Friday, July 18, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2008 – 2:16 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Bush Accepts ‘General Time Horizon’ for Iraq Withdrawal
  • Revised Guidance Eases Some New Lobbying Rules
  • Energy Prices, Housing Crisis Dominate Next Week’s Agenda
  • Democratic Rep. Kanjorski Facing Tougher Challenge This Time Around
  • Political Trivia for July 18
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session; reconvenes in pro forma session Monday and resumes legislative business at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

The Senate is not in session; reconvenes at 3 p.m. Monday.

The President  attends GOP fundraising events in Tucson, Ariz., and Houston, Texas.

In Washington, the National Organization for Women holds its 2008 conference through Sunday, with a session today featuring Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., Irshad Manji, Monica Aleman and Patricia Ireland. 3:45 p.m., Bethesda Hyatt Regency, 7400 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, Md.

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Top Stories

Bush Accepts ‘General Time Horizon’ for Iraq Withdrawal

President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki agreed Friday to include a “general time horizon” for U.S. troop withdrawals as part of a pending bilateral security agreement, the White House said.  [Read More]

Revised Guidance Eases Some New Lobbying Rules

With reporting deadlines looming, congressional officers have issued revised guidelines that ease some of the lobbying disclosure requirements enacted last year.  [Read More]

Energy Prices, Housing Crisis Dominate Next Week’s Agenda

As the economy struggles to overcome the drag created by the housing slump and record gasoline prices, Congress will attempt to address both next week.  [Read More]

Democratic Rep. Kanjorski Facing Tougher Challenge This Time Around

As congressional campaigns have heated up, many of the competitive contests have turned to the advantage of the Democrats.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for July 18

How many presidents were formerly New York state legislators?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., appears to be increasing his lead over former Democratic Rep. Jim Slattery in his reelection run. A new poll by Rasmussen Reports shows Roberts ahead of Slattery 57 percent to 30 percent. The newspaper said Roberts appeared more vulnerable in an early June survey, “when his level of support dropped below 50 percent.” At that time, Roberts led Slattery, 48 percent to 39 percent. A Slattery spokeswoman said the slide is not surprising in light of what she said was heavy spending by Roberts on negative advertising against the Democrat. She said she expects the race to tighten as voters focus on Roberts’ record.

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports that the Democratic challenger to Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., has more cash on hand for his campaign than the incumbent. The newspaper says the most recent finance filings show Michael Montagano benefited from contributions from six unions that each gave him $5,000. “Since mid-April, the last time the candidates disclosed their fundraising information, Souder collected $89,873. He has $323,339 in the bank...Montagano raised $141,407 and has $351,702 on hand.” The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee “recently added Montagano to its list of up-and-comers.”

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Louisiana Democratic Rep. William J. Jefferson, who faces federal corruption charges, is getting help from his family with campaign fundraising. Jefferson’s wife, his two daughters, the daughters’ husbands and the daughters’ law firm, each gave the campaign $2,300 for a total of $13,800 dollars last month, according to the most recent finance report. “That’s nearly a third of the $45,250 the nine-term congressman raised during the second quarter of 2008 as he prepares for a Sept. 6 primary against seven Democratic opponents.” The indictment against Jefferson accuses him “of seeking bribes for businesses run by family members, including his wife and children,” the newspaper said. He has denied wrongdoing and faces a Dec. 2 trial.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
MASSACHUSETTS: Treasurer: Don't Build 'Taj Mahal' Schools
KING COUNTY, Wash.: Budget Woes May Close Health Clinics
PHILADELPHIA: Panel Boosts Sweeping Property-Tax Overhaul
TEXAS: State OKs $4.9 Billion Wind-Power Project
MARYLAND: State Police Spied on Activists
CALIFORNIA: State Fines Two Health Plans $13 Million

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, JULY 17, 2008 – 1:58 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Rangel Seeks Ethics Committee Review of His Letter-Writing Activities
  • House Set to Vote Again on ‘Use-It-Or-Lose-It’ Energy Bill
  • Senate Negotiators Weigh Some Limits on Fannie Mae Backstop
  • House to Clear Senate AIDS Bill
  • Senate Panel Approves New Iran Sanctions Measure
  • Political Trivia for July 17
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Today in Washington

The House takes up a bill to require oil companies to begin drilling on their existing leases or lose them.

The Senate debates energy policy and a move to call up a bill to increase regulation of energy futures markets.

