Friday, December 05, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, DEC. 5, 2008 – 2:04 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Bush Calls on Congress To Act Next Week on Auto Bailout
  • White House Defers to Next Administration on Stimulus
  • Supreme Court Review of Detainee Case Offers Early Test of Obama View
  • Presidential Race Spending Passed $1 Billion, with Obama Dominating
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session.

The Senate meets in pro forma session.

President Bush makes remarks on Middle East policy at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

President-Elect Barack Obama hosts private meetings in Chicago.

In Washington, the Cato Institute hosts a forum on the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition and the legacy of the national ban on alcohol. 3:30 p.m., 1000 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

Bush Calls on Congress To Act Next Week on Auto Bailout

President Bush called on Congress Friday to act next week on his proposal to provide short-term aid to the U.S. auto industry by redirecting an existing loan program to that purpose.  [Read More]

White House Defers to Next Administration on Stimulus

Despite renewed calls from congressional Democrats for quick enactment of an economic stimulus bill, a White House spokesman said Friday it was “something we expect to happen in the next administration.”  [Read More]

Supreme Court Review of Detainee Case Offers Early Test of Obama View

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving the president’s authority to unilaterally arrest and imprison people within the United States, in what will be an early test of President-elect Barack Obama’s stance on detainee issues.  [Read More]

Presidential Race Spending Passed $1 Billion, with Obama Dominating

The era of the billion dollar presidential campaign has arrived.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Rep. William J. Jefferson, D-La., has boasted of his personal relationship with Barack Obama, but the president-elect has not made his presence felt in Jefferson’s 2nd District, where Jefferson faces a Dec. 6 election. Instead, Obama has made a radio ad for Democrat Paul Carmouche, who is in a tough race in Louisiana’s 4th District. “Together we made history, but there is still one more important election in Louisiana on Saturday, Dec. 6. Democrat Paul Carmouche is running for Congress,” Obama says, according to the newspaper, in the opening of a radio ad being played on Shreveport stations with large African-American audiences. “About 30 percent of the district’s voters are black, and their turnout is crucial to Democratic hopes,” the Times-Picayune reports. Jefferson is expected to keep his seat, but he is expected to stand trial next year on federal corruption charges.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, a prominent Democrat said MSNBC host Chris Matthews has picked out a house in Center City Philadelphia to establish Pennsylvania state residency in preparation for a 2010 run as a Democrat for the Senate seat of Republican Arlen Specter. The newspaper asked Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell about the rumor. “That’s news to me,” Rendell said. “All I know is he told me he’s seriously considering it, but has not in any way said it’s a go. I thought he told me his timetable [for a decision] was [next] summer.” Matthews was born in Philadelphia and grew up nearby.

The Martinsville Bulletin reports that Virginia state Del. Brian Moran, a Democrat, picked up some key endorsements Thursday in his campaign for governor. Del. Ward Armstrong, the Virginia General Assembly’s minority leader, and Martinsville Sheriff Steve Draper, who is president of the Virginia Sheriff’s Association, threw their support behind Moran at an event in the south-central Virginia city. Moran, who represents a portion of the Washington, D.C., suburbs, “has worked for Democrats all over Virginia, and now we’re ready to go to work for him,” Martin said. Moran is the brother of Rep. James P. Moran, D-Va.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
ILLINOIS: Feds Taped Governor in Corruption Probe
PENNSYLVANIA: 25 Percent Turnpike Toll Hike Coming
CALIFORNIA: Judge: State Ignored Law Establishing HIV Program
THE NATION: Mayors’ Study Links Lax State Gun Laws to Killings
KANSAS CITY: War Between Mayor and Council Gets Hotter
KANABEC COUNTY, Minn.: Authorities Can’t Find Ex-Sheriff Charged in Swindle

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Political Trivia

How much did it cost the federal government to bail out New York City in 1975?

a) $1.5 billion

b) $2.3 billion

c) $6.4 billion

d) $8 billion

Answer: b) After years of fiscal management and overspending in the early 1970s, New York City found itself on the brink of bankruptcy in 1975 and appealed to the federal government for help. President Gerald Ford initially opposed any federal assistance, prompting the famous New York Daily News headline, “Ford to City: Drop Dead.” Ultimately, Ford bowed to politically pressure to change his staff and, in December, 1975, signed the New York City Seasonal Financing Act, which released $2.3 billion in loans to the city.



