Friday, May 22, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Friday, May 22, 2009 – 2:00 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Lawmakers Want Greater Role in Auto Restructuring
  • Under Pressure, Pelosi Stands by Comments on CIA
  • Obama Signs Pentagon Purchasing Overhaul
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session; reconvenes at 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 2.

The Senate is not in session; reconvenes at noon Monday, June 1.

The President signs legislation overhauling Pentagon purchasing practices; delivers commencement address at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.; returns to the White House to sign an overhaul of credit card rules.

In Washington, Mount Vernon hosts opening of the film, "Night at the Museum 2: Battle at the Smithsonian," which brings to life many of the items housed in the Smithsonian Institution, which holds more than 136 million items in its collections. 6 p.m., George Washington's Mount Vernon Estates and Gardens, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Alexandria, Va.

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Top Stories

Lawmakers Want Greater Role in Auto Restructuring

After watching for months from the sidelines as the Obama administration steered Chrysler LLC into bankruptcy and General Motors Corp. into a painful restructuring, lawmakers are seeking a greater role in blunting the impact of the industry's restructuring on dealers, communities and bondholders. [Read More]

Under Pressure, Pelosi Stands by Comments on CIA

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined to elaborate Friday on the controversy over her allegations that the CIA misled her about the use of harsh interrogation techniques during the George W. Bush administration. [Read More]

Obama Signs Pentagon Purchasing Overhaul

The new law adds new layers of oversight to the Defense Department's procurement process with the aim of limiting cost growth, delivering weapons and other equipment on time, and preventing conflicts of interest within major acquisitions programs. [Read More]
---------------------------------

Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
NEW YORK CITY: City Suspends Rent Collections from Working Homeless
MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz.: Officials Interviewed by FBI about Sheriff
PHILADELPHIA: Budget Relies on Tax Hike, Pension Changes
WASHINGTON STATE: Governor Orders Emissions Cuts

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Political Clippings

The New York Daily News reports that "Ex-Gov. George Pataki is at the top of national Republicans' wish list to take on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand at the polls next fall." National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said he has spoken with Pataki about the seat, but doesn't know what he might do.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said "former Vice President Dick Cheney could be useful as a campaign surrogate in the upcoming battle to win Senate seats depending 'on the circumstance and on the race.' Cornyn added, "I would be proud to appear with the vice president, anywhere, anytime.'"

The Des Plaines (IL) Journal & Topics reports that 9th District Democrat Rep. Jan Schakowsky said "she will make an announcement on her decision to run for Obama's former Senate seat on Monday, June 8."

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that "some Republican heavy hitters have signed on to help Secretary of State Trey Grayson raise cash for a possible U.S. Senate bid." Grayson has formed an exploratory committee to consider a run against incumbent Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning, a fellow Republican and mentor who encouraged Grayson to explore getting into the race.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Thursday, May 21, 2009 – 2:20 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Obama Defends His Decision to Close Guantanamo
  • House Rejects Call for Investigation of Pelosi's CIA Comments
  • Renewable Electricity Mandate Survives Test Vote in Senate Panel
  • House Clears Overhaul of Pentagon Purchasing Practices
  • Senate Moves Toward Passage of War Funding Bill
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Today in Washington

The House clears a bill to overhaul the Pentagon's weapons procurement system and passes a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Senate is moving toward passage of a $91.3 billion fiscal 2009 war supplemental spending bill.

The President delivers a speech on national security and Guantanamo Bay detainees; meets with senior advisers; welcomes the Super Bowl XLIII Champion Pittsburgh Steelers to the White House; meets with Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.

In Washington, the U.S. Dream Academy holds its 8th Annual "Power of a Dream Gala" to benefit its nonprofit charitable after-school program for children of prisoners, dedicated to breaking the cycle of incarceration and poverty. Headliners include actor Lou Gossett, Jr.; actress and D.C. native Taraji P. Henson; Essence Magazine Editor-in-Chief Emeritus and National Cares Mentoring Movement founder Susan L. Taylor; comedian-actor Chris Tucker; and vocalist-producer Bebe Winans. 7 p.m., Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 1150 22nd St. N.W.

