Friday, October 30, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Friday, October 30, 2009 – 2:00 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Democratic Split on Abortion is Obstacle to Health Bill
  • Reid Sets Up Vote on Tax Extensions in Jobless Bill
  • Lieberman Signs Onto GOP's Focused Renewal of Patriot Act Provisions
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session.

The Senate reconvened for a period of morning business; no roll call votes expected.

The President signs a bill on HIV/AIDS treatment; meets with the Joint Chiefs of Staff about Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In Washington, the Potomac Institute hosts a forum on cyborg technology, including "smart" prosthetic limbs; navigation systems that can plan and direct the way people drive; and the use of gadgets such as iPhones and Blackberrys as surrogate memories or decision makers. 3:45 p.m., Suite 200, 901 North Stuart St., Arlington, Va.

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Top Stories

Democratic Split on Abortion is Obstacle to Health Bill

A showdown is shaping up among Democrats as abortion foes press House leaders to change the health care bill to explicitly ban abortion funding, or at least permit a floor vote on the issue. [Read More]

Reid Sets Up Vote on Tax Extensions in Jobless Bill

The extension and expansion of a tax credit for first-time homebuyers has been incorporated into Senate legislation that would extend unemployment benefits. [Read More]

Lieberman Signs Onto GOP's Focused Renewal of Patriot Act Provisions

The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee joined two top Republicans on Thursday in introducing a bill to reauthorize expiring anti-terrorism authorities. [Read More]
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Political Clippings

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Texas Association of Builders as well as the head of the National Governors Association, Haley Barbour, have endorsed Gov. Rick Perry in the Texas gubernatorial race. Perry's announcement comes one day after his opponent in the GOP primary, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, "touted her endorsement from former Vice President Dick Cheney," according to the newspaper. Perry "had no comment on Cheney's endorsement but said he is excited that former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin will campaign with him and endorse him early next year."

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that U.S. Senate candidate David Hoffman met Thursday with President Obama's senior strategist, David Axelrod. "While the candidates can publicize the fact the meetings took place, it's considered poor form to reveal what was said," according to the newspaper. But Hoffman said "it was a good discussion."The Republican front-runner for the Illinois seat once held by Obama, Rep. Mark Steven Kirk, "predicts the White House will take an intense interest in fighting to keep the senate seat - currently held by Roland Burris - in Democratic hands."

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Thursday, October 29, 2009 – 2:20 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Democrats Rally Around Health Care Package
  • Tax on Wealthy in Health Care Bill Could Creep Down Income Scale
  • Senate Now Likely To Extend Homebuyer's Tax Credit
  • Defense Chairmen Push Obama To Resist Big Troop Buildup in Afghanistan
  • House Chairmen at Odds Over Consumer Finance Protection Agency
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Today in Washington

The House adopted the conference report for the fiscal 2010 Interior-Environment spending bill, which carries a measure to keep most of the government operating through Dec. 18; also expected to vote on a bill intended to modernize small-business programs.

The Senate is negotiating consideration of the unemployment insurance extension bill; may take up the Interior-Environment spending bill and its stopgap funding measure after the House completes action.

The President addresses business groups on the administration's efforts to help small businesses; meets with Singaporean Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew; meets with Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt.; meets with representatives of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus to urge support for House health care overhaul bill.

In Washington, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks at Georgetown University. McDonough School of Business, 8:45 p.m.

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Top Stories

House Democrats Rally Around Health Care Package

House Democratic leaders on Thursday introduced their long-awaited health care overhaul package, as rank-and-file party members appeared to be rallying behind the proposal. [Read More]

Tax on Wealthy in Health Care Bill Could Creep Down Income Scale

The main revenue source for the House health care bill is not indexed for inflation, meaning that more and more people each year will face a tax that is being sold as a levy on millionaires. [Read More]

Senate Now Likely To Extend Homebuyer's Tax Credit

With blessings from the Obama administration, the Senate now appears likely to pass a bipartisan compromise extending and expanding a tax credit for homebuyers. [Read More]

Defense Chairmen Push Obama To Resist Big Troop Buildup in Afghanistan

Two senior Democratic lawmakers with central roles on defense issues are stepping up their pressure on President Obama to resist Pentagon recommendations for a troop surge in Afghanistan. [Read More]

House Chairmen at Odds Over Consumer Finance Protection Agency

House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., is not thrilled with another committee chairman's planned changes to legislation that would establish a Consumer Financial Protection Agency. [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Dallas Morning News reports that Texas Gov. Rick Perry's re-election campaign is dismissing the significance of former Vice President Dick Cheney's planned endorsement of his GOP primary opponent, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. The senator hopes the endorsement "will help woo conservatives in the GOP base that will be key to winning the Republican nomination for governor." But a Perry spokesman "dismissed Cheney as part of the 'Washington establishment' and touted the governor's support among Texas conservatives."

