Friday, July 25, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2008 – 1:35 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate Ends Debate on Housing Bill; Sets Up Saturday Vote
  • GOP Blocks Ending Debate on Energy Bill
  • Democrats Seek GOP Votes to Move New Tax ‘Extenders’ Bill
  • Kucinich Again Calls for Impeachment of Bush
  • Political Trivia for June 25
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Today in Washington

The House resumes legislative business at noon Tuesday.

The Senate limits debate on a housing finance package; refuses to limit debate on legislation to increase regulation of energy markets.

The President attends a Republican fundraising event in Peoria, Ill.

In Washington, the National Association of Elementary School Principals/National Association of Secondary School Principals hold their national leaders conference at the Renaissance Washington Hotel, 999 9th St. N.W.

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Top Stories

Senate Ends Debate on Housing Bill; Sets Up Saturday Vote

The Senate moved closer Friday to clearing a landmark housing package, as lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to limit debate and set up a Saturday morning vote to clear the bill.  [Read More]

GOP Blocks Ending Debate on Energy Bill

Republicans on Friday blocked efforts by Democratic leaders to end debate on an energy speculation bill, seeking to force the Senate to continue discussing energy policy all the way to the start of the August recess.  [Read More]

Democrats Seek GOP Votes to Move New Tax ‘Extenders’ Bill

Senate Democratic leaders are trying to move ahead with a new version of their tax “extenders” bill, but the timing of a key procedural vote is unclear.  [Read More]

Kucinich Again Calls for Impeachment of Bush

Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich on Friday called on the House Judiciary Committee to impeach President Bush.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for June 25

Of 20 presidential elections since 1928, how often have Democrats won Rhode Island?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Rockford Register Star reports that President Bush on Friday will attend a major fundraiser in Peoria, Ill., for Aaron Schock, “a 26-year-old, first-time congressional candidate.” Shock is running for the seat now held by retiring Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill., and already has a significant fundraising advantage over Democrat Colleen Callahan. The newspaper quotes one political science professor who says some candidates might not want Bush’s help this year because of his low popularity. “If it was a close race, I don’t think you’d see George Bush coming out here,” he said. But Bush still is a big fundraiser among Republicans. LaHood told the newspaper that Republicans are concerned about a big Democratic turnout on election day with Illinois Sen. Barack Obama at the top of the ticket. “We can’t take [the race] for granted.”

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Minnesota Democrats have filed a complaint against the sponsors of two ads “that slam U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken for supporting federal legislation making union organizing easier.” The state Democratic party says the ads, sponsored by two independent groups, include “intentionally false statements,” about the legislation. It charges that is a violation of Minnesota election law. The Employee Freedom Action Committee, an ad sponsor, called the complaint to state authorities “frivolous.” Franken is attemptiong to oust Rep. Norm Coleman, R-Minn.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
LOUISIANA: Oil Spill Closes 100 Miles of Mississippi River
CALIFORNIA: State OKs Toughest Pollution Rules for Ships
NEW YORK STATE: A.G. Accuses UBS of Fraud
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Storm Leaves 1 Dead, 100 Homes Destroyed
ILLINOIS: Civil Rights Groups: End Traffic-Stop Searches
DETROIT: Mayor Probed in Encounter with Process Server
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Contempt Order Sought over Child-Welfare System
LOS ANGELES: Ex-Mayor's Ally Convicted on Corruption Charges

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, JULY 24, 2008 – 2:08 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Republican Boycott Prevents Senate Panel Vote on EPA Subpoena
  • House Panel Approves Tax Equalization for Satellite TV
  • House Panel Sets Conditions for Nuclear Deal With Russia
  • House Democrats to Talk With Obama About Shared ‘08 Agenda
  • Political Trivia for July 24
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Today in Washington

The House considers a bill to withdraw light, sweet crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and replace it with heavier, sour crude. Also expected to clear a bill funding global AIDS treatment bill and to consider legislation providing $1 billion for bridge repairs nationwide.

The Senate debates energy policy and a motion to proceed to a low-income home heating assistance bill.

The President marked Captive Nations Week with a speech at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center on promoting liberty; meets at the White House with officers of the National Future Farmers of America organization.

In Washington, former Maine senator and Defense secretary William S. Cohen and his wife, author Janet Langhart Cohen, sponsor a two-day conference, “Race and Reconciliation in America,” with a session on media and film featuring actor Louis Gossett Jr., columnist Armstrong Williams, author Sally Quinn and writer Marjorie Valbrun at 2:15 p.m., National Press Club.

