Friday, January 16, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for FRIDAY, JAN. 16, 2009 – 2:06 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Obama’s Push for Bipartisan Stimulus Plan Vexes Some Democrats
  • Weapons Makers Using Jobs Pitch To Lobby for Their Projects
  • Interior Releases Plan for New Offshore Drilling
  • Senate Will Vote Jan. 20 on First Obama Nominees
  • Senate Judiciary Sets Jan. 21 Vote on Holder Nomination
  • Political Trivia for Jan. 16
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Today in Washington

The House meets in pro forma session.

The Senate swears in Democrat Ted Kaufman as the junior senator from Delaware, replacing Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

President Bush departs for Camp David.

President-Elect Barack Obama tours a factory and meets with workers in Bedford Heights, Ohio, to discuss his economic recovery plan.

In Washington, “Women in Mourning” march to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and demand an immediate ceasefire and an end to the Israeli occupation. 5:15 p.m., Obama Transition Headquarters, 451 6th St., N.W.

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Top Stories

Obama’s Push for Bipartisan Stimulus Plan Vexes Some Democrats

As President-elect Barack Obama urges Congress to advance an economic stimulus plan that will win Republican votes, Democratic leaders writing the legislation face a question: How bipartisan is bipartisan enough?  [Read More]

Weapons Makers Using Jobs Pitch To Lobby for Their Projects

When lobbyists for Lockheed Martin Corp. visited congressional offices in recent weeks to brief members or staff on the merits of their F-22 fighter, the top item on their agenda had nothing to do with the plane’s military attributes.  [Read More]

Interior Releases Plan for New Offshore Drilling

The Interior Department on Friday released a draft five-year plan for offshore oil drilling on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, in one of a flurry of last-minute moves the White House has made to expand oil production and repeal environmental regulations before President Bush leaves office.  [Read More]

Senate Will Vote Jan. 20 on First Obama Nominees

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Friday that the Senate would begin confirming President-elect Barack Obama’s nominees to various executive posts as soon as Obama is sworn in next week.  [Read More]

Senate Judiciary Sets Jan. 21 Vote on Holder Nomination

The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote Jan. 21 on the nomination of Eric H. Holder Jr. as attorney general, Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., said Friday.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Jan. 16

Whose record as longest-serving Kentucky senator did Mitch McConnell break?  [Read More]

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

Held in January and February of every odd-numbered year, in this 1-day course our experienced faculty provide an overview of the new Congress and explore how major issues are likely to fare in the first session. .
WHERE: Goethe-Institut, 812 Seventh Street N.W., Washington, D.C.
WHEN: January 27, 2009, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
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 Louisville Courier-Journal reports, “More than a week into the start of the 111th Congress, Sen. Jim Bunning is missing in action. Kentucky’s junior senator, a Republican who repeatedly has said he is running for re-election next year, has missed several Senate floor votes,” plus “at least three committee confirmation hearings and one party strategy session since the Senate convened Jan. 6.” Bunning, 77, told the paper he was fulfilling “a family commitment six months ago to do certain things, and I’m doing them.” He said he’d told Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., of his plans and “he said there is not going to be a close vote this week.” Bunning said he “would return to Washington on Sunday and will attend Monday night’s Bluegrass Ball, sponsored by the Kentucky Society of Washington on the eve of Obama’s inauguration.”

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, asked about his level of interest in running for the Senate seat of retiring Republican Mel Martinez in 2010, responded Thursday “not much.” Crist, a Republican, said “he has been giving most of his attention to the state’s budget crisis and a review of the Legislature’s recent $2 billion-plus in cuts and borrowing.” According to the paper, “Crist, and those closest to him, have all but ruled out a run.”

The Norman (Okla.) Transcript reports that Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, a Democrat, on Thursday became the first candidate to officially announce a bid for governor in 2010. “If elected, she would be the first woman to serve as Oklahoma’s governor.” She had already sent out fundraising letters earlier this month, and said “she expected the campaign to cost ‘several million dollars.”’ The field could be crowded: “Other candidates considering the race include Democratic Attorney General Drew Edmondson and state Treasurer Scott Meacham, also a Democrat. Republicans Mary Fallin and Tom Cole — both members of Congress — also are said to be rumored to be possible candidates.”