The President  attends the funeral service of Tony Snow, former White House press secretary and Fox News anchor; visits California to participate in a briefing on wildfires in Redding and attend a Republican National Committee reception in Napa.

In Washington, 47th Annual Congressional Baseball Game begins at 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park.

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Top Stories

Rangel Seeks Ethics Committee Review of His Letter-Writing Activities

The defiant chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee called for an ethics investigation of his own conduct Thursday, saying he wants vindication of his use of congressional stationery to seek meetings with corporate chieftains to discuss a public service center named for him.  [Read More]

House Set to Vote Again on ‘Use-It-Or-Lose-It’ Energy Bill

The House was to vote Thursday for a second time on a bill to require energy companies to explore their existing oil and gas leases or lose them.  [Read More]

Senate Negotiators Weigh Some Limits on Fannie Mae Backstop

Key Senate negotiators were still grappling Thursday with how to limit the scope of a Treasury Department plan to backstop Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  [Read More]

House to Clear Senate AIDS Bill

The House will take up and clear the Senate version of global AIDS legislation as soon as next week, paving the way for President Bush to sign the measure, leaders said Thursday.  [Read More]

Senate Panel Approves New Iran Sanctions Measure

The Senate Banking Committee approved a new Iran sanctions bill Thursday, seeking to punish companies that maintain business dealings with Tehran.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for July 17

What year was the Congressional Black Caucus founded?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that former GOP Gov. Mike Huckabee “has been writing checks and headlining fundraisers across the country to support like-minded politicians,” as he promised to do when he ended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Huckabee’s two political action committees have donated more than $ 52,000 to 28 Republicans, including Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., and John E. Sununu, R-N.H. “There was one glitch. Among the PAC’s donations was a $2,300 contribution” to Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, who “is famous for earmarks, so-called pork-barrel spending that angers some conservatives. Many Huckabee supporters used his Web site to criticize the endorsement.”

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that Rep. Tim Mahoney, D-Fla., once seen as highly vulnerable, “has raised almost $2.5 million for his campaign, boosting his chances for re-election.” And Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., “who faces his toughest challenge since he came to Congress, has raised more than $1.1 million, according to reports released on Wednesday by the Federal Election Commission. Diaz-Balart has about $1.75 million of available cash, including money left over from previous campaigns.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
CHICAGO: Transit Agency to Try Seatless Rail Cars
MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz.: Immigration Crackdown Brings Profiling Charges
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Child-Services Chief Resigns Under Fire
FLORIDA: State Farm Seeks 47% Rate Hike
WISCONSIN: Commerce Secretary Resigns after Expenses Questioned
TEXAS: State Vows Execution Despite U.N. Order

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

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

In This Issue

  • Senate Diverts Small Slice of Global AIDS Funding to Domestic Programs
  • White House Threatens to Veto House Intelligence Bill
  • House Panel Approves Bill to Protect Student Insurance Coverage
  • House Panel Postpones Mukasey Contempt Vote
  • Political Trivia for July 16
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Today in Washington

The House considers an intelligence authorization bill and legislation to designate a “wild and scenic” river in Massachusetts.

The Senate resumes consideration of amendments to a global AIDS treatment bill.

The President  meets with the president of Burkina Faso; attends White House Tee Ball Game; hosts a social dinner in honor of Major League Baseball.

In Washington, nearly 70 recruiters from federal agencies and public service organizations hold an intern career fair, 5:30 p.m., National Building Museum, 401 F St., N.W.

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Top Stories

Senate Diverts Small Slice of Global AIDS Funding to Domestic Programs

While supporters of a five-year, $50 billion global AIDS bill have fended off major amendments so far, they cut a quiet deal with some of its critics to redirect $2 billion to American Indian programs.  [Read More]

White House Threatens to Veto House Intelligence Bill

Foiling House Democrats’ ambition to produce an intelligence authorization bill that President Bush would sign, the White House issued a veto threat Wednesday against the measure.  [Read More]

House Panel Approves Bill to Protect Student Insurance Coverage

Legislation that would allow college students to remain covered by their family’s health insurance if they take a medical leave from school was approved Wednesday by a House committee.  [Read More]

House Panel Postpones Mukasey Contempt Vote

A House panel postponed a vote Wednesday on whether to cite Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey for contempt for failing to produce FBI reports of an interview of Vice President Dick Cheney regarding the disclosure of CIA agent Valerie Plame’s covert status.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for July 16

