Friday, June 27, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, JUNE 27, 2008 – 2:24 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Bush Wins Confirmation of One Fed Nominee as Senate Starts Recess
  • Senate GOP Blocks $50 Billion AIDS Bill Despite President’s Support
  • Political Trivia for June 27
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session; reconvenes at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 8.

The Senate confirmed several nominations and passed minor bills before starting its July Fourth recess.

President Bush is at Camp David, Md., for the weekend, with no public events scheduled.

In Washington, Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, will deliver the Philip J. Murnion Lecture for the Catholic Common Ground Initiative on “Tim Russert, the Political Process, and Common Ground for the Catholic Church.” 8 p.m., Pryzbyla Center, Catholic University.

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Top Stories

Bush Wins Confirmation of One Fed Nominee as Senate Starts Recess

A standoff between Senate Democrats and the White House over President Bush’s effort to fill the entire Federal Reserve Board of Governors less than seven months before the end of his term temporarily delayed the start of the Senate’s Fourth of July recess.  [Read More]

Senate GOP Blocks $50 Billion AIDS Bill Despite President’s Support

Senate Republicans Friday blocked passage of a five-year, $50 billion authorization to treat AIDS and other diseases overseas, depriving President Bush of a talking point at the Group of Eight summit that begins July 7.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for June 27

The wife of which president was nicknamed “Lemonade Lucy?’  [Read More]

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"Drafting Effective Federal Legislation and Amendments"

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WHEN: July 29, 2008, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Registration Fee: $595
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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 Oregonian reports that Sen. Gordon H. Smith, R-Ore., facing a tough reelection bid, for the first time endorsed legislation to provide health care coverage to all Americans. In a campaign in which health care has become a major political issue, Smith said he is supporting a plan by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., that would dramatically change the American health care system. “However, Democratic rival House Speaker Jeff Merkley, who has boasted of his own support for the Wyden bill, charged that Smith was in ‘full campaign mode,’” the paper reports. ‘“He’s never advocated for and never supported universal health care,’” Merkley said, “‘and now suddenly out of nowhere he decided he does.’” On Tuesday, Smith unveiled a new campaign ad that promotes his work with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The Dallas Morning News reports that Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Rick Noriega of Texas dismissed as flippant statements he made recently that the solution to high gasoline prices is to drill for more oil in Iraq, not in pristine American wilderness or coastal areas. Noriega is drawing fire from his opponent, incumbent Republican Sen. John Cornyn, who questioned “the idea that somehow we can go in there and unilaterally exploit those resources” in Iraq. “Noriega campaign press secretary Holly Shulman declined to discuss how her boss reconciles saying four times in Midland on Tuesday that Iraq oil production should be expanded with his repeated calls for an early exit of U.S. troops from that country,” the paper reports. Shulman referred to the comments as “sound bites, not a serious proposal.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
DETROIT: Report: Public Schools System Hid Deficit
NEW YORK CITY: Mayor and Council Reach Budget Deal
INGLEWOOD, Calif.: Mayor Faces Four Criminal Charges
THE NATION: Study: Universal Preschool Students Perform Better
CALIFORNIA: State Fined for Fuel Tank Lapses
ILLINOIS: Investigators Interviewed Governor on 'Multiple Occasions'
DELAWARE: Offshore Wind Pact OK'd

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, JUNE 26, 2008 – 1:52 P.M.

In This Issue

  • High Court Nullifies D.C. Gun Ban
  • Court Strikes Down Campaign Finance ‘Millionaire’s Amendment’
  • Senate Puts Off Housing Bill Until After July Fourth Break
  • Partisan Dispute Brings Abrupt End to Appropriations Markup
  • With Medicare Deadline Looming, Reid Threatens Weekend Session
  • Political Trivia for June 26
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Today in Washington

The House takes up three energy-related measures.

The Senate considers a housing bill, electronic surveillance overhaul and possibly the war supplemental spending bill and legislation blocking a cut in Medicare payments to doctors.

President Bush makes remarks to the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and later to the national conference of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives; departs Washington for Camp David, Md., where he will greet the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

In Washington, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, at its 25th annual conference, honors New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson at the Edward R. Roybal Legacy Gala, 7 p.m., Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, 1301 Constitution Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

High Court Nullifies D.C. Gun Ban

The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a Washington law banning handguns and declared for the first time that the Second Amendment includes an individual right to bear arms.  [Read More]

Court Strikes Down Campaign Finance ‘Millionaire’s Amendment’

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, on Thursday overturned a key section of campaign finance law that sought to level the playing field for congressional candidates facing wealthy, self-funding opponents.  [Read More]

Senate Puts Off Housing Bill Until After July Fourth Break

A Republican senator’s effort to add energy tax break extensions to a massive housing package has prompted Democratic leaders to put off final action on the bill until after the Fourth of July recess.  [Read More]

