Friday, April 03, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Friday, April 03, 2009 – 2:25 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Gates Prepares 'Fundamental Shift' in Defense Funding Priorities
  • Lawmakers Slow to Comply With New Filing Requirement
  • Political Trivia for Friday, April 03, 2009
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session.

The Senate is not in session.

The President visits Strasbourg, France, where he meets with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and holds a town hall meeting with students and local residents; visits Baden-Baden, Germany where he will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and attend both a NATO concert and NATO leaders working dinner; returns to Strasbourg.

In Washington, The National Conference of State Societies holds the annual Cherry Blossom Ball. 6 p.m., Grand Hyatt, 1000 H St. N.W.

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Top Stories

Gates Prepares 'Fundamental Shift' in Defense Funding Priorities

Specific details of the budget are not expected until the first week of May, but Gates will make the unusual move of announcing several major program decisions weeks ahead of the budget release, according to the spokesman. [Read More]

Lawmakers Slow to Comply With New Filing Requirement

Scores of lawmakers missed a deadline to start disclosing their ties to political action committees as required by law. Some of them were sponsors of the law that imposed the new requirement. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Friday, April 03, 2009

Of the 49 Democrats from McCain-voting districts, who represents the most pro-McCain district? [Read More]

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Join CQ Politics' Live Online Discussion with Andy Kohut

Andrew Kohut, one of the most-listened to pollsters, who heads the Pew Research Center, leads a live online discussion about the mood of Americans during a time of economic stress and a new administration that is trying to cope with it. Kohut will discuss the political implications of Americans' reaction to the financial crisis as well as their reaction to Obama and his policies. Join the chat now on CQ Politics.

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Political Clippings

McClatchy reports that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and state GOP Chairman Randy Ruedrich are calling on Democratic Sen. Mark Begich to resign so Palin can call a special election. "Alaskans deserve to have a fair election not tainted by some announcement that one of the candidates was convicted fairly of seven felonies, when in fact it wasn’t a fair conviction," Palin said, referring to former GOP Sen. Ted Stevens. The Justice Department said Wednesday it would seek to have Stevens' conviction for making false statements on his Senate financial disclosure forms set aside. Begich, who narrowly defeated Stevens in November, refused to resign.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that former college basketball coach Bobby Knight is publicly backing Republican Roger Williams in the race for the Senate seat being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas. Knight, who became the winningest basketball coach in Division I history after a controversial career, said Williams is "not a politician. He's a businessman and a problem-solver, and he will put Texas ahead by putting Texas children first" in an e-mail to supporters. Williams, a car dealer and former Texas secretary of state, is one of several candidates considering a run for Hutchison's seat.

The Greenville News in South Carolina reports that a fourth GOP challenger has emerged to Rep. Bob Inglis, R-S.C., and Samuel Harms, chairman of the Greenville County Republican Party, said he expects more challengers to surface. The latest is 30-year-old businessman Andrew Smart, who called for a "new generation of conservative leadership" during appearances Thursday.

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Thursday, April 02, 2009 – 2:18 P.M

In This Issue

  • Senate Starts 'Vote-a-Rama' as Budget Debate Nears End
  • McCain Resumes His Maverick Ways
  • House Passes Measure to Let FDA Regulate Tobacco
  • Pelosi Promises Caution on Climate Change Legislation
  • Boehner on Auto-Warranty Plan: 'Enough Is Enough'
  • Political Trivia for Thursday, April 02, 2009
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Today in Washington

The House completes action on the fiscal 2010 budget resolution and legislation to allow the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco.

The Senate votes on amendments to the fiscal 2010 budget resolution.

The President attends sessions of the G-20 economic summit in London; meets separately with leaders of South Korea, Saudi Arabia and India; holds a news conference.

In Washington, Harvard University professor Edward O. Wilson gives the annual Sackler Public Lecture, "Evolution and the Future of the Earth," part of a two-day colloquium on evolutionary biology sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. 6 p.m., National Academy of Sciences building, 2100 C St. N.W.

