Friday, November 20, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Friday, November 20, 2009 –

In This Issue

  • Senate Leaders 'Not Assuming a Thing' About Health Bill Vote
  • Grassley Criticizes Handling of Obama Nominees
  • Ethics Panel Admonishes Burris but Clears Him of Legal Wrongdoing
  • Democrats Propose Surtax to Cover War Costs
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session.

The Senate debates a procedural motion on health care legislation in advance of a key vote this weekend.

The President is in Washington. No public events planned.

In Washington, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., and others attend an event marking National Adoption Day. 3 p.m., Hubert Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Ave. S.W.

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Top Stories

Senate Leaders 'Not Assuming a Thing' About Health Bill Vote

The Senate opened a two-day debate on its health care overhaul bill amid indications Friday morning that Majority Leader Harry Reid , D-Nev., is closing in on the 60 votes he needs to overcome an anticipated Republican filibuster and bring the measure to the floor. [Read More]

Grassley Criticizes Handling of Obama Nominees

The Senate Finance Committee's top Republican slammed the Obama administration and some Democrats on Friday for seeking confirmation of several government nominees who have tax problems. [Read More]

Ethics Panel Admonishes Burris but Clears Him of Legal Wrongdoing

Sen. Roland W. Burris provided misleading information to investigators and had inappropriate phone calls with former Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich , but did not violate the law, the Senate's ethics committee said Friday. [Read More]

Democrats Propose Surtax to Cover War Costs

Senior House Democrats have introduced legislation that would impose a surtax beginning in 2011 to cover the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Minneapolis Star Tribune, reports that former Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Allen Quist, who has "a long record as an outspoken social conservative and GOP insurgent," plans to run against Democratic Rep. Tim Walz for the state's 1st District House seat. "Quist is painting his latest opponent as too liberal for his constituents," the newspaper reports. "But it remains to be seen whether residents of the southern Minnesota district -- including Republicans -- will find Quist mainstream enough for their taste." Quist challenged sitting Gov. Arne Carlson in the 1994 Republican primary, but lost by a 2-to-1 margin.

According to the Connecticut Post, Rick Torres, who was the GOP candidate for Bridgeport mayor in 2003, "has joined the growing field of Republican contenders hoping to take on freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Himes for his seat in the 4th Congressional District next year." According to the newspaper, "Torres ... will have to compete with his friend and former campaign manager Rob Russo, who announced his own candidacy for the congressional seat in September." Other Republican challengers in the 4th District race are "state Sen. Dan Debicella of Shelton, Norwalk resident Rob Merkle and Will Gregory of New Canaan," the Post reports.

The Martinsville, Va., Bulletin reports that businessman Laurence Verga has become the 6th Republican to enter the race against incumbent Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Va. "I'm very concerned about the direction President Obama and the Democratic Party are taking this country," Verga told the newspaper Thursday before addressing supporters at a steakhouse in Martinsville. The other announced GOP candidates for the 5th District House seat are "state Sen. Robert Hurt of Chatham; Ron Ferrin, Campbell County; Feda Kidd Morton, Fluvanna County; and Kenneth Boyd and Michael McPadden, both of Albemarle County," according to the newspaper.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Thursday, November 19, 2009 – 1:59 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Republicans Draw Battle Lines for Senate Floor Action on Health Bill
  • Geithner Faces Growing Wave of Criticism
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Today in Washington

The House considers several measures, including a bill addressing Medicare payments to physicians.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on a judicial nominee; also considers legislation involving health care for military veterans.

The President visits U.S. Embassy and participates in an arrival ceremony in Seoul, South Korea; meets with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak; delivers remarks at event with military personnel; travels to Anchorage, Alaska.

In Washington, George Washington University hosts a discussion with Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., about climate change. 8 p.m., Room 108, 2201 G St. N.W.

