Wednesday, December 31, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, DEC. 31, 2008 – 2:15 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Note to Readers
  • Challenges Could Keep Two Senate Seats Open for Weeks
  • Biden Could Cast More Votes Before Leaving Senate
  • Illinois Prosecutor Seeks Delay in Blagojevich Indictment
  • Mexico Denies Sen. Grassley’s Accusations About Meat Ban
  • Political Trivia for Dec. 31
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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 is on vacation in Hawaii

In Washington, the Council on American-Islamic Relations will hold a candlelight vigil for Gaza. 7 p.m., outside the White House, northeast corner of Lafayette Park.

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Top Stories

Note to Readers

The next edition of the CQ Today Midday Update will be published Monday, Jan. 5. In the meantime, we wish you a safe holiday and a happy new year.  [Read More]

Challenges Could Keep Two Senate Seats Open for Weeks

Senate Democratic leaders say they will block Illinois Democrat Roland W. Burris from taking his seat next week, but how they will do it is still up in the air.  [Read More]

Biden Could Cast More Votes Before Leaving Senate

Something rare may transpire in the Senate in the coming week or so, if Democrat Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware casts a vote in the 111th Congress.  [Read More]

Illinois Prosecutor Seeks Delay in Blagojevich Indictment

The U.S. attorney pursuing corruption charges against Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich asked a court Wednesday for a 90-day extension of the time allotted for the return of an indictment.  [Read More]

Mexico Denies Sen. Grassley’s Accusations About Meat Ban

Mexico is rejecting a Republican senator’s accusations that it temporarily banned meat imports from the United States to retaliate against a new food-labeling policy.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Dec. 31

New Year’s Day is the first of how many federal holidays marked nationally in 2009?  [Read More]

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"The New Congress 2009: Understanding The 111th Congress"

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Registration Fee: $595
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 Rocky Mountain News reports that Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., removed her name from the long list of Coloradans vying to replace Interior Secretary-designate Ken Salazar in the U.S. Senate. DeGette told Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter “she had decided to remain in the U.S. House of Representatives and not seek the appointment,” the newspaper reports. “After serious deliberation and consultation with my family, supporters, and colleagues in Congress, I have concluded I can best serve the citizens of the 1st Congressional District and Colorado from my current leadership positions in the House of Representatives,” DeGette said in a written statement.

The Fort Mill (SC) Times reports that Rep. Kendrick B. Meek, D-Fla., is considering running for the seat of Republican Sen. Mel Martinez, who is retiring at the end of 2010. Former Florida GOP Gov. Jeb Bush also is considering a Senate race. “Meek has been traveling the state meeting with Democratic strategists about the idea,” the newspaper reports. President-elect Barack Obama “came through the state of Florida with a message of change and that message resonated with a number of Floridians — independents, Democrats, Republicans, first-time voters — and I believe that message will continue into the 2010 elections,” Meek said.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
PHILADELPHIA: Judge Blocks Mayor&’s Plan to Close Libraries
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga.: County to Fast-Track Inmate Deportations
THE MIDWEST: States May Band Together to Buy Road Salt
CALIFORNIA: State Sues Feds over Endangered-Species Rule Change

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, DEC. 30, 2008 – 2:37 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Blagojevich Defies Senate Leaders, Moves To Appoint Burris to Obama’s Seat
  • House Chairman Pays Parking Tickets With Campaign Funds
  • Treasury More Likely To Seek Other Half of Bailout Fund
  • 110th Congress Finally Drawing to a Close Officially
  • Economic Recovery Plan May Fatten Take-Home Pay for Workers
  • Political Trivia for Dec. 30
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session.

The Senate meets in pro forma session.

President Bush has no public events scheduled.

President-Elect Barack Obama is on vacation in Hawaii.

In Washington, Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) will hold a demonstration to protest Israel’s attacks on Gaza. 4:30 p.m., State Department, 22nd and C Sts. N.W.

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Top Stories

Blagojevich Defies Senate Leaders, Moves To Appoint Burris to Obama’s Seat

Illinois Democratic Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich will appoint Roland W. Burris, a former state attorney general, to the U.S. Senate seat that federal prosecutors say the governor unlawfully offered up to enrich himself.  [Read More]

House Chairman Pays Parking Tickets With Campaign Funds

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., has used campaign funds to pay $1,540 in fines from parking tickets in the District of Columbia in the last two years, according to federal campaign finance records and his office.  [Read More]

Treasury More Likely To Seek Other Half of Bailout Fund

The Treasury Department’s plan to commit $6 billion from the financial bailout fund to bolster GMAC — the financing arm of auto giant General Motors — makes it more likely that Treasury will have to ask Congress for the second half of the $700 billion fund sooner rather than later.  [Read More]

110th Congress Finally Drawing to a Close Officially

Retiring Rep. Michael R. McNulty, D-N.Y., will get the symbolic honor of gaveling the 110th Congress to its final adjournment just before noon on Saturday.  [Read More]

Economic Recovery Plan May Fatten Take-Home Pay for Workers

Congressional leaders and President-elect Barack Obama seem likely to try a new approach next month to the middle-class tax cuts Obama promised during his campaign.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Dec. 30

2009 is the birth bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln — and this man, his first vice president.  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Rocky Mountain News reports that Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter “has promised a decision ‘soon’ on a U.S. Senate replacement for Interior Secretary nominee Ken Salazar, and that could turn out to be faster than a New York minute.” The exact timing remains uncertain, but Ritter could act within days — even before Salazar is confirmed by the Senate. “There’s no shortage of candidates. Speculation has focused on Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper; outgoing state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff; Reps. John Salazar, Ed Perlmutter and Diana DeGette; Denver Public Schools Superintendent Michael Bennet; state Senate President Peter Groff; former state Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald; former state Sen. Polly Baca; former U.S. Senate candidates Tom Strickland and Mike Miles; former U.S. Attorney Henry Solano; and former Ambassador Swanee Hunt.”