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Top Stories

Senate Starts 'Vote-a-Rama' as Budget Debate Nears End

The vote-a-rama is unique to the budget resolution, and includes 50 hours of debate. Amendments can be offered after that time expires, as part of an effort to ensure the minority party has a fighting chance to influence the final resolution. [Read More]

McCain Resumes His Maverick Ways

On Thursday Sen. John McCain broke with his party's strategy on the fiscal 2010 budget resolution and offered a full substitute proposal. [Read More]

House Passes Measure to Let FDA Regulate Tobacco

Supporters say the measure faces its best chance of becoming law since a massive effort to regulate tobacco and codify a landmark settlement with the tobacco industry collapsed in the Senate a decade ago. [Read More]

Pelosi Promises Caution on Climate Change Legislation

Faced with a GOP assault on proposed climate change legislation and restiveness within her own ranks, Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged Thursday that any measure the House passes this year won't overly burden utility ratepayers or businesses. [Read More]

Boehner on Auto-Warranty Plan: 'Enough Is Enough'

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner blasted the idea Thursday of providing federal guarantees for vehicle warranties issued by General Motors Corp. or Chrysler LLC. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Thursday, April 02, 2009

How many states were admitted to the Union in the month of April? [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
ARIZONA | Revenue Losses Projected from Tax-Collector Layoffs
THE NATION | Biggest Winner in Stimulus Jobs: California
FLORIDA | Governor Seeks Scaled-Back Everglades Land Deal
DETROIT | $306 Million Deficit May Close 50 Schools

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Political Clippings

A new Quinnipiac poll shows Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., now trailing former Rep. Rob Simmons, R-Conn., 50 percent to 34 percent, in the 2010 Senate race. The key finding is that voters disapprove, 58 percent to 33 percent, of the job the Democratic incumbent is doing, his lowest approval rating ever.

According to Manchester Union Leader columnist John DiStaso, "it looks more and more" probable that Republican Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta will run for New Hampshire's 1st District seat in the House in 2010. "Guinta remains undecided on his political future," according to DiStaso, but last week he "made his second trip to Washington to meet with top officials of the National Republican Congressional Committee." Democrat Carol Shea-Porter now holds the seat after defeating Republican Jeb Bradley in 2006 and winning the rematch in 2008.

The Times of Munster, Ind., reports that "Republican Dan Dumezich said Wednesday he has yet to decide whether to launch a 2010 challenge of U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind." Republican leaders have said Bayh is not a priority target for the GOP in 2010, but Dumezich says he is keeping his mind open. "I think, though, that if they see a quality candidate running against him, obviously things could change," Dumezich told the newspaper. Dumezich, a tax attorney and former state legislator still active in Republican fundraising, began publicly weighing a Senate run in December. He said he will make a decision in the next few months, according to the Times.

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Join CQ Politics' Live Online Discussion with Andy Kohut

Andrew Kohut, one of the most-listened to pollsters, who heads the Pew Research Center, leads a live online discussion about the mood of Americans during a time of economic stress and a new administration that is trying to cope with it. Kohut will discuss the political implications of Americans' reaction to the financial crisis as well as their reaction to Obama and his policies. Submit your questions and comments before and during the chat on Friday at 2 p.m.
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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Wednesday, April 01, 2009 – 2:14 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Case Against Former Sen. Stevens Set To Be Dropped
  • Senators Relieved to See Stevens Case Dismissed
  • Senate Budget Debate Turns to Issue of Health Care Cost-Effectiveness
  • House Republicans Seek Discretionary Spending Freeze
  • Political Trivia for Wednesday, April 01, 2009
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Today in Washington

The House considers legislation to restrict executive compensation at firms receiving federal bailout money; debates rule for consideration of the fiscal 2010 budget resolution, and considers legislation to allow the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco.

The Senate continues debate and votes on amendments to the fiscal 2010 budget resolution.

The President is in London for the G-20 economic summit; meets separately with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown; President Hu Jintao of China; Russian President Dmitry Medvedev; David Cameron, leader of Britain's Conservative Party; Queen Elizabeth II. With Mrs. Obama, attends a G-20 leaders reception at Buckingham Palace; attends a G-20 working dinner.

In Washington, filmmaker Ken Burns will give a sneak preview of his forthcoming PBS documentary, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," at the National Parks Conservation Association annual Salute to the Parks dinner, which will also honor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for his work on behalf of the national parks. 6:30 p.m., Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, 1301 Constitution Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

Case Against Former Sen. Stevens Set To Be Dropped

The Justice Department has asked a judge to drop corruption charges against former Sen. Ted Stevens, saying prosecutors withheld evidence from the trial that led to his conviction. [Read More]

Senators Relieved to See Stevens Case Dismissed

Senators who served with Alaska Republican Ted Stevens, as well as the man who beat him last November, voiced relief at the Justice Department's decision to throw out the case against him. [Read More]

Senate Budget Debate Turns to Issue of Health Care Cost-Effectiveness

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl , R-Ariz., charged that the Obama administration plans to include cost analyses in comparative effectiveness research to assess the relative usefulness of various options such as drugs versus surgery for the treatment of specific diseases or conditions. [Read More]

House Republicans Seek Discretionary Spending Freeze

House Republicans unveiled Wednesday an alternative fiscal 2010 budget plan they said would freeze non-defense, non-veterans discretionary spending for five years, hold down the national debt and create more jobs than Democratic proposals. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Wednesday, April 01, 2009

