Friday, March 27, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Friday, March 27, 2009 – 1:55 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Obama Releases Multi-Faceted Afghanistan Plan
  • Senate Democrats Are Poised for Gains in 2010, Reid Says
  • Survey Shows Democratic Newcomer Up in New York House Race
  • Political Trivia for Friday, March 27, 2009
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session.

The Senate is not in session.

The President unveils a new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan; delivers remarks at Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.'s installation; meets with a group of bank executives; departs the White House for Camp David.

In Washington, the Foundation for Middle East Peace holds a discussion with Yaniv Rashef, formerly of an Israeli Army sabotage unit, and Palestinian Bassam Aramin, who served 7 years in jail for attacking Israeli soldiers. 7:30 p.m., St. Columba's Episcopal Church, 4201 Albemarle St. N.W.

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Top Stories

Obama Releases Multi-Faceted Afghanistan Plan

President Obama announced that he will deploy 4,000 troops this spring to train Afghan security forces. Lawmakers had suggested Thursday that expectations for success might soon be more modest than they were during the previous administration. [Read More]

Senate Democrats Are Poised for Gains in 2010, Reid Says

Majority Leader Harry Reid expressed confidence Friday that Senate Democrats will continue to increase their majority in 2010, despite historical indicators that suggest they might lose some seats. [Read More]

Survey Shows Democratic Newcomer Up in New York House Race

Democrat Scott Murphy appears to have taken the lead with five days to go in special election for New York's 20th District seat, according to the latest independent poll. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Friday, March 27, 2009

Of the five current Arizona House Democrats, how many represent districts John McCain won for president? [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
PENNSYLVANIA | Court: Corrupt Judge's 1,200 Sentences Can Be Overturned
CALIFORNIA | Court Voids Key Part of Victims' Rights Measure
MASSACHUSETTS | Stimulus Funds to Shore Up Health Services
FARGO, N.D./MOORHEAD, Minn. | Residents Flee Floodwaters as River Rises

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Political Clippings

A new Wilson Research Strategies poll in Missouri finds Democrat Robin Carnahan leading both of her potential Republican opponents in the 2010 U.S. Senate race.

According to a new Siena Research poll, as the NY-20 special election enters the final weekend, Democrat Scott Murphy has reversed a four-point deficit and turned it into a four-point lead over Republican Jim Tedisco.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is using Google Ad Words to respond to an unfavorable New York Times story this morning on her history of defending tobacco companies as a young lawyer.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Thursday, March 26, 2009 – 2:05 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Geithner Calls for Tighter Oversight of Financial Industry
  • Leaders Suggest Slow Track for Bailout Bonus Measures
  • Senate Finance Chairman Pushing To Extend Most Bush Tax Cuts
  • House Passes Bill To Bolster Wildfire Suppression Efforts
  • White House Gives Congress a Preview of Afghanistan Analysis
  • Political Trivia for Thursday, March 26, 2009
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Today in Washington

The House passes legislation to establish a fund to pay for emergency wildfire suppression.

The Senate continues consideration of a bill to expand national service programs.

The President holds an "Open for Questions" town hall meeting at the White House, answering economic questions submitted and voted on by the public; meets with bipartisan congressional leaders on his policy review of the war in Afghanistan.

In Washington, In celebration of its 75th anniversary, the National Archives hosts an all-day conference titled "Digitizing for Preservation and Access: Past is Prologue," capped by a reception, 5:30-7 p.m., in the McGowan Theater Lobby of the National Archives Building, 700 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

Geithner Calls for Tighter Oversight of Financial Industry

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner today laid out the administration's blueprint for overhauling the financial system, calling for significantly tighter government oversight of large financial firms. [Read More]

Leaders Suggest Slow Track for Bailout Bonus Measures

The House Financial Services Committee approved a measure that would bar any recipient of bailout funds from paying any compensation that is "unreasonable or excessive," as defined by standards that would be set by federal banking regulators. [Read More]

Senate Finance Chairman Pushing To Extend Most Bush Tax Cuts

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus said he will introduce a bill Thursday that would extend most of the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003. If Congress does nothing, all of the lower tax rates would expire at the end of 2010, returning the rates to levels in place at the end of the Clinton administration. [Read More]