The Chicago Tribune reports, “Federal grand jury subpoenas released Monday by Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration after a long court fight show that a widespread-corruption investigation of state hiring extended even to decisions made before the Democratic governor took office in January 2003.” Blagojevich faces “pay-for-play” corruption charges, including allegations involving appointment of a Senate successor to President-elect Barack Obama. The subpoenas “show federal investigators sought all personnel records from the governor’s office dating to Jan. 1, 2003, as well as computer records or other backup materials from the governor’s office and more than a dozen state agencies that report to the governor.” Blagojevich, who served in the U.S. House from 1997 to Jan. 3, 2003, did not take the oath as governor until Jan. 13, 2003. But “his transition team was already making hiring decisions by the first of that year,” the paper said.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
PHILADELPHIA: Private Operators to Take over Threatened Libraries
BOSTON: Mayor Shelves Plan to Replace City Hall
DETROIT: Homicides Down 14 Percent
NEW YORK CITY: Ex-Police Commissioner Pleads Not Guilty to New Charges
PENNSYLVANIA: State to Implement Federal Clean Air Rule
CALIFORNIA: State Controller Hospitalized

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Monday, December 29, 2008

CQ Today Midday Update

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

In This Issue

  • White House, Hill Leaders Say Hamas Must Stop Rocket Attacks
  • Emanuel Will Resign From House Jan. 2
  • Retailers Edgy About Reach of New Lead Ban
  • Vendors See Surging Sales of ‘Obama-bilia’
  • Political Trivia for Dec. 29
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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  is on vacation in Hawaii.

In Washington,  the Coalition for Justice and Accountability will hold a demonstration to protest Israel’s attacks on Gaza. 4:30 p.m., 451 6th St., N.W.

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Top Stories

White House, Hill Leaders Say Hamas Must Stop Rocket Attacks

The White House and congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle rallied to Israel’s cause Monday as it pressed forward with large-scale air attacks against Islamic militants in the Gaza Strip.  [Read More]

Emanuel Will Resign From House Jan. 2

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., who will serve as White House chief of staff under President-elect Barack Obama, will resign from the House effective Jan. 2.  [Read More]

Retailers Edgy About Reach of New Lead Ban

With the effective date nearing for a ban on lead in children’s products, many retailers and manufacturers want Congress to urge regulators to exempt certain products because final rules to implement the ban won’t be issued for months.  [Read More]

Vendors See Surging Sales of ‘Obama-bilia’

Abner Richet, a social work student at the University of Washington in Seattle, had been on his first visit to the nation’s capital for only a few hours before he started shopping for souvenirs marking the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Dec. 29

Which Scottish poet, best known for “Auld Lang Syne,” also penned a song lamenting the American slave trade?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Wichita Eagle reports that Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh “are two of the state’s most popular Republican politicians and prodigious fundraisers. But because of a state law and a court decision, they can’t use money they raised” in their current posts for anticipated 2010 gubernatorial bids. Washburn University political science professor Bob Beatty “said he thinks the early money will flow mostly to Brownback because of his higher profile” as a senator. Then again, Thornburgh may benefit from being in Kansas full time while Brownback must divide his days between the state and Washington, D.C., Beatty said.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that “campaign workers in the unresolved U.S. Senate race spent the weekend poring over a list of about 1,350 rejected absentee ballots and preparing their arguments about whether each one should be counted after all.” The unopened ballots “could weigh heavily in the race,” which unofficially has Democrat Al Franken leading incumbent GOP Sen. Norm Coleman by 46 votes. “Last week, local elections officials identified the 1,350 ballots as improperly rejected. But each campaign must agree with that assessment before they can be sent to the secretary of state’s office Jan. 2 to be counted, under a state Supreme Court order on Dec. 18.” Few observers expect that decision or several other ballot issues to be resolved anytime soon.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
INDIANA: Subsidized Health Plan May Hit Enrollment Cap
THE CHESAPEAKE BAY REGION: Despite Rosy Reports, Bay Cleanup Failing
CALIFORNIA: Bullet Trains on Funding Fast Track
THE NATION: Sex-Offender Laws Encouraging Homelessness
THE MINNEAPOLIS REGION: Governments Ally to Lock in Low Fuel Prices
THE NATION: Study: Murders by Black Teens Up
ROANE COUNTY, Tenn.: EPA: ‘Very High’ Arsenic Levels in Coal-Ash Spill
OAHU, Hawaii: Blackout Raises Fears about Island’s Power Grid
MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz.: Panel: End Sheriff’s Enforcement of Immigration Laws

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Reminder: CQ Weekly's Annual Report: 2008 Key Votes & Vote Studies | Order your copies today

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CQ Weekly

This is a reminder that Wednesday, Dec. 31st, is the last day to take advantage of this great offer. Please see below for details.

Note: if you have already purchased your copies, please disregard this message.

Dear Colleague,

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Sincerely,

Keith White
Publisher
Congressional Quarterly Inc.


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