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

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA | Crime Drop Defies Experts' Predictions
SAN FRANCISCO | $750 Million Deficit Seen for 2011
HAWAII | Supreme Court Rejects Native Land Claim
PENNSYLVANIA | Retired Business Exec to Be State's Stimulus Czar

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Political Clippings

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., said his fundraising for his 2010 re-election campaign has been generally "lousy" so far, but he has seen improvements lately. "If at first you don't succeed, you try, try, try again. We're working hard at it. Surprisingly we've had pretty good success the last month," he said, according to the newspaper. Bunning could face a tough GOP primary: State Senate President David Williams is considering a run against Bunning, and Republicans, including Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, say they are interested, but only if Bunning decides not to run. Bunning has some high-profile fundraisers this month, including one at his Kentucky home on April 4 with former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda — and another April 16 at the home of Bill Samuels, the president of Maker's Mark Distillery, with Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.

According to The Hutchison News, the wide-open 2010 race for the 1st District House seat in Kansas has attracted another candidate: Tracey Mann, a 32-year-old Republican who sells commercial real estate. He plans to announce his candidacy on April 4, the newspaper reports. Mann will be the fifth Republican seeking to succeed Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., who is running for the U.S. Senate in 2010. The other announced GOP candidates are: businessman Tim Barker; college instructor Sue Boldra; state Sen. Tim Huelskamp; and U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback's former chief of staff, Rob Wasinger. No Democrat has filed in the 1st District race, according to the newspaper.

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

Join CQ Politics' Live Online Discussion with Andy Kohut

Andrew Kohut, one of the most-listened to pollsters, who heads the Pew Research Center, leads a live online discussion about the mood of Americans during a time of economic stress and a new administration that is trying to cope with it. Kohut will discuss the political implications of Americans' reaction to the financial crisis as well as their reaction to Obama and his policies. Submit your questions and comments before and during the chat on Friday at 2 p.m.
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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Tuesday, March 31, 2009 – 2:19 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Poised to Send Obama Huge Expansion of Service Programs
  • New Effort Under Way for Consumer Protections on Credit Cards
  • GAO Seeks Curbs on Nuclear Assistance Funding to Terrorism Sponsors
  • Waxman, Markey Unveil Climate Change Proposal
  • Treasury Draws More Fire Over TARP Implementation
  • Political Trivia for Tuesday, March 31, 2009
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Today in Washington

The House is expected to clear a bill to expand national volunteer programs; also considers legislation to toughen penalties on the smuggling of illegal immigrants.

The Senate continues floor debate on the fiscal 2010 budget resolution.

The President with Mrs. Obama departs for London, kicking off a trip abroad to attend the G-20 summit; meets with U.S. Embassy employees at The American School in London.

In Washington, the National Geographic Society hosts a reception and world premiere screening of "Explorer: Inside Guantanamo," followed by an expert panel discussion moderated by Fox News' Chris Wallace. 6 p.m., National Geographic Society, 1145 17th St. N.W

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Top Stories

House Poised to Send Obama Huge Expansion of Service Programs

The measure, which President Obama promoted in his address to Congress last month, would more than triple the number of volunteers nationwide to 250,000, from 75,000. [Read More]

New Effort Under Way for Consumer Protections on Credit Cards

The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee approved by a vote of 12-11 a bill that would amend the Consumer Credit Protection Act to ban abusive credit practices, enhance consumer disclosures and protect underage consumers. [Read More]

GAO Seeks Curbs on Nuclear Assistance Funding to Terrorism Sponsors

The Government Accountability Office recommended that Congress and the State Department restrict future funding to the International Atomic Energy Agency's Technical Cooperation Program to prevent Iran, Syria, Cuba and Sudan from receiving money. [Read More]

Waxman, Markey Unveil Climate Change Proposal

The draft legislation leaves unresolved what could be the most controversial issue: how to distribute emission allowances under a cap-and-trade program to address global warming. [Read More]

Treasury Draws More Fire Over TARP Implementation

The special inspector general for the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program said Treasury has been lax in its efforts to get information from banks on the receiving end of federal funding. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Where is the smallest House district (in area) represented by a Republican? [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NATION | Credit Agencies Under Fire over Government Bond Ratings
NEW JERSEY | Labor Investigator Admits Taking $1.86 Million in Bribes
TEXAS | Lobbyists Spending Heavily on Non-Elected Officials
BOSTON | Taxi Owners Sue over Hybrid Mandate

