Friday, December 11, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Friday, December 11, 2009 – 2:17 P.M.

In This Issue

  • House Beats Back Challenge to Financial Overhaul
  • Senators Present a Framework for Compromise on Climate Change
  • Sen. Dorgan: TV Network Aimed at Cuba a 'Total Waste'
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Today in Washington

The House is debating and expected to vote on amendments to a financial regulations package.

The Senate continues debate on an omnibus package of fiscal 2010 spending bills and may try to return to debating amendments to a health care overhaul bill.

The President visits U.S. embassy staff and their families in Oslo, Norway.

In Washington, the nonprofit group Wreaths Across America and the Pentagon Memorial Fund will conduct a short wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon Memorial. 3 p.m., South Parking Lot of the Pentagon.

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Top Stories

House Beats Back Challenge to Financial Overhaul

Democrats sidestepped a major challenge to their financial overhaul bill Friday, defeating an attempt to remove a White House-backed consumer protection provision. [Read More]

Senators Present a Framework for Compromise on Climate Change

In a bid to reassure negotiators at U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen, a trio of senators writing compromise legislation to address climate change released a set of principles Thursday designed to win a filibuster-proof 60 votes. [Read More]

Sen. Dorgan: TV Network Aimed at Cuba a 'Total Waste'

Senate appropriators who voted to strip funding for TV Martí, a U.S. network aimed at Cuba, are exasperated that the omnibus spending bill would keep the perpetually jammed service on the air. [Read More]
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Political Clippings

The Oklahoman reports that Corporation Commissioner Jeff Cloud has formally announced his candidacy for the 5th District seat that Republican Mary Fallin is vacating to run for governor. He joins a raft of GOP hopefuls vying for the seat, including state Rep. Mike Thompson and ex-state Rep. Kevin Calvey. A Democratic presence in this seat's race seems unlikely to be a factor.

According to The Kansas City Star Prime Buzz blog, former Missouri Sen. Jim Talent on Thursday endorsed GOP Rep. Jerry Moran in the race to succeed Sen. Sam Brownback, who is running for governor. "In endorsing Moran, Talent praised his 'proven record of supporting small business, tax relief for working families and fiscal responsibility.'" Moran faces a tough primary challenge for the open seat from fellow Republican Rep. Todd Tiahrt. Former newspaper editor Charles Schollenberger is the only candidate so far on the Democratic side.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Thursday, December 10, 2009 – 2:15 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Pelosi Leaves Door Open for Final Health Care Vote This Year
  • Omnibus Appropriations Bill Headed for Final Action
  • Debt Ceiling Issue Complicates Action on Defense Spending Bill
  • House Tackles Financial Regulatory Overhaul
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Today in Washington

The House adopts the conference report on a package of six fiscal 2010 appropriations bills; considers amendments to a financial regulatory overhaul package.

The Senate continues to consider amendments to health care overhaul legislation.

The President accepts the Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway; meets with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg; with Mrs. Obama, meets with King Harald V and Queen Sonja; greets the Torch Parade from the Grand Hotel Balcony; with Mrs. Obama, attends the Nobel Banquet

In Washington, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice will speak at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum about genocide prevention. 7 p.m., 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, S.W.

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Top Stories

Pelosi Leaves Door Open for Final Health Care Vote This Year

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she wouldn't rule out keeping the House in session for part of Christmas week, if that could lead to final action this year on a health care overhaul. [Read More]

Omnibus Appropriations Bill Headed for Final Action

Congress was moving a big a step closer Thursday toward completion of its fiscal 2010 appropriations bills, as the House prepared to vote on a package combining six spending bills that fund a host of domestic and State Department programs. [Read More]

Debt Ceiling Issue Complicates Action on Defense Spending Bill

House Republicans will oppose a must-pass increase in the nation's debt ceiling if it comes to the floor as part of the fiscal 2010 Defense appropriations bill, Minority Leader John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, said Thursday. [Read More]

House Tackles Financial Regulatory Overhaul

The House started work Thursday on legislation that would overhaul the nation's financial regulations, after negotiators worked out compromise language on several controversial provisions. [Read More]
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Political Clippings

The Raleigh News & Observer reports that North Carolina "Secretary of State Elaine Marshall said Wednesday she is committed to next year's U.S. Senate race despite the death of her husband and a key national group's backing of another candidate." Marshall said she was "in this race to stay" and was not deterred by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's recruitment of former state Sen. Cal Cunningham into the race. Chapel Hill lawyer Kenneth Lewis is also seeking the Democratic nomination. North Carolina Democrats do not appreciate Washington trying to handpick or anoint their candidate,' Marshall said."