Which president’s nickname is said to have popularized the word “OK?”  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Anchorage Daily News reports that Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, a Democrat, “hauled in more than a million dollars in just the past three months” in his bid to oust Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, this fall. But “Stevens has around double the cash on hand that Begich reported after campaign expenses.” Stevens, top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, drew contributions from “Citigroup, the American Cable Association, the United States Telecom Association, Southwest Air, Clear Channel Communications and lobbying firms.” Begich collected funds “from several unions, the abortion-rights group NARAL, the American Association for Justice lawyers group and political action committees of Senate Democrats. Begich also picked up a lot of small donations via the Internet through the ActBlue Democratic political action committee.”

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., posted disappointing fundraising over the past few months, taking in less campaign cash in the second quarter of 2008 than during the comparable period in the last two election cycles. Porter’s $418,000 collected was also substantially less than the $575,000 raised by his challenger,” Democratic state Sen. Dina Titus, in the same period. But Porter still had $1.3 million cash on hand to $553,000 for Titus, the paper noted. “The race for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes mostly suburban areas of Clark County, is expected to be one of the most competitive in the country this election season.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
FLORIDA: Regulators Back Nuclear-Power Plant
TENNESSEE: State Wins $1 Billion VW Plant
NEW JERSEY: Court Bars Residency Limits for Sex Offenders
WASHINGTON, D.C.: City Fires Half of Its Housing-Code Inspectorsg
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md.: County Moves to Protect Domestic Workers
EL PASO COUNTY, Texas: Computer Tech Pleads Guilty to Bribery Charge

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, JULY 15, 2008 – 2:03 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Delays Action on Fannie Mae Rescue as GOP Leaders Raise Questions
  • Bush, Hill Republicans Pressure Democrats to Ease Oil and Gas Restraints
  • Bush Vetoes Medicare Bill; Override Votes Expected Soon
  • Senate Rejects DeMint Effort to Narrow Global AIDS Bill
  • Democrats Plan Stimulus Bill By Late September
  • Political Trivia for July 15
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Today in Washington

The House considers amendments to a bill to impose sanctions on Myanmar and votes on overriding a presidential veto of Medicare legislation.

The Senate considers amendments to a global AIDS treatment bill.

The President  holds news conference; vetoes Medicare bill and participates in a photo opportunity with recipients of the 2008 Math Counts National Competition.

In Washington, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is honored by the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign. Speakers include Condoleezza Rice. 6:30 p.m., Ritz-Carlton, 1150 22nd St. N.W.

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Top Stories

House Delays Action on Fannie Mae Rescue as GOP Leaders Raise Questions

The Bush administration’s proposals to help faltering mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac hit some speed bumps Tuesday on Capitol Hill, as congressional Republicans demanded more deliberate and careful consideration.  [Read More]

Bush, Hill Republicans Pressure Democrats to Ease Oil and Gas Restraints

As President Bush renewed his call for congressional action to lift a ban on offshore oil drilling, House Democrats unveiled plans to vote Thursday on legislation that would require oil companies to use leases they already hold on public lands or lose them.  [Read More]

Bush Vetoes Medicare Bill; Override Votes Expected Soon

The president vetoed Medicare legislation Tuesday, and Congress planned to override him quickly.  [Read More]

Senate Rejects DeMint Effort to Narrow Global AIDS Bill

The Senate on Tuesday rebuffed the first attempt to alter bipartisan compromise legislation to fight AIDS and other diseases overseas, rejecting an amendment to give it more focus.  [Read More]

Democrats Plan Stimulus Bill By Late September

Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Tuesday he expects a second economic stimulus package to be considered in the House before Congress leaves in late September.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for July 15

When did a House seat last change party hands in Alabama?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

WRTV News in Indianapolis reports that the field is getting crowded as the Republican caucus prepares to meet Friday to choose a candidate to run against freshman Democratic Rep. Andr?? Carson in November. Last month, Jon Elrod, the Republican who lost to Carson in a special election for the 7th District seat in March, said he would not seek a rematch. This week, four candidates are seeking support at the GOP caucus, including Gabrielle Campo, a social worker who announced her candidacy Monday. Carson replaced his grandmother, Julia Carson, who died of lung cancer in December 2007. She represented the district for 11 years.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Bruce Lunsford, the Kentucky Democrat trying to oust Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., contributed $2.5 million of his own money to his campaign in the second quarter. The campaign said he also raised $600,000. McConnell’s campaign raised $3 million in the quarter, increasing the total raised for his re-election run to $15 million — “a record in Kentucky.” The newspaper quotes a political analyst who describes Lunsford’s fundraising for the quarter as “certainly not impressive,” but she noted that money buys the same things, whether raised by the campaign or contributed by the candidate.