Partisan Dispute Brings Abrupt End to Appropriations Markup

The House Appropriations Committee abruptly adjourned in chaos Thursday before acting on two big domestic spending bills, after Republicans tried to force the committee to take up a bill covering the Interior Department they believe could be used to lower fuel prices.  [Read More]

With Medicare Deadline Looming, Reid Threatens Weekend Session

Aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warned senators Thursday to be ready to cancel weekend travel plans, in anticipation that procedural maneuvering on a Medicare bill might drag on into the Fourth of July recess.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for June 26

Which president lived the longest after leaving office?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

Minneapolis television station WCCO reports that the state’s high-profile Senate race is now the most expensive in the country and “it’s not yet running at full speed.” Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., and Democratic challenger Al Franken have raised more than $23 million this election cycle, far outpacing Texas, where the candidates have raised $16.2 million. The station says Franken is the top money-raiser in the country for 2008, bringing in $9.4 million, while Coleman is third with $8.7 million. With that kind of money, the candidates are “almost certainly going to outspend the campaigns of 2006,” when Democrat Amy Klobuchar spent $9.2 million to defeat Republican Mark Kennedy, who spent $9.7 million.

The Deseret News reports that Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, has declined to endorse the man who ousted him in Tuesday’s primary. In an interview, Cannon attributed his loss to newcomer Jason Chaffetz primarily to low voter turnout. Cannon said he wants to get to know Chaffetz better before deciding on an endorsement. He said he got so few votes in the primary “he doubted anyone would see any relevance in his endorsement or see it as leading to any real support for Chaffetz.” Political analysts saw several reasons for the defeat of the six-term lawmaker in addition to turnout, including anger towards Washington and Cannon’s views on immigration policy.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Wisconsin’s Democratic Party has filed a formal credentials challenge against a Hillary Clinton delegate who has publicly proclaimed her support for Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. The state party is asking the Democratic National Committee to deny a seat at the party’s convention in Denver to Debra Bartoshevich, elected in May as a delegate for the New York senator. The state party says Bartoshevich, who this month told the newspaper she supported McCain over Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., violated a pledge delegates sign stating their intent to vote for the party nominee. Bartoshevich said this week she still wants to be a delegate for Clinton.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
CALIFORNIA: State Renews Climate Battle
FLORIDA: State Plans Three Solar Plants
ILLINOIS: Negotiators Call in Mediator to Avert Union Contract Deadline
WISCONSIN: State OKs 90 Percent Cut in Mercury Emissions
NEW JERSEY: State Blue Cross Considers For-Profit Status
CALIFORNIA | ILLINOIS: States Sue Countrywide Over Mortgage Lending
BALTIMORE: Mayor Angered Over Leaks in Case
OAKLAND, Calif.: City Administrator Will Retire in July
THE MIDWEST: Rain Heightens Worries Along the Mississippi

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25, 2008 – 1:58 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Prepared to Pass AMT ‘Patch’
  • War Spending Bill Could Slip Past Recess in Senate
  • Senate Vote on FISA Bill May Wait Until July
  • Bill Promoting Electronic Health Records Advances
  • Judge Refuses to Exclude Rep. Jefferson’s Statements to FBI
  • Political Clippings
  • Political Trivia for June 25
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Today in Washington

The House is expected to vote on several bills, including legislation to clarify the definition of “disabled” workers, an alternative minimum tax “patch” and American Indian lands bills.

The Senate holds a procedural vote on the electronic surveillance overhaul and continues consideration of a housing package.

President Bush meets with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani; participates in the National Security Advisors Meeting with the U.N. Security Council Permanent Representatives; visits Livonia, Mich. to attend a National Republican Award Dinner.

In Washington, the 42nd Annual Folklife Festival, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and the National Park Service, gets under way on the Mall. Themes are: “A Celebration of Texas Music, Food and Wine,” “Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon,” and NASA: 50 Years and Beyond.”

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Top Stories

House Prepared to Pass AMT ‘Patch’

The House was moving toward passage Wednesday of a one-year “patch” to the alternative minimum tax that would prevent more than 21 million taxpayers from facing the stiff levy in 2008.  [Read More]

War Spending Bill Could Slip Past Recess in Senate

The Senate might not take up the supplemental war spending bill this week, pushing back completion of the measure until after the July Fourth recess.  [Read More]

Senate Vote on FISA Bill May Wait Until July

Final Senate action on an overhaul of electronic surveillance rules could slip to after the July Fourth recess as the chamber juggles other priorities and procedural snarls.  [Read More]

Bill Promoting Electronic Health Records Advances

A House panel Thursday approved bipartisan legislation intended to encourage the widespread adoption of electronic records in the health industry, though some Republicans said they hope to weaken privacy protections in the bill before it passes.  [Read More]

