Friday, February 27, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Friday, February 27, 2009 – 2:09 P.M.

In This Issue

  • GOP Leaders Outline Strategy for Opposing Obama's Budget
  • GOP Lawmakers Show Support For Obama's Iraq Plan
  • Political Trivia for Friday, February 27, 2009
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House is not in session.

The Senate met in morning session but held no roll call votes.

The President visits Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina to thank Marines and their families and to outline his plan for Iraq.

In Washington, Inter-American Dialogue holds a discussion titled "The U.S. and Cuba: Counter-narcotics Partners?" 3 p.m., 1211 Connecticut Ave., N.W.

---------------------------------

Top Stories

GOP Leaders Outline Strategy for Opposing Obama's Budget

Republican lawmakers compared Obama's budget priorities to those of socialist governments in Europe, taking particular issue with his proposal for a new cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions allowances. [Read More]

GOP Lawmakers Show Support For Obama's Iraq Plan

President Obama moved to fulfill the defining promise of his campaign, announcing that all U.S. combat troops will be withdrawn by September 2010. However, he said the most of those involved in the pullout will not leave this year, and some will remain afterwards. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Friday, February 27, 2009

How many Democrats are running in Tuesday's special House primary for Rahm Emanuel's seat? [Read More]

---------------------------------

Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
CALIFORNIA: High Court Backs Protections for Whistle-Blowers
KANSAS: Former A.G. Faces Ethics Charge
CHICAGO: Former Alderman Gets Probation in Kickback Scheme

---------------------------------

Political Clippings

The Dallas Morning News reports that a "political operative" working for Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry "has asked Dallas City Hall for numerous documents" concerning Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, a signal that the campaign for governor could include personal attacks. A Perry aide confirmed that the campaign was fishing for information about Hutchison's husband, prominent bond attorney Ray Hutchison. "We're interested, as most Texans would be, in how Senator Bailout's husband's bond business has benefited from her job in D.C.," said Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner, using a nickname the campaign has applied to the senator for supporting the federal government's initial financial-industry assistance plan. The Hutchison camp "said the request shows Perry intends to run a negative campaign."

According to the Sacramento Bee, there could be "a very sharp duel" for the House seat vacated by Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis "that will expose stress lines in the region's ethnic politics." The newspaper said Democratic state Sen. Gloria Romero, "whose district covers much of the same territory," has dropped out of the race, leaving state Sen. Gil Cedillo and Judy Chu, a former state legislator who now sits on the five-member Board of Equalization, which oversees tax collections, as serious candidates in the race. The district, which stretches from the eastern reaches of Los Angeles into the San Gabriel Valley, is two-thirds Latino and overwhelmingly Democratic.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that "Norm Coleman's luck improved a bit Thursday, as judges in the U.S. Senate recount trial ordered an inspection of about 1,500 rejected absentee ballot envelopes and changed their minds about letting a Coleman witness testify." The inspection could lead to counting more votes, something Coleman needs, "if local officials discover voter registration cards in the ballot secrecy envelopes of voters whose ballots were rejected for lack of registration," the newspaper reports. "But there's no assurance how the votes would divide between the candidates." Coleman trails Democrat Al Franken by 225 votes and hopes his election challenge will overcome that deficit.

---------------------------------

"Speechwriting: Preparing Speeches and Oral Presentations"

Get expert guidance on writing speeches and preparing oral presentations. This course shows you how to prepare for and draft an effective speech, focusing on organization, sequence, support and style. Attendees also get tips and guidance from a professional speechwriter.
WHERE: Goethe-Institut, 812 Seventh St., N.W., Washington, DC. WHEN: March 13, 2009, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Registration Fee: $495
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.
---------------------------------

Thursday, February 26, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Thursday, February 26, 2009 – 2:16 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Obama Will Tax Rich to Pay for Health Care Overhaul
  • Obama's Budget Would Pave Way for Expanding Health Coverage
  • President and Inner Circle Have Earmarks in Omnibus
  • House Vote Postponed on Bill To Help Avert Foreclosures
  • Commission Calls for 10-Cent Gasoline Tax Boost
  • Political Trivia for Thursday, February 26, 2009
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House postpones consideration of mortgage-related package that would, among other things, allow bankruptcy judges to modify loan terms; recesses for weekend.

The Senate votes on amendments and possibly final passage of a bill to expand House membership to 437, adding one seat each for the District of Columbia and Utah.

The President delivers remarks about the fiscal 2010 budget; has lunch with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. ; meets with the Congressional Black Caucus; meets with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and later with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; meets with members of the Chicago Bulls.

In Washington, he Partnership for a Secure America releases a report titled "U.S.-Russia: A Window of Opportunity," on a path to improving relations between the two nations, with former Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering and former national security adviser Robert McFarlane, 4 p.m., National Press Club, 529 14th St., N.W.