According to the Lynchburg News and Advance, "six candidates for the Republican Party's nomination to oppose Rep. Tom Perriello said Wednesday they want 5th District Republicans to use the convention method" to choose the GOP nominee; the seventh Republican, state Sen. Robert Hurt, prefers a primary, his spokesman said. "The National Republican Congressional Committee has made it clear that Hurt is its preferred candidate to run against Perriello. ... The 5th District committee, whose 32 members represent county and city Republican units, will meet Saturday in Appomattox to decide between a convention and a primary."

The Lakeland Ledger reports that Rep. Adam H. Putnam, R-Fla., has "endorsed former Republican state Rep. Dennis Ross of Lakeland to succeed him in the 12th Congressional District seat next year." Putnam is leaving to run for state agriculture commission, "and while Ross has at least two GOP primary opponents with a hint of more to come, he has thrown his support to Ross."

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Wednesday, December 09, 2009 – 2:17 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Treasury Secretary Announces Extension of Bailout Program
  • Drug Import Issue Slows Senate Health Care Debate
  • Handgun Owners Win Right to Pack 'em on Amtrak
  • Deficit Hawks Want To Force Vote on Debt Commission Plan
  • Bill Banning Job Bias Against Gays Slips to 2010
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Today in Washington

The House votes on legislation that would extend expiring tax provisions.

The Senate continues to debate and vote on amendments to the health care overhaul bill.

The President with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., meets with members of Congress to discuss the economy; announces the award of nearly $600 million in stimulus funding to build community health centers; meets with business and environmental leaders in advance of global warming meetings in Copenhagen; departs for Oslo, Norway, where he will accept the Nobel Peace Prize tomorrow.

In Washington, Council on Foreign Relations hosts a discussion on the status and future of the U.S.-Europe partnership, with Assistant Secretary of State Philip H. Gordon. 6:30 p.m., Council on Foreign Relations, 1777 F St. N.W.

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Top Stories

Treasury Secretary Announces Extension of Bailout Program

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner announced the extension of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program on Wednesday, continuing the controversial program credited with playing a role in stabilizing a failing financial system last fall. [Read More]

Drug Import Issue Slows Senate Health Care Debate

The Senate was slogging through a debate Wednesday on a bipartisan effort to amend its health care bill to allow imports of prescription drugs from other countries, where they are often sold for far less than in the United States. [Read More]

Handgun Owners Win Right to Pack 'em on Amtrak

Amtrak riders will be able to pack handguns in their checked luggage within a year, under a provision tucked into the final version of the fiscal 2010 omnibus spending bill. [Read More]

Deficit Hawks Want To Force Vote on Debt Commission Plan

A bipartisan group of senators unveiled a debt commission proposal Wednesday, as centrist Democrats warned party leaders not to try to raise the amount the government can borrow without also allowing a vote on the commission or a similar proposal. [Read More]

Bill Banning Job Bias Against Gays Slips to 2010

House Democratic leaders say they are committed to taking up early next year a measure that would outlaw employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but the delay has angered gay activists. [Read More]

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Political Clippings

Taegan Goddard's Political Wire reports that Sen. Christopher Dodd said "he had not been directly confronted by Connecticut Democratic leaders" urging him to consider stepping out of the 2010 Senate race. A new poll yesterday showed Dodd way behind his chief Republican rival.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the state AFL-CIO has "opted not to endorse in the Democratic governor's race -- a blow to Gov. Pat Quinn and a potential help to rival Comptroller Dan Hynes, who isn't hurt by a decision of neutrality ahead of the Feb. 2 primary." Hynes' campaign called the labor decision "a 'stinging rebuke' of Quinn's leadership since he took office in January to replace ousted disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich." But Quinn brushed off the matter, noting the union coalition didn't endorse Hynes either. The AFL-CIO did endorse Democrat Alexi Giannoulias for U.S. Senate,"to succeed appointed Sen. Roland Burris."

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Tuesday, December 08, 2009 –

In This Issue

  • Obama Sets Priorities for New Job Creation Effort
  • Top General, Ambassador Close Ranks Behind Obama's Afghanistan Plan
  • Abortion Vote Looms as Health Care Talks Continue
  • LaHood Lays Out Plans for Federal Takeover of Transit Safety
  • Senate Panel Sets Vote on Bernanke Nomination
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Today in Washington

The House considers more than a dozen minor measures under suspension of the rules; takes procedural steps toward a House-Senate conference on the fiscal 2010 Transportation spending bill that is expected to carry the final versions of five other spending bills.

