Friday, December 12, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, DEC. 12, 2008 – 2:09 P.M.

In This Issue

  • White House Ready To Tap Financial Bailout Funds to Rescue Auto Industry
  • Illinois Attorney General Asks Court to Declare Governor Unfit
  • VA Slammed for Recovering Benefits From Widows
  • Obama’s Proposed VA Funding Changes Could Face Resistance
  • Democrat Hails Minnesota Vote Board Ruling on Senate Absentee Ballots
  • Political Trivia for Dec. 12
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session.

The Senate meets in pro forma session.

President Bush  delivers a commencement address at Texas A&M University.

President-Elect Barack Obama hosts private meetings in Chicago.

In Washington, the Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a speech by Michael O. Leavitt, secretary of Health and Human Services, on the role of health diplomacy in the next administration, 2 p.m., Jordan Conference Center, 1330 G St., N.W.

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Top Stories

White House Ready To Tap Financial Bailout Funds to Rescue Auto Industry

In the wake of the Senate’s failure to pass auto industry rescue legislation, the White House said Friday it will consider using funds from the financial industry bailout program to stave off collapse of the automakers.  [Read More]

Illinois Attorney General Asks Court to Declare Governor Unfit

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Friday asked the state Supreme Court to strip Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of his powers, including his right to appoint a Senate successor to President-elect Barack Obama.  [Read More]

VA Slammed for Recovering Benefits From Widows

The Veterans Affairs Department has been wrongfully recovering money from widows of deceased veterans over the last 12 years by demanding reimbursement for final benefits checks in violation of federal law.  [Read More]

Obama’s Proposed VA Funding Changes Could Face Resistance

President-elect Barack Obama’s campaign promise to provide more stable and transparent funding for veterans’ health programs faces a number of obstacles in the next Congress, even among Democrats.  [Read More]

Democrat Hails Minnesota Vote Board Ruling on Senate Absentee Ballots

Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken got a boost Friday in his bid to unseat Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., with a ruling by the state’s election oversight board that could expand the number of ballots counted from the Nov. 4 election.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Dec. 12

Which ex-Illinois governor was jailed in part because a bribe was reported as a tax writeoff?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Tampa Tribune reports that former Gov. Jeb Bush is leaning toward seeking the Republican Senate nomination in 2010. Friends and political associates say Bush has been deluged by Republicans urging him to run, including his brother President George W. Bush. At a White House Christmas party Thursday, “the president was just effusively promoting it to all the Floridians, and so was Laura,” said accountant and GOP financial consultant Nancy Watkins of Tampa. “He was saying, ‘We’ve gotta get Jeb going for the Senate’.” The seat came open when GOP Sen. Mel Martinez said he wouldn’t seek a second term.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that support for Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the Senate has dropped by half since the arrest Tuesday of Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich. The paper said only 18 percent of those polled in a Rasmussen Reports survey of Illinois voters want Jackson to take the seat, versus 36 percent a week earlier. Jackson’s image was tarnished by allegations that a Jackson “emissary” offered to raise at least $1 million in campaign contributions for Blagojevich in exchange for appointing the Democrat to the Senate.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
ILLINOIS: Lt. Gov.: Impeach Blagojevich If He Won’t Quit
CALIFORNIA: Sweeping Global-Warming Curbs Approved
DENVER: Mayor: Speed Up Construction Projects to Aid Economy
BOSTON: City Bans Cigarette Sales in Drugstores, on Campuses
MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz.: Jail Inmates to Pay for Meals

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, DEC. 11, 2008 – 1:47 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Reid Seeking To Set Up Series of Senate Auto Bailout Votes
  • Obama Taps Daschle To Lead His Health Team
  • Oberstar Proposes $45 Billion for Infrastructure in Stimulus Bill
  • Pentagon Budget Could Absorb Costs of Fighting Roadside Bombs
  • Political Trivia for Dec. 11
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session

The Senate is negotiating over legislation to provide emergency loans to U.S. automakers.

President Bush participates in a meeting on drug use reduction.

President-Elect Barack Obama holds a news conference in Chicago; meets with former Secretaries of State James A. Baker III and Warren Christopher, chairmen of the National War Powers Commission.

In Washington, Ali Al-Dabbagh, spokesman for the Iraqi prime minister, speaks at the National Press Club on issues facing the Iraqi government, with special focus on a status of forces agreement and a new U.S. administration. 4 p.m., National Press Club, 14th and F Sts., N.W.

