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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Thursday, March 05, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Thursday, March 05, 2009 – 2:25 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Obama Says Health Care Overhaul Must Be Enacted This Year
  • Democrats Weigh Filibuster-Proofing Obama's Agenda
  • Senate Panel Approves Bill to Help Fight Financial Fraud
  • Political Trivia for Thursday, March 05, 2009
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Today in Washington

The House votes on mortgage-related legislation that was pulled from the floor last week.

The Senate continues to consider amendments to the $410 billion fiscal 2009 omnibus appropriations bill.

The President hosts a White House Forum on Health Reform and delivers remarks there; meets with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner.

In Washington, the National Archives holds a program on exploring women's political leadership, moderated by Newsweek's Eleanor Clift. 7:30 p.m. William McGowan Theater, National Archives Bldg, Constitution Ave and 7th St., N.W.

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Top Stories

Obama Says Health Care Overhaul Must Be Enacted This Year

In opening remarks to a "Forum on Health Reform" that he hosted at the White House, President Obama said that his administration and Congress must overcome "special interests" that have prevented sweeping health care overhauls in the past. Many of those same special interests had representatives at the forum. [Read More]

Democrats Weigh Filibuster-Proofing Obama's Agenda

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said on Thursday that House and Senate Democratic leaders are discussing whether to use the filibuster-proof budget reconciliation process to move major elements of President Obama's agenda this year. [Read More]

Senate Panel Approves Bill to Help Fight Financial Fraud

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a bill to combat what authorities call a spike in fraud related to the economic crisis and the federal bailout of financial markets. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Thursday, March 05, 2009

Who was the first president to fly in a helicopter? [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NATION: State Workers Facing Wage and Benefits Cuts
WASHINGTON State: Some Hospitals Opting Out of Assisted-Death Law
STOCKTON, Calif.: Defendant Slain After Attacking Judge in Courtroom
SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y.: BPA Ban Believed to be Nation's First
DETROIT: Council Chief Threatens Suit over Cobo Center Veto

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Political Clippings

The Miami Herald reports that former GOP state House Speaker Marco Rubio, without any fanfare, registered as a Senate candidate one month ago, hired a prized fundraiser for former Gov. Jeb Bush, and conducted a national search for a campaign manager. "Rubio says he's only 'testing the waters' and named his campaign account the 'Marco Rubio Senate Exploratory Committee,' but in the eyes of the Federal Election Commission, he's a candidate," the newspaper reports. Rubio would look to replace retiring GOP Sen. Mel Martinez when he steps aside in 2010.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the attorney for Democrat Al Franken, who is locked in a close U.S. Senate election with former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman, will move to dismiss parts of the election recount trial that was initiated by Coleman in an attempt to overturn Franken's 225-vote lead. "The fact that we can find these isolated incidents here and there where a county election official made a mistake, in fact shows that in the vast majority of cases, out of 2.9 million ballots, how few mistakes there were," said Franken Attorney Marc Elias.

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

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 before and during the chat on Friday at 2 p.m..
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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Wednesday, March 04, 2009 – 2:00 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Democratic Senators' Opposition Could Stall Omnibus Spending Bill
  • Earmark Critics Propose New Version of Line-Item Veto
  • Senate Finance Chairman Questions Limits on Tax Deductions
  • Kennedy to be Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II
  • Brown Asks Congress to Help With 'Global New Deal'
  • Political Trivia for Wednesday, March 04, 2009
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Today in Washington

The House votes on several non-controversial resolutions under suspension of the rules.

The Senate continues to consider amendments to a fiscal 2009 omnibus appropriations bill.

The President speaks on reforming government contracting and procurement; receives daily briefings on economics, national security; with first lady, hosts dinner with congressional committee chairmen.

In Washington, World Bank Chief Economist Justin Lin speaks at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies on China's response to the global financial crisis. 5:15 p.m., Kenney Auditorium, 1740 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

Democratic Senators' Opposition Could Stall Omnibus Spending Bill

At least two Democratic senators said Wednesday they will vote against the $410 billion omnibus spending package, raising the possibility that others could join them and imperil quick passage of the bill. [Read More]

Earmark Critics Propose New Version of Line-Item Veto

Sens. Russ Feingold , D-Wis., and John McCain , R-Ariz., with Rep. Paul D. Ryan , R-Wis., said the legislation they planned to introduce Wednesday would allow the president to propose rescinding specific spending items in appropriations bills he has signed into law. [Read More]