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NORTHWEST: EPA: Toxic Contaminants Plague Columbia River Basin
THE NATION: Seven States Sue Feds over Abortion Rule
MINNESOTA: Former State Worker Admits Stealing $1 Million
NEW YORK CITY: ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ after Jetliner Ditches
PITTSBURGH: Mayor: Lease Parking Lots to Shore Up Pension
DETROIT: Schools Must Return Unspent $16.3 Million to Feds
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. County Assessor Arrested on Meth Charges

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for THURSDAY, JAN. 15, 2009 – 2:10 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Democrats Unveil Their Stimulus Plan
  • Clinton Bids Senate Farewell as Foreign Relations Panel Approves Her Nomination
  • Holder Signals New Era at Justice Department, Vows Independence as Attorney General
  • Obama To Defer on Big Defense Changes for a Year
  • Biden Says Goodbye to Senate
  • Political Trivia for Jan. 15
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Today in Washington

The House votes on a bill to overhaul the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

The Senate passes an omnibus public lands bill, limits debate on a motion to proceed to a wage discrimination bill and votes on a resolution that would reject the release of another $350 billion in TARP funds.

President Bush participates in a ceremony to commemorate foreign policy achievements; at 8 p.m., gives a televised farewell address to the nation.

President-Elect Barack Obama has private meetings at his transition office.

In Washington, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger delivers the annual Christopher Makins Memorial Lecture on “Challenges and Opportunities Ahead for the Next Administration,” with a particular focus on the United States’ relationship with its European allies. 6 p.m., British Embassy, 3100 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.

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Top Stories

House Democrats Unveil Their Stimulus Plan

House Democratic leaders began detailing an historic $825 billion economic stimulus package Thursday featuring $550 billion in spending and $275 billion in tax breaks.  [Read More]

Clinton Bids Senate Farewell as Foreign Relations Panel Approves Her Nomination

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., who had hoped to be in President-elect Barack Obama’s place next week, instead took a giant step Thursday toward joining his administration as secretary of State.  [Read More]

Holder Signals New Era at Justice Department, Vows Independence as Attorney General

Attorney General-designate Eric H. Holder Jr. outlined positions on detainee treatment and presidential authority that differ starkly from those of the Bush administration during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing Thursday.  [Read More]

Obama To Defer on Big Defense Changes for a Year

President-elect Barack Obama’s incoming defense team will submit a budget request this spring that closely follows the plans of the outgoing administration, pushing major changes back to next year, his top nominees said Thursday.  [Read More]

Biden Says Goodbye to Senate

The Senate’s fourth most senior Democrat — who came to the chamber as a young buck 36 years ago and leaves it as an “Old Bull” on Thursday — described the many ways his lengthy Senate career has shaped his life and will affect his work as vice president during an emotional final floor speech.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Jan. 15

How old would Martin Luther King Jr. have been on his birthday Thursday?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Dallas Morning News reports that Texas GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison insists she’s committed to running against Gov. Rick Perry next year, “no matter how much doubt he tries to sow.” Hutchison also said “Republicans shouldn’t worry that her resignation from the Senate might tilt the balance of power in Washington.” Perry told the AP Tuesday he doubted Hutchison would challenge him in the GOP primary. “I have said pretty clearly that that’s what I’m going to do. I think I can help Texas now and take our state into the real areas that need to have leadership,” Hutchison told the daily.

