Friday, December 04, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Friday, December 04, 2009 –

In This Issue

  • Boehner Notes That Jobless Rate Is Still at Double Digits
  • Shays' Ex-Campaign Manager Indicted
  • Top House Republicans Continue to Question Afghan Pullout Plan
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session.

The Senate continues consideration of health care overhaul legislation.

The President travels to Allentown, Pa., to deliver remarks and hold a discussion about the economy.

In Washington, The National Zoo holds its annual ZooLights event, featuring more than 50 light displays. 6 p.m., 3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

Boehner Notes That Jobless Rate Is Still at Double Digits

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner said Friday he was not impressed by the latest jobless report showing national unemployment falling to 10 percent. [Read More]

Shays' Ex-Campaign Manager Indicted

Michael Sohn, a longtime aide to former Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., has been indicted on embezzlement and tax evasion charges. Sohn, who is accused of embezzling campaign money, is scheduled to be arraigned Friday. [Read More]

Top House Republicans Continue to Question Afghan Pullout Plan

Even after two days of congressional testimony by top Obama administration officials about the president's plan to send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, House Republican leader John A. Boehner said he still has unanswered questions. [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that former Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., "is taking small steps back into the public eye" as buzz about a possible gubernatorial run grows. In an interview with the Star Tribune, Coleman said that a decision on whether he will join the 2010 race is "down the road," but he said that his heart "is in public service." According to the newspaper, "Coleman had cut a private profile since July, when he lost a bitter and extended Senate battle to Democrat Al Franken by 312 votes. But last month he did a stint at Harvard University," and Friday he will appear on a public affairs TV show. "I'm not sitting on the beach with my feet in the water and a bottle of beer in my hand," Coleman said. "I'm out there working as I always have."

According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, "Yet another Louisville Republican is running for U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth's 3rd District seat. Jeffrey T. Reetz, who owns 32 Pizza Hut restaurants in four states, said Wednesday that he's worried the country is headed the wrong direction." Yarmuth, a Democrat, is serving his second term after unseating Republican incumbent Anne Northup in 2006. "Already in the Republican race are Todd Lally, a UPS pilot, and Marilyn Parker, a nurse who is active in the Tea Party movement," the newspaper reports. "Larry Hausman, an investment adviser, has formed an exploratory committee to look into the race."

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Thursday, December 03, 2009 –

In This Issue

  • House Democrats Eye Bailout Money for Jobs Package
  • Bernanke Defends Fed's Independence
  • Pelosi Rejects War Surtax
  • Abortion Fight May Be Next in Senate's Health Care Debate
  • Secret Service Director Takes Full Blame for White House Breach
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Today in Washington

The House considers legislation to make permanent the current 45 percent estate tax rate with an exemption of $3.5 million, along with a bill to reauthorize the licenses that govern the retransmission of distant and local television signals by cable and satellite television operators.

The Senate continues to debate amendments to its health care overhaul legislation.

The President delivers opening and closing remarks at a forum on jobs and economic growth; attends the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony with his family.

In Washington, National Christmas Tree Lightning Ceremony. Sheryl Crow, Common and Ray LaMontagne are scheduled to perform. 5 p.m., The Ellipse.

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Top Stories

House Democrats Eye Bailout Money for Jobs Package

Top House Democratic leaders, admitting that voters will judge Democrats in next year's elections largely on the nation's unemployment rate, said Thursday they plan action on limited jobs legislation this month but will put off a more comprehensive effort until Congress returns in January. [Read More]

Bernanke Defends Fed's Independence

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke made the case for a strong, independent central bank Thursday as he faced sometimes hostile questions about the Fed's recent actions during a hearing on his nomination to a second term. [Read More]

Pelosi Rejects War Surtax

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has all but killed the idea of a surtax to pay for President Obama's plan to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, rejecting a proposal championed by Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey , D-Wis. [Read More]

Abortion Fight May Be Next in Senate's Health Care Debate

A Senate floor fight over limits on federal funding for abortion could erupt soon, threatening to divide Democrats as they battle to advance their comprehensive health care legislation. [Read More]

Secret Service Director Takes Full Blame for White House Breach

Secret Service Director Mark J. Sullivan wouldn't take anything less the full brunt of the blame for the case of White House party crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing Thursday. [Read More]

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Political Clippings

WFAA-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth reports that "sharp words escalated Wednesday among Texas' top three Republican officeholders as Sen. John Cornyn slapped back at Gov. Rick Perry for 'second-guessing' him and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison over their votes in favor" of last year's financial bailout package. "The sparring before the Republican gubernatorial primary shows that the 2008 Senate vote to bail out Wall Street and banks remains controversial." Cornyn warned, "Governor Perry knows it is very easy to second-guess the decisions made of elected representatives, particularly months after the fact, and I would just urge him to be careful about that."

