Friday, May 15, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Friday, May 15, 2009 – 2:00 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Energy Bill Proposes Free Pollution Allowances
  • More Americans Now Identify Themselves As 'Pro-Life'
  • Obama Orders Changes in Military Commissions Rules
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Today in Washington

The House convenes at 1 p.m. for a pro forma session.

The Senate is not in session

The President welcomes the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team to the White House, followed by a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In Washington, the USO marks the launch of a new magazine, "On Patrol," with a red carpet premier of the HBO film "Taking Chance." 7 p.m., Carnegie Institute, 1530 P St. N.W.

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Top Stories

House Energy Bill Proposes Free Pollution Allowances

House energy legislation would give away the vast majority of pollution allowances to industries and states, in a departure from President Obama's proposal to auction them, according to a summary of the bill released Friday. [Read More]

More Americans Now Identify Themselves As 'Pro-Life'

More Americans classify themselves as "pro-life" on abortion than "pro-choice," by 51 percent to 42 percent, according to a Gallup poll released Friday. [Read More]

Obama Orders Changes in Military Commissions Rules

President Obama said Friday his administration would make several procedural changes to rules governing military commissions for suspected terrorists, requiring another delay in ongoing cases. [Read More]
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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
MILWAUKEE COUNTY: County Exec Orders Weekly Furloughs
BOSTON: Transit Union Fights Cellphone Ban
ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa.: Ruling a Blow to Case Against Ex-Coroner
DETROIT: Schools' Real Estate Deals to Be Probed
TEXAS: State HHS Chief Retiring after Turbulent Era
NEW YORK State: Equity Firm to Pay $20 Million in Pension Probe

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Political Clippings

The Tampa Tribune reports that some Republican activists in Florida are rebelling against national party leaders backing Gov. Charlie Crist in the Senate primary. The Hillsborough County GOP passed a resolution Thursday objecting to efforts by state party Chairman Jim Greer to have the state party back Crist over the more conservative former House Speaker Marco Rubio. And a Florida Republican National Committee delegate has blocked a move to line up the national party behind Crist. 'This has nothing to do with the candidates,' said Hillsborough party Chairman Debbie Cox-Roush. "What it has to do with is following the rules of the party."

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that "FBI agents in Minnesota have begun asking questions about the relationship between" former Sen. Norm Coleman "and a close friend and donor, according to a Minnesota source to whom the agents talked. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said the 'main topic' of the two agents' questions surrounded an allegation that Bloomington financier Nasser Kazeminy paid for suits and other items Coleman and his wife shopped for at Neiman-Marcus in Minneapolis. That allegation surfaced in October, and Coleman denied it."

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

Thursday, May 14, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Thursday, May 14, 2009 – 2:10 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Pelosi Says CIA, Bush Officials Lied to Her About Waterboarding
  • House Passes Bill To Promote 'Green' School Renovations
  • Pentagon, Senators See Skills Mismatch in War Zone
  • Capitol Hill's Newest Attractions Have Red Tails
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Today in Washington

The House passes a bill authorizing grants to states for "green" school renovations; moves towards pass fiscal 2009 supplemental war funding bill.

The Senate continues consideration of amendments to a credit card regulation bill.

The President holds a town hall meeting in Rio Rancho, N.M., to promote tougher credit card regulations to protect consumers; returns to Washington this afternoon.

In Washington, members of the Latino, faith, and human rights communities will screen the Emmy-winning film, "Made in L.A." and discuss the human side of immigration during an event at National Council of La Raza (NCLR). 5:30 p.m., 1126 16th St., N.W.

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Top Stories

Pelosi Says CIA, Bush Officials Lied to Her About Waterboarding

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted Thursday she was told during a 2002 briefing that waterboarding was not being employed on caputured terrorism suspects, and that Republicans are trying to make her the issue to thwart an investigation of harsh interrogation techniques. [Read More]

House Passes Bill To Promote 'Green' School Renovations

The bill would require that all funding by fiscal 2015 be used for school construction projects that meet environmental friendliness standards. [Read More]

Pentagon, Senators See Skills Mismatch in War Zone

Pentagon leaders and Senate Armed Services Committee members voiced concerns Thursday about a shortage of needed skills among U.S. military and civilian personnel working in Afghanistan and Pakistan. [Read More]

