Friday, August 01, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, AUG. 1, 2008 – 2:13 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Passes Military Construction-VA Spending Bill
  • House Adjourns, But Republicans Linger to Bash Democrats on Energy
  • Bipartisan Rump Groups Seek to Chart Middle Course on Energy Policy
  • House Panel Gives White House a Week to Provide Documents on Firings
  • House Panel OKs More Visas for Foreign Nurses, Rollover Green Card Allotments
  • Political Trivia for Aug. 1
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Today in Washington

The House passes the fiscal 2009 Military Construction-VA spending bill and then adjourns until Sept. 8.

The Senate passes several non-controversial measures before departing for the August recess.

The President is in Kennebunkport, Maine, with no public events scheduled.

In Washington, the Association of Humanitarian Lawyers and the Kashmiri American Council conclude the 9th International Kashmir Conference. All day, 1111 16th St. N.W.

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Top Stories

House Passes Military Construction-VA Spending Bill

After rebuffing one last Republican effort to attach a domestic oil drilling amendment, the House on Friday passed the first fiscal 2009 appropriations bill to reach the floor of either chamber.  [Read More]

House Adjourns, But Republicans Linger to Bash Democrats on Energy

The C-SPAN cameras were gone and the microphones were off, but that didn’t stop a small group of Republicans from taking over the floor after the House adjourned Friday to attack Democrats for starting a five-week summer recess without doing something to lower gas prices.  [Read More]

Bipartisan Rump Groups Seek to Chart Middle Course on Energy Policy

Congress broke for August recess Friday locked in the same stalemate over energy that has stalled action on gasoline prices for most of the summer.  [Read More]

House Panel Gives White House a Week to Provide Documents on Firings

The House Judiciary Committee sent word to the White House on Friday that it expects to receive by Aug. 8 at least some documents about the 2006 firings of nine U.S. attorneys.  [Read More]

House Panel OKs More Visas for Foreign Nurses, Rollover Green Card Allotments

Bills that would allow more foreign nurses to work in the United States and make changes to the overall green-card system were approved Friday by a House panel.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Aug. 1

How many former vice presidents are living?  [Read More]

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"Advanced Legislative Strategies"

This advanced three-day course builds on the skills of those who have already learned the legislative process and basic congressional operations. In this course, participants learn how to develop high-level strategies and tactics to help educate Congress and influence legislation.
WHERE: Hall of the States, 444 North Capitol Street N.W.
WHEN: August 6-8, 2008, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Registration Fee: $1295
Full program description and secure online registration, or call our registrar at 202-678-1600.
This training conference is sponsored by TheCapitol.Net, exclusive provider of Congressional Quarterly Executive Conferences.

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Political Clippings

The Los Angeles Times reports that Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, a Democrat who first ran for governor 26 years ago, on Thursday joined a growing list of 2010 contenders to succeed term-limited California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, state Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown, who served as governor from 1975 to 1983, and former state Controller Steve Westly are other Democrats eyeing the 2010 race. “Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s name also has been mentioned, and Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Orange County has filed papers allowing her to raise money for a campaign.” Republicans lining up include “Steve Poizner, who succeeded Garamendi as state insurance commissioner in 2007;” former U.S. Rep;. Tom Campbell; and “two former executives of Silicon Valley companies: Meg Whitman, who was at EBay; and Carly Fiorina, who headed Hewlett-Packard.”

According to the Denver Post, Democrat Jared Polis “cleared the $5 million mark in personal contributions with a $1.6 million injection to his own campaign in the first three weeks of July, disclosures filed Thursday show.” Polis, a wealthy businessman, is locked in a heated Aug. 12 primary battle with Joan Fitz-Gerald, a former state Senate president, “who has argued Polis is trying to buy the election.” Also seeking the 2nd District nomination is environmentalist Will Shafroth. “Each of the candidates has raised more than $1 million in contributions, setting primary fundraising records for Colorado.” All are vying for the nomination to succeed Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., in the heavily Democratic, Boulder-based 2nd District. Udall is running for the state’s open Senate seat.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
DETROIT: Governor Rejects Delay Request for Mayor's Removal Hearing
SAN FRANCISCO: Mayor: Mandate Garbage Sorting
THE NATION: Government' Spending Increases Outstrip Revenue Growth
FLORIDA: State Sets Record for Adoptions from Foster Care
MARYLAND: Former A.G. to Lead Probe of State Police Spying
WASHINGTON State: Court: Accused Teachers' Identities Can Be Kept Secret
MINNESOTA: DHS Fires Official Sacked by State after Bridge Collapse