---------------------------------

Top Stories

Obama Will Tax Rich to Pay for Health Care Overhaul

President Obama has mapped out an ambitious plan for an expensive overhaul of the health care system which he will finance by hiking taxes on the affluent. [Read More]

Obama's Budget Would Pave Way for Expanding Health Coverage

President Obama's proposed budget would increase taxes on the wealthy and cut payments to some Medicare sectors to raise $634 billion over the next 10 years for a large expansion of health insurance coverage. [Read More]

President and Inner Circle Have Earmarks in Omnibus

President Obama, who took a no-earmark pledge on the campaign trail, is listed as one of dozens of cosponsors of a $7.7 million set-aside in the fiscal 2009 omnibus spending bill (HR 1105) passed by the House on Wednesday. [Read More]

House Vote Postponed on Bill To Help Avert Foreclosures

Lawmakers cited a number of reasons pulling the bill off the floor, including fierce lobbying against the measure by the financial services industry, fear of a public backlash and a lack of understanding of the issue by new members. [Read More]

Commission Calls for 10-Cent Gasoline Tax Boost

The federal gas tax has not been increased since 1993. The revenue shortfall from the stagnant tax forced Congress to dip into the general treasury last August to shore up the highway fund. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Thursday, February 26, 2009

Where did Democrats lose the past five gubernatorial races — but the GOP won just two in a row? [Read More]

---------------------------------

Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
NEW YORK CITY: In Experiment, Times Square to Be Pedestrian Mall
ATLANTA: Consultants: Finance Department Needs Rehab
MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz.: Sheriff's Immigrant Crackdown Called a Failure
BOSTON: Mayor under Scrutiny over House Repairs

---------------------------------

Political Clippings

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that testimony of an imporant witness for former Sen. Norm Coleman in Minnesota's Senate Election trial was stricken when "judges learned that Coleman's lawyers hadn't shared her written statement with Al Franken's legal team." Coleman had hoped that Pamela Howell, a Republican election judge in Minneapolis, would bolster his case that some votes were counted twice. Coleman's "campaign has been trying to get ballots added to the mix as he tries to erase Franken's 225-vote lead, and his lawyers say some ballots already counted resemble ones in the categories that the judges put off limits," the newspaper reports.

The Chicago Sun Times reports that "Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued a surprise opinion...that could pave the way for state lawmakers to cut Sen. Roland W. Burris ' term short by setting a special election." The attorney general's 11-page opinion came in response to inquiries from state lawmakers. Madigan said "the U.S. Constitution's 17th Amendment gives a 'preference' to the General Assembly to set a special election for the position even though Burris has been formally seated and sworn in by the U.S. Senate." Burris was appointed by impeached former Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich in late December.

---------------------------------

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Wednesday, February 25, 2009 – 2:15 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Hoping the Third Time's a Charm, Obama Names Locke to Commerce
  • Obama, Banking Panel Leaders To Confer on Regulatory Overhaul
  • Bernanke Rules Out Bank Nationalization
  • Reid Says Energy, Health Care Overhaul Are Top Priorities
  • Political Trivia for Wednesday, February 25, 2009
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House debates the fiscal 2009 omnibus appropriations package.

The Senate considers amendments to a bill that would expand House membership by two seats to 437, adding seats for the District of Columbia and Utah.

The President with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. , introduces former Washington Gov. Gary Locke, his nominee for Commerce secretary; meets with congressional Democratic leaders; meets with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and bipartisan leaders of the Senate Banking and House Financial Services committees; with Mrs. Obama, hosts a concert honoring Stevie Wonder, who will be awarded the 2nd annual Gershwin Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Library of Congress.

In Washington, the Council on Foreign Relations celebrates the 60th anniversary of NATO with a two-day symposium; Radoslaw Sikorski, foreign minister of Poland, delivers the opening address. 4:30 p.m., 1777 F St., N.W.

---------------------------------

Top Stories

Hoping the Third Time's a Charm, Obama Names Locke to Commerce

President Obama on Wednesday nominated Gary Locke, the former Democratic governor of Washington, for Commerce secretary, his third effort to fill the job after a pair of false starts. [Read More]

Obama, Banking Panel Leaders To Confer on Regulatory Overhaul

Obama Administration officials have floated the idea of having a solid outline for a financial system overhaul prepared by April 2 — the opening day of the G-20 summit. [Read More]

Bernanke Rules Out Bank Nationalization

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday the government could increase its stake in some of the nation's ailing banks, but he said it would stop short of taking a management interest or completely wiping out shareholders. [Read More]