The Nashua Telegraph reports that New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch will not challenge Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., next year. Aides said Wednesday’s announcement was designed to tamp down political speculation about the three-term governor’s future. The daily says “there’s no doubt that Lynch would be the strongest Democrat the party could put up against Gregg had Lynch been willing to do it.” Lynch’s decision leaves Rep. Paul W. Hodes as the most likely Democrat to jump into the race.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NATION: Protections Lifted for Gray Wolves in 5 States
THE NATION: EPA Nominee to Revisit Rejection of Greenhouse-Gas Limits
CALIFORNIA: Funding Woes Cut Universities’ Enrollment Plans
MASSACHUSETTS: Turnpike Gets Breather for $400 Million Bank Demand
NEW MEXICO: Ex-Pension Official: ‘Pay to Play’ Scheme Lost $90 Million
NEW YORK CITY: City to Repair, Resell Foreclosed Homes
RACINE, Wis.: Mayor Arrested, Accused of Child Sexual Assault
MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. County Opens Health Clinic for Employees
WASHINGTON, D.C.: D.A.: No Ethics Breach by Charter School Board Chairman

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for WEDNESDAY, JAN. 14, 2009 – 2:04 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Tax Issue Prompts Senate Republicans To Delay Geithner Hearing
  • AMT ‘Patch’ May Be Added to Economic Recovery Package
  • GOP Leaders Diverge on Release of Bailout Funds
  • Child Hunger a Top Priority for Vilsack
  • EPA Will Be Guided by Science, Jackson Pledges
  • Political Trivia for Jan. 14
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Today in Washington

The House votes on a bill to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and a resolution requiring House committees to hold periodic hearings on waste, fraud and abuse in government programs.

The Senate votes to limit debate on an omnibus public lands bill.

President Bush has no public events scheduled.

President-Elect Barack Obama with Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., visits the Supreme Court; receives afternoon briefing from Biden and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on their trip to Kuwait, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

In Washington, the BBC and the British Embassy hold a Q&A session with British historian and storyteller Simon Schama about his new documentary on America’s future. 6:30 p.m., British Embassy, 31200 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.

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Top Stories

Tax Issue Prompts Senate Republicans To Delay Geithner Hearing

The Senate Finance Committee has delayed until next week a confirmation hearing for Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy F. Geithner, who is facing tough questions about his failure to pay self-employment taxes earlier this decade.  [Read More]

AMT ‘Patch’ May Be Added to Economic Recovery Package

A one-year “patch” to the alternative minimum tax seems increasingly likely to become part of the economic recovery package Congress is considering.  [Read More]

GOP Leaders Diverge on Release of Bailout Funds

The House Republican leader said Wednesday he opposes release of the second half of the $700 billion financial bailout fund at this point, but his Senate counterpart left the door open a little wider.  [Read More]

Child Hunger a Top Priority for Vilsack

Agriculture Secretary-nominee Tom Vilsack told a Senate panel Wednesday that he already has begun coordinating efforts within the incoming Obama administration to combat child hunger.  [Read More]

EPA Will Be Guided by Science, Jackson Pledges

President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the EPA pledged Wednesday that she would respect the opinions of scientists when making decisions, in the wake of fierce criticism from Democrats over the agency’s management under President Bush.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Jan. 14

The new “American Idol” judge’s father served which state in Congress?  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The New York Daily News reports that “a group of upstate Democrats on Tuesday urged Gov. [David] Paterson to consider replacing Hillary [Rodham] Clinton with either of two people whose names are not Caroline Kennedy. The 15 Democrats, many from small rural counties, bucked convention by telling Paterson to ignore the gender or geographic region of the candidates.”

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Democrat “Al Franken asked the state Supreme Court ... to order that he receive an election certificate in Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race, a day after he sought to restrict Republican Norm Coleman’s court contest challenging the recount results. The two-pronged strategy seeks to pave the way for the Senate to seat Franken provisionally while limiting Coleman to a narrow court challenge, rather than the more sweeping review he seeks of absentee ballots, claims of double-counting and other irregularities.”

