Friday, January 29, 2010

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Friday, January 29, 2010

In This Issue

  • Obama Budget Will Assume Revenue From Climate Law
  • With Eye on Congress, Administration Rethinks Terror-Trial Venue
  • Indiana's Rep. Buyer Retiring
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session.

The Senate is not in session.

The President meets with his Cabinet; travels to Baltimore to speak at House Republicans' policy conference; returns to Washington for a meeting with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner.

In Washington, The Washington Auto Show continues at the Washington Convention Center, Mount Vernon Square N.W.

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Top Stories

Obama Budget Will Assume Revenue From Climate Law

President Obama's fiscal 2011 budget will project hundreds of billions of dollars in new federal revenue from a proposed comprehensive cap-and-trade climate law, according to Democratic aides — despite dimming prospects for enacting such legislation this year. [Read More]

With Eye on Congress, Administration Rethinks Terror-Trial Venue

The Justice Department is looking for an alternate venue outside of Manhattan to put five alleged terrorists on trial, after running into bipartisan resistance from Congress and New York officials. [Read More]

Indiana's Rep. Buyer Retiring

Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., said at a tearful press conference in Indianapolis that he is forgoing a bid for a 10th term so he can spend more time with his wife, whom he said has an "incurable autoimmune disease." [Read More]

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Political Clippings

According to the Boston Herald, "Joseph P. Kennedy II said he regrets not seeking the U.S. Senate seat vacated by his uncle," but the Democratic former congressman "won't challenge U.S. Sen.-elect Scott Brown in 2012." The newspaper asked Kennedy if Brown's victory over Martha Coakley made him regret his decision not to enter the race to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. "The thought has crossed my mind," Kennedy said. "Maybe that wasn't the greatest decision I ever made." He made the remark while delivering heating oil to a needy couple in Brighton, Mass., for his nonprofit Citizens Energy Corp. He added that he wasn't surprised that Coakley lost. "To be honest with you, I was surprised that [Brown' s] margin was as small as it was," he said, according to the Herald.

The Dallas Morning News reports, "One day after skipping the State of the Union address to campaign in Dallas" in the Texas governor race, Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison "jetted back to Washington to oppose the reappointment of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Thursday. The two high-profile events – one missed and one attended – are part of a tricky political and scheduling calculus that Hutchison's gubernatorial campaign is trying to solve as the March primary approaches. She must be both senator and candidate, and balancing those two can be nearly impossible." The newspaper notes: "She started this week campaigning in the Panhandle with former House Majority Leader Dick Armey. She spent Tuesday in Washington, then flew to Dallas to meet with constituents Wednesday. She was back in D.C. Thursday but will return to Dallas today for the second gubernatorial debate."

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Thursday, January 28, 2010

In This Issue

  • Senate Sends Debt Ceiling Increase to House
  • House Will Move Smaller Health Care Bills Next Month
  • Obama's Swipe at High Court Sparks Debate
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session.

The Senate votes to increase the government's borrowing authority; considers the nomination of Ben S. Bernanke to a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

The President with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., tours a maintenance hangar at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., then holds a town hall meeting at the University of Tampa to announce grants for high-speed rail projects.

In Washington, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor moderates a panel that includes U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan in a discussion on the role women lawyers have played in oral arguments before the Supreme Court. 3 p.m., Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

Senate Sends Debt Ceiling Increase to House

The Senate on Thursday authorized a huge increase in the statutory ceiling on federal borrowing, after voting to impose pay-as-you-go budget rules by law for the first time since 2002. [Read More]

House Will Move Smaller Health Care Bills Next Month

House leaders plan to bring small-scale health care legislation to the floor before the chamber leaves for its Presidents Day recess on Feb. 11, aides to Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday. [Read More]

Obama's Swipe at High Court Sparks Debate

Republicans and Democrats generated a crossfire of criticism Thursday over President Obama's comments in his State of the Union speech about a landmark Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance regulation and one justice's negative reaction to them. [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports that the national Republican Party, "Buoyed by Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts to claim Ted Kennedy's Senate seat ... is thinking about a Hawaii coup: a GOP member of Congress from the 50th state." In particular, the newspaper says "City Councilman Charles Djou is set to inherit the momentum of Brown's unexpected victory in a routinely Democratic state." The Republican National Committee is meeting this week in Hawaii. Gentry Collins, the RNC's political director, said: "The issues we saw work in Massachusetts would probably work in Hawaii as well. ... Djou is a fantastic candidate and he is running a great campaign. We expect to be competitive here and that will be a signal that Republicans are poised to have a very good general election."

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., apologized Wednesday "for causing U.S. Sen. Harry Reid any political heartburn by privately saying the Democrats — from President Barack Obama to Reid to Titus herself — were 'f---ed' and could lose re-election if they failed to learn from last week's upset GOP victory in Massachusetts." According to the newspaper: "Titus was called to the woodshed by Reid on Tuesday when her comments made a week ago to fellow House freshmen leaked on a political Web site." She said in a telephone interview with the Review-Journal: "I certainly apologized to him for any problems this has caused him. But I didn't say he was dead or he was going to lose. I said that from the president on down to myself — if we don't get the message — that we're all in trouble. It certainly wasn't anything specific about Senator Reid or Senator Reid's race. ... I have every confidence in Senator Reid's ability to win this election."