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Political Clippings

The Chicago Tribune reports that Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias says he will not accept money from federal lobbyists or corporate political action committees if he seeks the Democratic Senate nomination next year as expected. "These special interests do not represent the interests of most Americans, and they should not be allowed to buy a seat at the table when it comes to deciding critical issues or determining the direction of our nation, especially in the midst of our current financial crisis," Giannoulias said in a statement. The Tribune notes that of the more than $7.3 million Giannoulias raised during and since his successful 2006 campaign for state treasurer, more than $3.1 million came from family members largely affiliated with the family's Broadway Bank.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Pa., makes no apologies for the earmarks he steers to his congressional district. "If I'm corrupt, it's because I take care of my district," he said. Conservative estimates suggest Murtha has steered billions of dollars into his district over a 35-year career. Critics say that's corruption and federal agents are probing companies that benefited from the earmarks. "Mr. Murtha has been a successful manager at the favor factory for many years," said Naomi Seligman, deputy director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group that has branded him one of the most corrupt members of Congress.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Monday, March 30, 2009 – 2:01 P.M.

In This Issue

  • GM Must Change Plan to Get Further Aid, White House Says
  • Hoekstra Kicks Off Governor's Bid in Michigan
  • Political Trivia for Monday, March 30, 2009
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Today in Washington

The House is expected to clear a bill to expand and create national volunteer programs. It will also take up three veterans' benefits bills.

The Senate starts 50 hours of floor debate on the fiscal 2010 budget resolution.

The President delivers remarks about the American automotive industry; meets with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates; signs HR 146, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009; meets with the House Democratic Caucus.

In Washington, Andrew Natsios, a Georgetown professor and former administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, speaks on "U.S. Policy on Sudan: The Current Debate." 3 p.m., Copley Formal Lounge, 37th and O Sts. N.W.

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Top Stories

GM Must Change Plan to Get Further Aid, White House Says

Hours after forcing embattled General Motors Corp. chief executive G. Richard Wagoner to resign, the Obama administration said it would condition further aid for GM on significant changes to its business plan, and said it would only consider further support for Chrysler LLC if it successfully merges with Italian automaker Fiat. [Read More]

Hoekstra Kicks Off Governor's Bid in Michigan

He will continue the campaign roll-out across the state with stops in the suburban Detroit counties of Macomb and Oakland, and the state capital of Lansing, ending in his hometown of Holland on the western edge of the state. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Monday, March 30, 2009

Where is the biggest House district (in area) represented by a Democrat? [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
MILWAUKEE | City, County at Odds over Stimulus Law Enforcement Funds
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. | County May Have to Cut One-Sixth of Workforce
THE NATION | Stimulus Road Work: a Buyer's Market
CALIFORNIA | Embattled Consumer Affairs Chief Resigns

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Political Clippings

According to the Los Angeles Times, for years, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger "has treated fellow Republicans with a combination of indifference and thinly veiled contempt," but now, "as they vie to succeed him in 2010, the party's two leading candidates for governor are responding in similar fashion." Former eBay executive Meg Whitman and Silicon Valley multimillionaire Steve Poizner have been "criticizing his painstakingly crafted budget, actively opposing several of his ballot measures and, more subtly, jabbing at his work habits and ego," the newspaper reports. Whitman and Poizner "are striving to distance themselves from the unpopular Schwarzenegger and tap widespread GOP anger over the incumbent's broken pledge not to raise taxes," according to the Times "It is, in the words of a strategist involved in the race, a competition to become 'the anti-Arnold.'"

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the "former finance chief of a Texas company controlled by Nasser Kazeminy, a close friend of former Sen. Norm Coleman, said in a deposition last week that Kazeminy ordered $100,000 in fees be paid to a Minneapolis insurance agency where Coleman's wife was employed." According to the newspaper: "B.J. Thomas, who was chief financial officer of Deep Marine Technology Inc., said that $75,000 of that sum was paid to Hays Companies even though he saw no evidence of Deep Marine receiving any consulting services from Hays. Thomas' deposition, taken under oath on March 19 and obtained by the Star Tribune, is the first corroboration from an official at Deep Marine of allegations made by company founder Paul McKim in a lawsuit filed last year against the company." An attorney for Coleman said none of money made it to Coleman or his wife. The Senate race between Coleman, a Republican, and Al Franken, a Democrat, remains unsettled.

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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 House of Representatives is pushing for a procedural tactic to fast-track health reform, and a key lobbying coalition releases its vision for health reform.
HEALTH INSURANCE INDUSTRY: Private health insurers' Washington representatives offered a health care reform compromise but also warned against Medicare Advantage cuts.
SEBELIUS NOMINATION: Obama's nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services has a date for her confirmation hearing.
Read the online report | Health on the Hill audio links
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