The Ashland (OH) Times-Gazette reports that former U.S. Rep. Rob Portman (1993-2005) said while President-elect Barack Obama clearly won the election, “his win does not represent a shift in the country’s ideology, but rather a move away from the Republican brand.” Portman said the GOP must hold onto founding principles: “fiscal conservatism, family values and small government.” But he stressed the need for the party to become more innovative in its approach to policy. Portman plans to run for Sen. George V. Voinovich’s Ohio seat when he retires in 2010.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
MINNESOTA/WISCONSIN: States Seek Ways to Share Costs, Services
WASHINGTON STATE: Court: Teacher Sex with 18-Year-Old Not Banned
LOS ANGELES: Police Brass Reject Racial-Profiling Report
DETROIT: Businessman Alleges Pay-to-Play Demand by Pensions
MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz.: Audit: County Mental-Health System Worsening

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for TUESDAY, JAN. 13, 2009 – 1:58 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Obama Heads to Hill to Sell Plans for Bailout Money
  • Clinton Sets Out New Direction for U.S. Foreign Policy
  • Chu Stresses Change of Focus at Energy Department
  • Duncan Vows Focus on Early Childhood Education, Innovation
  • Political Trivia for Jan. 13
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Today in Washington

The House considers a resolution that would reauthorize the Judiciary Committee to investigate whether to impeach U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous of Eastern Louisiana.

The Senate continues debate of a procedural motion on an omnibus public lands bill, as five committees hold confirmation hearings on President-elect Barack Obama’s Cabinet choices and White House budget director.

President Bush meets with his Cabinet; meets with Mexican President Felipe Calderon; with Mrs. Bush, participates in a ceremony for the 2009 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

President-Elect Barack Obama attends the weekly lunch of Democratic senators at the Capitol for his final visit to the Senate before he is sworn in next week.

In Washington,  the Woodrow Wilson Center hosts a book launch of “Wealth Into Power: The Communist Party’s Embrace of China’s Private Sector,” with author Bruce J. Dickson of George Washington University. 4 p.m., Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center; 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.

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Top Stories

Obama Heads to Hill to Sell Plans for Bailout Money

President-elect Barack Obama is stepping up his lobbying blitz with Senate Democrats to win release of the second half of the $700 billion financial industry bailout fund.  [Read More]

Clinton Sets Out New Direction for U.S. Foreign Policy

Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton laid out a sweeping vision for a new U.S. foreign policy at her confirmation hearing Tuesday that was long on generalizations and short on details.  [Read More]

Chu Stresses Change of Focus at Energy Department

Physicist Steven Chu, President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee to be Energy secretary, Tuesday said his leadership would focus on tackling climate change and encouraging renewable energy technologies.  [Read More]

Duncan Vows Focus on Early Childhood Education, Innovation

Arne Duncan, President-elect Barack Obama’s pick for Education secretary, promised a new emphasis on early childhood education at his confirmation hearing Tuesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Jan. 13

In what setting did President Eisenhower warn about “the military-industrial complex?”  [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Chicago Tribune reports that “state Reps. John Fritchey and Sara Feigenholtz were among four Chicago Democrats who formally joined the race to replace Rahm Emanuel in Congress. Monday was the first day of the weeklong filing period for the March 3 special primary in the 5th Congressional District.” University of Chicago lecturer Charles Wheelan and Justin Oberman, son of former Alderman Marty Oberman also filed for the open seat.

The Mobile Press-Register reports that Alabama GOP Sen. Richard C. Shelby will seek a fifth term in 2010. As of the end of September, Shelby had almost $13.3 million stockpiled in his campaign account, according to his most recent Federal Election Commission report. Four other GOP U.S. senators have decided not to seek reelection in 2010.

The New York Daily News reports that “Gov. David A. Paterson said Caroline Kennedy ‘impressed’ him in her interview for the U.S. Senate seat, but he’s not ready to declare the front-runner just yet.” Paterson said he has interviewed 15 people for Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton’s soon-to-be-vacated senate seat. “She didn’t eliminate herself in the meeting,” he said.

The Raleigh News & Observer reports that a Research 2000 poll found Sen. Richard M. Burr, R-N.C., leading North Carolina Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper 45 percent to 43 percent in favorability ratings, with 12 percent undecided. The poll of 600 North Carolina registered voters had a variance of plus or minus 4 percent. The poll also showed Burr leading former North Carolina Treasurer Richard Moore 46 percent to 40 percent. Cooper and Moore are potential opponents for Burr in 2010.

