Friday, January 09, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, JAN. 9, 2009 – 2:06 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Launches New Labor Agenda With Wage Discrimination Bills
  • House Democrats Scaling Back Children’s Health Insurance Plan
  • House Chairman Unveils Conditions for Second Half of Bailout Funding
  • Obama Names His National Intelligence Team
  • House Adopts Measure Backing Israel on ‘Durable’ Gaza Truce
  • Political Trivia for Jan. 9
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Today in Washington

The House passes legislation to make it easier for workers to collect damages for wage discrimination, as well as a resolution calling on Hamas to cease rocket and mortar attacks on Israel, renounce violence, and recognize Israel’s right to exist.

The Senate has no votes expected, though Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has set a Sunday vote on an omnibus public lands package.

President Bush has no public events scheduled.

President-Elect Barack Obama introduces his national intelligence team in a news conference at the transition office in Washington, D.C.

In Washington, the National Press Club hosts Journopalooza, as four bands composed of journalists from the Washington area compete for the title of Best Reporter-Based Washington Rock Group. 8 p.m., National Press Club Ballroom, 14th and F Sts., N.W.

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Top Stories

House Launches New Labor Agenda With Wage Discrimination Bills

In a bid to advance an ambitious labor agenda in the 111th Congress, the House passed legislation Friday designed to strengthen the ability of workers to combat wage discrimination.  [Read More]

House Democrats Scaling Back Children’s Health Insurance Plan

House Democrats are scaling back plans to reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, as budget scoring problems and rising costs make a five-year bill unlikely.  [Read More]

House Chairman Unveils Conditions for Second Half of Bailout Funding

The Treasury Department would have to use a significant chunk of remaining financial bailout money to stem foreclosures and would face stricter accountability under legislation unveiled Friday.  [Read More]

Obama Names His National Intelligence Team

President-elect Barack Obama closed one of the last big gaps in his administration’s slate Friday by formally announcing his national intelligence team.  [Read More]

House Adopts Measure Backing Israel on ‘Durable’ Gaza Truce

The House overwhelmingly adopted a resolution Friday to express solidarity with Israel and condemn the Islamist group Hamas for its role in the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Jan. 9

The shortest presidential inaugural address was delivered in which year?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan “has emerged as one of the leading Republican contenders for the seat being vacated in 2010 by Sen. Mel Martinez.” The newspaper reports that “if Buchanan decides to run — and he has signaled strong interest in doing so — it will likely create a battle royal for the 13th Congressional District House seat.” Five to six Republicans and three to four Democrats could vie for Buchanan’s seat.

The Springfield (MO) News-Leader reports that U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt would be a leading candidate to replace Christopher S. Bond, who plans to vacate his senate seat in 2010. Blunt’s son, outgoing Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt, said, “I think he makes a lot of sense in a lot of different ways.” But there might be some other prominent Republicans who would take issue with the governor’s comments. Former Sen. Jim Talent (2002-2007) and outgoing state Treasurer Sarah Steelman both said they also are interested in the seat.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
WISCONSIN: Investment Losses to Shrink State Pension Checks
WASHINGTON STATE: Record Floods Bring Emergency Declaration
NEW YORK CITY: Report: City Pay Outpacing Private Sector
OAKLAND, Calif.: Transit Board Apologizes for Passenger Slaying
WASHINGTON, D.C., Region: Transit Shortfall May Bring Hundreds of Layoffs

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, JAN. 8, 2009 – 2:15 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Questions, Committee Action May Slow Stimulus Package
  • House Likely To Vote Next Week on Second Half of Bailout Funding
  • Murtha Wants To Curb Military Lobbying for Controversial Programs
  • Daschle Promises Bipartisan Approach to Health Care Overhaul
  • Obama Officially Declared Winner of 2008 Election
  • Political Trivia for Jan. 8
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Today in Washington

The House  meets in a joint session with the Senate to count Electoral College ballots. No votes are expected.

The Senate  meets in a joint session with the House to count Electoral College ballots.

President Bush makes remarks on the 2002 education law known as No Child Left Behind at General Philip Kearny School in Philadelphia.

President-Elect Barack Obama Delivers a speech on the economy at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

In Washington, World Wildlife Fund holds a discussion on “The Dominant Animal and the Future of Biodiversity.” 4:30 p.m., Russell Train Conference Center, 1250 24th St., N.W.

