Friday, June 20, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, JUNE 20, 2008 – 1:38 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Passes Overhaul of Electronic Surveillance Rules
  • Senate Plans Tuesday Vote on Housing Bill
  • Medicare Vote Expected In The House Early Next Week
  • House Panel Approves Transportation-Housing Spending
  • White House Invokes Executive Privilege Over Environmental Documents
  • FEC Nominees to Face Senate Confirmation Vote Next Week
  • Political Trivia for June 20
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Today in Washington

The House is expected to pass a bill to overhaul the law on electronic espionage.

The Senate resumes consideration of a housing bill.

President Bush attends a fundraiser in Naples, Fla., for Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Mario Diaz-Balart; attends a fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory in Raleigh, N.C.

In Washington, The Agriculture Department, in partnership with 25x25, will present exhibits on agriculture and natural resource-based renewable energy conservation. Whitten Building and National Arboretum, June 19-21.

 

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Top Stories

House Passes Overhaul of Electronic Surveillance Rules

The House Friday passed an overhaul of electronic surveillance rules stemming from a bipartisan compromise that left Democrats divided.  [Read More]

Senate Plans Tuesday Vote on Housing Bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took steps Friday to limit debate and amendments on housing legislation moving through the chamber.  [Read More]

Medicare Vote Expected In The House Early Next Week

The House is planning to vote on a “modified” version of a Senate Medicare bill early next week, a House Democratic aide said Friday.  [Read More]

House Panel Approves Transportation-Housing Spending

The chairman of the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee on Friday said the projected shortfall of the federal Highway Trust Fund is not his panel’s responsibility to fix.  [Read More]

White House Invokes Executive Privilege Over Environmental Documents

The White House has invoked executive privilege in refusing to provide documents to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on two controversial environmental issues.  [Read More]

FEC Nominees to Face Senate Confirmation Vote Next Week

The Senate will likely confirm five Federal Election Commission nominees early next week, putting the long-defunct oversight group back in working order, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Friday.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for June 20

In a mid-June 2000, what percentage of voters supported George Bush for president?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Greenwich Time reports that substitute teacher Lee Whitnum qualified for an August Democratic primary against Jim Himes in Connecticut’s 4th District race. They will compete for the party’s nomination on Aug. 12. “To force a primary against Himes, who was endorsed at the party’s nominating convention last month, Whitnum needed to get signatures from 2,459, or 2 percent, of the registered Democrats in the district,” the newspaper reports. “The winner will face longtime Republican incumbent Christopher Shays in the November election.”

The Citizens Voice reports that “the race in Pennsylvania’s 11th District between Paul E. Kanjorski, the 12-term Democratic incumbent, and Lou Barletta, the Republican mayor of Hazleton, has gone on air and online.” Kanjorski has spent $36,015 for 127 commercials, while Barletta’s campaign posted his first commercial on the video-sharing Web site YouTube.com. “We can’t change Washington unless we change the people we send there,” Barletta says in the ad. “This election is not about Democrats vs. Republicans. It’s not about the left vs. the right. It’s about right vs. wrong.” Kanjorski drew criticism from Republicans for a video of his appearance at an Aug. 28, 2007, town-hall meeting in which he admitted Democrats stretched the facts about their plan to end the war in Iraq in an effort to win Congressional races in 2006.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE SOUTHWEST: Feds to Clean Up Reservation's Uranium Contamination
CALIFORNIA: Supreme Court Voids Law Limiting Anti-Union Campaigns
SOUTH CAROLINA: Lawsuit Challenges 'I Believe' License Plates
TEXAS: Mansion Fire Brings Plea for Secret Service Assessment
THE MIDWEST: More Outdated Levees at Risk
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA: Plan to Spray Urban Areas for Farm Pest Dropped
NEW YORK CITY: Panel OKs Big Increases for Rent-Stabilized Apartments

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, JUNE 19, 2008 – 2:32 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House To Vote On War Supplemental Thursday
  • Deal on Surveillance Overhaul Headed to House Floor
  • Housing Bill Faces Unexpected Veto Threat
  • Energy Legislation Set for House Floor, Pelosi Says
  • Political Trivia for June 19
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Today in Washington

The House plans to take up a war funding bill without policy restrictions, as well as a bill to provide paid parental leave for federal employees.

The Senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to a bill to extend expiring tax breaks and will then move on to a housing package, along with amendments.

President Bush attends a ceremony for 2008 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In Washington, Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer speaks to award recipients at the BioEnergy Awareness Day event at 3:30 p.m. on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Whitten Building patio, 1400 Independence Ave. S.W.

 

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Top Stories

House To Vote On War Supplemental Thursday

The House is expected Thursday to pass a $161.8 billion supplemental spending bill which includes war funding, an expanded veterans education benefit, extension of unemployment insurance and money to deal with flooding in the Midwest.  [Read More]

Deal on Surveillance Overhaul Headed to House Floor

Congressional negotiators Thursday announced a deal that would overhaul electronic spying rules and likely result in the dismissal of lawsuits against telecommunications companies accused of aiding warrantless surveillance.  [Read More]

Housing Bill Faces Unexpected Veto Threat

The Bush administration issued a surprise veto threat Thursday against a massive housing bill the Senate is debating.  [Read More]

Energy Legislation Set for House Floor, Pelosi Says

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will take up four bills next week designed to help Americans cope with rising energy costs and encourage domestic production.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for June 19

Which political figure was not born in 1908?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Daily Breeze reports that a congressional watchdog group “filed an ethics complaint Wednesday against South Bay Rep. Laura Richardson, asking for a House investigation into her financial troubles.” Richardson, a freshman Democrat who represents California’s 37th District, has defaulted seven times on her two homes in Long Beach and San Pedro. She also has failed to pay smaller debts to local businesses until reporters inquired about them. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), filed the complaint with the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, the House’s ethics panel. “This just doesn’t make Congress look very good,” Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, told the newspaper. “There seems to be building pressure on Richardson, and she’s not exactly explaining herself.” The committee is not required to address complaints made by outside groups.

According to the Star Tribune, allies of Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken continued to trade barbs on Wednesday in their Senate race. Minnesota GOP Chairman Ron Carey accused Franken of hypocrisy “for bashing oil and pharmaceutical companies that are held in some mutual funds he owns,” according to the newspaper. Franken’s campaign said the accusations are “wholly without merit” because the stocks cited either are not listed in his mutual funds or make up a tiny fraction of the holdings. Franken’s campaign, meanwhile, repeated its charge that “Coleman failed to hold hearings on waste and abuse in the reconstruction of Iraq when he was chairman of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations,” according to the Star Tribune.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE MIDWEST: Overwhelmed Levees Leave Farms, Towns Inundated
PHILADELPHIA: Private Managers Dumped for Six Schools
HOUSTON: Five New Light-Rail Lines Approved
BOULDER, Colo.: City: No Danger from Plutonium in Water
VIRGINIA: Governor: No More Out-of-State Inmates Massachusetts: Billing Banned for Medical Mistakes New York State: Court Plan Aims at Easing Foreclosures

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, JUNE 18, 2008 – 1:54 P.M.

In This Issue

  • War Bill Takes Precedence for House Appropriators
  • Blue Dogs’ Resistance Could Force Compromise on Surveillance Bill
  • Bush Urges New Offshore Oil Drilling
  • AMT ‘Patch’ Wins Approval of Ways and Means Panel
  • Senate Panel Approves C-J-S Bill With Funding Above House’s Version
  • Bush Vetoes Fixed Version of Farm Bill; Override Vote Scheduled in House
  • Political Trivia for June 18
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Today in Washington

The House is expected to consider several homeland security bills and may bring up a version of the long-delayed supplemental war spending measure.

The Senate may begin consideration of a housing package.

President Bush meets with Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev; meets with the Chinese delegation to the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue; speaks at a GOP fundraiser at the Washington Convention Center.

In Washington, Zhu Guangyao, Chinese assistant finance minister, delivers a briefing on the 4th China-U.S. Strategic Economic Dialogue. 5:10 p.m., Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Road N.W.