House Passes Bill To Bolster Wildfire Suppression Efforts

The bill would set up a special account to fight wildfires and would be known as the "Flame Fund," named after the bill's full title: the Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement Act. [Read More]

White House Gives Congress a Preview of Afghanistan Analysis

An administration review of Afghanistan policy is a follow-up to the president's assertion that the country should be the focus of American anti-terrorism efforts. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Thursday, March 26, 2009

Of districts held by House Democratic freshmen, where did John McCain get his largest vote share? [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
ARIZONA | State Supreme Court: School Vouchers Unconstitutional
VIRGINIA | State Moves to Launch Intercity Trains
NEW YORK CITY | Transit Agency OKs Sharp Fare Hikes, Service Cuts
CHICAGO | City Fixing Broken Parking Meters, Billing Vendor

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Political Clippings

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports, "Minnesota's U.S. Senate race set a record Wednesday for delay. No election for statewide office in Minnesota has dragged on so long after the autumn vote without a winner being seated. The old record was set by the 1962 governor's election between (Democrat) Karl Rolvaag and incumbent Republican Elmer L. Andersen."

The Detroit News reports that Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., "strongly hinted" that he will announce his candidacy for Michigan governor on Monday. Hoekstra, who declined to seek re-election in 2010, had been expected to seek the post being vacated by Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Hoekstra said the question is, "in a blue state, how do you put together a coalition that can win? I think it's very, very doable." A Marketing Resource Group of Lansing poll earlier this month "had Hoekstra running second in a GOP primary at 17 percent behind Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson (22 percent) and ahead of Attorney General Mike Cox (15 percent) and Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (12 percent)."

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Wednesday, March 25, 2009 – 2:11 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Panel Wants Fast-Track Approach for Obama Priorities
  • Obama Sets Up Task Force to Prepare for 2010 Tax Code Overhaul
  • Bill Would Require Some Paid Leave for Federal Workers
  • House Panel Approves Bill to Aid Disposal of Unwanted Electronics
  • Kerry, Lugar Push for Confirmation of Iraq Ambassador
  • Political Trivia for Wednesday, March 25, 2009
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Today in Washington

The House is expected to clear an omnibus lands package for the president's signature; also is set to pass a bill expanding the authority of the special inspector general who oversees the federal financial bailout program.

The Senate is set to pass a bill to expand national volunteer service programs.

The President meets with the NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer; meets with the Senate Democratic Caucus about his budget priorities; with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., hosts an event to commemorate Greek Independence Day; delivers remarks at Democratic fundraisers tonight at the National Women in the Arts Museum and at the Warner Theater.

In Washington, the Alzheimer's Association hosts the Sixth Annual National Alzheimer's Gala, co-chaired by George Vradenburg, president of the Vradenburg Foundation; Trish Vradenburg, playwright, journalist and author; and Thomas C. Nelson, chief operating officer of AARP. 7:30 p.m., National Building Museum, 401 F St. N.W.

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Top Stories

House Panel Wants Fast-Track Approach for Obama Priorities

The House is taking a more aggressive approach than the Senate to implementing President Obama's proposals for overhauling the health care system and federal student aid programs. [Read More]

Obama Sets Up Task Force to Prepare for 2010 Tax Code Overhaul

The group will be an offshoot of the president's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, which is led by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and staffed by Austan Goolsbee, a University of Chicago economist who advised Obama's campaign. [Read More]

Bill Would Require Some Paid Leave for Federal Workers

Legislation approved today would guarantee that federal workers receive their regular salary for four of the 12 weeks of leave they are entitled to under the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to tend to the birth or adoption of a child. [Read More]

House Panel Approves Bill to Aid Disposal of Unwanted Electronics

The bill, approved by the Science and Technology Committee, would fund research intended to reduce electronic waste and mitigate its impact on the environment. [Read More]

