Friday, May 16, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, MAY 16, 2008 – 1:59 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House GOP Changes Emphasis, Not Views, on Family Issues
  • Senators Seek Deal on Bargaining Rights for First Responders
  • Bush Faces Likely Veto Showdown
  • Political Trivia for May 16
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Today in Washington

The House reconvenes at 12 noon Monday for legislative business; no roll call votes until Tuesday.

The Senate reconvenes at 2 p.m. Monday for speeches only; no votes.

The President meets with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

In Washington, Georgetown and George Washington universities continue hosting a series of graduate and undergraduate commencement ceremonies. May 15-18, various locations in and around the two college campuses.

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Top Stories

House GOP Changes Emphasis, Not Views, on Family Issues

Something big is missing from House Republicans’ 2008 campaign agenda for American families, and that is no accident.  [Read More]

Senators Seek Deal on Bargaining Rights for First Responders

Final action on a bill to expand collective bargaining rights for public safety employees is likely next week after Senate leaders canceled Friday test votes on the legislation.  [Read More]

Bush Faces Likely Veto Showdown

When President Bush returns from his Middle East trip, he is likely to confront two major legislative challenges from the Democratic Congress — bills he has repeatedly denounced but probably cannot block.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for May 16

Before President Bush, who was the last Republican president to visit Israel while in office?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Tribune-Star reports that Indiana Democratic Rep. Brad Ellsworth is taking fire from his 8th District opponent for his handling of his role as a Democratic Party superdelegate. “After the Indiana primary, Ellsworth told the media he voted for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama [D-Ill.] in the Indiana [presidential] primary but has pledged to cast his superdelegate vote for the candidate winning a majority of votes in the 8th District, which would be New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton,” the newspaper wrote. “I just think it’s an example where once again Mr. Ellsworth has multiple messages for multiple audiences,” said Greg Goode, Ellsworth’s Republican opponent in the fall election. Ellsworth has pledged his vote for Clinton only if she is still in the nomination race in August.

The Syracuse Post Standard reports that the Republican owner of a construction company was to launch his campaign Friday to unseat Democrat Rep. Michael Arcuri in the 24th District. Richard L. Hanna “began his tour across the 11-county district on Thursday in Utica and Binghamton,” the newspaper wrote. “These locations symbolize the loss of prosperity and opportunity in Upstate New York and are a clear example of the cause and effect between high taxes, excess regulation and economic decay,” he said. Arcuri has raised almost $1 million for the fall election, and had about $600,000 cash on hand on April 1, according to disclosure reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, the newspaper reports.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
ARIZONA: School Voucher Programs Ruled Unconstitutional
FLORIDA: Water Limits May Be Made Permanent
ATLANTA: Police Overspend Budget By $18 Million
VALLEJO, Calif.: City Rejects Unions' Contract Proposal
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Plan to Overhaul Troubled Schools Detailed

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2008 – 2:35 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate Sends Massive New Farm Bill to Bush
  • White House Issues Veto Threat as House Tackles War Spending Bill
  • Another Federal Debt-Limit Increase Might Be Needed, Senator Says
  • House Republicans Struggle to Reframe Their Message
  • Senate Panel Approves Bill To Deter Oil Spills
  • Political Trivia for May 15
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Today in Washington

The House considers supplemental spending bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through the early months of next year.

The Senate clears for the White House a massive new five-year farm bill; prepares to name conferees on the fiscal 2009 budget resolution.

The President greets Israeli government officials in Jerusalem; addresses the Knesset; later attends a reception in honor of the 60th anniversary of Israel.

In Washington, George Washington University hosts a panel of experts on how diasporas can leverage political capital into generating development policies. The panel includes Fantu Cheru of the Nordic Africa Institute of Sweden and Chukwu-Emeka Chikezie of the Africa Foundation for Development. 6 p.m., 1957 E St. N.W.

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Top Stories

Senate Sends Massive New Farm Bill to Bush

Brushing aside a presidential veto threat, the Senate on Thursday cleared a $289 billion, five-year farm bill that significantly increases nutrition spending while preserving crop subsidies.  [Read More]

White House Issues Veto Threat as House Tackles War Spending Bill

As the House prepared to vote Thursday on a supplemental war spending bill, the White House warned that President Bush would veto the measure.  [Read More]

Another Federal Debt-Limit Increase Might Be Needed, Senator Says

It looks increasingly likely that Congress will have to pass legislation this year to raise the national debt limit, according to congressional aides and the Senate Budget Committee chairman.  [Read More]

