Friday, December 18, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Friday, December 18, 2009 – 2:05 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Storms, Senate Action Dominate Weekend Plans
  • As Clock Ticks Down in Copenhagen, a Detailed Pact Seems Elusive
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Today in Washington

The House is not expected to be in session again until January.

The Senate resumes consideration of the fiscal 2010 Defense spending bill, which also contains several non-defense provisions.

The President holds a bilateral meeting with Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen in Copenhagen and delivers brief remarks during a morning plenary session; holds a bilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao then participates in an official photo with heads of state and heads of the U.S. delegation; holds a bilateral meeting with Brazilian President Lula da Silva; participates in an afternoon plenary session; holds a bilateral meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

In Washington, Musicians and singers perform from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the National Christmas Tree near the White House. Admission is free.

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Top Stories

Storms, Senate Action Dominate Weekend Plans

With a winter storm watch in effect for much of the weekend, the Senate is expected to clear the Defense spending bill early Saturday, then continue work on a health care bill. [Read More]

As Clock Ticks Down in Copenhagen, a Detailed Pact Seems Elusive

As world leaders paraded to the podium at U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen, negotiators continued to work frantically behind the scenes to reach a global agreement that all the parties would sign. [Read More]
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Political Clippings

The Olympian reports that Denny Heck, the founder of Washington state's TVW public affairs network, "says he filed federal campaign finance papers and fronted $100,000 to a potential campaign account Wednesday," a move that puts the Democrat closer to a formal run in the state's 3rd House District. "I am doing a bunch to get myself ready so I can hit the ground running. Having said that, I have not pulled the trigger," Heck said Wednesday. "This is a big, big, big decision and it bears serious deliberation. I've set a hard deadline of this weekend, and I will stick by that deadline" for deciding. According to the newspaper, "Four Republicans and four Democrats already are running just one week after six-term Democratic Rep. Brian Baird announced he will not seek re-election next year." Heck was chief of staff for Gov. Booth Gardner in the 1980s and has served in the state House.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Thursday, December 17, 2009 – 2:25 P.M.

In This Issue

  • Passage of Health Care Bill Could Come Christmas Eve
  • Sen. Nelson Still Not Ready To Support Health Care Bill
  • Clinton Says U.S. Would Take Lead on $100 Billion Climate Fund
  • House GOP Leader Says He'll Back Clean War Funding Bill
  • Durbin Defends Plans for Illinois Prison Purchase
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session.

The Senate considers the fiscal 2010 Defense spending bill, which carries extensions of a number of expiring unrelated programs, including unemployment and COBRA health insurance benefits, several provisions of anti-terrorism law, and an adjustment to Medicare physicians' pay.

The President meets with members of the National Economic Council, departs Andrews Air Force Base for the U.N. climate change negotiations in Copenhagen.

In Washington, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. James N. Miller Jr. and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs Michael Nacht will speak on "Deterring Cyberattacks: Informing Strategies and Developing Options for U.S. Policy." 4 p.m., Keck Center, 500 5th St. N.W.

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Top Stories

Passage of Health Care Bill Could Come Christmas Eve

Senators are preparing to pull some late nights and early mornings at the Capitol as Democrats push to pass a bill to retool the nation's health care system before the end of the year. [Read More]

Sen. Nelson Still Not Ready To Support Health Care Bill

Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson reiterated Thursday that he will not support the Senate's health care overhaul unless its restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion are strengthened. [Read More]

Clinton Says U.S. Would Take Lead on $100 Billion Climate Fund

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the United States would help to raise $100 billion annually through 2020 for a fund to help poor countries adapt to climate change -- but only if all countries submit to outside verification of their carbon emissions. [Read More]

House GOP Leader Says He'll Back Clean War Funding Bill

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner said Thursday he will help President Obama win House approval next year for an expected multibillion-dollar spending request to send 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan. [Read More]

Durbin Defends Plans for Illinois Prison Purchase

Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin hit back hard Thursday against GOP criticism of President Obama's decision to buy a prison in Durbin's home state of Illinois to house detainees. [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The San Jose Mercury News reports that a statewide California poll released yesterday was "the latest to show ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman holding a substantial lead over her rivals in June's Republican gubernatorial primary but still trailing Democrat Jerry Brown." But most voters aren't paying attention yet; the "Public Policy Institute of California survey of 2,004 residents, conducted during the first week of December, found only 10 percent of likely voters are watching the governor's race 'very' closely. Rather, Californians remain overwhelmingly preoccupied with the state's ongoing economic malaise." Still, Whtiman "was favored by 32 percent of likely Republican voters, compared with 12 percent for Tom Campbell, the former South Bay congressman, and 8 percent for Steve Poizner, the state's insurance commissioner."