Kerry, Lugar Push for Confirmation of Iraq Ambassador

Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee strongly warned their colleagues Wednesday against delaying the nomination of Christopher Hill to be ambassador to Iraq. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Four of McCain's strongest House district showings were in which state? [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. | 78-Month Prison Sentence Sought for Ex-Sheriff
MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. | County's Homeless Population Surges
CALIFORNIA | Judge: Prison Health-Care Czar Stays
NEW YORK STATE | I.G.: Civil Service Exams Were Rigged

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Political Clippings

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Sen. Jim Bunning criticized fellow Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for trying to stock his own campaign war chest in the midst of Bunning's fundraising efforts for a 2010 race. "My senior senator also sent out his first mailing for 2014. Just as I refrained from doing it for two years, he sent out his, so you know where he stands," Bunning told reporters Tuesday during a telephone news conference, according to the Herald-Leader. "For the past few months, Bunning has had increasingly testy exchanges with members of the Republican leadership and the news media as both questioned whether the senator can mount a strong bid for a third term," the newspaper reports. "As a key campaign finance reporting period draws closer, the tension has grown palpable."

A new Quinnipiac poll shows Republican former Rep. Pat Toomey crushing Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Arlen Specter in a Republican primary, 41% to 27% with 28% still undecided.

Sam Stein reports President Obama "is flexing his electoral muscle" urging supporters to organize and vote for Democrat Scott Murphy in next Tuesday's special election in New York's 20th District.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Tuesday, March 24, 2009 – 2:05 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Administration Seeks Regulatory Power To Avert Systemic Risk
  • Hoyer Signals AIG Tax Bill May Have Achieved Its Purpose
  • GOP Budget Leaders Will Seek to Limit Growth of Spending
  • White House Initiates Plan to Disrupt Mexican Drug Trade
  • Mexican Truck Program Should Be Back Soon, LaHood Says
  • Political Trivia for Tuesday, March 24, 2009
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House considers a trio of homeland security bills aimed at expanding biometric identification programs at sea, tracking nuclear materials to their source, and installing privacy officers at certain agencies.

The Senate continues procedural consideration of a bill to expand existing national volunteer service programs and create additional ones.

The President telephones NASA astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery; meets with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd; receives daily economic briefing; lunches with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.; meets with senior advisers; holds a televised 8 p.m. news conference.

In Washington, the American Enterprise Institute sponsors a discussion, "An Army of Great Teachers?" exploring how to recruit and retain "superstar" teachers; panelists: Norman Atkins, Teacher U at Hunter College; Kaya Henderson, District of Columbia Public Schools; Katherine K. Merseth, Harvard University; Steven F. Wilson, Ascend Learning Inc.; and (moderator) Frederick M. Hess, AEI. 3:30-5 p.m., AEI's Wohlstetter Conference Center, 1150 17th St. N.W.

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Top Stories

Administration Seeks Regulatory Power To Avert Systemic Risk

The administration proposal would allow the Treasury Department to provide financial assistance to make loans to an institution, purchase its obligations or assets, assume or guarantee its liabilities and purchase an equity interest, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said. [Read More]

Hoyer Signals AIG Tax Bill May Have Achieved Its Purpose

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Tuesday that a House-passed bill that would slap a 90 percent tax on bonuses paid to executives and others at companies receiving federal bailout aid seems to already have had much of its desired impact. [Read More]

GOP Budget Leaders Will Seek to Limit Growth of Spending

House and Senate Republicans stepped up their attacks on President Obama's proposed $3.6 trillion budget Tuesday, and said they would offer amendments designed to limit the growth of federal spending. [Read More]

White House Initiates Plan to Disrupt Mexican Drug Trade

Two White House entities — the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council — will coordinate the initiative, which also will involve the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, State and Treasury. [Read More]

Mexican Truck Program Should Be Back Soon, LaHood Says

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met Tuesday with lawmakers to discuss quickly reinstating a program that allows Mexican trucks access to U.S. highways. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What was Barack Obama's highest vote share in one congressional district? [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
MASSACHUSETTS | Treasurer Faces Ethics Probe over Lottery Contract
THE GREAT LAKES REGION | Scientists: Lakes' Ice Cover Has Declined 20%
THE NATION | Some States, Industries Seeing Job Gains
CHICAGO | Former City Official Found Guilty in Hiring Scheme

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Political Clippings

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman, "burning through cash to pay their platoons of high-priced legal talent," have persuaded the Federal Election Commission "to clear the way for national party organizations to pay some of the millions of dollars in expenses for lawyers and other workers during the recount and trial." The two candidates are awaiting a Minnesota court ruling on who won last November's hotly contested Senate race, with an appeal likely to the state's Supreme Court. "The decision, called an advisory opinion, gives them another chance to tap their most affluent and passionate supporters even if they already gave maximum contributions during the election year."