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Top Stories

War Bill Takes Precedence for House Appropriators

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said he hopes to have the supplemental war spending bill on the floor Thursday, adding that markups by the full Appropriations Committee have been canceled this week so members can concentrate on getting the bill done.  [Read More]

Blue Dogs’ Resistance Could Force Compromise on Surveillance Bill

A potential revolt by a group of Democrats pressed party leaders into compromising on a rewrite of electronic surveillance rules that could come to a House vote by week’s end, a top Democrat said Wednesday.  [Read More]

Bush Urges New Offshore Oil Drilling

President Bush called for new offshore oil production Wednesday, joining Republican lawmakers and the presumptive GOP presidential nominee in arguing that new domestic energy sources will help lower the price of gasoline.  [Read More]

AMT ‘Patch’ Wins Approval of Ways and Means Panel

The House Ways and Means Committee approved a one-year “patch” to the alternative minimum tax on Wednesday, but the bill is likely to see major changes before it becomes law.  [Read More]

Senate Panel Approves C-J-S Bill With Funding Above House’s Version

The Senate Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittee approved a fiscal 2009 spending bill Wednesday that would boost funding for the Commerce Department beyond what the House is proposing.  [Read More]

Bush Vetoes Fixed Version of Farm Bill; Override Vote Scheduled in House

The president has vetoed the latest version of the farm bill, and the House is expected to override him on Wednesday, aides said.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for June 18

Who did the GOP nominate for president at its only previous convention in Minnesota?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Chicago Tribune reports that the campaign of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain has asked Illinois state Sen. Kirk Dillard to pull ads in which he praises Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee. Obama’s campaign used the ad in Democratic primaries. “Dillard, elected Feb. 5 as a convention delegate for McCain, has asked Obama’s top political strategist, David Axelrod, not to use the TV ad for the general election campaign, now that the battle for the presidency is down to a one-on-one partisan contest. ... Obama campaign aides said they would honor Dillard’s request.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that former Tennessee state Rep. Fred Hobbs, a member of the state Democratic Executive Committee, has apologized for suggesting Sen. Barack Obama “may have connections to terrorists.” But the controversy continues to raise questions for Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn., a possible candidate for governor in 2010. Davis’ chief of staff, Beecher Frasier, said he didn’t know for sure if the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee had terrorist connections, drawing a rebuke from former Rep. Harold Ford Jr., the party’s 2006 Senate nominee. “His comments offend me as an American and embarrass me as a Tennessean,” Ford said of Frasier, his campaign manager in 2006. Responded Davis: “God bless Harold Ford Jr. Bless his little heart.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE MIDWEST: Mississippi Threatens Levees in 3 States
BANGOR, Maine: City Expects Cost Savings in Switch to Natural Gas
LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va.: Police to Check Immigration Status
CALIFORNIA: Gay Couples Throng Courthouses to Wed
NEW YORK STATE: Ethics Panel Seeks Settlement with Spitzer Aides

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, JUNE 17, 2008 – 1:50 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate Ethics Panel to Examine Loans From Countrywide
  • Senate GOP Blocks Consideration of Unemployment Bill
  • Obama Campaigns on Capitol Hill
  • Senators Float Compromise on Housing Finance Overhaul
  • Political Trivia for June 17
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Today in Washington

The House considers various bills under suspension of the rules; continues with appropriations markups with the Financial Services and Energy-Water bills.

The Senate will try to hold a cloture vote on a bill to extend expiring tax breaks; may also try to take up an unemployment benefits bill.

President Bush meets with the former commander of the International Security Assistance Force, Gen. Dan McNeill, in the Oval Office; later speaks in honor of Black Music Month.

In Washington, the American Bar Association sponsors a discussion on the implications of the June 12 Supreme Court decision on Guantanamo detainees. Participants include Robert Chesney of Wake Forest Law School, attorney Susan Baker Manning, Kate Martin of the Center for National Security Studies, and former White House associate counsel Bradford Berenson. 4 p.m., Reserve Officers Association, 1 Constitution Ave. N.E.