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, JULY 31, 2008 – 2:10 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Sen. Stevens Asserts His Innocence at Arraignment
  • Pelosi Says Second Stimulus Must Have Bipartisan Support
  • House Panel Votes To Block Cellphone Use On Domestic Flights
  • Bush Issues Order to Strengthen Role of Intelligence Director
  • Political Trivia for July 31
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Today in Washington

The House votes on a higher education law overhaul, which the Senate could clear later in the day; the fiscal 2009 Military Construction-VA appropriations bill, and a pay equity measure.

The Senate resumes consideration of a motion to call up the defense authorization bill; may clear both the Higher Education Act reauthorization and a consumer product safety law overhaul.

The President issues an executive order redefining goals and responsibilities of the national intelligence community; holds a photo op with recipients of the Scouts in Action commendation; addresses the 2008 annual meeting of the West Virginia Coal Association in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., before heading to Kennebunkport, Maine.

In Washington, the Peace Corps holds its annual Capitol Hill staff and intern recruiting event. 3 p.m., Room HC-5, Capitol.

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Top Stories

Sen. Stevens Asserts His Innocence at Arraignment

Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, pleaded innocent Thursday to seven federal felony charges that he made false statements on his Senate financial disclosure forms.  [Read More]

Pelosi Says Second Stimulus Must Have Bipartisan Support

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that getting President Bush and congressional Republicans to agree on the need for a second stimulus package is vital for moving legislation to help boost the nation’s economy.  [Read More]

House Panel Votes To Block Cellphone Use On Domestic Flights

A bill that seeks to prevent the use of cellphones on domestic passenger airliners was approved Thursday by a House panel.  [Read More]

Bush Issues Order to Strengthen Role of Intelligence Director

The White House released an order Thursday meant to strengthen the authority of the nation’s spy chief to hire and fire intelligence agency heads and spend money on major programs, among other responsibilities.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for July 31

Which states don’t automatically give all their electoral votes to the statewide winner?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Tri-City Herald reports that “Republican polling firm Strategic Vision has a new poll out of 800 likely Washington voters showing that 47 percent” would vote for Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire and 45 percent would vote for Republican Dino Rossi if the election were held today. “The poll, conducted last weekend, indicated 8 percent are undecided.” The same poll showed Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., leading Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., by 48 percent to 37 percent in Washington state.

The Rocky Mountain News reports that Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., after vowing Monday to oppose adjournment for the August recess until the House voted on energy prices, arrived back from Colorado just a few minutes too late Wednesday to vote against the adjournment resolution — which was adopted, 213-212. Udall, who is running for the Senate, “was racing up the Capitol steps when voting closed.” His press secretary said he was “extremely upset” that the vote was not held open for him. “Dick Wadhams, campaign manager for Republican Senate nominee Bob Schaffer, said that Udall not only broke a promise, but that his non-vote was worse than had he voted in favor of the adjournment resolution. ‘It’s one thing to vote wrong, but to not even show up for the vote? Even by ‘U-turn Udall’s’ standards, that’s extraordinary,’ Wadhams said.”