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Top Stories

Republican Boycott Prevents Senate Panel Vote on EPA Subpoena

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee canceled a vote to subpoena the EPA administrator after Republicans boycotted the meeting Thursday.  [Read More]

House Panel Approves Tax Equalization for Satellite TV

A House Judiciary subcommittee on Thursday approved legislation that would give satellite TV providers a leg up in their longrunning battle with cable companies.  [Read More]

House Panel Sets Conditions for Nuclear Deal With Russia

The House Foreign Affairs Committee approved a bill Thursday that would green-light a civilian nuclear deal with Russia only if Moscow scales back its aid to Iran.  [Read More]

House Democrats to Talk With Obama About Shared ‘08 Agenda

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will begin mapping out a 2008 version of her party’s “Six for ‘06” agenda after Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, meets with House Democrats next week.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for July 24

Prior to Bill Clinton’s 1992 win, how many times in a row did the GOP carry New Jersey for president?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Manchester Union Leader reports that the latest University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll shows freshman Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter trailing “the man she ousted, Republican Jeb Bradley,” by 6 points. “She leads Bradley’s main competitor for the GOP nomination, John Stephen, by just 6 points — even though most voters do not know much about him.” Shea-Porter ‘s favorability rating is just 35 percent, the paper noted, “an unusually low score for an incumbent.” On the other hand, in the 2nd District, freshman Democratic Rep. Paul W. Hodes “continues to increase his favorability rating and holds solid leads” over two potential GOP opponents.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah’s Republican Party establishment is “now embracing” 3rd District candidate Jason Chaffetz, who defeated GOP Rep. Chris Cannon in last month’s primary, even though Chaffetz took a few shots at party leaders during the primary. “Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. endorsed Chaffetz on Wednesday, praising his ‘tenacity.’ And Sens. Orrin G. Hatch and Robert F. Bennett, who backed Cannon during the primary, will host a Washington fundraiser for Chaffetz next week.” Chaffetz ran “as an outsider, who wanted to change the status quo in Washington.” He faces Democrat Bennion Spencer in November in the heavily Republican district.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
HOUSTON: City Toughens Employee Rules for Contractors
PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md.: Ex-Schools Chief Convicted of Corruption
INDIANAPOLIS: Police Can't Explain Wave of Killings
NEW YORK CITY: Transit Agency Wants Yet Another Fare/Toll Hike
THE WEST: States, Provinces Proposing Cap-and-Trade Emissions Plan
SOUTH TEXAS: Dolly Inundates Region, Rips Island

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, JULY 23, 2008 – 2:04 P.M.

In This Issue

  • President Bush Rescinds Veto Threat Against Housing Bill
  • House Passes Highway Funding Bill, Brushing Aside Veto Threat
  • House Panel Approves Bill to Spur Use of Electronic Health Records
  • Congress Moving to Extend Sanctions Against Myanmar
  • Obama Aide Promises House Democrats Support
  • Political Trivia for July 23
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Today in Washington

The House takes up a massive housing package and a bill to fund reconstruction of bridges.

The Senate resumes consideration of the energy futures speculation bill; could take up housing package after House completes action.

The President signs legislation allowing VoIP providers to access existing 911 infrastructure to deliver emergency calls; attends a Defense Department briefing; participates in a photo-op with 2008 Boys and Girls Nation delegates; signs a proclamation in honor of the 60th anniversary of Armed Forces integration.

In Washington,  screening of HBO documentary, “Thank You Mr. President: Helen Thomas At the White House,” followed by a discussion with former White House press secretaries Joe Lockhart, Jody Powell and Marlin Fitzwater. 7:15 p.m., National Press Club.

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Top Stories

President Bush Rescinds Veto Threat Against Housing Bill

President Bush has rescinded his veto threat against a comprehensive housing package, with the White House saying the measure is too urgent to risk a fight that could delay its enactment.  [Read More]

House Passes Highway Funding Bill, Brushing Aside Veto Threat

Ignoring a White House veto threat, the House on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed legislation designed to shore up the federal Highway Trust Fund with $8 billion in general revenue.  [Read More]

House Panel Approves Bill to Spur Use of Electronic Health Records

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, racing a rapidly shrinking legislative calendar, on Wednesday approved legislation designed to promote faster adoption of electronic medical records.  [Read More]

Congress Moving to Extend Sanctions Against Myanmar

The House on Wednesday voted to extend trade sanctions against Myanmar’s military junta for one year, as the Senate Finance Committee approved a companion measure.  [Read More]

Obama Aide Promises House Democrats Support

Barack Obama’s campaign manager assured House Democrats Wednesday that the party’s presumptive presidential nominee wants their input and will work seamlessly with them in the fall to produce a bigger House majority.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for July 23

Before the past four, how many presidential races did Republicans ever lose in Maine?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Houston Chronicle reports that Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, “apologized Tuesday night for condemning NASA last week as a failure and a waste of federal money. ‘Every agency wastes money but NASA itself is not a waste,’” Culberson said, apologizing to space agency workers. NASA and its contractors employ about 20,000 people in the Houston area, which Culberson represents.. The congressman “blamed his temper for his statements but also said his remarks had been taken out of context by people trying to embarrass him as he seeks re-election.” He faces Democrat Michael Skelly and Libertarian Drew Parks in the 7th District.