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Top Stories

Reid Seeking To Set Up Series of Senate Auto Bailout Votes

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was working Thursday to set up Senate votes on alternative approaches to an auto industry bailout.  [Read More]

Obama Taps Daschle To Lead His Health Team

President-elect Barack Obama announced his health advisers Thursday, led by former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle as Health and Human Services secretary.  [Read More]

Oberstar Proposes $45 Billion for Infrastructure in Stimulus Bill

The government would invest $45 billion in infrastructure projects under a tentative proposal that House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James L. Oberstar has compiled as part of Democrats’ new economic recovery legislation.  [Read More]

Pentagon Budget Could Absorb Costs of Fighting Roadside Bombs

The Pentagon’s multibillion-dollar effort to counter the threat of roadside bombs could become part of the regular budget in fiscal 2010 instead of the annual war supplemental, a top Defense official said Thursday.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Dec. 11

How many former Illinois governors over the past 50 years faced criminal charges while in office?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the FBI “is investigating allegations in two lawsuits accusing a friend and political supporter of Sen. Norm Coleman of attempting to funnel $75,000 to Coleman from the coffers of a Texas company that the friend controls.” Sources familiar with the probe told the newspaper that “FBI agents in Texas have begun gathering information and contacting people associated with Houston-based Deep Marine Technology Inc., an underwater services company controlled by Nasser Kazeminy, a wealthy businessman whose flagship investment company is based in Bloomington.” The Senate race between Coleman, a Republican, and Democratic challenger Al Franken is still undecided.

According to Long Island Newsday, Rep. Peter T. King, R-N.Y., “plans to run for the U.S. Senate in 2010, challenging whomever replaces Hillary Rodham Clinton,” who is expected to be confirmed next year as secretary of State. “King’s declaration came as speculation intensified over whether Gov. David A. Paterson would pick Caroline Kennedy to succeed Clinton,” the newspaper reported. “King, 64, entered the fray in part because of Kennedy.” The House member told the newspaper: “From watching TV and listening to the media, she was almost being given the nomination and the election both in 2010 and 2012. . . . I didn’t want to seem like I was playing catch-up.”

The Detroit News reports that Rep. Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., did not seek a seat on the Appropriations Committee, and instead decided she could do more for Michigan from her seat on the Transportation and Infrastructure panel. At least one expert says the decision is a smart political move in the short term. Michael Traugott, a political science professor at the University of Michigan, told the newspaper that Miller’s decision might help her if she decides to run for governor. “The federal budgets are going to have to shrink. One of the few places they are going to grow will be infrastructure and roads,” he said. A spokesman for Miller said the lawmaker is focused on Congress, not running for governor.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
ILLINOIS: Attorney General Vows Move to Oust Governor
INDIANA: Toll Road Investment Revenues Slumping
COLORADO: DMV Drops Name-Change Restrictions for Newlyweds
ORANGE COUNTY, Calif.: County to Lay Off 210, Furlough Thousands

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, DEC. 10, 2008 – 2:23 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Democratic Leaders Struggle To Build Support for Auto Bailout
  • Obama Calls on Blagojevich To Resign as Jesse Jackson Jr. Prepares to Talk to Feds
  • Baucus Lays Plans for Early Moves on Tax Legislation
  • Oversight Board Raises Questions About Treasury Bailout Program
  • Political Trivia for Dec. 10
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Today in Washington

The House may consider an automobile industry bailout package.

The Senate continues consideration of a package of bills blocked by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. May begin debate on auto bailout legislation.

President Bush has no public events scheduled.

President-Elect Barack Obama hosts private meetings in Chicago.

In Washington, the New America Foundation holds a discussion on U.S. policy in Lebanon, with Nicholas Noe of Mideastwire.com, Bilal Saab of Brookings Institution, Mona Yacoubian of the U.S. Institute of Peace and others. 3:30 p.m., 1630 Connecticut Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

Democratic Leaders Struggle To Build Support for Auto Bailout

Democratic leaders in Congress were scrambling to build support for the $14 billion automobile industry “bridge loan” package Wednesday, with the House now likely to take up the legislation first.  [Read More]

Obama Calls on Blagojevich To Resign as Jesse Jackson Jr. Prepares to Talk to Feds