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Illinois State Board of Elections has knocked another would-be challenger to Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., off the November ballot. “Independent candidate Allan Stevo’s nominating petitions to run for the north suburban 10th District congressional seat did not have enough signatures,” the board ruled. “Last month, the elections board removed Green Party candidate David Kalbfleisch of Arlington Heights, ruling that the party did not conform to legal procedures for placing candidates on the ballot.” Kirk, seeking a fifth term, still faces Democrat Daniel J. Seals, whom he defeated by 53 percent to 47 percent in 2006.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
INDIANA: Feds Halt Welfare Privatization Rollout<
THE GULF COAST: Gulf 'Dead Zone' Covers 8,000 Square Miles
CALIFORNIA: Poll: Majority Now Supports Offshore Drilling
MINNESOTA: Fired Emergency-Response Exec Finds Work--with Feds
LOS ANGELES: Electricity Plan Cuts Summer 'Hot Zone' Rates
AUSTIN/SAN ANTONIO: Cost to Move Freight Rail Line: $2.4 Billion
BERWYN HEIGHTS, Md.: Mayor's Dogs Killed in Marijuana Raid

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, JULY 30, 2008 – 1:59 P.M.

In This Issue

  • War of Words Over Energy Policy Rages As August Recess Looms
  • Tax ‘Extenders’ Bill Falls Victim to GOP Filibuster
  • President Bush Signs Major Housing Legislation into Law
  • Judiciary Panel Approves Contempt Resolution Against Rove
  • Political Trivia for July 30
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Today in Washington

The House takes up a bill intended to rein in energy futures speculation; also considers the conference report on a major product safety law overhaul and legislation to empower the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products and advertising.

The Senate remains stalled, after failing to limit debate on motions to call up a media shield bill or a measure extending a variety of tax breaks for individuals and businesses.

The President meets with his Cabinet; signs a sweeping housing rescue package.

In Washington, the New America Foundation holds a discussion on health care, with former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Leo Hindery, economic adviser to the Obama campaign. 4:15 p.m., 1630 Connecticut Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

War of Words Over Energy Policy Rages As August Recess Looms

With the August recess fast approaching, Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill continued to squabble over energy policy Wednesday, with only faint signs of a possible compromise.  [Read More]

Tax ‘Extenders’ Bill Falls Victim to GOP Filibuster

The Senate failed to move forward Wednesday on legislation to revive or extend a series of popular tax breaks, as Republicans continued a blockade designed to force floor votes on their proposals to increase domestic oil and gas production.  [Read More]

President Bush Signs Major Housing Legislation into Law

President Bush on Wednesday signed into law a massive housing finance package intended to stabilize financial markets and the battered housing sector.  [Read More]

Judiciary Panel Approves Contempt Resolution Against Rove

The House Judiciary Committee voted 20-14 on Wednesday to approve a contempt of Congress resolution against former senior White House aide Karl Rove.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for July 30

How many of the past 17 presidential elections (back to 1940) has the GOP won in Kansas?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Portland Oregonian reports that Republican Sen. Gordon H.. Smith “on Tuesday swiftly promised to give to charity $10,000 that he had received for his current re-election campaign from newly indicted Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.” The newspaper says Smith joined at least two other GOP colleagues up for re-election — Sens. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina and John E. Sununu of New Hampshire — in vowing to give away contribitions from Stevens’ political action committee this election cycle. But Smith’s Democratic opponent, Oregon House Speaker Jeff Merkey, said Smith should donate to charity all of the money — a total of $39,000 — his campaigns have received from Stevens since Smith first ran for the Senate in 1995.

The Detroit News reports that Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich., holds a slim lead in a tight three-way primary race, one week before voters head to the polls on Aug. 5. A new poll by EPIC-MRA shows that 33 percent of likely voters say they will vote for Kilpatrick, putting her four points ahead of former state Rep. Mary Walters. That’s within the survey’s margin of error. State Sen. Martha Scott is at 24 precent. Kilpatrick is in her sixth term, but has been unable to solidify her re-election support. “One likely factor keeping the race close: the scandal involving her son, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who is under indictment on perjury and other felony charges,” the newspaper said. “About two-thirds of 13th District voters have an unfavorable view of the mayor.” The winner of the primary will be a heavy favorite in November.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
NEWARK, N.J.: Prosecutors: Ex-Mayor's Sentence Too Light
INDIANAPOLIS/MARION COUNTY: More Communities Mull Merging Fire Services
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Building Codes Limited Quake Damage
ALASKA: Senator Accused of Lying, Not Bribery
NEW JERSEY: Early Retirement Push Falling Short of Goal
THE WEST COAST: Governors Oppose Coastal Drilling

