Friday, March 20, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Friday, March 20, 2009 – 2:35 P.M.

In This Issue

  • CBO Projects Fiscal 2009 Deficit of $1.8 Trillion
  • Frank Urges Fannie and Freddie to Rescind Retention Bonus Program
  • Debate on Mortgage Bill Postponed; Compromise Elusive
  • China-Based Hackers Break Into Computers of Sen. Nelson of Florida
  • Political Trivia for Friday, March 20, 2009
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House is not in session. Reconvenes 12:30 p.m. Monday.

The Senate is not in session. Reconvenes at 2 p.m. Monday.

The President meets with California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Edward G. Rendell and New York City independent Mayor Michael Bloomberg to discuss transportation infrastructure; attends the National Newspaper Publishers Association reception. Leaving tonight for Camp David.

In Washington, Catholic University sponsors a lecture on discoveries from the 2005 Mars Reconnaissance orbiter and the 2007 Phoenix Mars Lander, with Ramon De Paula of NASA. 4 p.m. Herzfeld Auditorium, Hannan Hall, 620 Michigan Ave. N.E.

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

Top Stories

CBO Projects Fiscal 2009 Deficit of $1.8 Trillion

The federal deficit will rise to $1.8 trillion this fiscal year and $1.4 trillion in fiscal 2010 under President Obama's proposed budget, higher than the administration estimated, the Congressional Budget Office said in an analysis released Friday. [Read More]

Frank Urges Fannie and Freddie to Rescind Retention Bonus Program

House Financial Services panel Chairman Barney Frank , D-Mass., called Friday on the government conservator of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to cancel planned bonuses for its executives. [Read More]

Debate on Mortgage Bill Postponed; Compromise Elusive

Senate debate on legislation that would allow bankruptcy judges to modify mortgage terms for troubled homeowners will be postponed until after the spring recess, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Friday. [Read More]

China-Based Hackers Break Into Computers of Sen. Nelson of Florida

In three separate attacks, two in March and one in February, cyber hackers targeted the work stations of Florida Sen. Bill Nelson's foreign policy aide, his deputy legislative director, and "a former Nelson NASA adviser," Nelson's office said in a statement. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Friday, March 13, 2009

McCain topped 60 percent in how many districts won by House Democrats? [Read More]

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

Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
CALIFORNIA | Court Backs Governor's Furlough Power
THE SOUTHWEST | Border Violence to Bring Bolstered U.S. Forces
OAKLAND, Calif. | City Sues Banks, Brokers over Evictions
DETROIT | Struggling Schools to Probe Financial Wrongdoing

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

Political Clippings

A new poll out from Rasmussen Reports says "Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer leads two potential Republican challengers in an early look at California's 2010 race for the U.S. Senate." Boxer leads California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger 50 percent to 34 percent. She also leads former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina 47 percent to 38 percent.

The South Florida Times reports that State Sen. Frederica Wilson said she will seek the District 17 seat that Democratic Rep. Kendrick B. Meek is vacating to run for the U.S. Senate. "Wilson said in a prepared statement that she succeeded Meek in the Florida House of Representatives and then the Florida Senate, and now hopes to succeed him in Congress," the newspaper reports.

The Lynchburg News and Advance reports that former Virginia District 5 GOP Congressman Virgil Goode has filed a statement of candidacy form with the Federal Election Commission. Goode, who served five-terms, lost his seat last year to Democrat Tom Perriello. The move means Goode is keeping his options open for a run in the 2010 election. "It enables one to look at the situation and to raise money and spend money. But I haven't decided whether I'll run," Goode said.

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

"Writing Refresher: Critical Thinking and Writing: How to Compose Clear and Effective Reports, Letters, Email, and Memos"

Communication skills are the key to efficient and effective operations in business and government. New employees should brush-up on their basic written communication and plain English skills, while experienced professionals, burdened by the additional workload caused by downsizing and budget cuts, can also benefit from this refresher course.
WHERE: Goethe-Institut, 812 Seventh St., N.W., Washington, DC. WHEN: April 1, 2009, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Registration Fee: $295
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, March 19, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Thursday, March 19, 2009 – 1:50 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House GOP Leaders Oppose Bill to Tax AIG Bonuses
  • Bailout Recipients Owe Millions in Unpaid Taxes
  • Public Insurance Option is Thorniest Health Care Issue, Key Republican Says
  • Senate Passes Omnibus Lands Package a Second Time
  • Senate Panel Approves Locke Nomination for Commerce
  • Political Trivia for Thursday, March 19, 2009
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House considers legislation to tax 90 percent of bonuses received this year by executives at companies receiving federal bailout money.