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Thursday, December 04, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, DEC. 4, 2008 – 2:11 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Detroit Starts Making Case for Federal Aid
  • Bernanke Says Congress Could Ease Rates Under New Mortgage Program
  • Ways and Means Group Targets Treasury’s Tax Break for Banks
  • Pension Relief Bill Still Caught in House-Senate Stalemate
  • Hutchison Forms Committee to Explore Texas Governor’s Race
  • Political Trivia for Dec. 4
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session.

The Senate is not in session.

President Bush with Mrs. Bush, participates in the annual lighting of the National Christmas Tree ceremony on the Ellipse.

President-Elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, host a thank-you event for the members of the Illinois finance committee.

In Washington, the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, sponsored by the National Park Service, has performances by country music artist Rissi Palmer, multiple Grammy winner Jon Secada and Nashville singer/songwriter Phil Vassar. 5 p.m., the Ellipse, just south of the White House.

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Top Stories

Detroit Starts Making Case for Federal Aid

At crucial hearings Thursday, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd said the Big Three “have done far more” than the financial industry “to show they deserve financial support” from the government.  [Read More]

Bernanke Says Congress Could Ease Rates Under New Mortgage Program

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke suggested Thursday that Congress consider easing the terms of a government program that helps homeowners rework troubled mortgages, adding his voice to those calling for more action to stem foreclosures.  [Read More]

Ways and Means Group Targets Treasury’s Tax Break for Banks

Nine Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee asked the Treasury Department on Thursday not to expand what they call a tax loophole for bank mergers.  [Read More]

Pension Relief Bill Still Caught in House-Senate Stalemate

The prospects remain murky for passage this year of comprehensive legislation to ease pension-funding rules, as House Democrats resist a bipartisan Senate bill that would offer relief to businesses and individuals alike.  [Read More]

Hutchison Forms Committee to Explore Texas Governor’s Race

Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison took another step towards a potential 2010 gubernatorial bid Thursday when she formed a state exploratory committee and transferred $1 million from her federal campaign account to the new entity.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Dec. 4

Democratic Senate seats are up in 2010 in how many states carried by John McCain?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Miami Herald reports that Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs panel, hung up on President-elect Barack Obama because she thought she was receiving a prank call. Shortly thereafter, Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., who will be Obama’s chief of staff, called Ros-Lehtinen, and she hung up on him, too. “I thought it was one of the radio stations in South Florida playing an incredible, elaborate, terrific prank on me,’’ Ros-Lehtinen said. Finally, Rep. Howard L. Berman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, convinced Ros-Lehtinen that the president-elect indeed wanted to speak with her. “Obama called back, and Ros-Lehtinen said she told him she ‘wasn’t playing hard to get,’ but thought it was a joke like Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin getting the call from someone pretending to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy.”

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that “Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki was indicted Wednesday on four felony charges that he misappropriated state funds during his time as state treasurer. A Clark County grand jury returned the indictment against Krolicki and his chief of staff, Kathy Besser, on Wednesday morning. Krolicki is charged with two counts of misappropriation and falsification of accounts by a public officer and two counts of misappropriation by a treasurer.” Krolicki had been considered the leading GOP prospect to take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in 2010.