President-elect Barack Obama wants Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich to resign over allegations that he tried to auction Obama’s Senate seat, as the sensational scandal threatened to touch Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.  [Read More]

Baucus Lays Plans for Early Moves on Tax Legislation

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus outlined a two-bill strategy for moving tax legislation through Congress next year, giving the clearest signals yet about his plans for the coming session.  [Read More]

Oversight Board Raises Questions About Treasury Bailout Program

Lawmakers blasted the Treasury Department’s handling of the financial industry bailout as they grilled a top department official for hours Wednesday and received another oversight report that raised pointed questions about the program’s direction.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Dec. 10

When did Illinois last hold a special election for a U.S. Senate seat?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

KSLA-TV in Shreveport, La., reports that election officials in Louisiana’s 4th Congressional District “have collected provisional ballots and verified electronic results” in the election battle between Republican Dr. John Fleming, the apparent winner, and Democrat Paul Carmouche, who has not yet conceded. After the initial count, Fleming lead Carmouche by 356 votes. “‘Our stance is the results that we got on election night, those are the results, the people have spoken,’ said Fleming Campaign Grassroots Organizer Martin Grau.” Carmouche “says the Democratic National Committee wants to pursue the recount at all costs and says he owes it to the people who voted for him.”

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports, “The huge stack of challenged ballots in the U.S. Senate recount shrank more Tuesday, as Sen. Norm Coleman’s campaign withdrew another 475 challenges to match those recently pulled back by Al Franken’s campaign.” The state Canvassing Board will still have about 4,500 challenged ballots to review next week in the year’s closest Senate contest. “Each campaign now has withdrawn more than 1,000 challenged ballots,” the paper noted.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
ILLINOIS: Calls Grow for Governor’s Resignation, Impeachment
ALASKA: Governor Latest to Receive Letter with Suspicious Powder
LOS ANGELES: Schools Chief to Get $517,500 Buyout
SAN FRANCISCO: City to Lay Off Nearly 400 Employees
SEATTLE: Two Port Managers Quit over Contracting Allegations
NEW YORK CITY: Embattled Elevator-Safety Official Resigning

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, DEC. 9, 2008 – 1:58 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Illinois Governor Arrested for Trying to Sell Senate Appointment
  • Reid Says Senate Will Act, But Republicans Still Criticize Auto Bailout Plan
  • Lawmaker Promises Tighter FCC Oversight After Critical Report
  • Minnesota Court Lets Craig’s Guilty Plea Stand
  • Political Trivia for Dec. 9
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Today in Washington

The House convenes at 11 a.m. with no votes expected.

The Senate resumes consideration of a procedural motion on an omnibus package incorporating measures that have been blocked by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

President Bush makes remarks on defense transformation at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.; meets with West Point senior cadets.

President-Elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. meet with former Vice President Al Gore in Chicago to discuss energy and climate change and how policies in this area can stimulate the economy and create jobs

In Washington, the Olender Foundation holds its 23rd annual Awards dinner, featuring actor Danny Glover, and with Rep. John Conyers Jr., others. 6:30 p.m., Reagan Trade Center.

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Top Stories

Illinois Governor Arrested for Trying to Sell Senate Appointment

Federal authorities arrested Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and his chief of staff Tuesday on charges that include attempting to sell the appointment to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat.  [Read More]

Reid Says Senate Will Act, But Republicans Still Criticize Auto Bailout Plan

Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday the Senate will probably act first on a $15 billion auto industry bailout package, but his Republican counterpart immediately raised strong concerns about the emerging proposal.  [Read More]

Lawmaker Promises Tighter FCC Oversight After Critical Report

A searing indictment of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin’s actions at the helm of that agency will mark just the beginning of congressional work on the subject, its chief architect said.  [Read More]

Minnesota Court Lets Craig’s Guilty Plea Stand

The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday denied outgoing Sen. Larry E. Craig’s request to withdraw the August 2007 guilty plea to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge that ended the Idaho Republican’s political career.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Dec. 9

How many House Democrats were defeated for re-election by Republicans in 2008?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The St Paul Pioneer-Press reports that “a missing envelope with 133 Minneapolis ballots might go down in history as one of Minnesota’s unexplained political mysteries.” Officials last night called off the search for the envelope, ending the recount of the election battle between GOP Sen. Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken. Now election officials turn to deciding “potentially thousands of challenged ballots” to choose a winner. The state canvassing board will decide what to do about the missing paper ballots. Without them, “incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman would gain 36 votes compared with the election night tally,” the paper said.