House Republicans Struggle to Reframe Their Message

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and other party leaders worked to buck up their demoralized rank and file Thursday at the second party caucus in as many days.  [Read More]

Senate Panel Approves Bill To Deter Oil Spills

A bill intended to curb oil spills by requiring double hulls on oil-carrying vessels was approved Thursday by a Senate panel.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for May 15

Where was presidential candidate George C. Wallace shot on May 15, 1972?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Seattle Times reports that the rematch for Washington’s 8th District seat is becoming “one of the most expensive congressional races in the country.” Incumbent Republican Dave Reichert and Democratic challenger Darcy Burner have each hired in-house fundraising directors instead of contractors, the newspaper reported. “At the end of March, Burner had raised $1.39 million and had more than $900,000 in unspent campaign cash,” the Times wrote. “Reichert had raised $1.37 million and had about $700,000 on hand.” Reichert defeated Burner by 3 percentage points in 2006 to take the seat, which represents the eastern portions of King and Pierce counties outside of Seattle and Tacoma.

The Denver Post reports that Bob Schaffer, the Republican candidate for senator, had to pull a campaign commercial “almost immediately because the image in the ad of Pikes Peak — where he proposed to his wife — turned out instead to be Mount McKinley in, well, Alaska.” Schaffer is running against Democratic Rep. Mark Udall for the seat of Republican Wayne Allard, who is retiring. “Dick Wadhams, Schaffer’s campaign manager, said the spot would be re-edited with Colorado peaks and start running again almost immediately,” the newspaper wrote, “but not before his candidate took a series of hits from liberal bloggers noting that the ad was supposed to underscore Schaffer’s deep connection to Colorado.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
OHIO: Attorney General Resigns
FLORIDA: Court Clears Way for Allstate Ban
INDIANA: Court Limits Sex Offender Residency Law
WEST VIRGINIA: Faculty Renews Call for President's Ouster
LOS ANGELES: Massive Water-Conservation Plan Revived
DENVER: Transit Agency Considering Cuts
SACRAMENTO, Calif.: Supervisors OK $1 Billion Airport Expansion
CHICAGO: Foie Gras Ban Lifted

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 2008 – 2:16 P.M.

In This Issue

  • GOP Slips McCain’s GI Bill Alternative into Play on Senate Floor
  • House GOP Eyes Campaign Changes After Latest Defeat
  • War Supplemental May Not Be Complete Until After Recess
  • House Panel Marks Up Defense Authorization Bill
  • Confirmation Hearing Set May 20 for HUD Nominee
  • Political Trivia for May 14
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Today in Washington

The House considers conference report on a new five-year farm bill.

The Senate continues consideration of legislation to extend collective bargaining rights to public safety employees nationwide.

The President is in Israel, which celebrates 60th anniversary of statehood today. Meets with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert; speaks at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem.

In Washington, the Alzheimers Association hosts its fifth annual National Alzheimers Gala. Participants include MSNBC’s “Hardball” host Chris Matthews, composer Marvin Hamlisch and former Miss America Phyllis George. 6:30 p.m., Grand Hyatt Hotel, 1000 H St. N.W.

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Top Stories

GOP Slips McCain’s GI Bill Alternative into Play on Senate Floor

Senate Republicans triggered a legislative meltdown Wednesday when they surprised Majority Leader Harry Reid with a veterans’ benefit amendment co-authored by presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain of Arizona.  [Read More]

House GOP Eyes Campaign Changes After Latest Defeat

Changes are coming to House Republicans’ national campaign effort in the wake of three special election losses in once-safe GOP districts, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner said Wednesday.  [Read More]

War Supplemental May Not Be Complete Until After Recess

Negotiations between the House and Senate on a supplemental war-spending measure could drag on past the Memorial Day recess, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday.  [Read More]

House Panel Marks Up Defense Authorization Bill

The House Armed Services Committee began a long markup of a $531.4 billion fiscal 2009 defense authorization bill Wednesday, seeking to shift billions from futuristic technology programs towards readiness and health care for troops.  [Read More]

Confirmation Hearing Set May 20 for HUD Nominee

As the housing slump continues with no end in sight, a Senate committee Wednesday scheduled a May 20 confirmation hearing for President Bush’s nominee to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for May 14

Since 1968, how many times did West Virginia vote for the presidential winner?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Greater Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin reports that Eliot Spitzer won’t be giving donors a full refund for the money they contributed to his aborted 2010 gubernatorial campaign. The former New York governor, who resigned March 17 after being disgraced by a sex scandal, has about $2.9 million in his campaign fund. Donors have been told they have six weeks to apply for refunds, or their money will be given to others. “Given the lack of funds left, any request received at this point forward will be honored on a pro-rated basis,” said Democratic Party spokesman Jonathan Rosen, according to the newspaper.

