Friday, October 03, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, OCT. 3, 2008 – 3:02 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Clears Revised Bailout Package With Tax Extenders Attached
  • House Passes Unemployment Benefits Extension
  • FBI Broadens Investigative Powers; Leahy Pledges Oversight
  • House Clears Bill Easing Bankruptcy Rules for Military Reservists
  • House Clears Bill to Extend Trade Programs
  • Political Trivia for Oct. 3
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Today in Washington

The House clears a financial markets bailout package that also would extend expiring tax breaks for individuals and businesses, expand tax incentives for renewable energy and require mental health parity in insurance coverage; also passes legislation to extend unemployment benefits for at least seven weeks.

The Senate is not in session; reconvenes in pro forma session Monday, Oct. 6.

The President attends a Hulshof for Governor dinner in St. Louis.

In Washington,  Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt speaks at a reception marking the day of German Unity. 7 p.m., German Ambassador’s Residence, 1800 Foxhall Rd. N.W.

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Top Stories

House Clears Revised Bailout Package With Tax Extenders Attached

After four days of political and economic turmoil, the House on Friday reversed itself and cleared a $700 billion financial bailout package that also extends dozens of expiring tax breaks for businesses and individuals.  [Read More]

House Passes Unemployment Benefits Extension

The House passed an extension of unemployment insurance Friday, as a new report showed the economy shed more jobs than expected in September.  [Read More]

FBI Broadens Investigative Powers; Leahy Pledges Oversight

The Justice Department released a new set of FBI investigative guidelines on Friday, despite misgivings about them on Capitol Hill.  [Read More]

House Clears Bill Easing Bankruptcy Rules for Military Reservists

The House Thursday cleared a bill to ease bankruptcy rules for military reservists and National Guard members who have been on active duty.  [Read More]

House Clears Bill to Extend Trade Programs

The House cleared legislation Friday extending two trade programs set to expire at the end of this year.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Oct. 3

What issue was the subject of an “October surprise” in both the 1968 and 1972 presidential elections?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Chicago Tribune reports that Rep. Mark Steven Kirk, R-Ill., reported raising $850,000 over the summer, bringing his total to $4.6 million in his rematch with Democratic challenger Dan Seals. In 2006, Kirk raised $3.2 million, but ramped up his fundraising for this year’s rematch after Seals took a surprisingly high 47 percent of the vote.

The McAllen Monitor in Texas reports Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., appeared Thursday to campaign for Democrat Rick Noriega in his challenge to Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. Clinton’s visit comes at a time when the race is tightening — a Rasmussen Reports poll conducted Monday showed Noriega trailing Cornyn 43 percent to 50 percent among 500 likely Texas voters, the closest he’s been since the spring.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
CALIFORNIA: Schwarzenegger: State May Need $7 Billion Federal Loan
WISCONSIN: Audit Disputes Savings from Outsourcing Printing
DALLAS: Schools to Lay Off 1,100

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

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

In This Issue

  • Second House Vote on Bailout Hinges on Whip Count, Hoyer Says
  • Judge Weighs Dismissal of Stevens Case
  • Mica: President Will Sign Amtrak Bill
  • Senate Plans Lame-Duck Session for Land Bills Blocked by Coburn
  • Political Trivia for Oct. 2
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Today in Washington

The House is considering non-controversial measures while leaders of both parties try to line up votes to pass a revised financial bailout package. That vote is tentatively set for Friday.

The Senate considers a few minor bills as it awaits final House action on the bailout package.

The President meets with business leaders and urges the House to clear the bailout plan.

In Washington,  The Sandra Day O’Connor Project at Georgetown University Law School hosts a forum, “Our Courts and Corporate Citizenship,” with a 3:15 p.m. address by Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Hart Auditorium, McDonough Hall. 600 New Jersey Ave N.W.