Reid Says Energy, Health Care Overhaul Are Top Priorities

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., described a three-stage approach to energy legislation, starting with a renewable-energy standard and measures bill to be completed by April 3. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Which state has the longest current one-party winning streak in governor's races? [Read More]

---------------------------------

Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
HOUSTON: Mayor Ditches Plan to Pay Off Homebuyers' Debts
DETROIT: Council Rejects Deal to Expand Cobo Center
LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa.: County Official Agrees to Cooperate in Probe
ALASKA: Governor to Reimburse State for Kids' Trips

---------------------------------

Political Clippings

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will run for a full term in 2010. "I have no reason not to run," Quinn said. "I think I am doing a good job today. I anticipate I will continue to do that. Stabilizing the ship of Illinois is vitally necessary. I think even in the first three-and-a-half weeks we've done a decent job of turning a page in an unhappy chapter in the state's history." Quinn was sworn in Jan. 29 to replace Rod R. Blagojevich , who was removed from office by the state Senate after being convicted of corruption in an impeachment trial.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Sen. Jim Bunning , R-Ky., is threatening to sue the National Republican Senatorial Committee if it supports a primary opponent against him in 2010. "Support of incumbents is the only reason for (the NRSC's) existence," Bunning said. "So if they recruited someone and supported them in a primary against me, I would be able to sue them because they're not following their bylaws." NRSC Chairman John Cornyn , R-Texas, acknowledged that Kentucky Senate President David Williams had met with committee officials last week in what he called a "courtesy visit." "Just to clear up any potential confusion, the NRSC supports Sen. Bunning," Cornyn said.

---------------------------------

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Tuesday, February 24, 2009 – 2:15 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Economic Outlook Remains Uncertain, Bernanke Says
  • No Argument About Stimulus Dollars As These States Get the Shovels Out
  • Senate Finance to Take Up U.S. Trade Negotiator Nominee
  • Burris Returns to Pleasant Reception in Senate
  • Political Trivia for Tuesday, February 24, 2009
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House votes on a bill barring interstate shipment of pet monkeys and other primates.

The Senate proceeds to a bill that would expand House membership and grant the District of Columbia a voting representative; votes on the nomination of Rep. Hilda L. Solis, D-Calif., as Labor secretary.

The President meets with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso; meets with Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates; addresses a joint session of Congress.

In Washington, the Council on Foreign Relations hosts a conversation with T. Boone Pickens, who will discuss U.S. energy policy and his national energy campaign, which calls for increased use of domestic energy products such as wind and natural gas and decreased dependence on foreign oil, 6:30 p.m., Council on Foreign Relations, 1777 F St., N.W.

---------------------------------

Top Stories

Economic Outlook Remains Uncertain, Bernanke Says

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke told Congress this morning that the economy could begin to recover in the second half of this year, but he warned that outlook is "subject to considerable uncertainty." [Read More]

No Argument About Stimulus Dollars As These States Get the Shovels Out

Less than a week after President Obama signed the economic stimulus bill into law, some states are moving quickly to take advantage of transportation funding. [Read More]

Senate Finance to Take Up U.S. Trade Negotiator Nominee

President Obama's nominee for chief U.S. trade negotiator could get a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee next week, as free-traders anxiously await more news on the new administration's trade strategy amid a global recession. [Read More]

Burris Returns to Pleasant Reception in Senate

Senators Tuesday showed no hard feelings against Illinois Sen. Roland W. Burris during the first vote since turmoil erupted about his appointment. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Which state with a Democratic governor's seat up in 2010 was best for McCain? [Read More]

---------------------------------

Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
ARIZONA: Judge Allows State Layoffs to Proceed
NEW YORK STATE: Panel Seeks Brothers' Removal from Bench
THE NATION: FBI Director Fears Home-Grown Attacks on U.S. Cities
NEW YORK CITY: Transit Agency's Deficit Could Near $2 Billion

---------------------------------

Political Clippings

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Service Employees International Union is "pouring in cash" to back state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz in next week's Democratic primary to replace Democrat Rahm Emanuel in Illinois' 5th District. SEIU "is spending $250,000 on TV ads that begin airing Tuesday. That’s on top of $25,000 in phone calls for Feigenholtz," the paper reported. “She’s strong for health care, and that's the No. 1 issue for our members,' said Jerry Morrison, executive director of SEIU's state council." Emanuel left his House seat to become White House chief of staff.

