House Democrats. The 11th District is the only one in the Bay Area where the GOP has a plurality of voters, 41.3 percent to 38.4 percent.

Howie Indiana Politics reports that the 6th District Democratic congressional primary is a two-way race between incumbent Rep. André Carson and Dr. Woody Myers. Local polling shows Carson with a 45 percent to 28 percent lead. Carson’s name recognition stands at 95 percent among Democratic voters and his favorable/unfavorable ratings stand at 66 percent to 8 percent, the publication reports. Following a special election in March, Carson replaced his grandmother, the late Rep. Julia Carson, who died in December. Myers began his TV advertising campaign on March 12. “After six weeks of TV, Myers’ name ID has spiked to 82 percent of people choosing to vote in the 7th [District] primary,” the publication reports.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NATION: Public-Sector Hiring Surges
CALIFORNIA: Audit: 'Safe-Surrender' Program for Newborns Languishing
WISCONSIN: Insurance Initiative Off to Healthy Start
WASHINGTON, D.C., Region: In Reversal, Feds OK Airport Rail Project
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va.: Immigrant Police Check Mandate Softened

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2008 – 2:22 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House To Take Up Supplemental As Early Next Week
  • Bush Says Lifting Gas Tax Might Be an Option
  • Credit Union Legislation Faces More Negotiations
  • Senate Leaders Seek Way Forward on FAA Bill
  • Senate GOP Will Attempt To Block New Medicaid Regulations
  • Political Trivia for April 29
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Today in Washington

The House considers a dozen measures, including an omnibus measure containing more than 60 natural resources bills.

The Senate continues debate on a Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill (HR 2881).

The President holds news conference; meets with the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Afghanistan; makes remarks on National Volunteer Week.

In Washington, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivers a keynote address at the American Jewish Committee’s 102nd annual meeting. 7 p.m., Capital Hilton, 1001 16th St. N.W.

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Top Stories

House To Take Up Supplemental As Early Next Week

Democratic leaders said Tuesday the emergency supplemental bill for war funding would be unveiled in the House next week after discussions involving Democrats from both chambers.  [Read More]

Bush Says Lifting Gas Tax Might Be an Option

President Bush this morning indicated that he may be open to a lifting the 18.4-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax over the summer, in order to ease pain at the pump at time of record-high fuel prices.  [Read More]

Credit Union Legislation Faces More Negotiations

Lawmakers and the lending industry are planning to work on a compromise version of legislation that would allow credit unions to expand into underserved areas, after last minute objections scuttled House consideration of the bill.  [Read More]

Senate Leaders Seek Way Forward on FAA Bill

The Senate takes up a legislation Tuesday that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration and address recent revelations about missed safety inspections at some air carriers and the FAA’s lax oversight of these inspections.  [Read More]

Senate GOP Will Attempt To Block New Medicaid Regulations

Senate Republicans might try to obstruct a bill that would block the Bush administration’s new Medicaid regulations, a strategy that could force Democrats to attach the measure to war spending legislation.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for April 29

Of the 30 formerly Republican House seats captured by Democrats in 2006, how many favored President Bush in 2004?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Indianapolis Star reports that 7th District Rep. Andre Carson, D- Ind., is being overshadowed by his primary opponent former state health commissioner Woody Myers and his self-funded campaign. Carson won a March 11 special election to replace his grandmother, the late Rep. Julia Carson, 1996-2007. Andre “Carson is the sitting officeholder, the man with the title, the family name and the built-in advantages that come with incumbency. But Myers has been the more visible candidate, with a powerful TV advertising campaign and a well-run campaign office that has many wondering whether he’ll put an end to the Carson dynasty when voters head to the polls next week,” the newspaper reports. In a sparsely attended press conference in Indianapolis, Carson said that when district residents begin receiving their rebate checks they will think of him. “Those tax rebates will provide much-needed assistance to working families here in Indianapolis,” he said. Carson was elected to his late grandmother’s seat in a special election on March 11, several weeks after Congress approved the rebates.