Senate Finance Chairman Questions Limits on Tax Deductions

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus , D-Mont., on Wednesday questioned the "viability" of a cap on tax deductions for the wealthiest Americans proposed by President Obama to help pay for an overhaul of the health care system. [Read More]

Kennedy to be Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced Tuesday that Queen Elizabeth II would award Sen. Edward M. Kennedy an honorary knighthood. [Read More]

Brown Asks Congress to Help With 'Global New Deal'

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called Wednesday for the United States to play a lead role in forging a "global New Deal" to reverse the worldwide recession. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Who is the only Republican who succeeded a Republican governor of Oklahoma? [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NATION: States' Job Losses Show Breadth of Recession
PUERTO RICO: Puerto Rico May Lay Off 30,000 Employees
NEW JERSEY: Troopers Sue to Overturn Age-55 Retirement Mandate
The PHILADELPHIA Region: Transit Stimulus Projects to Create 5,590 Jobs
The DETROIT Region: Bargain-Hunters Spark Surge in Home Sales
THE NATION: Three Cities Tops in Energy-Efficient Buildings
CHATSWORTH, Calif.: Commuter-Train Engineer Let Teen Take Controls

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Political Clippings

The Tampa Tribune reports that "a competitive race with well-known candidates and possible primaries on both sides is developing for the U.S. House seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam." The 12th District has long been a GOP stronghold, but Democrats say they think they can win there. "They got some encouragement Tuesday when Lori Edwards..., the county elections supervisor, announced she'll run," the newspaper reports. Other names in play: Republican former state House member Dennis Ross; Democrat Doug Tudor, who ran against Putnam in 2008; and GOP State Sen. Paula Dockery, who will decide after the state legislative session ends May 1.

From Taegan Goddard: A new Fairleigh Dickinson poll in New Jersey shows leading GOP challenger Chris Christie, R, defeating Gov. Jon Corzine, D, 41% to 32%, in a likely fall gubernatorial match up. Key finding: Just 40% of voters approve of the job Corzine is doing while 46% disapprove -- a reversal from January when 46% approved and 40% disapproved.

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

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

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 before and during the chat on Friday at 2 p.m..
---------------------------------

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Tuesday, March 03, 2009 – 3:05 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate Rejects McCain Effort to Freeze Spending
  • Geithner Defends Administration's Tax Policies
  • Senate Banking Chairman Vows To Strengthen Consumer Protections
  • Baucus Wants Health Overhaul on Senate Floor by Summer
  • Johanns to Undergo Lung Surgery to Probe for Cancer
  • Political Trivia for Tuesday, March 03, 2009
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House votes on minor bills under suspension of the rules.

The Senate continues work on the fiscal 2009 omnibus appropriations bill.

The President delivers remarks at Department of Transportation on stimulus investments; meets with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown; speaks at Department of Interior to commemorate its 160th anniversary; meets with Boy Scouts in Oval Office to receive their 2008 report to the nation; meets with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

In Washington, the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues holds its annual gala; speakers include Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Mary Fallin, R-Okla.; EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. 6:30 p.m., Union Station, East Hall.

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Top Stories

Senate Rejects McCain Effort to Freeze Spending

The Senate on Tuesday turned down an amendment by Sen. John McCain that would have substituted a spending freeze for a $410 billion omnibus bill to fund most of the government this year. [Read More]

Geithner Defends Administration's Tax Policies

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner on Tuesday defended the Obama administration's proposals to limit tax deductions for the most affluent Americans and institute a costly cap-and-trade emissions system to combat global warming and fund some of the president's budget priorities. [Read More]

Senate Banking Chairman Vows To Strengthen Consumer Protections

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd said on Tuesday that a coming overhaul of the nation's financial regulations will include a new emphasis on consumer protection. [Read More]

Baucus Wants Health Overhaul on Senate Floor by Summer

One of the Senate's lead brokers of a health care overhaul Tuesday announced an ambitious goal to have a bill on the floor by June or July, even as he acknowledged the complexity of the legislative task before him. [Read More]

Johanns to Undergo Lung Surgery to Probe for Cancer

Freshman Republican Sen. Mike Johanns was to undergo surgery Tuesday at a Washington-area hospital to investigate a potentially cancerous spot on his left lung. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Tuesday, March 03, 2009