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Top Stories

Questions, Committee Action May Slow Stimulus Package

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Congress will not recess for the mid-February Presidents’ Day break if an economic stimulus package hasn’t cleared by then.  [Read More]

House Likely To Vote Next Week on Second Half of Bailout Funding

Efforts to clear the way for release of the second half of the $700 billion bailout fund appear to be kicking into high gear.  [Read More]

Murtha Wants To Curb Military Lobbying for Controversial Programs

The House’s top defense appropriator has pledged to help strengthen the role of the Pentagon’s comptroller in an effort to curb lobbying by the military services for their controversial programs.  [Read More]

Daschle Promises Bipartisan Approach to Health Care Overhaul

Tom Daschle, President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee to run the Department of Health and Human Services, promised Republicans Thursday that the new administration will not try to ram a health care overhaul through Congress under expedited budget procedures.  [Read More]

Obama Officially Declared Winner of 2008 Election

It’s official: Democrat Barack Obama has been elected the 44th president of the United States, defeating Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona in a formal count of electoral votes.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Jan. 8

Who was the last retiring president to deliver a State of the Union address (in person or in writing)?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Rocky Mountain News reports that Democratic Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter “will be hitting the road Friday with Michael Bennet to introduce him to places where the senator-designate is not well-known. The governor and his choice to fill Ken Salazar’s seat in the U.S. Senate will embark upon a series of community meetings that will take them to nine stops in seven cities over five days.” Experts say that Bennet must build statewide visibility before his 2010 election, the newspaper reports.

The St. Petersburg Times reports that “in the same way Jeb Bush froze the field of Republican contenders awaiting his decision on a Senate run, Florida’s chief financial officer [Alex Sink] is casting her own shadow over the potentially crowded Democratic race.” Sink said, “I’m very seriously considering the race. It’s an enormous opportunity to serve the people of Florida. … I have a few more people I’d like to have the opportunity to speak to about it.” The national Democratic Party has aggressively courted Sink to run for the seat to be vacated by GOP Sen. Mel Martinez in 2010.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the Senate decision not to recognize Illinois appointee Roland Burris without a state election certificate undercut chances of seating Democrat Al Franken anytime soon. “The Illinois controversy, which has overshadowed the start of the 111th Congress, has a direct bearing on the recount between Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman, because Minnesota law bars state officials from issuing an election certificate until all legal challenges are settled,” the newspaper reports. “Coleman, who received 225 fewer votes than Franken in the two-month-old recount, has filed a suit that legal experts say could take a minimum of several months to resolve.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
MASSACHUSETTS: Plan Would Mandate Restaurant Calorie Posting
THE SOUTHWEST: Law Enforcement ‘Surge’ Planned for Mexico Border
WASHINGTON STATE: Floods Bring Evacuations, I-5 Shutdown
THE WASHINGTON, D.C., Region: Airport Rail Project Gets Federal Green Light
THE DETROIT REGION: GM Foundation Slashes Cultural Groups’ Funding
BALTIMORE: Councilwoman, Developer Indicted
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif.: Assessor Admits Drug Abuse

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, JAN. 7, 2009 – 1:57 P.M.

In This Issue

  • ‘Jaw-Dropping’ $1.2 Trillion Deficit Projected This Year
  • Stimulus Action Likely To Begin Next Week
  • Legal Questions To Be Answered Before Burris Seating
  • House Clears Measure to Pave Way for Sen. Salazar at Interior
  • Senate to Start New Year With Sunday Vote
  • Political Trivia for Jan. 7
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Today in Washington

The House passes bills requiring disclosure of donors to presidential libraries, limiting the ability of current and former presidents to block release of their records and addressing the salary of Interior Secretary-designate Ken Salazar.

The Senate is in session, awaiting legislative action.

President Bush participates in a luncheon with President-elect Barack Obama and former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton; makes remarks to presidential appointees; makes remarks at a reception in honor of the Points of Light Institute.

President-Elect Barack Obama holds news conference and appoints a chief performance officer; attends lunch with President Bush and former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

In Washington, George Washington University holds a discussion of advice for President-elect Barack Obama about congressional relations. 4:30 p.m., Jack Morton Auditorium, 805 21st St., N.W.