The New York Daily News reports that Gov. David Paterson said Monday he would consider longtime city teachers union President Randi Weingarten for the Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton. “Paterson told the Daily News on Monday that Weingarten recently contacted him about the seat — fresh evidence that ambitious New York Democrats aren’t about to clear out of the way for Caroline Kennedy.” The governor said Weingarten, who is also president of the American Federation of Teachers, “told him ‘she won’t run away’ if Paterson calls on her.” Paterson said he met Sunday night with Sen. Charles E. Schumer and New York Reps. Charles B. Rangel, Gregory W. Meeks and Nita M. Lowey for advice. “They also told him not to ‘get pushed into doing anything,’” the paper said.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Budget Woes Bring Suspension of Jury Trials
ILLINOIS: Governor Halts Business with Bank over Plant Shutdown
THE NATION: Letters Containing Powder Sent to Six Governors
DETROIT: State to Take Over School’s Finances
SAN FRANCISCO: City’s Budget Deficit Tops $575 Million
THE NEW YORK CITY REGION: Court Blocks Auction of Airport Landing Slots

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Monday, December 08, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, DEC. 8, 2008 – 2:21 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Deal on Auto Aid Called ‘Close’ as Negotiators Focus on Oversight
  • State, Local Officials Lobby Congress for Infrastructure Funds
  • Obama’s Energy-Environment Team Likely To Be Next Up
  • Political Trivia for Dec. 8
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session; reconvenes at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

The Senate convenes at 3 p.m.

President Bush with Mrs. Bush, attends a children’s holiday reception and performance at the White House, then visits the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Counterterrorism Center in McLean, Va.

President-Elect Barack Obama hosts private meetings in Chicago.

In Washington,  AARP holds its Inspire Awards ceremony, honoring actress Glenn Close, children’s-aid activist Alma Powell, composer Qunicy Jones, actor Peter Gallagher, and others. 6 p.m., National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave., N.W.

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Top Stories

Deal on Auto Aid Called ‘Close’ as Negotiators Focus on Oversight

The White House said Monday that a deal on a $15 billion package of short-term loans for U.S. automakers was “very likely” as Democratic leaders and the administration negotiated over how to structure government oversight of the package and sought floor votes this week.  [Read More]

State, Local Officials Lobby Congress for Infrastructure Funds

State transportation officials and city mayors Monday lobbied Congress with independent — and growing — wish lists of the infrastructure projects they’d like to see included in a stimulus package.  [Read More]

Obama’s Energy-Environment Team Likely To Be Next Up

President-elect Barack Obama likely will announce his energy and environment team this week, according to sources close to the transition. The announcement will probably come Wednesday or Thursday, and is expected to follow votes in Congress on an auto industry bailout package.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Dec. 8

How many GOP Senate seats up in 2010 are in states won by Barack Obama ?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Lynchburg News Advance reports that GOP Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. was outspent by Democratic challenger Tom Perriello in the $4.8 million race in Virginia’s 5th District. Perriello, who leads by 745 votes pending a Dec. 16-17 recount, and his backers spent $3 million, compared to less than $2 million for Goode. The daily said Perriello benefited from spending by the national and state Democratic parties, along with outside groups.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Democratic strategists in Pennsylvania believe MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews could pose a serious challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., in 2010. There’s speculation that Matthews is exploring a Senate campaign to gain leverage in negotiations for a contract extension. But Joe Hoeffel, a former congressman who was the Democratic nominee against Specter in 2004, said “he is clearly interested.” Matthews has consulted Hoeffel twice in the last six weeks. Analysts note however that Specter has raised $6 million for his reelection run during the last two years, and 62 percent of voters approved of his job performance, according to a Quinnipiac Poll last month.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NATION: Kansas Governor: No Cabinet Job
GEORGIA: State Moving to Privatize Mental-Health System
KANSAS: High Court Slams Ex-A.G. over Abortion-Clinic Case
THE NATION: 435 Schools in Toxic Hot Spots
INDIANAPOLIS-MARION COUNTY: Mayor Under Fire over Cit’ys Toyota Purchases
THE NATION: Transit Sets Ridership Record Despite Lower Gas Prices
KANSAS CITY: Mayor Reaches Settlement, Then Blasts Ex-Aide

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