According to the Kansas City Star, "Democrats found themselves scrambling for a major candidate for governor -- again -- after political newcomer Tom Wiggans abruptly exited the race Wednesday. The Olathe resident and former pharmaceutical executive acknowledged problems raising campaign money and said he was 'unknown to many voters and donors.'" That leaves Democrats without a serious contender to take on retiring Republican Sen. Sam Brownback in next year's gubernatorial contest.

The Miami Herald/McClatchy reports that "trying to land his dream job is harming Rep. Gresham Barrett's performance in the job he holds." Barrett, R-S.C., hoping to succeed embattled Republican Gov. Mark Sanford next year, "has missed more than one-third -- 337 -- of all votes taken this year in the U.S. House of Representatives, by far the highest number among all members. . . . Aides said he tries hard to balance the demands of representing his constituents in the 3rd Congressional District while actively campaigning for a statewide post."

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Wednesday, December 16, 2009 2:12 p.m.

In This Issue

  • Senate Republicans Trigger Procedural War To Slow Health Bill
  • Senate's Procedures Leave House Democrats Frustrated on Jobs Bill, Other Issues
  • States Seek Deadline Extension for Driver's License Standards
  • Kerry Assures Copenhagen Delegates Congress Will Pass Climate Bill
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Today in Washington

The House considers a four-bill package wrapping up the appropriations cycle for fiscal 2010 and extending a variety of expiring policies for at least two months.

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

The President meets with Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams; meets with Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairwoman Inez Tenenbaum; meets with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden; with the first lady, hosts a Hanukkah reception.

In Washington, Education Secretary Arne Duncan congratulates the 2009 National History Teacher of the Year winner, Tim Bailey of Utah, following the announcement by the Duncan Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. A Q&A with students follows. 4-5 p.m., School Without Walls at George Washington University, 2130 G St., N.W.

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Top Stories

Senate Republicans Trigger Procedural War To Slow Health Bill

Senate Republicans appear to be launching all-out procedural warfare in an attempt to keep Democrats from passing a health care bill before Christmas. [Read More]

Senate's Procedures Leave House Democrats Frustrated on Jobs Bill, Other Issues

House Democrats pointedly criticized the Senate on Wednesday for failing to take further steps to create jobs, seeking to distinguish themselves from the other chamber as the 2010 election season approaches amid stubbornly high jobless rates. [Read More]

States Seek Deadline Extension for Driver's License Standards

As the deadline for compliance with rigorous federal driver's license standards looms and congressional action on alternative standards is nowhere in sight, states are asking Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for another temporary reprieve. [Read More]

Kerry Assures Copenhagen Delegates Congress Will Pass Climate Bill

Sen. John Kerry promised the world Wednesday that Congress will pass a sweeping climate change bill in 2010 -- if negotiators in Copenhagen can reach a global deal this week. [Read More]
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Political Clippings

The Jacksonville Observer reports that a new poll shows Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and former state House Speaker Marco Rubio "are now tied in the 2010 race for the Republican Senate nomination in Florida.A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely GOP primary voters finds Crist and Rubio each with 43 percent of the vote. Five percent prefer another candidate, and nine percent are undecided." That is a drop of 10 points for Crist since August, the paper noted. "As his name recognition increased, Rubio's support in the polls has jumped from 31 percent in August to 43 percent today."

According to the Kansas City Star, "four-term Kansas state Rep. Kevin Yoder said Tuesday he will seek the 3rd District congressional seat that long-time incumbent Dennis Moore is vacating." Yoder, the chairman of the state House Appropriations Committee, "will enter a GOP primary that already includes former state Sen. Nick Jordan and former state Rep. Patricia Lightner."

The Olympian reports that Republican state Rep. Jaime Herrera and Democratic state Sen. Craig Pridemore and Hispanic activist Maria Rodriguez Salazar yesterday joined the 3rd Congressional District race to succeed retiring Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash. "The trio joins a field that already had two Democrats and three announced Republicans, and more appear to be on the way. ... The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put out a statement Tuesday that focused solely on Herrera, indicating the national party sees her as the biggest threat among the four Republicans."

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Tuesday, December 15, 2009 2:08 p.m.