The Macon Telegraph reports that former congressman Mac Collins, 1993-2005, who ran a close race against incumbent Democrat Rep. Jim Marshall two years ago and had said he was considering another bid in the 8th District this year, won’t be running. “I’m just going to sit this one out,” Collins said. “Collins’ decision may simplify the nominating process for retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Rick Goddard. Goddard has already become the popular choice for Republican Party elders. Gov. Sonny Perdue has endorsed him and, at an April 19 gathering, county Republican parties in the 8th District endorsed him as well,” the newspaper reports. Robert Nowak, a former Bibb County schoolteacher plans to face Marshall in the Democratic primary, filed Monday, the first day to file for local, state and federal offices. Marshall has not yet filed for re-election, but he is expected to before qualifying ends Friday at noon.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
LOS ANGELES: Downturn Delays $3 Billion Downtown Project
CHICAGO: City to Pay $50 Million in County-Building Fire
SEATTLE: Report Says Fortified-Beverage Ban Ineffective
SOUTHERN VIRGINIA: Hundreds Injured as Tornadoes Rip Communities
TEXAS: More than Half of Sect's Teenage Girls Have Been Pregnant

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Monday, April 28, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, APRIL 28, 2008 – 2:05 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Supreme Court Upholds Voter ID Requirements
  • Weather Permitting, Senate Ready to Start Aviation Debate
  • Farm Bill Conference Delayed One Day by Air Travel Problems
  • Publicity Hounds to Show That Even a Great Film Can Stink
  • Political Trivia for April 28
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Today in Washington

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

The Senate votes on whether to call up a reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration that would set funding to modernize the air traffic control system.

The President Meets with Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom Caballeros; later meets with the American Legion National Commander Marty Conatser.

In Washington, a forum on “Asia vs. the West: The Challenge of The 21st Century,” with Kishore Mahbubani, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public and former Singapore Ambassador to the United Nations, is set for 3:30 p.m., New America Foundation, 1630 Connecticut Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

Supreme Court Upholds Voter ID Requirements

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that states can require voters to show photo identification at the polls, in a closely watched case with important ramifications for the 2008 elections.  [Read More]

Weather Permitting, Senate Ready to Start Aviation Debate

The Senate was expected to vote Monday evening on whether to take up legislation designed to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration and pave the way for modernization of the air traffic control system.  [Read More]

Farm Bill Conference Delayed One Day by Air Travel Problems

Bad weather and the resulting air travel problems prompted farm bill conferees to reschedule Monday night’s meeting to Tuesday morning to allow all members to get back to Washington.  [Read More]

Publicity Hounds to Show That Even a Great Film Can Stink

The black Labrador retrievers Lucky and Flo probably can’t tell a good movie from a bad one, but the dogs certainly know a thing or two about “buddy” pictures.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for April 28

What was the last election year in which a party gained more than eight U.S. Senate seats?  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
SAN FRANCISCO: City Eyes Higher Park, Recreation Fees
BOSTON: Mayor Slams Public-Works Performance
RENO, Nev.: Quake Aftershocks Rattle City
NEW YORK CITY: Eased Racial Divisions Temper Shooting-Verdict Rage
ARIZONA: Immigrant-Hiring Law Snares No Employers
PENNSYLVANIA: Liquor Agency Eyes Vending-Machine Wine Sales
CALIFORNIA: Governor: Allow Power Line Through Park

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Political Clippings

The Gillette News-Record reports that Sen. Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., intends to seek a third term, despite having considered retiring after he felt Republican Senate leaders treated him unfairly.

“Enzi said he still has many more issues to deal with that included 40 bills that are in the works to help Wyoming and America,” the newspaper reports. “Gillette Mayor Duane Evenson said everyone he knew had been trying to get an insight into what the senator would do. ‘He’s been a great asset (to Gillette) ever since he came to town and opened a shoe store,’” Evenson said.

The Myrtle Beach Sun News reports that while Buddy Witherspoon raised nearly $337,000 in the first quarter for his race against Sen. Lindsey Graham in South Carolina’s GOP primary June 10, it is a fraction of the incumbent’s nearly $5 million war chest. “Touting the support of President Bush and almost all of the state’s Republican establishment, Graham is defending his record as a conservative in the final months until the primary with the help of $4.77 million, bolstered by $500,000 raised in the first three months of 2008,” the paper reports. Witherspoon, a dentist and longtime state GOP official, has positioned himself right of Graham on issues such as illegal immigration.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that comedian Al Franken, the Democrat seeking to unseat GOP Sen. Norm Coleman, has not yet resolved a possible irregularity in his personal finances uncovered by Minnesota Republicans. “Franken’s campaign manager, Andy Barr, declined to say whether Franken had paid taxes on earnings in California between 2003 and 2007,” the paper said, adding the candidate’s accountant currently is working with California officials to sort things out, Barr said. The new charge comes in the wake of earlier disclosures that Franken failed to pay workers’ compensation and disability premiums in New York and botched the dissolution of his California corporation.

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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.
GENETIC DISCRIMINATION: Senate passes law that would ban discrimination based on genetic tests.
MEDICAID: House passes measure to block implementation of new Medicaid regulations.
FDA: House and Senate panels question FDA officials on agencya??s need for additional inspection resources. | Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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