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In This Issue

  • Obama Likely to Rebrand Climate Bill
  • Groups Press Congress To Finish Health Care Overhaul
  • Top Senate Finance Republican to Vote 'No' on Bernanke
  • GOP Senators Press Attorney General on Christmas Bomber
  • Democrats May Target Foreign Corporations in Campaign Finance Bill
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Today in Washington

The House considers a bill to extend small-business programs and a pair of bills that previously failed to pass under suspension of the rules.

The Senate has no legislative business scheduled.

The President will deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at 9 p.m.

In Washington, a reception will be held after Special Olympics and Best Buddies members spend the day on Capitol Hill to urge continued government support and to advocate for the proposed Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act of 2010. 5 p.m., Hart, Room 902.

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Top Stories

Obama Likely to Rebrand Climate Bill

Despite the obituaries being written for Senate passage of a cap-and-trade bill this year, President Obama is expected to reiterate his call for comprehensive clean energy and climate change legislation and to rebrand it as part of his job-creation agenda. [Read More]

Groups Press Congress To Finish Health Care Overhaul

Proponents of a comprehensive health care overhaul are pressing congressional Democrats to finish the measure, despite a deflating election loss in Massachusetts last week and polls showing stiff public opposition to the legislation. [Read More]

Top Senate Finance Republican to Vote 'No' on Bernanke

Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said Wednesday that he will oppose confirmation of Ben S. Bernanke to a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve. [Read More]

GOP Senators Press Attorney General on Christmas Bomber

Senate Republicans want Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to testify before Congress about why Christmas bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is being held as a criminal defendant, rather than in military custody. [Read More]

Democrats May Target Foreign Corporations in Campaign Finance Bill

Democrats may try to block foreign corporations from spending money to influence U.S. elections as they draft new campaign finance legislation this year. [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Wilmington News Journal reports that New Castle County Executive Chris Coons has been "fielding calls" from Democratic luminaries urging him to run for the Senate in Delaware now that state Attorney General Beau Biden has declared he will not do so. Among those calling were Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Beau's dad, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. '"I'm leaning toward running,' Coons said Tuesday, adding that he would announce his decision by early next week." He is likely to face a tough battle against moderate GOP Rep. Michael N. Castle, a fixture in Delaware politics. "Even if Coons ran and lost, he'd still keep his county post through 2012."

The Williamsport Sun-Gazette reports that former U.S. attorney Thomas A. Marino "plans to formally announce today his bid" for the GOP nomination to take on Rep. Christopher Carney, D-Pa., in the 10th District. Marino, 57, has spent the past two years as a business attorney. "He referred to his campaign as a 'revolution against' Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, President Obama and others who 'fall into lockstep with them.' ... Marino served as U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania from 2002 to 2007." Others seeking the Republican nomination include "Snyder County Commissioner Malcolm Derk and Luzerne County chiropractor Dr. David Madeira, who reportedly plans a formal announcement Thursday."

Quinnipiac University reports in a poll released today that Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum leads Democratic state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink by 41 percent to 31 percent in the governor's race. McCollum's promise to file a legal challenge if Congress enacts a health care overhaul is seen as a "good idea" by 49 percent of Florida voters, with 42 percent opposed. "Florida voters disapprove 57 - 32 percent of the health care reform plan being considered by Congress." Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,618 Florida voters from Jan. 20-24, with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In This Issue

  • Effort to Create Powerful Debt Commission Falls Short
  • Hoyer Sees Political Boost in Spending Freeze
  • Senate May Vote on Bernanke Confirmation by Week's End
  • Hoyer Sketches Elements of Scaled-Back Health Bill
  • Can House Democrats Reconnect for 2010?
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Today in Washington

The House votes on commemorative resolutions, as well as a bill to provide emergency aid to U.S. survivors of the earthquake in Haiti.

The Senate debates a measure to increase the federal debt limit; rejects an amendment to create a powerful bipartisan commission to recommend ways to reduce the red ink over time.

The President calls the University of Kentucky men's basketball team to thank them for raising over $1 million for relief efforts in Haiti through "Hoops for Haiti;" has lunch with business leaders; meets with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

In Washington, CBS Face the Nation anchor Bob Schieffer moderates a discussion on terrorism with Ambassador Daniel Benjamin of the Sate Department and others. 5 p.m., Center for Strategic & International Studies B1 Conference Center, 1800 K St., N.W.