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, JULY 29, 2008 – 2:19 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Sen. Stevens Indicted in Alaska Corruption Probe
  • Higher Education Rewrite Could Clear This Week
  • After Brief Delay, Housing Bill Expected to Reach Bush Tonight
  • Reporter Shield Bill Could Get Caught in Senate Stalemate
  • Political Trivia for July 29
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Today in Washington

The House is expected to clear a bill to change the appointment process for patent and trademark judges; considers legislation to cut back on document classification by federal agencies.

The Senate holds weekly policy lunches; remains stalled on energy speculation legislation.

The President signs legislation to renew a ban on imports from Myanmar and a bill to boost the U.S. commitment to the global fight against AIDS and other major diseases; visits Lincoln Electric Co. in Cleveland before attending a GOP fundraising reception in Gates Mills, Ohio.

In Washington, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois meets with the full House Democratic Caucus; 5:30 p.m., Cannon House Office Building Caucus Room.

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Top Stories

Sen. Stevens Indicted in Alaska Corruption Probe

Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, the senior Republican in the Senate, was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Washington on seven counts of making false statements on his financial disclosure forms.  [Read More]

Higher Education Rewrite Could Clear This Week

The first major overhaul in a decade of the law governing federal aid to higher education is moving toward a final vote in Congress.  [Read More]

After Brief Delay, Housing Bill Expected to Reach Bush Tonight

Congressional leaders are expected to send a massive housing finance package to the White House late Tuesday, paving the way for President Bush to sign the measure.  [Read More]

Reporter Shield Bill Could Get Caught in Senate Stalemate

The prospects for legislation to establish a shield law for reporters appeared dim as the measure’s sponsor said he was unsure he would vote to move it forward in the Senate on Wednesday.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for July 29

What vote share in Connecticut did the only president born in that state get in his first White House contest?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Montgomery Advertiser reports that Rep. Terry Everett, R-Ala., who is retiring from Congress after serving eight terms, is weighing a run for governor in 2010. “He said people have contacted him about running, and he said his experience writing farm bills as a member of the House Agriculture Committee and his time on the defense committee would be valuable because those are major industries in the state.” But Everett cautioned that he has made no commitment, adding he has ‘plenty of time’ to decide.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, supporters of a November ballot proposition designed to outlaw gay marriage “say they’ll sue over changed wording in Proposition 8. After a tweak by the state attorney general’s office, the initiative now seeks to ‘eliminate the right’ of same-sex couples to marry, wording that the measure’s proponents say could prejudice voters.” Petitions circulated to get the proposition on the ballot said it “would amend the state Constitution ‘to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.’” But since that time, a spokesman for the attorney general noted, the California Supreme Court has legalized same-sex marriage and thousands of gay couples have married. “The title and summary accurately reflect the measure,” the spokesman said. “He noted that language in titles and summaries often changes between the time a measure is circulated for signatures and when it appears on the ballot.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NATION: Report: 150,000 Bridges Deficient
MASSACHUSETTS: Agency: No College Loans This Fall
TEXAS: State May Appeal Language-Education Ruling
WISCONSIN: State's Former Chief Justice Dies
SEATTLE: City OKs Shopping-Bag Fee, Bans Foam Containers
CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio: Federal Probe Targets Commissioner, Auditor
WASHINGTON, D.C.: City Sued Again over Handguns
DEARBORN, Mich.: Police Chief Dies after Heart Attack

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Monday, July 28, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, JULY 28, 2008 – 2:03 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Deficit Estimate Soars as Slump Takes Its Toll
  • Deal Reached on Consumer Product Safety Legislation
  • Inspector General Sees Political Meddling by Former Top Justice Aide
  • Political Trivia for July 28
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Today in Washington

The House holds pro forma session; reconvenes at noon Tuesday for legislative business, with no votes before 6:30 p.m.