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Top Stories

Republicans Draw Battle Lines for Senate Floor Action on Health Bill

Republicans are vigorously attacking the health care overhaul package unveiled by Democrat Harry Reid, and the GOP is preparing to throw procedural roadblocks in front of the Senate majority leader's effort to call up the proposal on the floor before Thanksgiving. [Read More]

Geithner Faces Growing Wave of Criticism

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner is catching heat from both parties on Capitol Hill after a stinging report from the top auditor of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program -- so much so that some members are calling for his resignation. [Read More]
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Political Clippings

The Concord Monitor reports that "Republican National Committeeman Sean Mahoney will not run" for the Senate seat of Judd Gregg, R-N.H., who is not running in 2010. "In a statement released yesterday, Mahoney wrote that while he considered running, his priority was ensuring that there was a candidate in the race who supported conservative principles," the newspaper reported, adding, "Mahoney has also been named as a possible challenger to Democratic Gov. John Lynch, and his statement did not rule that out." According to the Monitor, the race for Gregg's seat "now includes Republicans Kelly Ayotte, Ovide Lamontagne, Bill Binnie and Jim Bender." The Republican nominee is expected to face Democratic Rep. Paul W. Hodes.

According to the Sanford Herald, "Citing the difficulty it would take to finance a campaign and the demands of running for office on a young family, former Lieutenant Governor Dennis Wicker of Sanford announced Wednesday that he will not seek the seat in the U.S. Senate currently held by Republican Richard Burr in 2010." Before Wednesday's announcement, it had been reported that Wicker, a Democrat, said he would consider getting into the race only if Democratic Rep. Bob Etheridge had declined to do so. Etheridge recently announced that he would run for re-election to the House and not seek a Senate seat. But Wicker said Wednesday, "I think more about the future of my three boys than I do about my own," according to the newspaper.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Wednesday, November 18, 2009 – 2:00 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Senate Democrats to Meet on Final Draft of Health Bill
  • Homeland Security Panel Plans to Investigate Fort Hood Shooting
  • Ways and Means Democrats Buck Their Chairman on Estate Tax
  • Risky Firms Would Be Easier to Break Up Under New Proposal
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Today in Washington

The House votes on small-business bills, including one on information technology at small health care practices.

The Senate is expected to vote on a judicial nomination, followed by debate of a veterans' health care package.

The President meets with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao; tours the Great Wall of China; travels to Seoul, South Korea.

In Washington, the American Enterprise Institute hosts a conversation on "The Science of Women and Science." 5:30 p.m., Wohlstetter Conference Center, 12th floor, 1150 17th St. N.W.

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Top Stories

Senate Democrats to Meet on Final Draft of Health Bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to discuss a final draft of health care overhaul legislation, as well as its cost, with his fellow Democrats in a closed-door meeting Wednesday afternoon, a senior Democratic aide said Wednesday. [Read More]

Homeland Security Panel Plans to Investigate Fort Hood Shooting

Leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said Wednesday they would investigate potential intelligence failures in the Fort Hood shooting and the overall threat of homegrown terrorism. [Read More]

Ways and Means Democrats Buck Their Chairman on Estate Tax

House Ways and Means Committee Democrats support a one-year extension of current estate tax levels, a significant departure from plans laid out by House leaders and panel Chairman Charles B. Rangel. [Read More]

Risky Firms Would Be Easier to Break Up Under New Proposal

A key lawmaker on the House Financial Services Committee has a proposal that would clarify, and potentially expand, the powers of the government to break up financial companies deemed too risky to the overall economy. [Read More]
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Political Clippings

The Palm Beach Post's political blog reports that former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio made a "public pitch for debates Tuesday" in the GOP Senate primary race against Gov. Charlie Crist, whose campaign has not responded to the debate issue. The newspaper published a request that Rubio's campaign sent Tuesday to Crist's Senate campaign offices. "Marco welcomes the challenge and invites Governor Crist to reconsider his reluctance to directly engage in face-to-face debates," the letter said. "In light of Governor Crist's 'governing' commitments, we would be happy to work with you to formalize a debate schedule that will help our campaigns rise above the typical 30-second commercials, slick slogans and bumper stickers that define too many of our country's political contests."

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that businessman Tom Wiggans on Tuesday filed paperwork to run as a Democrat for governor. Wiggins "stepped into a political void left by Democratic Gov. Mark Parkinson and state Democratic Party chairman Larry Gates, who both declined to run" in 2010. Wiggins, who works in pharmaceuticals and bioscience, said, "now, more than ever, as our state and our families deal with this difficult economic climate, we need a successful business leader in the governor's office." Sen. Sam Brownback is seeking the GOP nomination for governor. In addition to Wiggans, Democrat Herb West is bidding for the nomination.

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