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Top Stories

Obama Defends His Decision to Close Guantanamo

President Obama on Thursday delivered a blistering critique of both his predecessor's counterterrorism policies and Republican attacks on his own national security decisions, in a wide-ranging speech at the National Archives in Washington. [Read More]

House Rejects Call for Investigation of Pelosi's CIA Comments

The House rejected a Republican resolution to investigate Speaker Nancy Pelosi's assertions that the CIA misled her during a 2002 classified briefing on interrogation techniques. [Read More]

Renewable Electricity Mandate Survives Test Vote in Senate Panel

A deal in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will help pave the way for a contentious renewable energy mandate. In the House, the Energy and Commerce Committee plans to wrap up its work on a greenhouse gas emissions bill later today. [Read More]

House Clears Overhaul of Pentagon Purchasing Practices

The bill adds new layers of oversight to the Defense Department's procurement process with the aim of limiting cost growth, delivering weapons and other equipment on time, and preventing conflicts of interest within major acquisitions programs. [Read More]

Senate Moves Toward Passage of War Funding Bill

The Senate voted to limit debate and move towards passage of the fiscal 2009 war supplemental bill, with an eye towards finishing work on it Thursday. [Read More]

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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
NEW YORK CITY | 4 Arrested in Plot to Bomb Synagogues, Down Planes
SANTA CLARA, Calif. | City OKs Deal for 49ers Stadium
BETHESDA, Md. | Pipe Rupture Raises Concerns for 5,500-Mile Water System
ARIZONA | Criminal Probe Follows Prisoner's Death

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Political Clippings

The Tallahassee Democrat reports that Florida's GOP Chairman Jim Greer says the party will remain neutral in the U.S. Senate primary battle expected between Gov. Charlie Crist and former state House Speaker Marco Rubio. But Greer has done little to hide support for Crist.

The New York Daily News reports that "Chris Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy, plans to run for the Illinois U.S. Senate seat once held by President Obama."

Bloomberg reports that "Representative Jesse Jackson Jr.'s [D-Ill.] congressional campaign organization has paid his wife at least $247,500 since 2001, including at least $95,000 after Sandra Jackson joined the Chicago City Council two years ago, according to federal election records."

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Wednesday, May 20, 2009 – 2:16 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Congress Sending Obama Bill To Tighten Credit Card Regulation
  • Senate Strips Funds to Close Guant namo Detention Center
  • Senior Democrats Seek Delay of Panama Trade Deal
  • Senate Panel Moves To Counter Federal Workforce Strains
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House moving to send a credit card regulation bill to President Obama; votes on a bill to curb illegal tobacco sales and smuggling.

The Senate considers amendments to the fiscal 2009 war supplemental appropriations bill.

The President attends first quarterly meeting of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board; participates in a credentialing ceremony for foreign ambassadors; signs the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act (S 896) and the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act (S 386); calls the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis; with Mrs. Obama, hosts a reception for bipartisan members of the House and their guests.

In Washington, the American News Women's Club hosts its 15th Annual Gala (Roast & Toast) honoring CBS news anchor Katie Couric. Helen Thomas will present the award, given in her name, in recognition of the Couric's pioneering achievements. Newsman Sam Donaldson will emcee the event. 6:30 p.m., Fairmont Hotel, 2401 M St. NW.

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

Top Stories

Congress Sending Obama Bill To Tighten Credit Card Regulation

Riding a wave of public anger, the House was poised Wednesday to clear legislation that would curb a number of credit card practices that the White House and consumer advocates have denounced as abusive. [Read More]

Senate Strips Funds to Close Guant namo Detention Center

The Senate voted 90-6 to strike funds intended to be used to close the detention center at Guant namo Bay, Cuba, from the supplemental spending bill. The amendment, offered by Appropriations Chairman Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii, also expressly prohibits money in the bill from being used to transfer Guant namo detainees to the United States. [Read More]

Senior Democrats Seek Delay of Panama Trade Deal

Two senior Democrats urged the administration Wednesday to postpone sending a stalled trade deal with Panama to Congress until concerns about the Central American nation's banking secrecy laws are formally addressed. [Read More]