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
NEW YORK STATE: A.G. Orders Overhaul of Insurance Payment Database
NEW JERSEY: Court: Governor’s E-Mails Private
TOPEKA, Kan.: University Wins $450 Million DHS Bioterror Lab
DETROIT: New Device to Draw Energy from Slow-Moving River

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Monday, January 12, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com
Midday Update for MONDAY, JAN. 12, 2009 – 1:51 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Bush Seeks Final $350 Billion in Bailout Fund
  • Ohio’s Voinovich Fourth GOP Senator To Announce Retirement Plans
  • Senators, Obama Team Discuss Doubling Energy Tax Credits in Stimulus
  • Sen. Feinstein’s Actions on Blagojevich Appointee Could Help Her Later
  • Political Trivia for Jan. 12
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session.

The Senate considers an omnibus public lands bill.

President Bush holds final news conference of his presidency.

President-Elect Barack Obama meets with Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

In Washington,  Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen receives an award and speaks at the Nixon Center Distinguished Service Awards dinner. 7 p.m., Four Seasons Hotel, 2800 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.

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Top Stories

Bush Seeks Final $350 Billion in Bailout Fund

President Bush asked Congress Monday for the second half of the controversial $700 billion financial bailout fund after President-elect Barack Obama asked him to do so, the White House said.  [Read More]

Ohio’s Voinovich Fourth GOP Senator To Announce Retirement Plans

Ohio Republican Sen. George V. Voinovich, whose political career has spanned more than four decades, Monday became the fourth GOP senator to announce he will not seek re-election in 2010.  [Read More]

Senators, Obama Team Discuss Doubling Energy Tax Credits in Stimulus

Democratic senators said after meeting with President-elect Barack Obama’s advisers that progress is being made on an economic recovery bill, with lawmakers’ ideas in such areas as energy tax credits gaining traction.  [Read More]

Sen. Feinstein’s Actions on Blagojevich Appointee Could Help Her Later

For all the political losers in the Roland W. Burris imbroglio, there is at least one clear winner: California Sen. Dianne Feinstein.  [Read More]

Political Trivia for Jan. 12

When did Illinois last have a vacant Senate seat?  [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
MASSACHUSETTS: Swiss Bank Demands $397 Million from Turnpike Agency
CALIFORNIA: State Probing Giant HMO’s Call Centers
PHOENIX: City’s Population Boom May Be Over
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md.: Once-Scorned Deer Hunters Now Welcomed
DURANGO, Colo.: D.A. Dies after Mountain-Bike Accident

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Political Clippings

The Sarasota Herald Tribune reports that the four GOP frontrunners for the seat of Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., who is retiring after this two-year Congress, worked the hallways at a weekend event to elect a new state Republican chairman. “In the hallways outside, in discreet corners around the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort and at the cocktail receptions, the jockeying for a suddenly wide-open Senate race became the show stealer,” the newspaper reports. Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, and U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan and Connie Mack all were present. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist “refused to say whether he has any interest in running for the seat, although speculation that he might consider running generated the most buzz.”

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman “has begun pressing some Minnesota counties for documents on hundreds of thousands of ballots that were not previously disputed” in a race to hold onto to his old seat. The newspaper reports that “the lawsuit that Coleman filed last week to erase ...[Democrat] Al Franken’s 225-vote lead cites a few dozen specific ballot errors that he says favored Franken. But Coleman’s camp is also now casting a much wider net for other mistakes that could cost Franken votes.”

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This Week in Health Policy on the Hill

Health on the Hill with kaisernetwork.org and CQ are weekly audio updates from CQ reporters highlighting the latest health policy developments on Capitol Hill. A podcast of the report is also available.
SCHIP: House floor action expected on reauthorization of State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
STIMULUS: Additional Medicaid funding for states among health-related items that may be included in economic stimulus package.
HHS SECRETARY: At a Senate confirmation hearing, former senator Tom Daschle, the Obama administration’s choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services, said the Obama administration will seek bipartisan cooperation on health care reform.
Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links

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