The Miami Herald reports that a lively debate is under way in Florida over a proposed ballot proposition that would amend the state constitution to replace some property taxes with sales taxes and other revenues. Opponents say Amendment 5 would jeopardize vital programs and substitute other taxes for the property tax; supporters say it would bring much-needed property tax relief. “The proposed amendment would eliminate all property taxes that pay for schools and provide Florida property owners a tax cut of about 25 to 40 percent, depending on where they live. The Legislature would be required to protect schools from budget cuts and replace the lost revenue with a minimum one-cent increase in the state’s six-cent sales tax, plus budget cuts and a menu of undetermined other taxes.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
MASSACHUSETTS: State Tops Nation in Food-Stamp Growth
TEXAS: State Braces for Hurricane Dolly
PENNSYLVANIA: Plan to Toll I-80 Resubmitted to Feds
UTAH: Crime Jumps 5 Percent
SAN DIEGO: Labor Deal Reduces New Employees' Retirement Benefits
MINNEAPOLIS: Black Police to Share $2 Million Settlement
LOS ANGELES: Panel Backs Moratorium on New Fast-Food Restaurants
NEW YORK CITY: Officials Line Up to Oppose Fare-Hike Plan
SAN FRANCISCO: Utility Panel Rejects New Power Plant

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, JULY 22, 2008 – 2:06 P.M.

In This Issue

  • CBO Puts Cost of Mortgage Giant Bailout at $25 Million
  • Senate Edges Into Debate on Energy Speculation Bill
  • Senate Democrats Get Bad News on Effort to Block Children’s Health Directive
  • Senate Leader Seeks Path Around Coburn’s ‘Holds’
  • Senate Panel Raises Concerns About Recent Air Force Failings
  • Political Trivia for July 22
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Today in Washington

The House considers several measures, including bills ordering an intelligence study of national security ramifications of energy prices and limiting lobbying by ex-FAA safety inspectors.

The Senate debates whether to call up a bill to increase regulation of energy futures markets.

The President speaks at the White House in honor of Colombian Independence Day; later attends a campaign event in Atlanta.

In Washington, the National Capital Planning Commission and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts host a public meeting to review and discuss the National Capital Framework Plan, which “seeks to preserve the treasured open space of the National Mall by revitalizing the surrounding federal precincts and by creating great public spaces that are welcoming, well-designed, and easily accessible.” 5 p.m., 401 9th St. N.W., Suite 500 North.

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Top Stories

CBO Puts Cost of Mortgage Giant Bailout at $25 Million

Throwing a lifeline to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could cost the federal government $25 billion over the next two fiscal years, though chances are “probably better than 50 percent” that a bailout won’t be necessary, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday.  [Read More]

Senate Edges Into Debate on Energy Speculation Bill

The Senate took its first step Tuesday to debate legislation that would tighten policing of energy futures markets.  [Read More]

Senate Democrats Get Bad News on Effort to Block Children’s Health Directive

The Senate parliamentarian delivered bad news Tuesday to Democrats hoping to block a Bush administration directive on children’s health insurance: They were too slow.  [Read More]

Senate Leader Seeks Path Around Coburn’s ‘Holds’

Legislation to regulate the sale of non-human primates, to create an independent revenue stream for the Washington-area Metro system and to expand paralysis research are among roughly three dozen bills combined into a single package that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced Tuesday. .  [Read More]

Senate Panel Raises Concerns About Recent Air Force Failings

Democrats and Republicans said Tuesday that two nominees for top Air Force positions need to rebuild the service’s credibility following a series of missteps and scandals in which it was embroiled for months.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for July 22

In how many states do the Republicans have a 10-election presidential winning streak?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Nashua Telegram reports that in a departure from the usual campaign rhetoric, Republican congressional candidate Grant Bosse says that “if elected, he would vote against aid for New Hampshire to curb federal spending if need be. ‘If voters want somebody to bring home the bacon, I am not their candidate,’ said Bosse, a former state and federal legislative aide” who is seeking the GOP nod to oppose freshman Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H. “There are four other candidates for the GOP nomination in the 2nd District: Jennifer Horn, of Nashua; Jim Steiner, of Concord; Robert Clegg, of Hudson; and Alfred L’Eplattenier, of Rindge.”