Capitol Hill's Newest Attractions Have Red Tails

A pair of birds that built a nest below the Rayburn House Office Building's front entrance are now thought to be red-tailed hawks, not Peregrine falcons. [Read More]
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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
CHICAGO | City Bans Chemical from Baby Bottles
SEATTLE | Tab for Fixing Streets Department: $815,000
NEW YORK CITY | Feds Drop Plan to Auction Landing Slots
NEW YORK STATE | Governor: All Ethics Board Members Should Quit

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Political Clippings

The Greenville (S.C.) News reports that South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, a Republican, "will have until midnight Tuesday to decide how to respond to a $5.6 billion budget bill that includes not only federal stimulus money he opposes but a requirement that he take the funds... Sanford has said he won't apply for $700 million of the $2.8 billion in stimulus funds available to the state over the next two years unless legislators agree to spend the same amount to reduce debt. The budget approved Wednesday includes $350 million of the stimulus money Sanford opposes as well as a provision that requires the governor to seek and accept the money."

According to the Dallas Morning News, Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the Senate Republican campaign committee, "rejected Dallas Rep. Pete Sessions' allegation that President Barack Obama is intentionally sabotaging the U.S. economy." Sessions chairs the House GOP campaign unit. "'I don't know where he's coming from on it,'" Cornyn said. '"I'd like some sort of clarification about what he meant.'" Democrats have "mocked" Sessions "as paranoid and flirting with conspiracy theories after he was quoted accusing Obama of intentionally destroying American jobs and trying to depress the stock market in order to topple the capitalist system."

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Wednesday, May 13, 2009 – 2:04 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Democrats Pledge House Vote on Health Care Before August Recess
  • GOP Leaders Seek To Slow Debate of a Supreme Court Nominee
  • Senate Republicans Block Interior Nominee, Demanding Answers on Oil and Gas Leases
  • House Republicans Question Gates on Defense Spending
  • Cleaning Up on Capitol Hill — Or At Least, Clean Hands
  • Political Trivia for Wednesday, May 13, 2009
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House considers bills to make grants to states for "green" school renovations and modernizations and to overhaul the Pentagon acquisitions process.

The Senate refuses to limit debate on the nomination of David J. Hayes to be deputy secretary of the Interior; resumes consideration of a credit card regulation bill.

The President with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., meets with House Democratic leaders on a health care overhaul; meets with a bipartisan group of Senate leaders about the Supreme Court vacancy; visits Phoenix, Ariz., to deliver the commencement address at Arizona State University; travels to Albuquerque, N.M.

In Washington, Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of "War of Necessity, War of Choice: A Memoir of Two Iraq Wars," addresses the Council on Foreign Relations, with Ted Koppel presiding. 6 p.m., 1777 F St.N.W.

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Top Stories

Democrats Pledge House Vote on Health Care Before August Recess

In a Wednesday meeting with the chairman of three committees with jurisdiction over health care, Obama portrayed the urgent need for a health care overhaul as a necessary step for containing long-term budget deficits. [Read More]

GOP Leaders Seek To Slow Debate of a Supreme Court Nominee

Senate Republican leaders emerged from a meeting with President Obama Wednesday and immediately began laying the groundwork for opposing Democratic efforts to get a Supreme Court nominee confirmed before the August recess. [Read More]

Senate Republicans Block Interior Nominee, Demanding Answers on Oil and Gas Leases

Utah Sen. Robert F. Bennett said David J. Hayes is qualified for the Interior department's No. 2 post, but he rallied Republicans to block the nomination until he receives answers to his questions about how the department made its decision to withdraw oil and gas leases. [Read More]

House Republicans Question Gates on Defense Spending

House Republicans on Wednesday questioned the judgement behind Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates' decisions to delay, cut or cap certain national security programs in the Pentagon budget request for next year. [Read More]

Cleaning Up on Capitol Hill — Or At Least, Clean Hands

That "wash your hands" mantra to prevent the spread of swine flu is getting a high-tech boost in the Capitol, with the installation of hand sanitizer stations around the building and nearby offices. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Who was the last incumbent Florida governor elected to a Senate seat? [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE CHESAPEAKE BAY REGION | Feds to Take Lead in Faltering Bay Cleanup
PENNSYLVANIA | AG Slams State DOT over Driver's Licensing
LOS ANGELES | Mayor: Declare Fiscal Emergency
DETROIT | 29 Schools to Be Closed