Judge Refuses to Exclude Rep. Jefferson’s Statements to FBI

A federal judge has denied Rep. William J. Jefferson’s bid to exclude from the lawmaker’s criminal trial statements that Jefferson made to FBI agents immediately prior to a 2005 raid of his New Orleans home.  [Read More]

Political Clippings

The Oregonian reports that Sen. Gordon H. Smith, R-Ore., is working to boost his centrist credentials, airing a new TV commercial that promotes his ties to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. In his re-election bid, Smith knows he must appeal to Democrats and independents in a state “where Republicans have become increasingly outgunned,” the newspaper says. The Obama ad highlights Smith’s co-sponsorship of legislation introduced by the Illinois Democrat in 2006 to raise fuel efficiency standards. It also mentions Democratic Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski’s praise for the co-sponsorship. Democrats protested Smith’s use of Obama’s name in the advertising. The Obama campaign, meanwhile, released a statement reiterating that he supports the Democratic candidate, Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkley.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for June 25

How many states have yet to hold congressional primaries this year?  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
CALIFORNIA: Study: Warming Threatens 2,300 Unique State Plants
INDIANA: Sex-Offender Law Goes Too Far, Court Rules
THE NATION: Report: Math, Reading Scores Up in Most States
ILLINOIS: Public Safety Agency Promises Reforms
DETROIT: Public Vote May Be Needed to Sell Tunnel
BALTIMORE: Developer Being Investigated Contributed to Mayor
WASHINTON, D.C.: City Seeks Millions from Health Insurer

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, JUNE 24, 2008 – 2:18 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate Limits Debate on Measure to Address Housing Crisis
  • Ethics Panel Seeks Fuller Disclosure of Senators’ Mortgage Deals
  • Senators Strike Deal to Avert Cuts in Medicare Payments to Doctors
  • Senate Panel Approves Labor-HHS Spending Bill
  • Action Postponed on Bill to Curb Oil Speculation
  • Political Trivia for June 24
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Today in Washington

The House passes a Medicare physician payment bill; considers an FAA extension and a foster care overhaul.

The Senate limits debate on a housing package.

President Bush meets with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines and later with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung; makes remarks to 2007 and 2008 NCAA sports champions; attends a Republican National Committee fundraising reception.

In Washington, the New Hampshire Cultural Diversity Awareness Council, along with Sens. Judd Gregg and John E. Sununu, R-N.H., host a reception to honor Senator Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii, and present him with the “Keeping the Dream Alive” award. 5 p.m., Dirksen Senate Office Building.

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Top Stories

Senate Limits Debate on Measure to Address Housing Crisis

The Senate voted Tuesday to limit amendments and debate on a landmark housing bill, but several members were pushing amendments that could delay final consideration.  [Read More]

Ethics Panel Seeks Fuller Disclosure of Senators’ Mortgage Deals

All six members of the Senate Ethics Committee on Tuesday formally proposed more stringent disclosure requirements for senators’ mortgages — a reaction to recent charges that Countrywide Financial gave sweetheart mortgage deals to two Democratic committee chairmen.  [Read More]

Senators Strike Deal to Avert Cuts in Medicare Payments to Doctors

Key Senate negotiators have reached a deal on a Medicare bill, two Finance Committee members said Tuesday, and lawmakers hope to send the measure to the White House by the end of this week.  [Read More]

Senate Panel Approves Labor-HHS Spending Bill

A Senate panel Tuesday approved a $152.7 billion fiscal 2009 spending bill for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, and leaders of the subcommittee said they hope to send the legislation to President Bush.  [Read More]

Action Postponed on Bill to Curb Oil Speculation

House Democrats on Tuesday postponed until after the July Fourth recess committee action on legislation designed to curb speculation in energy futures trading.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for June 24

How many House members from Florida have been defeated this decade?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that former Democratic Rep. Jim Slattery appears to be gaining strength in his challenge to Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan. Polls indicate momentum “may be swinging toward the Democratic challenger.” That is remarkable, the newspaper says, because “a Democrat hasn’t won a Senate seat in Kansas in more than 75 years.” Slattery (1983-1995) first must best Lee Jones in an Aug. 5 primary, but recent polls show him gaining strength against Roberts.

According to The Concord Monitor, New Hampshire’s Democratic party filed a complaint Monday with federal election authorities, claiming a radio ad by an outside group targeting Senate candidate Jeanne Shaheen violates election law. The advertisement, paid for by a group called Americans for Job Security, criticizes Shaheen’s record on taxes when she was the state’s governor. The ad urges voters to call Shaheen’s office to tell her to oppose tax increases. Shaheen, a Democrat, is challenging Sen. John E. Sununu, R-N.H..