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Top Stories

‘Jaw-Dropping’ $1.2 Trillion Deficit Projected This Year

The federal budget deficit will balloon to roughly $1.2 trillion this fiscal year, a record that does not even include the costs of the economic recovery plan now being assembled on Capitol Hill.  [Read More]

Stimulus Action Likely To Begin Next Week

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., said Wednesday that committee hearings on the economic stimulus package are likely to begin next week, followed by markups of the massive legislation.  [Read More]

Legal Questions To Be Answered Before Burris Seating

In an effort to assuage lawmakers who say Roland W. Burris should be seated immediately as the junior senator from Illinois, Senate leaders said Wednesday they will be reaching out individually to dissenters in the coming days.  [Read More]

House Clears Measure to Pave Way for Sen. Salazar at Interior

The House Wednesday cleared a resolution intended to allow Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., to become secretary of the Interior.  [Read More]

Senate to Start New Year With Sunday Vote

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., plans to start the new Congress with a rare Sunday vote that could test whether an expanded Democratic majority can overcome Republican opposition to legislation.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Jan. 7

Which state had the closest open-seat U.S. House race in 2008?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

Michigan radio station WHMI reports that GOP Rep. Mike Rogers is considering a run for governor in 2010. Rogers confirmed that several supporters have approached him to run but says he hasn’t decided what he will do. The station cited other “big Republican hitters” likely to jump into the race, including Reps. Peter Hoekstra and Candice S. Miller, along with Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, Domino’s Pizza chief executive David Brandon, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox and Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land. Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

The Tennessean reports that former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. hasn’t yet decided whether to seek the Democratic nomination for Tennessee governor in 2010. In a statement, Ford said he was “grateful for the interest and the kind expressions of support” but “now is not the time. It’s time we — Republicans and Democrats — begin to put the people and their economic future ahead of politics.” Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Sunday he would not seek the GOP nomination, but three other Republicans have announced their candidacy, and at least two other Democrats have formed exploratory committees.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
TEXAS: Plan for $175 Billion Transportation Network Dies
MICHIGAN: Tougher Rules Slashing Welfare Rolls
THE WEST COAST: Mystery Illness Killing Hundreds of Pelicans
THE NATION: Most Coal Ash Dumps Unregulated, Unmonitored
NEW YORK CITY: City Gives Up Bid for Luxury Yankee Stadium Suite
PITTSBURGH: Homicides Up 28 Percent

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, JAN. 6, 2009 – 2:29 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Democrats Tighten Grip as 111th Congress Convenes
  • Burris Draws Media Hordes, But Cool Official Response
  • Obama To Seek Release of Remaining Bailout Funds
  • Gates Estimates Another $69.7 Billion Needed for Wars This Fiscal Year
  • Food Stamp Funding Sought in Stimulus
  • Political Trivia for Jan. 6
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Today in Washington

The House convenes at noon for election of the House Speaker and swearing-in of new members.

The Senate convenes at noon for swearing-in of new members.

President Bush makes remarks at a military appreciation parade in Fort Myer, Va.

President-Elect Barack Obama meets with his newly appointed Cabinet members to discuss crafting his budget for the coming year.

In Washington, The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Middle East Program will host Gholam Reza Afkhami to discuss his book, “The Life and Times of the Shah,” which explores the events that shaped Iran’s development. 4 p.m., Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.

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Top Stories

Democrats Tighten Grip as 111th Congress Convenes

Fortified by wider House and Senate majorities and the prospect of working in tandem with a new president who shares their legislative goals, congressional Democrats assembled Tuesday to begin the 111th Congress.  [Read More]

Burris Draws Media Hordes, But Cool Official Response

The Senate found itself distracted on the opening day of the 111th Congress by a media circus surrounding efforts of Illinois Democrat Roland W. Burris to join its ranks.  [Read More]

Obama To Seek Release of Remaining Bailout Funds

Barney Frank, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, said Tuesday that he has been given every indication that President-elect Barack Obama’s team intends to seek the remaining funds Congress authorized for a financial industry bailout.  [Read More]

Gates Estimates Another $69.7 Billion Needed for Wars This Fiscal Year

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has sent a $69.7 billion war cost “estimate” to congressional leaders and said that the outgoing administration will not formally request more war funding before President-elect Barack Obama takes office.  [Read More]

Food Stamp Funding Sought in Stimulus

Anti-hunger groups are lobbying lawmakers and President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team to include $24 billion over two years in the economic stimulus bill to boost food stamp benefits.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Jan. 6