Senate Panel Moves To Counter Federal Workforce Strains

A Senate committee moved Wednesday to address a looming shortfall in the federal workforce by making it easier for retirees to return to work part time and by prodding agencies to allow more telework. [Read More]

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

Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
DETROIT | Schools to Cut 900 Employees
GALLATIN COUNTY, Ill. | Long-Time Sheriff Accused of Marijuana Trafficking
NEW YORK STATE | Bottled-Water Companies Sue to Block Deposit Law
THE NATION | Obama Likely to OK Concealed Guns in Parks

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

Political Clippings

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed reports that "the Merchandise Mart's Chris Kennedy, son of the late U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, will announce next week he is running for the U.S. Senate," paving the way for a heated Democratic primary contest. Kennedy has already shot his first campaign TV ad, Sneed says, and has hired the media consulting firm once headed by David Axelrod, President Obama's senior political adviser. "Kennedy will be running for Obama's old Senate seat, now held by Roland Burris, the beleaguered appointee of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich."

According to the Salt Lake City Tribune, three-term Sen. Robert F. Bennett, R-Utah, "finds himself in unfamiliar and unfriendly waters, roiled by public frustration with Washington and with at least two sharks circling" for a possible GOP primary challenge. "Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is expected to announce his Senate bid today and Tim Bridgewater abandoned his bid for state party chairman last week, saying he heard all over the state that delegates wanted a more conservative choice for senator." Shurtleff's internal polling "shows Bennett might have cause for concern," the paper said. "Democrats have recruited restaurateur Sam Granato to take on the winner of the Republican fight. "

The Raleigh News and Observer reports, "'Three more Democrats say they're not interested in running" next year against Sen. Richard M. Burr, R-N.C. Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker and state Rep. Grier Martin all said Tuesday that they won't enter the race. "The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is looking for a brand name" to take on the GOP senator. Durham attorney Kenneth Lewis seems increasingly likely to run in the primary. Former state Sen. Cal Cunningham may also make a run for it. Other names mentioned: U.S. Reps. Bob Etheridge, Brad Miller and Rep. Heath Shuler, who's not ruling it out, and Rep. Mike McIntyre, who said he's interested."

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

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Tuesday, May 19, 2009 2:10 p.m. –

In This Issue

  • Senate Passes Bill Tightening Credit Card Regulations
  • Senate Democrats To Strip Guantanamo Funding from War Supplemental
  • Hoyer Defends Pelosi on Waterboarding
  • Senate Just Can't Resist a Sprinkling of Earmarks
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House considers legislation intended to help prevent mortgage foreclosures, a bill to curb illegal tobacco sales and a series of bills to assist wounded veterans.

The Senate votes on a credit card regulation bill; considers the nomination of Gary Gensler as commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and begins debate on a $91.3 billion fiscal 2009 war supplemental spending bill.

The President announces the acceleration of new fuel economy standards and the first greenhouse gas pollution standards for cars; meets with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State George Schultz, former Senate Armed Services Chairman Sam Nunn, D-Ga., and former Secretary of Defense William Perry to nuclear nonproliferation policy; delivers remarks at ceremony honoring National Small Business Award winners; and meets with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

In Washington, activists from Amnesty International and the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, along with several members of the Congressional Black Caucus, will protest the impending execution of Georgia death-row inmate Troy Anthony Davis on Amnesty Internationals Global Day of Action. 6:30 p.m., All Souls Unitarian Church, 1500 Harvard Sr. N.W.