According to the Burlington Free Press in Vermont, “Anthony Pollina, the Progressive Party’s highest-profile candidate, will drop the party’s label in this fall’s election and run for governor as an independent, he announced Monday. As an independent, he’ll be able to appeal to more voters, he said.” The move surprised Republicans and Democrats alike. “Pollina’s switch meant that he was not required to file his candidacy to meet Monday’s major-party deadline. Independents have until Sept. 12 to file.” His move could hurt the Progressive Party, a strong force in Vermont. “Without Pollina on the ballot as a Progressive, however, the party risks losing its major-party status, which is gained by winning at least 5 percent in a state race. ... Progressives don’t have a candidate for other statewide races, though they have three days after the September primary to fill openings on the ballots.”

The Naperville Sun reports that Democrats are hoping to upset Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill., once seen as a “slam dunk” for re-election. After a series of retirements and GOP special election defeats, “suddenly, being a suburban Republican whose voting record consistently aligns with the Bush White House is less of a slam dunk. Biggert, 70, considered retiring, but the GOP begged her to hold off ... The race is not setting off alarm bells with national GOP officials who are confident she’ll coast to a fifth term. But Democrats are hoping for an upset,” the paper reported. Democrat Scott Harper, 47, hopes his business background will help win over independent and GOP voters.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
MINNEAPOLIS: Violent Crime Down 27 Percent over Two Years
NEW YORK CITY: Transit Agency to Seek Another Fare/Toll Hike
INDIANA: State Wins S&P's Top Credit Rating
TEXAS: Purchasing Plan Upsets Small Businesses

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Monday, July 21, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, JULY 21, 2008 – 1:45 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Mukasey Asks Congress to Clarify Detainee Rights
  • Action on Second Supplemental Spending Bill Slips a Bit
  • Obama Sees Need for More U.S. Troops in Afghanistan
  • Political Trivia for July 21
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Today in Washington

The House after pro forma session Monday, resumes legislative business at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

The Senate resumes consideration of a motion to take up a bill to increase regulation of energy futures markets.

The President participates in a photo opportunity with remarks to the 2008 United States Summer Olympic Team, followed by a photo opportunity with the 2008 March of Dimes national ambassador; meets with President Fatmir Sejdiu and Prime Minister Hashim Thaci of Kosovo; hosts a dinner at the White House for past and present U.S. Olympians.

In Washington, the Airports Council holds a convention to consider aviation-related issues such as reauthorizations of the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. July 21-22, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 1330 Maryland Ave. S.W.

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Top Stories

Mukasey Asks Congress to Clarify Detainee Rights

Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey on Monday asked Congress to pass legislation this year to codify the ground rules for habeas corpus challenges by detainees held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  [Read More]

Action on Second Supplemental Spending Bill Slips a Bit

The Senate Appropriations Committee has pushed back by two days its consideration of a second supplemental spending bill, while postponing indefinitely a markup of the fiscal 2009 Defense appropriations bill.  [Read More]

Obama Sees Need for More U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said Monday that his visit to Afghanistan has convinced him the United States needs to begin planning now to send additional brigades to the country to fight the increasingly deadly attacks from al Qaeda and the Taliban.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for July 21

In which state do Democrats have their longest Senate race winning streak?  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE WEST: Report: Growing Cities Need Federal Help
WASHINGTON, D.C.: New Child-Services Chief Had Sex with Patient
HOUSTON: Investigators Probe Collapse of Massive Crane
SAN DIEGO: City Development Agency under State Review
TEXAS: State School Board OKs Bible Course
NEW YORK STATE: Nuclear-Plant Owner Wants Out of Revenue Sharing

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Political Clippings

The Gloucester County Times reports that last month’s Supreme Court ruling nullifying the campaign finance “millionaire’s amendment” has meant that Republican Dick Zimmer, whos is challenging Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., “is raising less money from individuals than he could have.” Lautenberg has poured thousands of dollars of his own money into his re-election campaign account. Until the court’s decision, that would have allowed Zimmer to accept larger contributions than otherwise permitted. “Zimmer now cannot accept donations from individuals larger than $2,300. Zimmer said he disagrees with the Supreme Court ruling because the so-called ‘millionaires’ amendment’ would have leveled the playing field.” But he said he did not expect the decision to have a “decisive effect” on the race.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that “at least five independent or minor-party candidates are trying to get on Ohio’s Nov. 4 ballot” for the presidential election. “Few analysts think they can win, but they can help decide who does. Many Democrats blame Ralph Nader, running as a Green Party candidate in 2000, for taking enough votes from Al Gore to swing Florida and the presidency to George W. Bush, for example.” The filing deadline for those seeking a ballot spot is Aug. 21. “Petitions to gather the required 5,000 valid signatures of registered voters are being circulated or have been submitted for the Constitution, Green, Libertarian and Socialist parties and Nader, running this year as an independent.”

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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: Congress overrides veto of Medicare bill.
AIDS: Senate passes global HIV/AIDS legislation after the chamber considered a series of amendments.
MEDICAL LEAVE: House panels approves measure that would permit college students to retain health coverage during medical leave. | Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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