The congressional oath of office requires members to do what for the Constitution?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The St. Petersburg Times reports that “Republican excitement over the prospect of Jeb Bush running for U.S. Senate has given way to increasing speculation that the former governor will stay out of the race.” Bush declined to comment on his plans, “but was expected to make an announcement perhaps as early as this week,” the newspaper reports. Friends have indicated that family concerns could outweigh Bush’s desire for public service. Aside from the toll Senate service would take on his family, there also are concerns it could hurt his consulting business.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that “the lawsuit that [Sen. Norm] Coleman’s attorneys said they would file [Tuesday] is called an election contest. It will prevent Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, under state law, from officially certifying Franken’s election until the legal process has run its course.” The state Canvassing Board certified Monday that Democrat Al Franken had a 225-vote lead over the Republican incumbent after an extensive recount of 2.9 million votes. “No one knows how long that might take, but Coleman attorney Fritz Knaak said their case will pivot in part on constitutional issues, such as the equal protection clause, that typically are decided by the U.S. Supreme Court,” the newspaper reports. Minnesota will have only one senator, Democrat Amy Klobuchar, until the issue is settled.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
MASSACHUSETTS: Governor Pushes to Stem Spiraling Health-Care Costs
MARYLAND: E-ZPass Charges, Truck Toll Hikes Sought
CALIFORNIA Gay Marriage Opponents: AG ‘Profoundly Wrong’
PHILADELPHIA: City Shuts Down Seven Firehouses
DETROIT: Ex-Mayor’s Aide to Be Jailed

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Monday, January 05, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, JAN. 5, 2009 – 2:07 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Obama Meeting With Hill Leaders on Economic Recovery Package
  • Congress Will Move Other Bills Before Jan. 20
  • Senate Democrats May Try To Seat Franken
  • Political Trivia for Jan. 5
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session; convenes at noon tomorrow.

The Senate is not in session; convenes at noon tomorrow.

President Bush meets with leaders of Sudan.

President-Elect Barack Obama is meeting with congressional leaders on Capitol Hill to discuss an economic recovery package.

In Washington, Americans for Tax Reform holds a debate among candidates for chairmanship of the Republican National Committee. 1 p.m., National Press Club, 14th and F Sts., N.W.

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Top Stories

Obama Meeting With Hill Leaders on Economic Recovery Package

Democratic leaders are expanding their tax cut plans for a planned economic stimulus package — and slowing their timetable — as they prepare to usher in the 111th Congress on Tuesday.  [Read More]

Congress Will Move Other Bills Before Jan. 20

With President-elect Barack Obama at her side, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that Congress will have legislation ready for Obama to sign right after he takes the oath of office at noon Jan.20.  [Read More]

Senate Democrats May Try To Seat Franken

Senate Democrats may try to seat Al Franken this week, assuming he is declared the winner of his hotly contested election battle with GOP Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Jan. 5

Which U.S. House incumbent lost by the closest percentage margin in 2008?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Tennessean reports that former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Sunday he will not seek the GOP nomination for governor in 2010. “After significant reflection and conversations with loved ones, I have decided to remain a private citizen for the foreseeable future,” Frist said in a statement. “I will, however, continue serving the people of Tennessee.” The daily notes that though several other potential GOP candidates, including Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Rep. Zach Wamp, have been waiting for Frist’s decision, Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons already has made his candidacy official.

Former President George H.W. Bush on “Fox News Sunday” encouraged his son Jeb Bush to seek the Florida Senate seat being vacated by Republican Mel Martinez in 2010. “He’d be an outstanding senator. Here’s a guy that really has a feel for people, the issues in Florida and nationally, and his political days ought not to be over. ... I’d like to see him run. I’d like to see him be president some day. ... Or maybe senator,” the elder Bush said. “I think he’s as qualified and able as anyone I know on the political scene.” Jeb Bush, a former Florida governor, has said he is considering seeking the GOP nomination.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
CALIFORNIA: Energy Efficiency Rules Planned for Flat-Screen TVs
MASSACHUSETTS: Police Balking at Enforcing New Marijuana Law
WISCONSIN: Pipeline Owner to Pay $1.1 Million for Environmental Violations
CALIFORNIA: State Controller Suffered Mild Heart Attack
CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga.: New Sheriff Fires 14 Deputies
ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa.: Judge: Excess Tax Take Must Go to Mass Transit

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