NY1 News reports that New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney is very interested in replacing Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Senate. President-elect Obama on Dec. 1 tapped Clinton to be secretary of State. “I’ve had well over 23 years as a legislator,” Maloney said. “Of those that are on the list, I am rated as having a great deal of clout in my position by an independent rater. I’ve passed many important bills that help New York City and State.” Gov. David Paterson, a fellow Democrat, will appoint Clinton’s temporary successor, who will serve until a special election in 2010.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
NEVADA: Lieutenant Governor Indicted
NEW YORK STATE: Governor Slams Judicial Panel over All-Male List
THE NATION: Property Tax Collections Up Despite Drop in Home Values
THE WASHINGTON, D.C., Region: Feds OK $5.2 Billion Subway Extension
SEATTLE: Probe Finds Fraud in Port Contracting
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md.: School Employeees Give Up Raises

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, DEC. 3, 2008 – 1:55 P.M.

In This Issue

  • UAW Offers Concessions, Urges Passage of Auto Aid Package
  • Frank, Obama Want Closer Look At Treasury’s Accounting for Bailout
  • Richardson Would Bring Broad Experience to Commerce Job
  • Broadband Advocates Target Stimulus for Boost
  • Group Urges More National Security Integration
  • Political Trivia for Dec. 3
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session.

The Senate is not in session.

President Bush has no public events scheduled.

President-Elect Barack Obama holds a news conference in Chicago to announce his selection of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as secretary of Commerce.

In Washington, the American Spectator honors columnist Robert D. Novak with the Barbara Olson Award for Excellence in Journalism at its annual dinner, with a keynote speech by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. and presentation by businessman T. Boone Pickens. 6:30 p.m., Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 1330 Maryland Ave. S.W.

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Top Stories

UAW Offers Concessions, Urges Passage of Auto Aid Package

While the auto industry’s primary restructuring process should take place under the incoming Obama administration, Congress needs to pass some type of auto industry aid package next week, a top auto union official said Wednesday.  [Read More]

Frank, Obama Want Closer Look At Treasury’s Accounting for Bailout

The Treasury Department is “perilously close to a breach of faith” with Congress over its handling of the financial industry bailout, and lawmakers need to take a closer look at how the department is accounting for its spending, a key architect of the plan said Wednesday.  [Read More]

Richardson Would Bring Broad Experience to Commerce Job

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was named Wednesday to be the next secretary of Commerce, heading up a department with a budget of about $8 billion and a wide range of responsibilities.  [Read More]

Broadband Advocates Target Stimulus for Boost

Betting on an incoming administration that has promised to boost the country’s technological infrastructure, congressional aides have begun shaping a list of broadband initiatives to include in the economic stimulus legislation slated for January.  [Read More]

Group Urges More National Security Integration

A congressionally funded organization recommended Wednesday that the government overhaul its national security bureaucracy and congressional oversight of it, following closely on the heels of a similar commission.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Dec. 3

Which GOP senator up for election in 2010 has the least campaign cash?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Atlantic reports that two sources close to Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, say “he is seriously considering a run for Senate” now that Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., will retired. “He is receiving a lot of encouragement from both in and out of the state,” an longtime Bush adviser said. “He is going to take his time and approach this very methodically.” Martinez said Tuesday he would retire at the end of the next Congress rather than seek a second Senate term in 2010.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Democratic Senate challenger Al “Franken unexpectedly picked up 37 votes due to a combined machine malfunction and human error on Election Day that left 171 ballots safe, secure but uncounted” in Ramsey County. Also, the Minnesota secretary of State’s office “asked local election officials to examine an estimated 12,000 rejected absentee ballots and determine whether their rejection fell under one of four reasons for rejection defined in state law,” the newspaper reports. Franken’s campaign referred to the action as a “breakthrough” because it could lead to the inclusion of potentially many more ballots in a race where incumbent GOP Sen. Norm Coleman holds a 303-vote lead with 93 percent of the ballots recounted.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
CHICAGO: Parking-Meter Privatization Would Bring $1.2 Billion
MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz.: Supervisor Indicted over Deal Disclosures
HAWAII: State, Company Agree to Build Electric-Car Network
PENNSYLVANIA: Governor Lifts Moratorium on Violent-Offender Paroles

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, DEC. 2, 2008 – 1:51 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Ford Plans Restructuring as Automakers Renew Aid Push
  • Sen. Martinez Won’t Seek Re-Election in 2010
  • Commission Warns Threat of Biological, Nuclear Attack Growing
  • Political Trivia for Dec. 2
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Today in Washington

The House is in recess, subject to the call of the chair.