The Lakeland Ledger reports that State Attorney Jerry Hill, a Republican, announced Monday that he will not run for the seat of Rep. Adam H. Putnam, R-Fla., who is retiring in 2010 to run for Florida commissioner of agriculture. Instead, Hill said he'd likely run again for his current post, which he first won in 1984. Former state Rep. Dennis Ross, a Republican, plans a campaign kickoff rally Thursday in downtown Lakeland. State Sen. Paula Dockery, another Lakeland Republican, said she won't decide whether to run until after the Legislature's session ends in May. Among Democrats, former state Sen. Rick Dantzler, of Winter Haven, "said he is studying the race. Retired Navy Master Chief Doug Tudor of Riverview, who lost to Putnam in November, is planning to run again, local supporters said."

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Kentucky State Senate President David Williams, a Republican, on Monday “wouldn’t rule out running for U.S. Senate next year, the latest hint of behind-the-scenes machinations among Republicans that underscore GOP Sen. Jim Bunning’s political fragility." Bunning "didn't help his own cause with remarks over the weekend about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's health," in which he suggested her bout with pancreatic cancer could lead to her death within a year. "Bunning issued an apology Monday." Bunning has raised little money for "what could be a race that demands $10 million or more per candidate," the paper noted.

---------------------------------

Monday, February 23, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Monday, February 23, 2009 – 2:12 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Democrats To Release Omnibus Spending Measure
  • Obama Wants to Cut Deficit in Half by the End of First Term
  • Pelosi Orders Classified Afghanistan Briefings for Members
  • Bipartisan Leaders Look For Quick End to Burris Inquiry
  • Political Trivia for Monday, February 23, 2009
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House convenes to vote on a number of non-controversial measures under suspension of the rules.

The Senate convenes for a reading of President Washington's farewell address. No roll call votes are expected.

The President with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. meets with Democratic and Republican governors; with Biden, Cabinet secretaries, senior administration officials and members of Congress at a "White House Fiscal Responsibility Summit."

In Washington, executives from the Alliance to Save Energy, American Public Power Association and Large Public Power Council will join to launch the Clean and Efficient Energy Program (CEEP), a three-year, nationwide initiative promoting investment in energy conservation by publicly-owned utilities. 3:15 p.m., Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Ave., N.W.

---------------------------------

Top Stories

House Democrats To Release Omnibus Spending Measure

The $410 billion bill would comprise the nine fiscal 2009 appropriations bills that stalled last year amid a standoff between congressional Democrats and the Bush administration. [Read More]

Obama Wants to Cut Deficit in Half by the End of First Term

President Obama opened a White House 'fiscal responsibility summit' Monday by promising to cut a projected $1.3 trillion deficit in half by the end of his first term in office. [Read More]

Pelosi Orders Classified Afghanistan Briefings for Members

The series of closed-door briefings for all members on the situation in Afghanistan and its neighbors come while the Obama administration is conducting a review of Afghan policy. [Read More]

Bipartisan Leaders Look For Quick End to Burris Inquiry

As Sen. Roland W. Burris prepares a return to Washington on Tuesday, leaders of both parties are looking for the Ethics Committee to put a quick end to its inquiry into his appointment. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Monday, February 23, 2009

Which state with a GOP governor's seat up in 2010 went strongest for Obama? [Read More]

---------------------------------

Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
MICHIGAN: A.G.: Governor's Coal-Power Ban Illegal
CALIFORNIA: 20 Percent Cut in Water Use Urged
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Jobs Chief Charged with Fraud, Barred from Offices
INDIANA: Cracked Windshield Diverts Governor's Plane

---------------------------------

Political Clippings

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that "a series of court rulings have dealt [former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman] long odds for overturning...[Democrat] Al Franken's 225-vote lead." The month-old Senate election trial has shown that "the three judges hearing the case have been only partly receptive to Coleman's bid to expand the field of ballots as he seeks more votes, and they brushed aside his claim of systemic problems with Minnesota elections."

The Kansas City Star reports that GOP Rep. Roy Blunt challenged his Democratic opponent for the seat of Republican Sen. Christopher S. Bond , who will retire in 2010, to debate her "on any topic, anywhere, anytime." Democrat Robin Carnahan, Missouri's secretary of state, recently said of Blunt, "He's been in leadership at a time when our country has gotten into a pretty big financial mess." That comment prompted the challenge from Blunt. Carnahan campaign spokesman Tony Wyche said it's too early to join the fray. "We are over a year and a half from an election," he said. "Everybody has other jobs to do for now."

The Columbus (OH) Dispatch reports that Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner does not plan to delegate some of her key duties as chief elections officer to the assistant secretary after announcing last week that she is running for the U.S. Senate next year. "Brunner said she doesn't see conflicts as a Senate candidate and secretary of state," the newspaper reports. Brunner is running to replace Republican Sen. George V. Voinovich , who plans to retire in 2010. Also running for the Senate seat is Democrat Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher and Rob Portman, a former Office of Management and Budget director under former President George W. Bush and GOP congressman from Cincinnati.

---------------------------------