The Wilmington News-Journal reports that Bill Lee, a retired Delaware Superior Court judge, is now officially the Republican candidate for the state’s governorship. Lee paid his $5,300 campaign fee on Tuesday, ending months of uncertainty about whether he would be the GOP nominee. Lee had rejected the idea in March, but Delaware Republicans nominated him at their convention in early May, anyway. “I thank the delegates for ignoring what I said. I’m ready to do them proud,” Lee said. The Democratic nomination will be a race between Lt. Gov. John Carney Jr. and state Treasurer Jack Markell, the newspaper says.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
MASSACHUSETTS: Governor Proposes $3 Billion Bridge Repair Plan
NORTH CAROLINA: Colleges to Bar Illegal Immigrants
GEORGIA: Ex-State Worker Pleads Guilty to Credit Card Fraud
DETROIT: Council Votes to Force Mayor Out
SEATTLE: Mayor Seeks Seismic Retrofits
EAST BAY AREA, Calif.: Water Rationing Begins
NEW YORK CITY: School Officials Accused of Soliciting Bribes

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, MAY 13, 2008 – 1:53 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate Votes To Require Suspension of Oil Deposits In Strategic Reserve
  • Senate Votes to Reauthorize Flood Insurance Program
  • Senate Finance Grapples With Tax Code Overhaul
  • Final Farm Bill May Go to Vote in Both Chambers as Early as Wednesday
  • Senate Calls Up Bill to Give Bargaining Rights to First Responders
  • Political Trivia for May 13
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Today in Washington

The House considers bills to bar access to housing grants for people convicted of certain crimes, to boost human rights and target nuclear proliferation in North Korea and to temporarily halt oil deposits in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

The Senate votes to suspend deposits to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, passes legislation overhauling the National Flood Insurance Program and begins consideration of a bill expanding collective bargaining rights for first responders nationwide.

The President and Mrs. Bush depart the White House for Israel, first stop on their Middle East trip to advance a Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

In Washington, the National Press Club hosts a reception and panel discussion on the “Challenges Faced by Photojournalists,” a tribute to the memory of famed photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White. 6:30 p.m., National Press Club, 14th and F Sts. N.W.

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Top Stories

Senate Votes To Require Suspension of Oil Deposits In Strategic Reserve

The Senate defied the White House Tuesday with a bipartisan vote to require a temporary halt to the oil deposits in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, as the House prepared to pass its own mandate later in the day.  [Read More]

Senate Votes to Reauthorize Flood Insurance Program

The Senate passed a measure Tuesday to overhaul the National Flood Insurance Program and reauthorize it for five years.  [Read More]

Senate Finance Grapples With Tax Code Overhaul

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus sought Tuesday to find bipartisan agreement that could anchor major tax legislation in the next Congress.  [Read More]

Final Farm Bill May Go to Vote in Both Chambers as Early as Wednesday

Despite some last minute budgeting complications, the conference report on a massive new five-year farm bill will be filed Tuesday, setting up votes as early as Wednesday in both chambers.  [Read More]

Senate Calls Up Bill to Give Bargaining Rights to First Responders

The Senate on Tuesday agreed to consider bipartisan legislation to extend collective bargaining rights to police and firefighters in states that do not currently offer such labor protections.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for May 13

When was the last time Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District was held by a Democrat?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Burlington Free Press reports that Democratic state House Speaker Gaye Symington announced Monday that she would seek Vermont’s governor’s seat. She “made it a three-way race...as she takes on three-term incumbent Republican Jim Douglas of Middlebury and Progressive Anthony Pollina of Middlesex,” the newspaper reports. Symington highlighted the growing disparity between high- and low-income Vermonters, of crumbling roads and bridges and of a lack of a plan for Vermont’s energy future as reasons for her to seek the seat.

The Detroit News reports that Republican State Rep. Jack Hoogendyk made official Monday his candidacy to unseat incumbent Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. Hoogendyk turned in more than 30,000 nominating petition signatures. “Hoogendyk, 52, from Portage, held a brief press conference outside the state election office Monday. He said he’s raised $100,000, had the help of 400 volunteers and gathered double the number of signatures needed -- and from every county -- in the last three months,” the newspaper reports. “Hoogendyk promised a tough campaign against the popular, 74-year-old Levin, who chairs the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee. Levin also filed for re-election Monday.” Levin has a warchest of about $5 million.