The Senate meets in pro forma session.

President Bush visits Youth Focus Inc. in Greensboro, N.C.; visits the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

President-elect Barack Obama along with Vice President-elect Joe Biden meets with the National Governors Association in Philadelphia to discuss the impact of the economic crisis on their budgets.

In Washington, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree will be lit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., during a ceremony on the West Front lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Pelosi will be joined by Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester, Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg, and Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, 5 p.m., West Front lawn, U.S. Capitol.

---------------------------------

Top Stories

Ford Plans Restructuring as Automakers Renew Aid Push

Ford Motor Co. sent lawmakers a long-term plan that would invest $14 billion in fuel-efficient technologies over the next seven years and sell the company’s five corporate aircraft as it seeks to persuade Congress to grant the company — and the other domestic automakers — emergency financial assistance.  [Read More]

Sen. Martinez Won’t Seek Re-Election in 2010

Republican Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida said Tuesday he will not seek a second term in 2010, citing a desire to spend time with his family.  [Read More]

Commission Warns Threat of Biological, Nuclear Attack Growing

The odds are greater than ever that the world will see an attack using a biological or nuclear weapon in the next five years, according to the final report of a commission created by Congress to study the subject.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Dec. 2

Which Democratic senator up for election in 2010 has the least campaign cash?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The National Review Online reports that with Sen. John McCain having lost his bid for president, “there are some Republicans in Arizona who would like to see him lose his Senate office, too. ‘I’ll do anything I can to support his Republican opponent, whoever that might be,’ Rob Haney, who until last week was chairman of the Republican party in Arizona’s District 11,” said recently. Noting that “McCain won just 47 percent of the vote” in Arizona’s GOP primary, and defeated Obama in Arizona “by a 54-45 margin,” the article says “Haney and others are” hoping ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth will challenge McCain in the 2010 GOP primary.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that “Minnesota is on the verge of losing a seat in Congress after the 2010 census, state demographer Tom Gillaspy said Monday.” Although the state’s population is growing, it is doing so at a slower rate than the national average, Gillaspy said. “As a result, one of the state’s eight congressional seats is likely to be reapportioned to a faster-growing state before the 2012 election.” Gillaspy said Minnesota is “just below the line right now,” based on his latest analysis of census data. Still, there’s still hope for a reprieve, he told a forum. “It’s at least as close as the Minnesota Senate race,” he said, a reference to the ongoing recount in the race between GOP Sen. Norm Coleman and challenger Al Franken. “Minnesota has had eight House seats since 1962. It had 10 seats from 1912 to 1932, when it dropped to nine. “

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
ILLINOIS: Drug Tests Dropped for Child-Welfare Job-Seekers
MASSACHUSETTS: Feds Likely to OK First Offshore Wind Farm
INDIANA: State Takes Over Troubled Health Insurer
THE NATION: Transit Ridership Rising Despite Lower Gas Prices
DETROIT: Ex-Mayoral Aide Pleads Guilty, Heads for Jail

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Monday, December 01, 2008

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CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, DEC. 1, 2008 – 1:31 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Governors, Pelosi Meet on Funding in Stimulus
  • Sen. Voinovich Raises Questions About Handling of Plan From Automakers
  • Obama’s National Security Team Will Face Multiple Challenges
  • Clinton’s Selection Draws Bipartisan Praise
  • Tourism Is Only a Fraction of New Capitol Visitor Center’s Mission
  • Political Trivia for Dec. 1
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Today in Washington

The House is in recess, subject to the call of the chair.