The Senate reconvenes at 3 p.m. to resume consideration of a motion to proceed to an omnibus bill (S 3297) that combines nearly three dozen unrelated measures. A vote on limiting debate on the motion is set for 4 p.m.

The President meets with Pakistani Prime Minister Raza Gilani; participates in a photo-op with members of the Texas 4-H and Youth Development program.

In Washington, the World Affairs Council holds an evening discussion on current US-French relations featuring Ambassador of France Pierre Vimont. 6:30 p.m., French Ambassador’s Residence, 2221 Kalorama Road, N.W.

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Top Stories

Deficit Estimate Soars as Slump Takes Its Toll

The Bush administration Monday projected a budget deficit of $482 billion in fiscal 2009 — a record high in dollar terms.  [Read More]

Deal Reached on Consumer Product Safety Legislation

House and Senate conferees said Monday they have reached a deal on pivotal product safety legislation that could reach the floor in both chambers this week.  [Read More]

Inspector General Sees Political Meddling by Former Top Justice Aide

Monica Goodling, a former top Justice Department aide, improperly used political considerations in hiring career lawyers, according to a report released Monday by the Justice Department’s inspector general.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for July 28

Which other state’s biggest modern city was in the original Arizona territory?  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
DETROIT: Mayor Under Travel Limits, Drug-Testing Order
RUIDOSO, N.M.: 700 Evacuated, 2 Missing as River Floods
PHILADELPHIA: City, Union Reach One-Year, No-Raise Pact
TEXAS: Universities Eye $1 Billion from Selling Oil Rights
FLORIDA: Mortgage Regulator Under Fire over Licensing of Criminals
LOUISIANA: More Ships Moving Through Mississippi Spill Zone
VIRGINIA: Law Requires Reporting of Inmatesa?? Immigration Status
THE SOUTH: Report: AIDS Deaths Surging in South

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Political Clippings

The Macon Telegraph reports that early voting begins today in Georgia’s Democratic Senate primary runoff between DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones and former Georgia Department of Human Resources Commissioner Jim Martin. The two, who are competing to take on GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss in November, “beat out three other candidates in the primary this month, but neither topped 50 percent. Jones was the closest, with 40.4 percent.” There’s a twist to the runoff: “Any registered voter in Georgia who did not vote in the Republican primary can vote in the Democratic runoff,” the paper noted. Polling places will be open Aug. 5 for those who want to wait, “but advance voting runs Monday through Friday, during normal business hours.”

According to the New York Post, Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., was thinking ahead — far ahead — in 2006 when he bought the list of e-mail addresses compiled by his erstwhile rival for the 2005 Democratic nomination for mayor, Fernando Ferrer. Now Weiner is using that list to solicit support for his own 2009 bid for mayor of the Big Apple. In 2005, “the Brooklyn-Queens congressman opted out of a runoff against Ferrer, helping clear the way for the former Bronx Borough president to become the Democratic nominee.” But Ferrer lost the November election to incumbent Michael Bloomberg, who is now term-limited.

The Kansas City Star, in an editorial yesterday, endorsed state Treasurer Lynn Jenkins over former Rep. Jim Ryun in the Republican primary contest for the right to challenge freshman Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., who defeated Ryun two years ago. “She has been an energetic and capable officeholder, and speaks with enthusiasm about confronting national problems.”... Jenkins also has an ability to get along with politicians across the spectrum,” the paper said.

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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 TRIGGER: Democrats managed to put a hold on a a??Medicare triggera?? process that would have forced Congress to consider a presidential proposal to trim spending by the program.
HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: A House committee teed up legislation that would help put electronic health records in the hands of doctors.
TOBACCO REGULATION: The Housea??s bill to give the FDA broad new powers to regulate tobacco products is ready for floor action, after months of wrangling between powerful committee chairmen.
MENTAL HEALTH PARITY: After a decade of efforts, Congress looks closer than ever to guaranteeing that mental health conditions will get the same coverage under insurance as medical conditions.| Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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