In This Issue

  • Lieberman May Be Ready to Vote for Health Care Bill
  • Republicans Assail Purchase of Illinois Prison for Guantánamo Detainees
  • House Struggles To Wrap Up Fiscal Business
  • No Deal Yet on Estate Tax Extension
  • Levin Argues Against Fast-Track Trade Authority
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Today in Washington

The House considers more than a dozen measures under suspension of the rules, including legislation to ban caller ID "spoofing" and a bill to allow sanctions against companies that supply Iran with refined petroleum products or support its own production.

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

The President meets with labor and business leaders; discusses the economic impact of energy-saving home retrofits; meets with Senate Democrats to urge passage of health care bill; with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., meets with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

In Washington, the Embassy of South Africa hosts a reception in honor of the Free South Africa Movement in celebration of the 25th anniversary of massive anti-apartheid protests. 7 p.m., South African Embassy, 3051 Mass. Ave N.W.

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Top Stories

Lieberman May Be Ready to Vote for Health Care Bill

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman , I-Conn., indicated Tuesday that he is ready to give Senate Democrats the 60th vote they need to pass a stripped-down health care overhaul bill. [Read More]

Republicans Assail Purchase of Illinois Prison for Guantánamo Detainees

Republican congressional leaders on Tuesday denounced the Obama administration's decision to acquire an Illinois state prison to house some of the detainees now held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. [Read More]

House Struggles To Wrap Up Fiscal Business

House leaders plan to move legislation this week to allow Congress to finish its work for the year, but it also would require lawmakers to revisit thorny political issues early next year, such as the amount of debt the government can ring up. [Read More]

No Deal Yet on Estate Tax Extension

House and Senate leaders still do not have an agreement on how to prevent the estate tax from expiring as scheduled on Jan. 1, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., said Tuesday. [Read More]

Levin Argues Against Fast-Track Trade Authority

The chairman of the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee asserted Tuesday that Congress does not need to renew fast-track negotiating authority as the Obama administration begins trade talks with Pacific Rim nations. [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Orlando Sentinel reports that state Rep. Kurt Kelly expects to join the "crowded Republican primary looking to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson" next year. "Every indicator is pointing to me jumping in the race," said Kelly, who would be Grayson's first challenger with elected experience. Kelly, a former intern and legislative aide in the Florida House, was elected to the chamber in 2007."

According to the Denver Post, "a new poll shows former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis with an 8-point lead over the man he is trying to unseat, Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter. McInnis leads with 48 percent to Ritter's 40 percent," a Rasmussen Reports survey shows. "The telephone survey of 500 likely voters was conducted Thursday and has a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points. McInnis leads by a wider margin in this poll than a similar one conducted in September, which showed McInnis with 44 percent and Ritter, 39 percent."

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Monday, December 14, 2009

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Monday, December 14, 2009 –

In This Issue

  • Rep. Bart Gordon to Retire
  • Lazio Trails Democrats in New York Governor Race
  • Still Looking for 60 Votes on Health Bill, Democrats Plan to Caucus
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Today in Washington

The House votes on a bill to extend Andean trade preferences.

The Senate continues working through amendments to a health care overhaul bill.

The President met with members of the financial services industry; delivered a statement on the economy; met with President Michel Suleiman of Lebanon. Later meeting with Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.

In Washington, the Brazil Institute holds a seminar on implications of the application of WTO-mandated retaliatory measures on approximately $1 billion worth of U.S. imports. 4 p.m., Woodrow Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

Rep. Bart Gordon to Retire

Democrat Bart Gordon, the chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, announced Monday morning that he will step down from his Tennessee seat in 2010 after 13 terms in Congress. [Read More]

Lazio Trails Democrats in New York Governor Race

The only declared GOP challenger, former Rep. Rick Lazio, trails both big-name Democrats -- Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and unpopular incumbent Gov. David A. Paterson, according to a Siena College poll of registered New York voters conducted December 6-9. [Read More]

Still Looking for 60 Votes on Health Bill, Democrats Plan to Caucus

Senate Democrats will meet together as a caucus Monday night to discuss their troubled health care overhaul legislation, which remains short of the 60 votes needed for its passage. [Read More]
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Political Clippings

According to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Democrat Andrew Romanoff's "so-called stealth campaign" for the Senate "is about to come out of the shadows." Romanoff raised less than $250,000 in the first half of 2009, while Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet brought in more than $2.5 million. The two will face off in an August primary.

In the wake of Democratic Rep. Neil Abercrombie announcing his resignation from Hawaii's 1st District seat, the Honolulu Advertiser reports that ex-Rep. Ed Case and state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, both Democrats, will seek the seat, as will Republican Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou. Abercrombie's plan to focus his attention on a run for governor means a special election will be held to fill the remainder of Abercrombie's current congressional term, which ends January 2011.

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