The Ashville Citizen-Times in North Carolina reports that Carl Mumpower, the Republican trying to oust freshman Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., is scaling back his campaign dramatically until GOP leaders in the district “commit to core party principles.” “Citing core principles of small government, fiscal restraint and stricter immigration enforcement, Mumpower said his party has strayed from what the American people want,” the newspaper said. Mumpower’s fundraising has been limited — he raised about $22,000 in the second quarter — but he said his campaign hiatus has nothing to do with his campaign coffers, adding that he never intended to “buy a seat in Congress.” Shuler, meanwhile, had $736,000 in cash on hand as of April 15. He is expected to file his second quarter fundraising report today.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
PLYMOUTH, Minn.: City Tops Magazine's Best-Places Ranking
SEATTLE: High-Tech Toilets Heading for eBay
PHOENIX: Parasite Contamination Closes All City Pools
THE NATION: CDC: Imported Measles Cases Surging
CALIFORNIA: State Looking at Mileage-Based Auto Insurance

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Monday, July 14, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, JULY 14, 2008 – 2:08 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Lawmakers Examining Plans to Bolster Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • Bush Moves to Lift Ban on Offshore Drilling
  • Bush to Veto Medicare Bill Tuesday; Override Expected
  • Political Trivia for July 14
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Today in Washington

The House takes up a number of measures under suspension of the rules, including a bill to reauthorize a popular law enforcement grant program.

The Senate begins consideration of a global AIDS relief bill. No roll call votes are expected until Tuesday.

The President  announces he will lift a ban on offshore oil exploration.

In Washington, the Senate Republican Conference holds a forum, chaired by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., to discuss the judicial confirmation process.

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Top Stories

Lawmakers Examining Plans to Bolster Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Congressional leaders Monday were studying the Bush administration’s plans to bolster confidence in beleaguered mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, aiming for quick action.  [Read More]

Bush Moves to Lift Ban on Offshore Drilling

President Bush on Monday lifted an executive order barring offshore oil and gas drilling that protects nearly 90 percent of the U.S. coastline.  [Read More]

Bush to Veto Medicare Bill Tuesday; Override Expected

President Bush will veto the recently cleared Medicare bill Tuesday, a senior administration official said Monday on a conference call arranged by the White House.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for July 14

What year did a House incumbent last lose for re-election in Louisiana?  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
TEXAS: Embattled Public Safety Chief Retiring
CALIFORNIA: Rain, Low Winds Aid Wildfire Fight
DETROIT/WINDSOR, Ontario: Canadian City Balking at Tunnel Deal
NEW YORK CITY: New Measure Raises City's Poverty Rate
ARIZONA: Localities, Schools Must Pay Qwest $40 Million
SAN JOSE, Calif.: City, Unions Reach Labor Pact

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Political Clippings

The Anchorage Daily News reports that Mark Begich, the frontrunner in the race for the Democratic Senate nomination in Alaska, is pushing Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, to engage in a series of debates, including one before the Aug. 26 primary. Stevens, who has been in the Senate since 1968, has six primary opponents. Begich, the Anchorage mayor, has two. Stevens’ campaign said the senator isn’t going to discuss possible debates before each party knows which candidate it will field in November. Begich’s spokeswoman, meanwhile, said: “We’re anticipating the race for this seat is between Mark Begich and Ted Stevens.”

The Omaha World Herald reports that sharp differences on energy policy and global warming between the candidates vying to succeed Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel could define the Senate race in Nebraska. Democrat Scott Kleeb “believes the battle against global warming amounts to a ‘moral test’ for mankind, while Republican Mike Johanns believes Kleeb goes ‘way too far’ on the issue without regard to the economy and science.” “The gulf between them on these cornerstone issues, such as oil drilling in Alaska, could be one of the hottest topics on the U.S. Senate campaign trail,” the paper reports.

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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 passes Medicare measure.
MENTAL HEALTH PARITY: House and Senate negotiators reach agreement on some elements of mental health parity legislation.
VETERANS: House panel approves bills to overhaul VA health care services. | Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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