The Senate passes an omnibus federal lands bill that combines more than 150 separate measures creating wilderness areas and providing other protections to public lands.

The President tours an electric vehicle plant in Pomona, Calif.; holds a town hall meeting in Los Angeles; and appears on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" in Burbank, Calif., before flying back to Washington.

In Washington, the Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards will honor five international women leaders: Somaly Mam of Cambodia, Temituokpe Esisi of Nigeria, Marceline Kongolog-Bici and Couchou Namegabe Nabintu of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sadiqa Basiri Saleem of Afghanistan. 8 p.m., Kennedy Center.

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

Top Stories

House GOP Leaders Oppose Bill to Tax AIG Bonuses

House Republican leaders are opposing legislation to slap a 90 percent tax on bonuses at companies receiving substantial federal bailout money, threatening the majority's attempt to respond to public outrage on the subject. [Read More]

Bailout Recipients Owe Millions in Unpaid Taxes

More than a dozen companies that received federal bailout funds owe some $220 million in unpaid taxes, a senior House lawmaker said Thursday. [Read More]

Public Insurance Option is Thorniest Health Care Issue, Key Republican Says

The top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee says the toughest single issue confronting lawmakers drafting a health care overhaul is whether to create a government-run insurance option to compete with private health insurers. [Read More]

Senate Passes Omnibus Lands Package a Second Time

Hoping the second time is the charm, the Senate passed an omnibus federal lands bill Thursday and set the stage for the House to clear it as early as next week. [Read More]

Senate Panel Approves Locke Nomination for Commerce

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Thursday approved former Washington Gov. Gary Locke's nomination as Commerce secretary, clearing the way for a confirmation vote that could occur later in the day. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Thursday, March 19, 2009

How many schools in the NCAA women's basketball tourney are in state capitals? [Read More]

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

Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NATION: Census Bureau: Fewer Fleeing Urban Centers
PHILADELPHIA: Mayor Wants Officials to Give Up Pension, Vehicles
CALIFORNIA: 24 Percent Rate Hike Urged for Workers' Comp
TEXAS: ACLU: Millions for Border Enforcement Misspent
NEW YORK STATE: A.G. Wins Court Fight over Brokerage's Bonuses

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

Political Clippings

TCPalm.com reports that "Dr. Marion Thorpe, Florida's former chief medical officer who ran unsuccessfully for Congressional District 23 . . . last year, has filed to run for U.S. Senate." Thorpe is the first African-American Republican in the country to announce his Senate candidacy. He is looking to replace GOP Sen. Mel. Martinez, who will vacate his seat in 2010.

From Taegan Goddard: Dodd Not Considering Retirement -- In an interview with the Hartford Courant, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., acknowledged he has been enmeshed in multiple controversies recently and that doesn't help his re-election bid.

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

Join CQ Politics' Live Online Discussion with Taegan Goddard

Does Obama practice a different kind of politics? Discuss how the Obama team keeps their opponents off balance and how the big players are adapting to the new game. Submit your questions and comments before and during the chat today at 2 p.m..
---------------------------------

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Wednesday, March 18, 2009 – 2:15 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Obama Says 'Buck Stops with Me' in Addressing AIG 'Mess'
  • Obama Banks $2.5 Million for Books
  • Rep. Tauscher in Line for Diplomatic Post
  • Senate Panel OKs Bill to Expand Volunteer Programs as House Debates Its Version
  • House Republicans Vow To Fight Tax Increases, Cap-and-Trade Plan
  • Political Trivia for Wednesday, March 18, 2009
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House considers legislation to expand existing national service programs and create a number of new ones.

The Senate votes on the nomination of Ron Kirk to be U.S. trade representative; votes on amendments and passage of an omnibus federal lands bill that combines more than 150 separate measures.

The President meets with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; flies to California, where he participates in a town hall meeting in Costa Mesa before heading to Los Angeles for the night.

In Washington, Catholic University hosts a discussion on the U.S. role in the Arab-Israeli peace process, with former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Charles Kurtzer. 4 p.m., Slowinski Courtroom, Law School, 3600 John McCormack Rd. N.E.

