Thursday, February 05, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Thursday, February 05, 2009 – 2:37 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate Moves Toward Vote on Stimulus
  • Hearing Focuses on Food Safety Loopholes
  • Overhaul, More Transparency in Bailout Program
  • White House to Bypass Commerce on Census
  • Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg Treated for Pancreatic Cancer
  • Political Trivia for Thursday, February 05, 2009
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session for the rest of the week as Democrats attend their policy retreat in Williamsburg, Va.

The Senate continues to debate amendments to the economic stimulus package; committees vote on the nomination of Rep. Hilda L. Solis, D-Calif., as Labor secretary and hold a hearing on the nomination of former Rep. Leon E. Panetta, D-Calif., for director of the CIA.

The President signs an executive order forming the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships; speaks at Department of Energy; meets with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and later with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; speaks at House Democratic retreat.

In Washington, The School of Advanced International Studies holds a discussion on the current situation in Kosovo, with Lulzim Peci of the Kosovar Institute for Policy Research and Development. 3 p.m., 1717 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.

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Top Stories

Senate Moves Toward Vote on Stimulus

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday afternoon that he believes Democrats will have the 60 votes needed to end debate and pass a huge economic stimulus package, as frustrated conservatives claimed that public opinion is turning against the bill. [Read More]

Hearing Focuses on Food Safety Loopholes

Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, complained about what he called a “gaping loophole” in the food inspection process that could allow a self-inspecting company to withhold from the Food and Drug Administration test results reflecting the presence of salmonella. [Read More]

Overhaul, More Transparency in Bailout Program

Key lawmakers and government watchdogs Thursday renewed calls for a complete overhaul of the government’s financial industry bailout efforts, while also demanding more transparency for the program’s inner workings. [Read More]

White House to Bypass Commerce on Census

The director of the Census Bureau will report directly to the White House and not the secretary of Commerce, according to a senior White House official. [Read More]

Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg Treated for Pancreatic Cancer

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent surgery Thursday for early-stage pancreatic cancer, the court said in a statement. Ginsburg, who will turn 76 next month, was treated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Thursday, February 05, 2009

When was the last Senate race in Ohio that was decided by less than 5 points? [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
ILLINOIS: New Governor Faces Ballooning Deficit
TEXAS: Departing Speaker's Computer Files Deleted
MICHIGAN: Auto Insurance Reforms Pushed
VIRGINIA: In Reversal, Speaker Backs Smoking Ban

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Political Clippings

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that if Florida Gov. Charlie Crist seeks the Republican Senate nomination, former state House Speaker Marco Rubio is ready to go after the governor's old job. For now, Rubio is a GOP candidate for the seat being vacated by Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla. But if Crist declines to seek re-election and instead go for the Senate seat in 2010, Rubio says he'll switch gears. “What people have really missed the boat on is if the governor leaves early to run for Senate, or he leaves to run for Senate [when his term expires], that just sets off a governor's race, which is equally enticing to a whole host of other people,” Rubio said. “I've always been interested in statewide office, whether it's U.S. Senate or governor, but right now the opportunity appears to be U.S. Senate, and that's what I'm examining.”

The Lakeland Ledger reports that Florida state Rep. Seth McKeel has decided not to seek the House seat being vacated by close friend Adam H. Putnam, R-Fla. McKeel cited family concerns and the state's precarious economic situation as reasons for his decision not to seek the Republican nomination. McKeel's decision leaves former state Rep. Dennis Ross as the only announced GOP candidate.

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