The Miami Herald reports that former Mayor Maurice Ferré, 74, is looking to his native Puerto Rico for funds to bolster his long-shot campaign for the 2010 Democratic Senate nomination. "Ferré's major Democratic rival is U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami, who got a nine-month head start and has about $2.67 million in the bank." Ferré acknowledged. 'Fundraising is not easy, and Kendrick was way ahead of the game.'" While "a fundraising operation based in Puerto Rico is unusual," it is "perfectly legal because it is a U.S. territory. Members of Congress from John Mica of Florida to Don Young of Alaska have traveled to Puerto Rico to raise money, Ferré said."

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Wednesday, December 02, 2009 –

In This Issue

  • Republicans Grill Top Officials on Troop Withdrawal Timeline
  • Northrop Grumman Threat To Drop Air Tanker Bid Frays a Few Nerves
  • Congress Eases Path To Family and Medical Leave for Flight Attendants
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Today in Washington

The House considers several bills, including legislation to reauthorize the licenses that govern the retransmission of distant and local television signals by cable and satellite television operators.

The Senate continues to debate amendments to its health care overhaul legislation.

The President lunches with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.; meets separately with Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

In Washington, the National Institute of Standards and Technology sponsors three-day workshop on high-tech ID cards, through tomorrow. National Transportation Safety Board Conference Center, 429 L'Enfant Plaza.

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Top Stories

Republicans Grill Top Officials on Troop Withdrawal Timeline

Republicans on Wednesday sharply questioned President Obama's plan to follow a 30,000 troop surge in Afghanistan with a drawdown starting in mid-2011, but the president won qualified support from his 2008 campaign rival. [Read More]

Northrop Grumman Threat To Drop Air Tanker Bid Frays a Few Nerves

Lawmakers are reacting along predictable lines to a threat from Northrop Grumman to withdraw from a competition to sell new tanker refueling aircraft to the Air Force, with some expressing regret and others disdain. [Read More]

Congress Eases Path To Family and Medical Leave for Flight Attendants

Legislation that would reduce the hours airline flight attendants need to work to qualify for extended family and medical leave benefits was cleared Wednesday for President Obama's signature. [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Deseret News reports that although two out of three Utah respondents to a new poll do not want Republican Sen. Robert F. Bennett re-elected next year, "all of the challengers seeking to unseat him currently trail far behind him." The survey, conducted for the Deseret News and KSL-TV by Dan Jones & Associates, nonetheless shows Bennett, 75, faces "real trouble" in his bid for a fourth term. "When those polled were asked if they want Bennett to be re-elected next year, or if it is time to give someone new a chance, just 27 percent favored his re-election and 58 percent wanted someone new. "That is very low. Normally, that's between 42 and 44 percent" in such questions for candidates considered to have good chances at re-election, pollster Dan Jones said.

According to the Newark Star-Ledger, New Jersey Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine "outspent Gov.-elect Chris Christie by about 2-to-1 in his losing bid for a second term, including $28.5 million from the multimillionaire governor's own pocket, according to reports released yesterday. Corzine spent $27 million during the general election to Christie's $11.4 million, the state Election Law Enforcement Commission said. Corzine reported raising $27.1 million, $25.3 million of it contributions or loans from him to his campaign, and Christie $11.9 million." The governor also spent $4.5 million during the primary campaign. Corzine, "who spent a combined $100 million on his successful campaigns for U.S. Senate in 2000 and governor in 2005, lost to the Republican Christie by 86,714 votes on Nov. 3."

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Tuesday, December 01, 2009 –

In This Issue

  • Hoyer Urges Democrats To Reserve Judgment on Afghanistan Surge
  • GOP Leaders Plan an Alternative to Obama's Jobs Summit
  • Palin Ally Malek To Host Fundraising Dinner For Rep. Blunt
  • Gauging Gillibrand's Vulnerability in 2010
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Today in Washington

The House considers several bills, including two on energy research.

The Senate debates health care overhaul legislation and votes on a judicial nomination.