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Top Stories

Senate Ethics Panel to Examine Loans From Countrywide

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad said Tuesday that the Ethics Committee is examining mortgages he received in 2004 from Countrywide Financial.  [Read More]

Senate GOP Blocks Consideration of Unemployment Bill

Senate Republicans objected Tuesday to bringing an unemployment benefits extension to the floor, setting the stage for House and Senate Democrats to now devote their efforts to including the extension in the pending war supplemental spending bill.  [Read More]

Obama Campaigns on Capitol Hill

Presumed Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is launching an aggressive Capitol Hill campaign to bring former supporters of vanquished primary rival Hillary Rodham Clinton fully into his camp.  [Read More]

Senators Float Compromise on Housing Finance Overhaul

Senators have floated a new compromise on loan limits for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that would mark an increase over earlier Senate legislation, but fall short of House-preferred levels.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for June 17

Which state had the closest raw-vote outcome in the 2000 presidential election?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

A SurveyUSA automated poll of 609 registered Minnesota voters shows Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., holding a 12-point lead over Democrat Al Franken. The poll, taken June 10-12, also showed Coleman leading in a three-way race with former Gov. Jesse Ventura. Coleman had 41 percent to 31 percent to Franken and 23 percent for Ventura. The poll had a 4.1-percentage-point margin of error.

The Daily Review in Towanda, Pa., reports that Rep. Christopher Carney, D-Pa., kicked off his “Republicans for Carney” group Monday in a bid to gain bipartisan support for his re-election in a GOP-leaning district. The campaign brought out 24 of the 30 registered Republicans supporting Carney over GOP nominee Chris Hackett. A Hackett spokesman said the Carney supporters are “not representative of Republicans in the district.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
CALIFORNIA: Gay Couples Rush to Be Among First to Wed
IOWA: Mississippi Expected to Top Record Flood Levels
NEW YORK CITY: Summer Experiment: Car-Free Streets
DETROIT: Schools Face $400 Million Shortfall

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Monday, June 16, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, JUNE 16, 2008 – 1:47 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Mukasey Subpoenaed by House Committee
  • Senate Set for Tax Vote
  • Political Trivia for June 16
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session

The Senate will try again to start debate on a House-passed tax package.

President Bush meets with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London; travels to Belfast, Ireland, to visit Lough View Integrated Primary School; returns to Washington.

In Washington, Sens. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., hold a briefing to hear how leading public health experts are working to prevent violence in the world. 3 p.m., HC-8, Capitol.

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Top Stories

Mukasey Subpoenaed by House Committee

A House panel issued a subpoena Monday to Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey demanding FBI reports of interviews of President Bush and Vice President Cheney regarding the disclosure of CIA agent Valerie Plame’s covert status.  [Read More]

Senate Set for Tax Vote

Six days after trying to call up a House-passed tax bill, Senate Democrats will try again Monday afternoon.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for June 16

How many former presidents are buried in Ohio?  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
SOUTHEASTERN IOWA: Towns Evacuate as Raging Rivers Move South
WASHINGTON, D.C., Region: Disruptions Show Aging of Transit System
OKLAHOMA: State Auditor Convicted of Corruption
FLORIDA: Study: Legal Drugs Caused Far More Deaths
TEXAS: Alarms Weren't Working at Torched Governor's Mansion

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Political Clippings

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that former Gov. Jesse Ventura could represent “potential trouble on the horizon” for the Senate campaign of Democrat Al Franken. A recent Rasmussen Reports poll showed that incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman has a slight lead over Franken, 48 percent to 45 percent. But if Ventura is in the race, the numbers change drastically. “If the former governor runs, 24 percent of poll respondents said they would back him, compared with 39 percent for Coleman and 32 percent for Franken,” with 5 percent were undecided, the newspaper wrote. Ventura has until mid-July to make his decision.

According to a poll commissioned by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “Republican Rep. Dean Heller leads Democrat challenger Jill Derby by 14 percentage points in a rematch of their race two years ago for the 2nd Congressional District seat.” The poll was conducted last week by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research. Heller, a former Nevada secretary of state, beat Derby, a university system regent, by 5 percentage points in the 2006 race. Since then, the makeup of the district has continued to change, with the Republican advantage in the district now “just under 30,000 registered voters,” according to the newspaper. A Democrat has never won the 2nd District — which covers all of Nevada except heavily metropolitan areas of Las Vegas — since the seat was created in 1982.

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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: Senate Republicans block debate on Democrats’ Medicare bill
VETERANS: House panel approves measures dealing with VA health system.
HEALTH INSURANCE: Bipartisan group of House members introduce small business health bill. | Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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