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Rand Knight, one of five candidates for Georgia’s Democratic Senate nomination, has picked up the endorsement of the Georgia Association of Educators. Knight, an Atlanta businessman, earlier received the endorsement of the state AFL-CIO for his bid to take on Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., in November. The primary is July 15. The state teachers’ union has recommended that the National Education Association’s Fund for Children and Public Education also endorse Knight.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
OAKLAND, Calif.: Embattled City Administrator Still on the Job
THE MIDWEST: Mississippi Expected to Remain at Flood Crest
HOUSTON: Schools Mull $250 Gas Bonus for Low-Paid Employees
BOSTON: Biggest Big Dig Contractor Files for Bankruptcy
FLORIDA: State Moves to Buy 187,000 Acres from Sugar Firm
CALIFORNIA: Minutemen Suit Stalls Adopt-a-Highway Program

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Monday, June 23, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, JUNE 23, 2008 – 1:50 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Hearing to Focus on Medicare, Social Security Fiscal Crunch
  • House Set to Pass Debt Relief for National Guard, Reserve Troops
  • Political Trivia for June 23
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Today in Washington

The House considers a number of measures under suspension of the rules, including a law enforcement grant bill.

The Senate resumes consideration of a housing bill

President Bush participates in photo opportunities with 2007 WNBA champions the Phoenix Mercury and the 2008 Presidential Scholars.

In Washington, the Wilson International Center for Scholars holds a discussion, “The Long Shadow of the GI Bill: The Intergenerational Effects of U.S. Social Policy on the Racial Gap” with Alvin Tillery, Jr. of Rutgers University, Jennifer Hochschild of Harvard University, Ira Katznelson of Columbia University. 3 p.m., Reagan Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

House Hearing to Focus on Medicare, Social Security Fiscal Crunch

No one on the campaign trail this year has been talking much about the looming fiscal threat to Medicare and Social Security, but it is an issue the next president and Congress may find difficult to ignore.  [Read More]

House Set to Pass Debt Relief for National Guard, Reserve Troops

The House was expected to consider legislation Monday that would make it easier for certain military reservists to file for bankruptcy.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for June 23

When did a Democrat last win a Utah governor’s race?  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
OAKLAND, Calif.: Mayor: Embattled City Administrator Must Go
THE MIDWEST: Mississippi River Nears Flood Crest
BOSTON: Big Dig Contractor Faces Criminal Charges
DETROIT: $1.9 Billion Expansion OKd for Refinery
THE NATION: Survey: Most Cities Feeling Pinch of Fuel Costs
WASHINGTON State: Candy-Themed Lottery Game Dumped
NEW YORK State: Utility's Severance Deals Required Silence
LOUISIANA: State's First Black Justice Dies

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Political Clippings

The Concord Monitor reports, “If ads bought elections, early returns show it’d be Jeanne Shaheen and John McCain by a landslide. The pair have piled up the advertising on WMUR, New Hampshire’s only broadcast station.” Shaheen, a Democrat, is seeking to oust GOP Sen. John E. Sununu, who “hasn’t spent a penny on ads” so far. “From May 20 through the end of June, Shaheen’s U.S. Senate campaign has laid out $372,400 on advertisements.” Sununu, who trails in the polls, “appears to be laying low and waiting for the tides to turn.” Meanwhile, in the presidential contest, “McCain is the biggest spender so far, spending nearly $200,000 on ads in New Hampshire from June 10 through the end of June.” Democrat Barack Obama just went on the air Friday with an ad called “Country I Love.”

The Salt Lake City Deseret News reports that six-term Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, is in a tight contest for the GOP nomination in the 3rd District. A new poll shows Cannon and challenger Jason Chaffeftz in what is essentially a statistical tie going into Tuesday’s primary. Either Republican would be considered the favorite in November. In a survey completed June 19, Dan Jones & Associates found that 44 percent of respondents favored Cannon, while 40 percent favored Chaffetz. With a margin of error of plus or minus 5.5 percent, the candidates are essentially tied, the newspaper said.

The New York Daily News reports that Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, who refuses special interest money for his 2009 mayoral campaign, is “raking it in for his congressional reelection bid this fall, federal records show.” Weiner “collected $42,500 from unions and political action committees in the last filing period even as he has spurned their cash in the city race.” Political experts point out the conflict. “‘Either you take the money or you don’t. Separate accounts don’t matter,’ said Doug Muzzio, political science professor at Baruch College.” Weiner’s office defended his acceptance of special interest donations for his uncontested congressional race, “saying that a member of the 435-person House of Representatives has less influence over budgets and bills than the mayor.”

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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: House expected to vote on Medicare measure next week.
MEDICAID: Supplemental spending bill that includes health care provisions headed to Senate.
NIH: House panel approves appropriations measure that includes funding increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). | Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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