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

Top Stories

Obama Says 'Buck Stops with Me' in Addressing AIG 'Mess'

President Obama said no one in his administration created the AIG contracts or approved the bonuses that have generated such a furious public and political backlash. But he added, "Ultimately, I'm responsible. I'm the president of the United States ... The buck stops with me." [Read More]

Obama Banks $2.5 Million for Books

President Obama's moonlighting as an author is still paying him big dividends. He banked $2.5 million last year in royalties from two bestselling books he wrote in preparation for his presidential run. [Read More]

Rep. Tauscher in Line for Diplomatic Post

California Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher is President Obama's pick to serve as undersecretary of State for arms control and international security, according to House Democratic sources. [Read More]

Senate Panel OKs Bill to Expand Volunteer Programs as House Debates Its Version

Legislation that would greatly expand national service programs was approved Wednesday by a Senate panel, as the House began consideration of a companion bill. [Read More]

House Republicans Vow To Fight Tax Increases, Cap-and-Trade Plan

House Republicans, stepping up their attack on President Obama's proposed $3.6 trillion budget, offered six principles Wednesday that they say will guide them as they formulate an alternative to the president's ambitious plans. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How many schools in the NCAA men's basketball tourney are in capital cities? [Read More]

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

Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE SOUTHWEST: Lawmakers: U.S. Shares Blame for Border Violence
THE NATION: Your Driver's License May Be in the Mail
THE NATION: Former Colorado Governor Joins College Board
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY: Stadium Deal for Black-Owned Businesses Killed
ST. PAUL, Minn.: '70s Radical Returning to St. Paul

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

Political Clippings

The Montgomery Advertiser reports that Republican Jay Love may seek a rematch in 2010 against Rep. Bobby Bright, D-Ala., who narrowly defeated him last November in the 2nd District. Love, a state representative, "said he has not made any decisions" but has received "a lot of encouragement from people" in the district who want him to run again. "Love lost by fewer than 1,800 votes to Bright, the former Montgomery mayor. . . . Republicans are expected to fight hard and spend heavily to regain the 2nd District seat, which they had held for more than 40 straight years."

The Denver Post reports that Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter "has his first challenger for the 2010 gubernatorial race: Evergreen businessman Dan Maes." The Republican businessman, owner-operator of a credit reporting company, "said he plans to bring a focus on small businesses and fiscal responsibility to the race. . . . Aside from helping at a county treasurer's race and volunteering at the state assembly in the 1990s, Maes is a relative newcomer to politics. 'I looked around the landscape and saw a void and said, 'Someone has to step up and do this,' Maes said."

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

Join CQ Politics' Live Online Discussion with Taegan Goddard

Does Obama practice a different kind of politics? Discuss how the Obama team keeps their opponents off balance and how the big players are adapting to the new game. Submit your questions and comments before and during the chat on Thursday at 2 p.m..
---------------------------------

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Tuesday, March 17, 2009 – 2:08 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Lawmakers Eye Tax Code as Means to Recoup AIG Bonuses
  • AIG Debacle Sparks Fresh Look at Insurance Regulation
  • Obama Vows Budget Fight For His Priorities
  • Obama Makes First Appellate Court Nomination
  • Debate Heating Up on Government-Run Health Insurance Option
  • Political Trivia for Tuesday, March 17, 2009
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House considers minor bills and resolutions under suspension of the rules.

The Senate holds a procedural vote on House-passed legislation serving as the vehicle for an omnibus federal lands bill that combines more than 150 separate measures.

The President meets with House and Senate Budget Committee chairmen; attends a Shamrock Ceremoney with Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen; meets with Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness; speaks at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's St. Patrick’s Day Lunch; meets with Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and speaks this evening at a St. Patrick’s Day reception.

In Washington, the National League of Cities continues its 2009 Congressional City Conference. Washington Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Rd. N.W.

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

Top Stories

Lawmakers Eye Tax Code as Means to Recoup AIG Bonuses

A day after anger at American International Group Inc. appeared to boil over, members of Congress got down to work Tuesday exploring legislative avenues to recoup $165 million in bonus money handed out by the company. [Read More]

AIG Debacle Sparks Fresh Look at Insurance Regulation

The implosion of insurance giant American International Group, Inc. — and the political firestorm over the government's effort to prop up the company — may put a spotlight on long-debated efforts to overhaul regulation of the insurance industry. [Read More]

Obama Vows Budget Fight For His Priorities

President Obama vowed Tuesday not to scale back his health care, education or environmental initiatives during debate on the fiscal 2010 budget, despite the prospect of higher deficits and wariness in Congress. [Read More]

Obama Makes First Appellate Court Nomination

The president's pick of Indiana federal judge David F. Hamilton for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit was a clear signal that he hopes to establish a new bipartisan tone on appellate court nominations, which have roiled the Senate for years. [Read More]

Debate Heating Up on Government-Run Health Insurance Option

Democrats on Tuesday used the latest recommendations of a panel that studies Medicare's payment systems to make the case for the creation of a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers as part of a broad health care overhaul. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How many members of Congress had "Ireland" as their last name? [Read More]

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

Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
WAYNE COUNTY, Mich.: County Exec Calls for 20 Percent Spending Cut
BOSTON: Court Rules Against City on Police Overtime
CALIFORNIA: State Seeks to Regain Control of Prison Health Care
TEXAS: Federal Court Upholds Minute-of-Silence Law
MINNESOTA/CALIFORNIA: Minn. Governor: Keep '70s Radical in California

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

Political Clippings

The Chicago Tribune reports that a review by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's office found nothing improper in the hiring of Sen. Roland Burris' son by a state agency months ago. Questions about the hiring arose last month after the senator "admitted he attempted to raise funds for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and had more contact than previously admitted with Blagojevich's closest allies as he lobbied for the Senate appointment." Quinn's office said the younger Burris was hired in September as senior counsel for the Illinois Housing Development Authority "'in an appropriate manner' after responding to an online job posting, completing an application and interviewing with agency officials."