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Political Clippings

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed writes that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, "who has been eyeing a run for the governor's seat, is now also mulling a bid for the U.S. Senate, a move that could put her on a collision course" with Sen. Roland W. Burris, the Democrat appointed to President Obama's old seat. '"The governor's race is still my main consideration," Madigan told Sneed. But she's taking a new look "after recruitment phone calls from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. 'They have told me polls show me doing very well,' Madigan said." Sneed reports the DSCC polls "show Madigan would be a more formidable candidate against Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, a potential candidate, than Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias would be."

The Arkansas Times reports that the head of the Arkansas AFL-CIO, Alan B. Hughes, said Sen. Blanche Lincoln may yet face a Democratic primary opponent next year if she continues to disappoint organized labor. "Hughes said the chances of Lincoln drawing an opponent depend on how she handles the Employee Free Choice Act, or 'card check' legislation designed to make it easier for workers at a site to form a union. Lincoln has opposed the bill as introduced, and a compromise is in the works. "But some Internet news sites and bloggers reported this morning that Lincoln is not supportive of the revised card-check bill, either."

A new Marist Poll finds New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's job approval at 59% positive — up seven points since February — while 39% describe his performance as either fair or poor. There is little difference in opinion among Democrats and Republicans.

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On May 7 and May 11, President Obama released his detailed spending request for FY 2010, in addition to a volume of proposed cuts or eliminations to 121 programs that would save $17 billion in 2010.

To help you get a complete picture of the budget, as well as drill into the spending initiatives that matter most to you, turn to CQ Budget Tracker.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Tuesday, May 12, 2009 2:00 p.m. –

In This Issue

  • Lawmakers Brace for Bad News in Annual Social Security, Medicare Report
  • Mortgage Overhaul on Back Burner in Senate, Dodd Says
  • Interrogation Probe Should Include What Pelosi Knew, Hoyer Says
  • Crist's Senate Bid Flips CQ Ratings on Florida Races
  • Political Trivia for Tuesday, May 12, 2009
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House considers 14 non-controversial measures, including a bill to extend benefits to World War II merchant mariners.

The Senate resumes consideration of legislation tightening regulation of credit cards.

The President participates in roundtable with business leaders on cutting employer health care costs; delivers remarks at a ceremony honoring the National Association of Police Organization's Top Cops award winners, with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.; meets with Multi-National Force-Iraq Commanding General Raymond Odierno and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill with Biden; meets with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates; and with the first lady, hosts an event "celebrating poetry, music and the spoken word."

In Washington, The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation holds its 12th annual Spirit of Democracy Awards Dinner, with Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, Essence editor in chief emeritus Susan Taylor, and retired Command Sgt. Maj. Michele Jones. 7:30 p.m., Capital Hilton, 16th and K Sts. N.W.

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

Top Stories

Lawmakers Brace for Bad News in Annual Social Security, Medicare Report

The Social Security and Medicare trustees, led by Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, were expected to report an acceleration in the rate at which the twin Social Security and Medicare trust funds are being depleted, as payroll tax revenues drop amid rising unemployment. [Read More]

Mortgage Overhaul on Back Burner in Senate, Dodd Says

The future of a sweeping overhaul of the mortgage industry is unclear in the Senate, even though the measure attracted a significant number of Republican votes when it passed the House last week. [Read More]

Interrogation Probe Should Include What Pelosi Knew, Hoyer Says

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Tuesday that investigations into the Bush administration's use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects should look into what congressional leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi , knew about the methods that have been criticized as torture. [Read More]

Crist's Senate Bid Flips CQ Ratings on Florida Races

The governor's race, assumed to be Crist's for the asking had he decided to seek a second term, is now up for grabs. CQ Politics, which had rated the race Republican Favored, has changed the rating to Tossup. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kentucky Rep. Yarmuth's PAC promotes what part of the U.S. Constitution? [Read More]

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

Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NATION: Despite Stimulus Billions, State Layoffs Loom
DETROIT: GM Chief: Automaker Open to Moving to Suburbs
COOK COUNTY, ILL.: County Board Chief Vetoes Tax-Hike Repeal
NEW YORK CITY: Transit Fare Hikes Scaled Back

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

Taegan Goddard's Political Wire

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in its 'Political Fix' blog that former Missouri Republican Sen. John C. Danforth is pushing Thomas Schweich, a law professor and Bush administration official, to seek the GOP nomination to succeed the 2010 Republican Sen. Christopher S. Bond, who is retiring. According to the blog, "Danforth said that a number of Missouri Republicans worry that the leading GOP candidate up to now, Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Springfield, may not beat the likely Democratic candidate, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan."