When did a Kansas governor last leave office early? [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
BOSTON: $200 Million Plan Aims to Halve Number of Homeless Families
The SAN FRANCISCO Bay Area: BART Sued for $50 Million over Subway Slaying LOS ALAMITOS, Calif.: Mayor Who Resigned over E-Mail Quits Council
THE NATION: Study: Prison Spending Far Outstrips Probation, Parole
THE EAST: Snow Brings Travel Chaos, Four Deaths

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Political Clippings

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that former Sen. Norm Coleman suggested to judges in his election trial that Minnesota's election system is so flawed that they may not be able to declare a winner. "Some courts have held that when the number of illegal votes exceeds the margin between the candidates -- and it cannot be determined for which candidate those illegal votes were cast -- the most appropriate remedy is to set aside the election," wrote Coleman's lawyer Jim Langdon.

The Chicago Tribune reports that "just days after Gov. Pat Quinn established a two-week time frame for U.S. Sen. Roland Burris to give up his seat or risk facing a special election that could remove him, the state's chief executive backed down Monday and said it was time to 'move on.'" Quinn changed his mind after meeting with agroup of African-American elected officials "amid warnings by black ministers and Chicago aldermen to politicians to stop criticizing Burris."

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

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

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 before and during the chat on Friday at 2 p.m..
---------------------------------

Monday, March 02, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Monday, March 02, 2009 – 2:50

In This Issue

  • Obama Nominates Sebelius to Health and Human Services
  • Snowstorm Causes Cancellation of House Votes
  • Political Trivia for Monday, March 02, 2009
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House will debate several suspension bills but will hold no votes as a result of the snowstorm.

The Senate continues work on the fiscal 2009 omnibus appropriations bill.

The President introduces the Health and Human Services secretary nominee, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius; meets with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

In Washington, the Center for Strategic and International Studies holds a conversation with Sunday talk show hosts Bob Schieffer, George Stephanopoulos, David Gregory and Chris Wallace. 5 p.m., CSIS B1 Conference Center, 1800 K St., N.W.

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Top Stories

Obama Nominates Sebelius to Health and Human Services

President Obama's cabinet, and his team to push health care reform, took one step closer to completion on Monday when he officially nominated Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of Health and Human Services. [Read More]

Snowstorm Causes Cancellation of House Votes

The first votes of the week will be on Tuesday after 3 p.m., House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Monday, March 02, 2009

How many presidents were born in the month of March? [Read More]

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

Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
TEXAS: Toll Roads May Get $700 Million from Stimulus
CALIFORNIA: Governor Declares Statewide Drought Emergency
DETROIT: City Unions Balking at 10 Percent Pay Cut
MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz.: Thousands Protest Sheriff’s Immigrant Crackdown
LOS ALAMITOS, Calif.: Mayor Resigning over Watermelon Cartoon

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Political Clippings

The Chicago Tribune reports that Sen. Richard J. "Durbin, who advised Sen. Roland Burris last week to step down from the Senate, acknowledged...that racial considerations were at play in the decision by majority Democrats to seat Burris." Durbin said on WGN-AM 720, "My colleague from Illinois, Congressman Bobby Rush, made strong statements along those lines. They were painful and hurtful, and it became part of this calculation." A number of lawmakers have called on Burris to resign after it was learned of his attempts to raise money for Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich while lobbying the governor's inner circle for the Senate seat vacated by President Obama.

The Kansas Liberty reports that state Sen. "Dick Kelsey, a conservative Republican, has become the first to declare his candidacy in what could be a crowded Republican field vying to replace U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt as Kansas' Fourth District Representative in the U.S. Congress." Tiahrt will not seek re-election to his House seat. He will attempt to win the seat of Sen. Sam Brownback, who will not seek reelection in 2010.

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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.

• BUDGET: Obama budget plan includes "fund" to health finance health care reform.
• OMNIBUS: House passes omnibus spending package that includes fiscal 2009 funding for Department of Health and Human Services.
• HEALTH CARE REFORM: Obama and key lawmakers say health care reform must pass this year.
Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links
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CQ Today | Monitor tax policy changes and other critical congressional action

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Dear Colleague,

After nearly a decade of federal tax policy focused on cutting marginal tax rates, expanding tax incentives and reducing the business community's tax burden, the Obama administration is taking a dramatically different course.

The fiscal 2010 budget, outlined Thursday, would increase taxes on upper-income Americans and some business activities to fund health care, energy projects and deficit-reduction.

Turn to CQ Today and CQ Schedules for timely, ongoing coverage of tax policy, other hot-button legislative issues and the political events that matter to you.

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