The Sacramento Bee reports that organized labor, a key Democratic constituency, "has already made its preference clear, at least in the all-important money race," when it comes to choosing the next governor of California. "Unions all across the state and country have poured more than a million dollars into Attorney General Jerry Brown's campaign coffers - even though he has yet to officially announce his candidacy." San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome, the only declared Democratic contender, "has received just $5,000 from his city's local plumbers and pipefitters union and $130 from two other individuals identified in campaign finance records as having union ties." Brown holds an "overwhelming financial lead over Newsom" in their unofficial race. Republican candidate Meg Whitman, who has called state workers arrogant and selfish," may try to use Brown's union ties against him.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Wednesday, October 28, 2009 2:05 p.m.

In This Issue

  • Senate Stalls Over Amendments to Jobless Benefits Bill
  • Stopgap Funding Bill Would Extend Housing Loan Limits
  • House Panel Moves to Tighten Regulation of Credit Rating Agencies
  • Ratings Changes: Tennessee Democrats Face GOP Tide
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Today in Washington

The House passes a bill to extend some small-business programs, then considers various resolutions.

The Senate resumes procedural consideration of a bill to extend unemployment benefits

The President delivers remarks at the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony in honor of former Sen. Edward William Brooke, R-Mass., at the Capitol; hosts White House meeting with the co-chairmen of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board and the senior leadership of the intelligence community; signs the fiscal 2010 defense authorization bill; meets with Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the Oval Office; attends commemorative tree planting in the North Portico and speaks at an event commemorating the enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, as part of the defense bill.

In Washington, the American Society of International Law, others, hold a discussion on "Women, Peacebuilding and Advancing the Rule of Law." 6 p.m., 2223 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

Senate Stalls Over Amendments to Jobless Benefits Bill

Senate leaders remained at an impasse Wednesday over adding tax provisions to a bill that would extend unemployment insurance benefits to millions of jobless workers. [Read More]

Stopgap Funding Bill Would Extend Housing Loan Limits

A new stopgap spending measure expected to clear Congress this week would keep in place through year's end the significantly higher loan limits now in place for federally backed mortgage loans. [Read More]

House Panel Moves to Tighten Regulation of Credit Rating Agencies

Legislation that would require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to beef up regulation of credit rating firms, which are under fire for their role in last year's implosion of the financial markets, was approved Wednesday by a House committee. [Read More]

Ratings Changes: Tennessee Democrats Face GOP Tide

House Democrats made big gains in the past two election cycles by competing for seats that in years past were ceded to Republicans. Now Republicans are trying their own version of this strategy by testing some entrenched Democratic incumbents, such as Bart Gordon and John Tanner. [Read More]
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Political Clippings

The Anchorage Daily News reports that former Gov. Sarah Palin collected $1.25 million while still in office in advance of her upcoming memoir. "Palin described the book money as a 'retainer' in new filings with the Alaska Public Offices Commission that detail her personal finances during final months she was governor. No other details were offered on the deal with publisher HarperCollins, but a retainer would be only an upfront piece of the total Palin would receive." Palin, controversial running mate to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in last year's presidential race, resigned as governor July 26. "The governor has complied with Alaska disclosure law by her filing yesterday. Now, as a private citizen, her business dealings, including her publishing agreement, are confidential,' Palin's spokeswoman, Megan Stapleton, said in an e-mailed statement."

The Chicago Tribune reports that "wealthy businessman and former Illinois Republican Chairman Andy McKenna formally launched his bid for governor Tuesday," joining a growing field of contenders for the nomination to oppose Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. 'Gov. (Pat) Quinn said he'd be different than Rod Blagojevich,' McKenna said of the successor to the ousted Democratic governor.''But when it comes to taxes and spending, he's Rod Blagojevich with just a little bit less hair. He has not cut spending. He has not cut waste. He has not cut corruption. He's more of the same.' "

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Tuesday, October 27, 2009 –

In This Issue

  • House Leaders Hope to Start Health Care Floor Debate Next Week
  • Spending Bill Will Exempt Some Great Lakes Ships From Clean Air Rules
  • Deal Near on Homebuyer, Business Tax Provisions in Jobless Bill
  • Democrats Propose Crackdown on Overseas Tax Cheats
  • Primary Influence: Some Lawmakers Willing To Pony Up Early
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Today in Washington

The House votes on commemorative resolutions.

The Senate votes on a judicial nominee for the Southern District of West Virginia and takes a procedural vote on a bill to extend unemployment benefits in all states.

The President attends event at the Desoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center in Arcadia, Fla., and delivers remarks about stimulus funding for smart grid technologies; flies to Norfolk, Va., to speak at rally for Creigh Deeds, Democratic nominee for governor of Virginia.