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Top Stories

Senate Passes Bill Tightening Credit Card Regulations

The Senate passed legislation Tuesday designed to protect consumers from arbitrary increases in credit card interest rates and fees, moving a big step closer to meeting President Obama's Memorial Day target for enactment of the legislation. [Read More]

Senate Democrats To Strip Guantanamo Funding from War Supplemental

The Senate, like the House, is poised to deny President Obama the money he requested this year to prepare for closing the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. [Read More]

Hoyer Defends Pelosi on Waterboarding

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer joined other leading Democrats in accusing Republicans of trying to divert attention from the use of that and other controversial interrogation techniques during the George W. Bush administration. [Read More]

Senate Just Can't Resist a Sprinkling of Earmarks

Despite President Obama's urging that Congress avoid earmarks in a pending war spending bill, the $91.3 billion measure headed for the Senate floor Tuesday includes a sprinkling of funding provisions for individual lawmakers. [Read More]
---------------------------------

Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
THE NATION: Report: Few Big Cities Raising Taxes
CALIFORNIA: Supreme Court Upholds Medical Marijuana Law
THE NATION: Stimulus Brings Big Boost in Food Stamps
NEW YORK STATE: Ethics Panel Chief Resigns in Wake of Spitzer Leak

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Political Clippings

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Republican Senate hopeful Thomas Schweich is firing back at Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., for complaining about a 2001 donation to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, who was running for state auditor at the time. "I am flattered that Roy Blunt is so concerned about me that he has launched a vintage Washington-style smear campaign against me before I have even decided whether to run," Schweich, a former State Department official, said in a statement. "It underscores the need for our party to go in a new direction in this Senate race." Blunt has announced that he would seek the Senate seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Christopher S. Bond.

The Des Moines Register reports that Iowa State Auditor David Vaudt has declined to run for governor next year. "This is a very critical time for Iowa, and we need a strong voice and an experienced voice to keep Iowans in tune with what's really taking place with our finances," Vaudt said. "The last thing we can afford is to have that voice diminished in any way." Vaudt, a Republican, is planning to seek a third term as auditor in 2010.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that Rep. Zach Wamp says he's ahead in the 2010 governor's race in "every metric of this campaign except money ... I would argue today that that shouldn't be the final arbiter," Wamp, R-Tenn., told the Hamilton County Pachyderm Club. Wamp and his supporters have said they believe they will be outspent by Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam in the GOP primary campaign. As for the governor's seat, Wamp told the audience: "The Democrats are not going to just give it to us."

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Monday, May 18, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Monday, May 18, 2009 –

In This Issue

  • Byrd 'Responding Well' to Treatment
  • GOP Primary Brawl Likely to Determine Brownback's Successor
---------------------------------

Today in Washington

The House is expected to clear a bill to combat financial fraud.

The Senate considers credit card legislation.

The President meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In Washington, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars holds a discussion on "The Role of Congress in Foreign Policy making." 3 p.m., 5th floor conference room, Woodrow Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

Byrd 'Responding Well' to Treatment

Sen. Robert C. Byrd is said to be responding well following his hospitalization over the weekend for what was described today by is his office as a "minor infection." [Read More]

GOP Primary Brawl Likely to Determine Brownback's Successor

There will be heated competition next year for the U.S. Senate seat that Kansas Republican Sam Brownback is leaving open, presumably to pursue a bid for governor. But the big battle is far more likely to be in the Republican primary than the general election. [Read More]
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Today on Governing.com

State and local government news from CQ’s sister publication
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: 4.7-Magnitude Quake Rattles L.A. Region
DETROIT: 1 in 4 School Principals Ousted
THE NATION: U.S. May Have 100,000 Swine Flu Cases
TEXAS: Half of State's Strip Clubs Ignoring Entry-Fee Law

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Taegan Goddard's Political Wire

The News Journal in Wilmington, Del., reports that prominent Republicans are courting Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., as the GOP's Senate candidate in 2010. National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn, R-Texas, said that so many Republican senators have urged Castle to run that he's "gently put out the word recently to cool it, saying he'd decide on his own timetable." Castle, a former governor and nine-term representative, is a proven vote-getter in statewide races and is considered the GOP's best hope against Democratic Attorney General Beau Biden, who's expected to seek the seat his father held for 36 years before becoming vice president.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports that "the dozen candidates running to replace" Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis in California's 32nd House District "are in the final lap of their campaigns before the open primary on Tuesday ... Analysts say that in a low-turnout race like this, with a field of Democratic candidates who are similar on polices, whoever has the best get-out-the-vote campaign will prevail." The two front-runners are thought to be Board of Equalization member Judy Chu and state sen. Gil Cedillo, both Democrats.

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