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Top Stories

Second House Vote on Bailout Hinges on Whip Count, Hoyer Says

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., says leaders of both parties are working hard to pass a revised financial bailout bill Friday. But he warned he will not call up the measure until that outcome is assured.  [Read More]

Judge Weighs Dismissal of Stevens Case

A federal judge suspended Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens’ corruption trial Thursday while he decides whether to dismiss the case against the veteran Republican.  [Read More]

Mica: President Will Sign Amtrak Bill

President Bush agreed Thursday to sign a rail package with $13 billion for Amtrak, according to House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee ranking Republican ranking John L. Mica.  [Read More]

Senate Plans Lame-Duck Session for Land Bills Blocked by Coburn

Get ready for another “Tomnibus.”  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Oct. 2

The Dingell family has represented parts of southeast Michigan in Congress since what year?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., only 2 percentage points ahead of his Democratic opponent, former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove. “Wicker, who was appointed to the Senate last year when Trent Lott (1989-2007) resigned, leads Musgrove 49 percent to 47 percent in the latest telephone survey,” Rasmussen says. Any incumbent who polls less than 50 percent is generally considered to be in political danger.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports that 11 current and past district attorneys in Alabama have endorsed three-term Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright, a Democrat, in his race against Republican state lawmaker Jay Love to succeed outgoing 2nd District GOP Rep. Terry Everett. The group said Bright “understands their mission of prosecuting criminals because he is an attorney and police academy graduate,” the paper reported.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
NEW YORK STATE: Mortgage Agency Stops Discounts, Postpones Bond Sale
THE HOUSTON REGION: Region Gets 9 More Years to Meet Smog Standards
DETROIT: Ex-Mayor's Nemesis Gets Top Finance Post
THE NATION: Police Chiefs: Shift Terrorism Funds to Crime-Fighting
CHATSWORTH, Calif.: NTSB: Train Engineer Was Texting Before Crash

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, OCT. 1, 2008 – 2:05 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Key Witness Says He Never Billed Stevens for Renovations
  • Senate Set to Clear Bill Reauthorizing Amtrak, Rail Safety Programs
  • Senate Poised to Clear India Nuclear Deal
  • Senate Bailout Vote Will Put House on Spot Again
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session; scheduled to reconvene at noon Thursday.

The Senate considers a nuclear agreement with India, an Amtrak-rail safety authorization and a combined financial bailout and tax extenders package that will be offered as an amendment to a mental health parity bill.

The President meets with Gen. David McKiernan, NATO commander in Afghanistan; speaks at the United Service Organizations World Gala.

In Washington, former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., delivers a speech on “Protecting America’s Freedom,” 8 p.m., Pryzbyla University Center, Catholic University, 620 Michigan Ave. N.E.

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Top Stories

Key Witness Says He Never Billed Stevens for Renovations

The marquee witness in the government’s federal corruption case against Sen. Ted Stevens testified Wednesday that he never billed the senator for any of the labor or materials associated with a massive renovation — and a series of smaller upgrades — his company made to the Alaska Republican’s chalet in Girdwood, Alaska.  [Read More]

Senate Set to Clear Bill Reauthorizing Amtrak, Rail Safety Programs

The Senate is expected to clear rail legislation Wednesday evening that would reauthorize Amtrak for the first time since 1997 and renew rail safety programs.  [Read More]

Senate Poised to Clear India Nuclear Deal

The Senate Wednesday debated a civilian nuclear agreement with India on the way to an evening vote in which the deal is expected to be cleared for President Bush’s signature.  [Read More]

Senate Bailout Vote Will Put House on Spot Again

The Senate, in a high-stakes gamble, plans to vote Wednesday night on a massive financial rescue plan, after attaching a tax-break package and adding higher insurance limits for bank deposits.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Mitt Romney campaigned for Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., in his bid to replace GOP Sen. Pete V. Domenici, who is retiring this year. Romney helped raise funds for Pearce, who is running against Democratic Rep. Tom Udall. Asked if he’d known Pearce for long, Romney said: “We’ve had occasion to meet on occasions. We haven’t spent a lot of time together.”