The Dallas Morning News reports that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, "said Monday that Gov. Rick Perry is making a mistake turning down hundreds of millions of dollars in federal unemployment money." Hutchison, who is expected to challenge Perry in the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary,warned that "Perry's rejection of federal money will mean a tax increase on employers to replenish the state's unemployment fund." The governor "defended his action and suggested the senator, a fellow Republican, stay out of state business."

A new Quinnipiac poll shows New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's approval rating is 64% to 28% — still very high but his lowest score in his second term.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Monday, March 23, 2009 – 1:57 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Treasury's New Plan for Toxic Assets Relies on Private Investors
  • Was Hillary Movie a Campaign Attack? High Court to Decide
  • Burris Seeks Permission to Establish Legal Defense Fund
  • Political Trivia for Monday, March 23, 2009
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Today in Washington

The House considers a number of measures under suspension of the rules.

The Senate considers a bill to expand and create national volunteer service programs.

The President delivers remarks about investments in clean energy and new technology included in the budget.

In Washington, the School of Advanced International Studies holds a discussion with Czech Republic Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra on transatlantic relations before the U.S.-European Union Summit in Prague. 4:45 p.m., Kenney Auditorium, 1740 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.

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Top Stories

Treasury's New Plan for Toxic Assets Relies on Private Investors

The Treasury Department's plan will use up to $100 billion of the federal bailout fund as seed money to entice private investors to buy bad mortgage loans. Initially slated to pull $500 billion in funds to purchase the assets, Treasury has said the program could reach $1 trillion over time. [Read More]

Was Hillary Movie a Campaign Attack? High Court to Decide

The Supreme Court is poised to define how — and whether — nonprofits can spread their messages before elections. [Read More]

Burris Seeks Permission to Establish Legal Defense Fund

Democratic Sen. Roland W. Burris has asked the Senate Ethics Committee to let him raise money to help deal with the cost of inquiries about his appointment by former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Monday, March 23, 2009

McCain in 2008 swept two or more House districts in how many states? [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
ANCHORAGE, Alaska | Long-Threatening Volcano Begins Erupting
BUTTE, Mont. | 16 Killed as Plane Crashes in Cemetery
CHICAGO | Judge: City Hiring to Stay Under Court Oversight
DENVER | Police Union OKs Pay Givebacks

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Political Clippings

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports that Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D., is weighing her political future and appears to be leaning toward seeking re-election. She told the daily she wants to spend the next few months discussing with supporters "about the pros and cons of seeking another office and how I could represent South Dakota in my current capacity versus a different capacity." Aside from seeking re-election, Herseth Sandlin said she was considering challenging GOP Sen. John Thune or running for governor, but said "I don't want to disregard what the five years I have under my belt could mean for South Dakota" in the House.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Republican Norm Coleman's lead attorney expects his client will eventually reclaim his Senate seat after the state Supreme Court hears his challenge to last year's election results that left Democrat Al Franken in the lead. Joe Friedberg told radio station KFAN that the three judges hearing the current trial probably will rule that Franken received more votes than Coleman. But he said the Coleman case was built on a constitutional argument that's better-suited for the likes of the Minnesota Supreme Court. "When the constitutional issues are litigated, I really do believe we're going to win," he told the Star Tribune.

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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.
HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL UPDATE: The health care overhaul process continues, while debate intensifies over whether or not to include a government-run "public option."
FDA REGULATION OF TOBACCO: A bill to give the FDA regulatory authority over tobacco products is headed to the floor, perhaps soon.
GENERIC BIOTECH DRUGS: Another groups of lawmakers have introduced a competing biotech drugs bill.
Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links
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