Friday, March 06, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Friday, March 06, 2009 – 2:30 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senators Agree on Amendments to Omnibus
  • Reaction to Treasury Ending Private IRS Collection Contracts Follows Party Lines
  • Panel Created To Examine Pentagon Procurement Problems
  • Obama's Mortgage Initiative Falls Short, Watchdog Panel Says
  • Sen. Nelson Wants Benchmarks to Measure Afghan Progress
  • Political Trivia for Friday, March 06, 2009
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Today in Washington

The House passes a continuing resolution to temporarily fund government agencies.

The Senate continues consideration of the fiscal 2009 omnibus appropriations package.

The President with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., visits Columbus, Ohio, to speak at a graduation ceremony for police cadets.

In Washington, the Center for Strategic and International Studies holds a discussion with former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte and Wang Jisi of Peking University on U.S.-China relations, 3 p.m., 1800 K St., N.W.

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Top Stories

Senators Agree on Amendments to Omnibus

Senate leaders have agreed to allow votes next week on 12 GOP amendments to the fiscal 2009 omnibus, Majority Leader Harry Reid said Friday as he moved to limit debate on the measure. [Read More]

Reaction to Treasury Ending Private IRS Collection Contracts Follows Party Lines

The Treasury Department's decision to end the use of private companies to collect delinquent taxes drew applause from House Democrats but sharp criticism from the top Senate Republican tax writer. [Read More]

Panel Created To Examine Pentagon Procurement Problems

Panel on Defense Acquisition Reform will be established to address issues that lie behind the Pentagon's continuing problems in acquiring goods and services on time and on budget. [Read More]

Obama's Mortgage Initiative Falls Short, Watchdog Panel Says

The Congressional Oversight Panel said the plan would do little to help homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are currently worth, a condition known as being "underwater." [Read More]

Sen. Nelson Wants Benchmarks to Measure Afghan Progress

A leading moderate Senate Democrat is calling for clear benchmarks to measure progress in Afghanistan as the Obama administration reviews U.S. strategy there. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Friday, March 06, 2009

How many states entered the Union during the month of March? [Read More]

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Join the CQ Politics' Live Online Discussion on Health Policy with Alex Wayne Now!

What kind of reception can President Obama expect in Congress for his budget and health care reform proposals? President Obama has proposed raising taxes on higher-income families and cutting payments for health insurers, hospitals, drug companies, medical imaging services, home health care agencies and others under Medicare and Medicaid, all to raise $634 billion for a huge expansion of health insurance coverage. His plan has drawn strong criticism from Republicans and from some health care industry sectors, leaving its future in Congress uncertain. Submit your questions and comments during the chat on Friday at 2 p.m..

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Political Clippings

The Chicago Tribune reports that "the Republican push for a special election to replace Democratic Sen. Roland W. Burris was dealt a likely fatal blow by [Illinois] Senate Democrats, who turned thumbs down on the idea." The newspaper reports that "New Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn gave Republicans an opening to press their case last week when he said Burris should resign within two weeks or lawmakers should approve a special election to try to force him out before January 2011, when his term expires."

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that "Minnesotans are split on whether it's time to rerun their hopelessly snarled U.S. Senate race. A new poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports shows that 46 percent of likely voters in the state favor a revote in the race between Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken. Forty-four percent are against a new vote, a statistical dead heat, given the poll's margin of error of 4.5 percentage points."

According to a new Research 2000/DailyKos poll, despite what most considered a career ending scandal, Sen. David Vitter , R-La., leads two possible challengers in his 2010 re-election race. He is currently leading Rep. Charlie Melancon , 48 percent to 41 percent, and former Rep. Don Cazayoux, 48 percent to 39 percent.

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