The Peoria Journal Star reports that Illinois state Rep. Aaron Schock has agreed to reimburse the city more than $38,000 for costs of a visit by President Bush to raise money for Schock’s House campaign. Mayor Jim Ardis said the city had no policy on the issue and said Schock had no obligation to pay, calling complaints by a city councilman and Schock’s opponents “political rhetoric.” Schock faces Democrat Colleen Callahan and Green Party candidate Sheldon Schafer in the race for the seat being vacated by Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NATION: Financial Turmoil Shuts Governments Out of Bond Markets
CALIFORNIA: State's $10 Million Car Buy Offers Boost to Dealers
MASSACHUSETTS: Feds to Provide $10.6 Billion to Expand Health Coverage
CHICAGO: City May Lease Airport for $2.5 Billion
SAN FRANCISCO: Court Upholds Health-Coverage Initiative
BOSTON: Family to Get $28 Million in Big Dig Death

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, SEPT. 30, 2008 – 2:15 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate Leaders Vow to Try Again on Bailout
  • Bush Poised to Sign Stopgap Spending Bill
  • Former Stevens Aide `Tried to Get Story to Go Away’ When Questions First Arose
  • Watchdog Group Files Ethics Complaint Against Sen. Bond
  • Political Trivia for Sept. 30
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session; reconvenes at noon Thursday.

The Senate is discussing rescue plan for financial system; paying tribute to retiring senators. No roll call votes scheduled today.

The President calls on Congress to revive and pass a financial system rescue plan; expected to sign a catch-all appropriations bill for fiscal year that begins Wednesday.

In Washington, American University’s School of Public Affairs hosts a panel discussion, “The 2008 Presidential Election: Battle for the Latino Vote,” with representatives from the campaigns of Barack Obama and John McCain; Voto Latino, Pew Hispanic Center and Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies. 6 p.m., 4400 Massachusetts Ave N.W.

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Top Stories

Senate Leaders Vow to Try Again on Bailout

Leaders of both parties vowed Tuesday to keep working with the White House to get legislation passed this week to shore up the troubled financial system.  [Read More]

Bush Poised to Sign Stopgap Spending Bill

With the clock ticking, President Bush was expected to sign a massive year-end spending bill late Tuesday, just hours before a new fiscal year begins.  [Read More]

Former Stevens Aide `Tried to Get Story to Go Away’ When Questions First Arose

A former press secretary to Sen. Ted Stevens described in court Tuesday a reporter’s inquiry about the Alaska Republican’s acceptance of home improvements that he didn’t fully pay for.  [Read More]

Watchdog Group Files Ethics Complaint Against Sen. Bond

A government watchdog group filed an ethics complaint against Sen. Christopher S. Bond on Tuesday, in the wake of a Justice Department report claiming Bond’s staff was behind the removal of Missouri federal prosecutor Todd Graves in 2006.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Sept. 30

Three televised presidential debates were held in how many previous election years?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Denver Post reports that Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., slammed his GOP Senate opponent, former Rep. Bob Schaffer, for supporting a tax holiday on profits repatriated from overseas operations, though Udall also supported the idea. Udall spokeswoman Tara Trujillo said last week that Udall had voted to strip that proposal out of the bill, but that was not correct. The campaign has now admitted the mistake, but only after Schaffer’s campaign manager pointed to Udall’s own floor statement supporting the provision in a 2004 bill.

The Bradenton Herald reports that exchanges between the campaigns of Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., and Democratic challenger Christine Jennings have become increasingly acrimonious. “Each called on the other’s candidate to ‘come clean’ about accusations against them, including a recent spate of lawsuits versus Buchanan and Jennings’ failure to pay campaign payroll taxes for almost three years,” the daily said. Jennings on Monday denied she or her campaign was behind the lawsuits, while the Buchanan camp pressed Jennings on her previous campaigns’ failure to pay payroll taxes for three years.