Foster’s (N.H.) Daily Democrat reports that former New Hampshire Health and Human Services Commissioner John Stephen, a Republican, launched Monday his bid to win the GOP primary for the 1st Congressional District. Stephen will take on former Rep. Jeb Bradley (2003-2007), who defeated Stephen in 2002 for the seat now held by Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter. Bradley was unseated by Shea-Porter in 2006.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NATION: Steel Once Again a Hot Commodity
GEORGIA: Governor Cuts Gas Tax for Farmers, Timber Growers
CALIFORNIA: Governor Drops Plan for Early Release of 22,000 Inmates
TEXAS: Second Baby From Polygamist Cult Born in State Custody
DETROIT: City Council Crafts Two-Track Plan to Oust Mayor
NEWARK, N.J.: Former Mayor Will Be Spared a Second Trial
CLARK COUNTY, Nev.: Court Upholds School Dress Codes
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Instead of Library, Project Will Include Posh Hotel

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Monday, May 12, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, MAY 12, 2008 – 1:49 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate to Take a Shot at Energy Price Surge
  • Defense Authorization Bill Likely to Slide Into June
  • Rep. Fossella’s Court Hearing Put Off as He Ponders Next Move
  • Political Trivia for May 12
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Today in Washington

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

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. for speeches only.

The President speaks at a Preserve America Presidential Awards ceremony at the White House recognizing efforts by individuals or groups to preserve the nation’s cultural or natural heritage.

In Washington, the Brookings Institution holds a discussion on the U.S.-Colombian Free Trade Agreement, with Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Christopher S. Bond, R-Mo. 3:30 p.m., Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

Senate to Take a Shot at Energy Price Surge

The Senate will be the forum Tuesday for an initial exchange of partisan fire over what to do about this year’s soaring gasoline prices and the rising world demand for energy.  [Read More]

Defense Authorization Bill Likely to Slide Into June

The Senate is unlikely to act on its fiscal 2009 defense authorization bill by the Memorial Day recess, as long planned, aides said Monday.  [Read More]

Rep. Fossella’s Court Hearing Put Off as He Ponders Next Move

An initial court appearance by Rep. Vito J. Fossella, R-N.Y., on a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated was scrubbed Monday, as his Staten Island constituents waited to hear whether he plans to resign, retire or run again.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for May 12

When did a Democrat last represent Staten Island in the House?  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NATION: Tornado Season Deadliest in a Decade
FLORIDA: Wildfires Displace Hundreds
FLORIDA: State Programs Add Safety Net for the Poorest
MASSACHUSETTS: Coveted Tickets Land With Lottery Employees
TEXAS: Safety of State Dams Uncertain
CALIFORNIA: Governor Presses Fire Defense
WISCONSIN: State Tells Smokers to Cough Up Taxes
VALLEJO, Calif.: City One of Few to Use Chapter 9
THE NATION: Gas Prices Send Surge of Riders to Mass Transit
PASSAIC, N.J.: Mayor Pleads Guilty to Corruption
ORANGE COUNTY, Calif.: Toll Road Agency Hails Wildlife Deal

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Political Clippings

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that 3rd District Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, barely survived the Republican State Convention, where Jason Chaffetz, a former chief of staff to Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., mustered 59 percent of the delegate votes. “Chaffetz captured 563 Republican delegate votes, or 59 percent of the total. Cannon received votes from 391 delegates, 41 percent of the total. Chaffetz could have captured the nomination outright with 60 percent of the vote - a 10-vote swing,” the newspaper reports. The two Republicans now face a June 24 primary.

The Hartford Courant reports that Connecticut Republicans on Saturday nominated candidates for five U.S. House seats. Sean Sullivan, a former commander of the Naval Submarine Base, was selected to challenge freshman Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn. Veteran 4th District Rep. Christopher Shays, the only remaining Republican from New England, was nominated for an 11th full term. In the 5th District, the GOP tapped state Sen. David Cappiello to challenge freshman Democratic Rep. Christopher S. Murphy. Boaz Itshaky, an acupuncturist, was selected to challenge Democratic 3rd District Rep. Rosa DeLauro, and West Hartford Town Councilman Joseph Visconti to challenge five-term Democratic Rep. John B. Larson in the 1st District.

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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.
MEDICARE ADVANTAGE: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposes new marketing guidelines for private insurers in Medicare.
SPECIALTY HOSPITALS: Republicans want health care provisions, including one dealing with specialty hospitals and Medicare, removed from a supplemental war spending bill.
COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS:A House panel approved a package of health care bills, including one dealing with community health centers. | Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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