The President meets with Nobel laureates and their families in the Oval Office; meets with Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates; meets with congressional leaders; departs for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., to give 8 p.m. speech outlining his new Afghanistan policy.

In Washington, the Bone Marrow Transplant Link holds an educational event on the future of bone marrow and stem cell transplants. Speakers include Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., as well as physicians, transplant survivors and their family members. 6:30 p.m., offices of Jones Day, 51 Louisiana Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

Hoyer Urges Democrats To Reserve Judgment on Afghanistan Surge

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer , D-Md., admitted Tuesday that his caucus is divided over whether to support President Obama's plan for an increased military commitment in Afghanistan, but he urged Democrats to reserve judgment for now. [Read More]

GOP Leaders Plan an Alternative to Obama's Jobs Summit

President Obama will hold a jobs summit this week. House Democrats are fast-tracking legislation aimed at denting the nation's 10.2 percent unemployment rate. And House Republican Leader John A. Boehner is moving to counter them with his own event. [Read More]

Gauging Gillibrand's Vulnerability in 2010

No matter what Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand does, the freshman senator from New York has not been able to scare off talk of a big-name 2010 challenge, either in the primary or the general election. [Read More]

Palin Ally Malek To Host Fundraising Dinner For Rep. Blunt

Fred Malek, an ally of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and power lobbyist Charlie Black are co-hosting a fundraising dinner for Rep. Roy Blunt's bid for the Senate in 2010. [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Boston Herald reports that "the next U.S. senator from Massachusetts will oppose President Obama's plan to send more troops to Afghanistan, as all four Democratic candidates skewered their party leader's proposal at a Herald-Suffolk University debate on the eve of his major address to the nation tonight." The candidates seeking to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., all criticized Obama's move to send 30,000 more U.S. troops to the war, although the apparent frontrunner, state Attorney General Martha Coakley, was somewhat less vehement than the others. "'I'm going to listen to the president . . . but I don't believe he will make a case that I can support,' Coakley said."

The Salt Lake City Tribune reports that another potential primary challenger to Utah GOP Gov. Gary Herbert dropped out of the race Monday. State Sen. John Valentine, "who had been laying the groundwork for a campaign for months, said he could not pinpoint enough areas where he differed from Herbert on issues to challenge the governor for the seat he inherited when Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. stepped down in August to become U.S. ambassador to China." He is the latest in a string of GOP contenders to step aside. "On the Democratic side, Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon is being urged to run and is exploring the possibility."

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Monday, November 30, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Monday, November 30, 2009 –

In This Issue

  • Budget Analysts Look at Senate's Health Insurance 'Exchange' Proposal
  • White House Tax Panel Decides to Gather More Ideas
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session.

The Senate continues consideration of health care overhaul legislation.

The President meets with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

In Washington, the American Association for the Advancement of Science holds a discussion on H1N1 flu with Assistant Surgeon General Anne Schuchat and Jeffrey Taubenberger of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. 6 p.m., AAAS Auditorium, 12th and H Streets N.W.

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Top Stories

Budget Analysts Look at Senate's Health Insurance 'Exchange' Proposal

Individuals who purchase health coverage through an "exchange" in the Senate Democrats' health care bill would pay higher premiums than they would under current law for their plans, but new subsidies would offset the increased costs for more than half those people, according to a new analysis. [Read More]

White House Tax Panel Decides to Gather More Ideas

An Obama administration tax-policy task force is delaying its report until after the holiday season, the White House has announced. [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Desert Sun of Palm Springs, Calif., reports that the 2010 campaign of Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., will be getting a boost from Mitt Romney, the Republican former governor of Massachusetts. Romney "will be stumping for her in January," including a Jan. 9 fundraiser at a private Palm Desert residence, according to the newspaper. In the race to keep her 45th District seat, Bono Mack faces a primary challenge from Clayton Thibodeau, "a self-described Republican Constitutionalist from Hemet," the Desert Sun reports. Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet is the only Democrat to enter the race so far.

According to the Arizona Republic, "After making historic gains in the interior West in the past three elections, Democrats are bracing for expected losses in the region in 2010." The newspaper reports that "Declining support for Democrats among the West's crucial independent voters, combined with traditional losses for the president's party in a midterm election, will make next year especially tough for the party, political analysts say." The most vulnerable Democrats "are those who haven't been in office long and who hold seats wrested from Republicans in the past two or three elections, analysts say. That describes about a dozen Democratic House members in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and New Mexico," according to the Republic.

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