The Press of Atlantic City reports Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo, R-N.J., surprised organizers of a Tuesday debate by agreeing at the last minute to participate. Plans that would have kept LoBiondo out of the state fell through, and Monday’s vote against a $700 billion financial markets bailout bill came early enough to allow him to return home, LoBiondo spokesman Jason Galanes said. The debate includes six candidates, headlined by LoBiondo and Democrat Dave Kurkowski.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
CHICAGO: Mayor to Cut 3,000 Jobs, Lay Off 1,000
HOUSTON: Mayor Takes On Refinery over Benzene Pollution
THE NORTHEAST: First Regional Carbon Auction Raises $40 Million
THE MIDWEST: Judge: Wolves Must Stay on Endangered List
SOUTH FLORIDA: Report Sees 'Scant Progress' in Everglades Rescue

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Monday, September 29, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, SEPT. 29, 2008 – 2:44 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Defies Senate Over Tax Extenders
  • House Rejects Bailout Plan, Leaving Next Steps Uncertain
  • Judge Scolds Prosecution But Denies Stevens’ Mistrial Request
  • Amtrak Bill Survives Key Senate Hurdle
  • Special Prosecutor Appointed To Probe U.S. Attorney Firings
  • Political Trivia for Sept. 29
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Today in Washington

The House rejects Wall Street bailout legislation, takes up a number of other lesser bills.

The Senate invokes cloture on a bill that would authorize $13 billion for Amtrak and $1.6 billion for rail safety. Other votes are possible, particularly on the bailout.

The President makes remarks and presents the 2007 National Medals of Science and Technology and Innovation; meets with the president of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus; meets with the president of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko.

In Washington, The Center for Strategic & International Studies hosts a discussion to mark the launch of CSIS Global Health Policy Center, with former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Pfizer Foundation president Robert Mallett. 4:30 p.m., CSIS B1 Conference Center, 1800 K St. N.W.

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Top Stories

House Defies Senate Over Tax Extenders

The House will defy the Senate in a tax showdown, leaving town without resolving a persistent standoff over legislation to extend dozens of expiring tax provisions.  [Read More]

House Rejects Bailout Plan, Leaving Next Steps Uncertain

Despite intensive lobbying by congressional leaders and the White House, the House rejected an unprecedented $700 billion bailout plan for the financial system.  [Read More]

Judge Scolds Prosecution But Denies Stevens’ Mistrial Request

Sen. Ted Stevens’ lawyers got a surprise second chance Monday to cross-examine a key government witness in open court, but a federal judge said that he had no plans to throw out the case against Stevens or to declare a mistrial.  [Read More]

Amtrak Bill Survives Key Senate Hurdle

The Senate voted Monday to move ahead with Amtrak legislation, setting up a vote to clear the bill Wednesday.  [Read More]

Special Prosecutor Appointed To Probe U.S. Attorney Firings

Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey announced Monday that he has tapped a federal prosecutor in Connecticut to probe the firings of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Sept. 29

When was the first televised vice presidential candidate debate held?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford are locked in a 41 percent to 41 percent statistical dead heat in its Bluegrass Poll. The margin of error was 3.7 percentage points. “The telephone survey of 717 Kentuckians who identified themselves as likely voters was conducted Sept. 22-25 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc., of Washington D.C.,” the newspaper reports. “If Lunsford is actually doing this well, it’s got to be because the public is so upset by the economic meltdown and may be blaming the legislative leaders,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “If this is true, Democrats may win a lot more seats in both the House and the Senate than people are predicting.”

The Asheville Citizen Times reports incumbent Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina has fallen behind Democratic state Sen. Kay Hagan in three separate polls. Hagan showed a 3 percentage point lead over Dole, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll. Two other polls released last week also showed Hagan in the lead. Republicans, including Dole are being blamed by voters for the economic downturn and the recent collapse of a number of financial institutions and the needs for government take-overs, according to Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, which conducted one of the polls. “The economy has become the biggest issue,” he said. “Democrats have successfully been tying Dole to (President) Bush and saying this is a Bush administration problem.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that New Jersey District 3 candidates Republican Chris Myers and Democrat John Adler are in a statistical dead heat to win the seat to be vacated by Republican Rep. H. James Saxton, who is retiring. A new poll done for Richard Stockton College and the Press of Atlantic City showed Myers with 39 percent and Adler with 37 percent, well within the 4.9 percentage point margin of error.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NATION: No Mortgage Bankrupty Changes in Bailout Plan
ILLINOIS: Court Blocks Governor’s Health-Insurance Expansion
MARYLAND: Rescue-Helicopter Fleet Grounded after Fatal Crash
MINNESOTA: Top Game Official Quits after Spending Audit

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