The Senate continues to consider amendments to the health care overhaul bill, including one to tighten restrictions on use of federal funds for abortion coverage.

The President delivers a speech at the Brookings Institution on job creation and the economy; lunches with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.; meets with Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In Washington, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree lighting ceremony is held, featuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz.; Arizona Gov. Janice Brewer. (The tree came from Arizona's Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.) West Front of Capitol, 5 p.m.

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Top Stories

Obama Sets Priorities for New Job Creation Effort

President Obama on Tuesday proposed additional tax breaks for small businesses and spending focused on infrastructure projects and energy conservation as a way to create jobs. [Read More]

Top General, Ambassador Close Ranks Behind Obama's Afghanistan Plan

The top U.S. military and civilian leaders in Afghanistan told skeptical lawmakers of both parties Tuesday that they support President Obama's new strategy in the war there. [Read More]

Abortion Vote Looms as Health Care Talks Continue

Senate Democrats will seek to table an amendment that would bar federal funding for most abortions under the health care overhaul bill, a top party leader said Tuesday. [Read More]

LaHood Lays Out Plans for Federal Takeover of Transit Safety

The federal government would take over responsibility for enforcing safety standards for public transit under a plan that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood delivered to Congress on Tuesday. [Read More]

Senate Panel Sets Vote on Bernanke Nomination

The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will vote Dec. 17 on Ben S. Bernanke's nomination to a second term as Federal Reserve chairman, likely opening the path to Senate floor consideration of the former Princeton economics professor. [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Kansas City Star reports that a new Survey USA poll shows that a Republican primary contest pitting two House members against each other for the nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., is neck and neck. The poll "shows the race at 37 percent for Jerry Moran, 34 percent for Todd Tiahrt. The margin of error is 4.6 percent, meaning that either number could swing by that much," the paper reported.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, formally filed her papers Monday to challenge GOP Gov. Rick Perry in the March 2 primary next year, asserting she is best able to defeat Democratic Houston Mayor Bill White in the general election. "She noted that she has won elections to the Senate with more than 60 percent of the vote while Perry won re-election in 2006 with 39 percent of the vote."

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Monday, December 07, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Monday, December 07, 2009 –

In This Issue

  • EPA Prepares to Classify Carbon Dioxide as Dangerous
  • Brighter TARP Data Could Boost Jobs Bill
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Today in Washington

The House votes on a number of parks and lands bills.

The Senate continues work on amendments to the health care overhaul bill (HR 3590).

The President met with senior advisers; then with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. Later meets with Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Amb. Karl Eikenberry to discuss Afghanistan, and hosting a holiday reception this evening for members of Congress.

In Washington, the National Immigration Law Center presents its 7th National Low Income Immigrant Rights Conference. Doubletree Hotel Crystal City, 300 Army Navy Dr., Arlington.

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Top Stories

EPA Prepares to Classify Carbon Dioxide as Dangerous

The EPA is expected to release a strategically timed announcement declaring carbon dioxide a dangerous pollutant, a move that would resonate internationally as the world begins talks on a climate change treaty at a U.N. summit in Copenhagen. [Read More]

Brighter TARP Data Could Boost Jobs Bill

The Obama administration will cut its projected losses from the financial bailout program enacted last year by at least $200 billion, potentially creating a bigger opening to funding for a jobs bill being considered by House Democratic leaders. [Read More]
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Political Clippings

The Kansas City Star reports that Republican Reps. Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt "seem to be everywhere" these days in Johnson County, Kan., "a part of the state where neither is particularly well known." The county has become "ground zero" in their race for the 2010 Republican Senate nomination, according to the newspaper. "My wife says I should rent an apartment up here," said Tiahrt, who currently represents Kansas' 4th District in the House. "Johnson County has become a second home," said Moran, who represents the 1st District in the House.

According to the Raleigh News & Observer, "Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy has decided not to seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate next year. Foy, 53, had been exploring a Senate bid for several months as he prepares to end his tenure as mayor of the college town." He said the decision not to run against incumbent Richard M. Burr, R-N.C., was as much personal as political. "I've been in elective office for 12 years," Foy said. "I felt I wanted to do something new. It didn't involve a campaign and didn't involve another office. It was not something I wanted to do right now." The News & Observer reports that there are already two Democratic Senate candidates: Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Chapel Hill attorney Kenneth Lewis. Former state Sen. Cal Cunningham of Lexington is expected to join the race soon.

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