In Washington, thhe School of Advanced International Studies holds a discussion, "Women and the Politics of Change in the Middle East." 5 p.m., Kenney Auditorium, 1740 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

House Leaders Hope to Start Health Care Floor Debate Next Week

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Tuesday that Democratic leaders want to bring their massive health care overhaul legislation to the floor next week, if they can line up a majority behind a single "public option" proposal. [Read More]

Spending Bill Will Exempt Some Great Lakes Ships From Clean Air Rules

Thirteen steamships that ply the Great Lakes would be exempted from EPA air pollution rules under a policy rider in the 2010 Interior-Environment spending bill, an environmental group said Tuesday. [Read More]

Deal Near on Homebuyer, Business Tax Provisions in Jobless Bill

Senators are nearing a bipartisan deal to extend a homebuyer tax credit and provide more tax assistance to money-losing businesses. The provisions could be added to a bill extending unemployment insurance benefits that the Senate is likely to start considering late Tuesday. [Read More]

Democrats Propose Crackdown on Overseas Tax Cheats

Top Senate and House tax writers introduced legislation Tuesday to crack down on international tax evasion, a move they said would boost tax collections by an estimated $8.5 billion over 10 years. [Read More]

Primary Influence: Some Lawmakers Willing To Pony Up Early

Instead of sitting out the primary elections, plenty of lawmakers are trying to help pick winners by giving to their preferred candidates â€" particularly in Senate races, which tend to take shape earlier in the election cycle than House races. [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports that "former Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan is set to officially enter the race for governor. Campaign spokesman Dan Curry says Ryan will file petitions on Nov. 2 to get on the Republican primary ballot." Ryan lost to Democrat Rod Blagojevich in 2002, his last campaign for statewide office. "Republicans see a prime opportunity to regain power in Illinois next year with the arrest and ouster of Blagojevich and the constant calls for tax hikes by Democrats facing massive budget shortfalls."

According to the Detroit Free Press,"Michigan voters are evenly divided about whether they want the state’s next governor to be a Democrat or Republican, but negative perceptions about the performance of Gov. Jennifer Granholm appear to be depressing her party’s prospects." A new poll from Rasmussen Reports "showed 37% of voters would support an unnamed Republican candidate, while 36% would vote for a Democrat. Granholm, a Democrat, was re-elected in 2006 with 56% of the vote." While Granholm’s approval ratings have declined sharply this year, "voters were more inclined to blame the Legislature than the governor (42%-31%) for the failure to reach a budget agreement by the Oct. 1 deadline."

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Ohio voters will decide next Tuesday whether casinos should be allowed in the state. "Issue 3 is a constitutional amendment that would allow full-service casinos to be built in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo. The deal would grant Cleveland Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert and Penn National Gaming, the two entities bankrolling the plan, an airtight monopoly on gambling. With a such a potentially lucrative plan hanging in the balance, the campaigns for and against Issue 3 have been hard-fought, nasty, no-holds-barred battles, leaving many voters trying to separate fact from fiction."

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Monday, October 26, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Monday, October 26, 2009 –

In This Issue

  • Reid Plans Announcement on 'Public Option'
  • Billy Carter Service Station to Be Added to Historic Site
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Today in Washington

The House takes up a number of measures, including a bill on domestic violence awareness.

The Senate is in session, but no roll call votes are expected.

The President met with senior advisers and with national security team on Afghanistan and Pakistan; speaking this afternoon to servicemen and women in Florida; attending Miami fundraisers this evening for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

In Washington, Comedian-actor Bill Cosby will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Jerry Seinfeld will be joined by Chris Rock, "Cosby Show" co-stars Phylicia Rashad and Malcolm-Jamal Warner, and others. 8 p.m., Kennedy Center

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Top Stories

Reid Plans Announcement on 'Public Option'

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will announce later this afternoon whether the Senate's health care overhaul will include a government-run "public option," according to his office. [Read More]

Billy Carter Service Station to Be Added to Historic Site

The House is slated this afternoon to consider a bill that would roughly double the size of a National Park Service site honoring President Jimmy Carter in part by extending it to include a service station that was run by his younger brother, Billy, who died in 1988. [Read More]
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Political Clippings

The Iowa Politics Insider blog of the Des Moines Register reports that former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack will not be running for the Senate in 2010. Vilsack had been mentioned as a potential challenger to five-term Republican Charles E. Grassley. Vilsack recently "said publicly she was well-qualified, but she stopped short of expressing interest," according to the newspaper. Tom Vilsack, who was Iowa's governor from 1999 to 2007, is now Secretary of Agriculture.

According to KARK-TV, "Drew Pritt, a political activist and small business owner, has decided to provide a 'progressive' primary challenge to incumbent U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas." The Arkansas television station's news site quotes Pritt, a Democrat, as saying: "The fact remains we are at a historic moment in our country's history. So it's very upsetting, when we see a Democratic U.S. senator who doesn't support a public option for health care reform. It's very upsetting when we see a Democratic U.S. senator who doesn't support the Employee Free Choice Act. It's very upsetting when we see a Democratic U.S. senator who waivers and waffles on basic civil rights. And the only explanation that is given is, she is a senator from the deep South." Pritt labels himself as a "Bible Belt liberal" and says he's jumping into the race because no prominent Democrats have lined up to challenge Lincoln, who won the 2004 general election with nearly 56 percent of the vote.

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