The Senate is adjourned but will convene pro forma sessions Dec. 2 and Dec. 5.

President Bush makes a statement on World AIDS Day; participates in Saddleback Civil Forum on Global Health at the Newseum in| Washington, D.C.

President-elect Barack Obama announces appointees for several top positions in his administration, including secretary of State and secretary of Defense.

In Washington, Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. delivers an update on the economy and the markets at the Fortune 500 Forum. 3 p.m., Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 1150 22nd St. N.W.

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Top Stories

Governors, Pelosi Meet on Funding in Stimulus

Feeling the pinch of the nation’s economic downturn, governors went to Capitol Hill on Monday to make a pitch for more than $156 billion in additional Medicaid funding and infrastructure spending as part of an economic stimulus package.  [Read More]

Sen. Voinovich Raises Questions About Handling of Plan From Automakers

As U.S. automakers prepare to submit turnaround plans to Congress, a prominent Senate backer of federal aid for the ailing industry on Monday questioned whether lawmakers have enough expertise on their own to make a determination about the industry’s viability.  [Read More]

Obama’s National Security Team Will Face Multiple Challenges

As President-elect Barack Obama announced his national security team Monday, he faced two early hurdles: The Senate must confirm most of his nominees, and they must help him chart a new course on defense, foreign policy and homeland security.  [Read More]

Clinton’s Selection Draws Bipartisan Praise

Despite some questions about campaign statements and her husband’s work, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., appears to face a smooth path to Senate confirmation as secretary of State.  [Read More]

Tourism Is Only a Fraction of New Capitol Visitor Center’s Mission

Tourist maps of the Capitol Visitor Center, the massive $621 million underground structure that officially opens Tuesday, don’t tell the whole story.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Dec. 1

How many presidents were born in the month of December?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that “Georgia’s seemingly endless U.S. Senate runoff finally winds down Monday, its last day marked by high-profile rallies, withering attack ads and stealthy efforts to get campaign-weary voters back to the polls.” Alaska governor and former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin will appear with incumbent Republican Saxby Chambliss at four rallies. Democratic challenger Jim Martin will spend the day on a statewide bus tour that will take him from Atlanta in the morning to Augusta, then Macon and back to a rally at the state Capitol with civil rights veterans and hip-hop star Ludacris.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Houston Mayor Bill White has been deflecting questions about his political future, which could include a run for the Senate or governor. A slot in the Cabinet of President-elect Barack Obama was thought to be a possibility for White, a former deputy secretary of Energy. But with that possibility “seeming more remote,” the newspaper reports, “White is preparing to put speculation to rest with a definitive answer soon, perhaps this month, aides said.” A run for Senate would happen if Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison resigns her seat to run for governor; White could also decide to run for the state’s top job himself. According to the Chronicle, the “chattering classes in Austin and Houston” say that if White makes either move, he may have “an uphill battle ahead.”

The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that early voting “was brisk in advance of the Dec. 6 elections that will determine who will fill the last two of Louisiana’s seven congressional seats, Secretary of State Jay Dardenne said Wednesday.” In the 4th District, Democrat Paul Carmouche and Republican John Fleming are battling it out. In the 2nd District, Democratic Rep. William J. Jefferson is up for re-election among a field of lesser known challengers. Nearly 10,000 people have voted early so far, in both elections combined, according to the newspaper.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
NEW YORK CITY: City Refunds $800 Million in Business Taxes
CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio: Auditor’s Ties to Workers’ Comp Firm Probed
MARION COUNTY, Ind.: Sewer Bills to Jump to Cover Overhaul Costs
LOS ANGELES COUNTY: Delays Plague Gang-Intervention Program
ARIZONA: Illegal Workers Skirting Employer-Sanctions Law
VIRGINIA: Panel to Study Uranium Mining
CALIFORNIA: State Slams Amtrak on Train Maintenance

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