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., "appears to be gaining support to run against" party-switcher Sen. Arlen Specter, a five-term incumbent, in the 2010 Democratic primary. "On Monday, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a coalition of former MoveOn.org staff, union organizers and Democratic campaigners, debuted a 'Draft Sestak' campaign fund. The online effort will raise money that would be signed over to Sestak -- who has a $3 million-plus war chest -- if he runs for the Senate."

The Spokane (Wash.) Spokesman-Review says "Rex Rammell, a former elk rancher and veterinarian who ran for the U.S. Senate as an independent in 2008, garnering 5.4 percent of the vote, announced a couple of weeks ago that he'd challenge U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson in the Republican primary next year, but now he's withdrawing from that race and entering a different one. Rammell says he's pulling out of the 2nd District race "in order to run for governor or the U.S. Senate in 2010." He's scheduled an announcement for Wednesday."

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Monday, May 11, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Monday, May 11, 2009 2:15 p.m. –

In This Issue

  • Obama Administration Adds Details to International Tax Plans
  • Lawmakers Reach Deal on Credit Card Legislation
  • Political Trivia for Monday, May 11, 2009
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House is in pro forma session.

The Senate considers a bill to impose new regulations on the credit card industry. No roll call votes are expected.

The President meets with health care overhaul stakeholders, speaks on health care system overhaul and welcomes the University of North Carolina's men's basketball team.

In Washington, The School of Advanced International Studies holds a discussion, "The Process of Socio-economic Change in Pakistan with Arif Hasan," founder and chairman of the Urban Resource Centre in Karachi. 5:30 p.m., Room 500, 1717 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.

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

Top Stories

Obama Administration Adds Details to International Tax Plans

As it released the final pieces of its fiscal 2010 budget proposal, the White House also proposed repealing an unintended tax break for paper companies and made a variety of adjustments in its plans for middle -class tax cuts that were proposed in its initial budget draft in February. [Read More]

Lawmakers Reach Deal on Credit Card Legislation

The compromise, reached over the weekend, is based on language in Sen. Christopher J. Dodd's original bill that would have prohibited card issuers from raising rates on the existing balances of consumers, even those late on payments. [Read More]

Political Trivia for Monday, May 11, 2009

How many incumbent U.S. House members were newly elected to the Senate in 2008? [Read More]

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

Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
CALIFORNIA: Pension Moves to Require Disclosure by Investment Firms
MICHIGAN: Report: Charter Schools Falling Short
FLORIDA: Former Child-Services Spokesman Sentenced to 24 Years
NEW YORK STATE: Former Senator Pleads Guilty

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Taegan Goddard's Political Wire

The Miami Herald reports that Florida GOP Gov. Charlie Crist "is expected to announce Tuesday that he is running for the U.S. Senate, setting off a high-stakes game of musical chairs that will completely overhaul the top echelon of state government in 2010." Crist would seek the seat of GOP Sen. Mel Martinez, who plans to leave office in 2010.

The Wilmington (DE) News Journal reports that the political future of GOP At Large Rep. Michael N. Castle is very much up in the air. The 69-year-old Castle is receiving some pressure from the party to seek the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Ted Kaufman, who temporarily took over the former seat of Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. But Castle also must determine whether to seek reelection in the House. In 2006 he had two small strokes.

The New York Daily News reports that two members of Congress whom New York Gov. David Paterson passed over in the fight to fill Hillary Rodham Clinton's "vacant U.S. Senate seat are poised to challenge the woman he picked -- Kirsten Gillibrand -- and so far, the governor is not trying to stop them." District 2 Democrat Rep. Steve Israel and District 14 Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney are stepping up efforts to prepare for a 2010 primary.

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