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Top Stories

Effort to Create Powerful Debt Commission Falls Short

A proposal backed by President Obama to create a bipartisan commission to recommend ways to reduce the national debt fell short in the Senate on Tuesday. [Read More]

Hoyer Sees Political Boost in Spending Freeze

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Tuesday that President Obama's proposed three-year freeze on domestic discretionary spending will be a "challenge" for Congress to execute, but he added that it could help Democrats seeking re-election in November. [Read More]

Senate May Vote on Bernanke Confirmation by Week's End

A vote to confirm Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke to a second term could come by the end of this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Tuesday. [Read More]

Hoyer Sketches Elements of Scaled-Back Health Bill

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer outlined steps Tuesday that Democrats would take if they decide to try to draft a stripped-down health care overhaul with Republican help. [Read More]

Can House Democrats Reconnect for 2010?

Even as President Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union address -- giving Democrats a chance to reset the political agenda for 2010 -- House Democrats are girding for the possibility of more retirements in the wake of last week's special election debacle in Massachusetts. [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Desoto Times Tribune of Mississippi reports that Republican "State senator Alan Nunnelee launched his bid for the U.S. First Congressional District in Southaven Monday, touting his religious and fiscally conservative beliefs." Nunnelee, who is chairman of the state Senate's appropriations panel, "decried the actions of the Congress during the past 12 months, which he said entailed 'higher taxes, more borrowed money, and less freedom.'" The seat is currently held by Democrat Travis W. Childers, who won the 2008 election with nearly 55 percent of the vote. The newspaper added that "Henry Ross, former mayor of Eupora, assistant district attorney and circuit court judge, also has announced his plans to run for the seat."

According to the Las Vegas Sun, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman announced Monday "that he will not run for governor and will instead focus on promoting the city and improving its economy." "It has been a great ride and I have 15 more months on this ride," Goodman said of the time left in his third and final term as mayor. "I'm going to keep myself busy for the next 15 months." According to the Sun, "Goodman and his wife changed their party affiliations from Democrat to non-partisan on Dec. 15, in a move some read as a signal that he was leaning toward a run for governor as an independent." In announcing that he would not run for governor, Goodman did not endorse any of the announced gubernatorial candidates, who include incumbent Republican Jim Gibbons, GOP challenger Brian Sandoval and Democrat Rory Reid, son of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that Republican former U.S. Attorney Thomas A. Marino "will join what might become a crowded field when he formally announces his candidacy" on Wednesday for Pennsylvania's 10th District House seat. "He will join a GOP race that already includes Snyder County Commissioner Malcolm Derk and Luzerne County chiropractor Dr. David Madeira, who plans a formal announcement Thursday. Others are also said to be considering bids," according to the newspaper. Incumbent Democrat Christopher Carney was first elected to the seat in 2006, and he won re-election in 2008 with 56 percent of the vote.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Monday, January 25, 2010

In This Issue

  • Support for Bernanke Appears To Grow
  • White House Turns Its Attention to Initiatives for Middle Class
  • Boehner Stays Busy on the Fundraising Trail
  • Meek Raises $1.2 Million for Florida Senate Race
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session.

The Senate votes on a judicial nomination and is expected to continue debate on a measure to increase the federal debt limit.

The President announces proposals intended to ease the economic burdon on middle class Americans; welcomes the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team to the White House; meets with Masoud Barzani, president of Iraq's Kurdistan region.

In Washington, The think tank Foreign Policy Initiative hosts a forum on the first year of the Obama administration. 6 p.m., 1 DuPont Circle N.W.

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Top Stories

Support for Bernanke Appears To Grow

Endorsements for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke continued to roll in Monday as the White House worked to shore up support for his nomination to a second term. [Read More]

White House Turns Its Attention to Initiatives for Middle Class

President Obama wants quick congressional action on a series of relatively targeted initiatives he says will ease the economic burden on middle-class families — a pivot to economic policy in the wake of last week's GOP Senate win in Massachusetts and in preparation for the State of the Union address Wednesday. [Read More]

Boehner Stays Busy on the Fundraising Trail

While a weakened economy and difficult political environment made 2009 a challenging fundraising year for House Republicans, Minority Leader John A. Boehner appears on pace to surpass the millions that he raised in the previous election cycle. [Read More]

Meek Raises $1.2 Million for Florida Senate Race

Rep. Kendrick B. Meek announced Monday morning that he raised $1.2 million during the last three months of 2009 and had over $3.3 million in cash on hand as of Dec. 31 for his Florida Senate bid. That haul probably will further solidify Meek's status as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in the open-seat race. [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the GOP is "homing in on congressional seats held by Democrats they consider vulnerable, and they believe they may have one in Texas: the District 17 U.S. House seat." Democratic Rep. Chet Edwards has won his last three campaigns, but the article quotes NRCC spokeswoman Joanna Burgos as saying Edwards "has misrepresented his constituents for far too long in a district that overwhelmingly voted for the last three Republican presidential nominees," and notes that some say "the district needs a member that reflects the Republican population in the region."

A Boston Globe op-ed by Ethan Porter of the journal Democracy touts Elizabeth Warren, a consumer-rights advocate and the congressionally appointed watchdog for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, as a contender in the 20102 Senate race. Porter says "Warren fits the bill" as a prospective challenger to Sen.-elect Scott P. Brown as "someone from outside the traditional political structure who can speak to their everyday, bread-and-butter concerns in a credible way."

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