The Chattanoogan reports that Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., announced last night at a Knoxville fundraising event "that he has raised another $250,000 for his campaign for governor. . . . 'While we are taking nothing for granted, I am pleased to report we are way ahead of where we expected to be in fundraising so early in this campaign. And I am particularly humbled and gratified to have demonstrated so much early support right here in Knoxville.'" Wamp said.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that a University of Texas poll released Monday shows Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison leading GOP Gov. Rick Perry by 37 percent to 29 percent in a potential 2010 gubernatorial primary matchup. Survey respondents "also leaned most toward Attorney General Greg Abbott," a Republican, in any race to fill Hutchison's Senate seat, the paper reported.

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

Monday, March 16, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Monday, March 16, 2009 – 2:40 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Obama Seeks to Bolster Lending to Small Businesses
  • Judicial Nominations Coming Soon
  • Advocates Welcome Obama's Food Safety Proposals
  • For Blue Dogs, Health Budget Raises Questions of 'When,' Not Just 'How'
  • Business Group Says Multinational Corporations Are American at Heart
  • Political Trivia for Monday, March 16, 2009
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House considers federal building designation bills under suspension of the rules.

The Senate holds a procedural vote on a battlefields protection bill that could be a vehicle for an omnibus federal lands bill that combines more than 150 separate measures.

The President speaks at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In Washington, the American Ireland Fund holds its 17th National Gala to honor international leaders for their contributions for peace and reconciliation in Ireland. 6:30 p.m., National Building Museum, 441 G St. N.W.

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

Top Stories

Obama Seeks to Bolster Lending to Small Businesses

President Obama said the Treasury will purchase up to $15 billion in securities backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) in an effort to jumpstart small business lending. [Read More]

Judicial Nominations Coming Soon

The Senate Judiciary Committee's chairman expects President Obama's first batch of judicial nominations to arrive by early April. [Read More]

Advocates Welcome Obama's Food Safety Proposals

Congressional food safety advocates say they are optimistic that President Obama's endorsement of their cause over the weekend will breathe life into efforts that have remained stalled. [Read More]

For Blue Dogs, Health Budget Raises Questions of 'When,' Not Just 'How'

As congressional budget panels prepare to write their fiscal 2010 blueprint, members of the Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally conservative Democrats want to make sure any expansion of health care coverage is fully paid for with tax or spending offsets guaranteed to yield savings down the road. [Read More]

Business Group Says Multinational Corporations Are American at Heart

As leading congressional Democrats ramp up their assault on offshore tax avoidance, a top business association is defending the role of multinational corporations in the U.S. economy. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Monday, March 16, 2009

Which county in Ireland is designated President John F. Kennedy's ancestral home? [Read More]

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

Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NORTHEAST: Study: Region's Coast May See Higher Sea-Level Rise
TEXAS: Teacher Pension Shortfall Tops $40 Billion
WASHINGTON, D.C.: AIDS/HIV Cases Up 22 Percent Since 2006
BOSTON: City Seeing Plunge in Homicides
THE NATION: New Measure of Crashing Economy: Less Trash

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

Political Clippings

From Taegan Goddard: Former Rep. Rob Simmons, R-Conn., "buoyed by a poll showing that he is in a dead heat in a possible matchup against Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., announced Sunday that he would challenge the longtime Democratic senator in 2010," reports the Hartford Courant.

From Taegan Goddard: Fortune runs a profile of Republican Meg Whitman who says it's "conceivable" that she'll spend up to $50 million of her own money running for California governor.

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

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.
STEM CELLS: President Obama signed an executive order reversing the Bush administration’s restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.
HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL: Health care overhaul deadlines get clearer in the House, and Republicans start to make their voice heard on what they want from a bill.
GENERIC BIOTECH DRUGS: A bill from Henry Waxman would let generic drug makers get FDA approval for copies of complex and expensive biotech drugs.
OBAMA'S FDA NOMINATIONS: The president has made his picks to head the Food and Drug Administration, filling another hole in his cabinet.
---------------------------------