Friday, February 12, 2010

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Friday, February 12, 2010

In This Issue

  • Note to Readers
  • Drug Companies' Top Lobbyist Plans To Resign
  • Pelosi, Other Lawmakers Head to Haiti
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session. Reconvenes Feb. 22.

The Senate is not in session. Reconvenes Feb. 22.

The President receives briefings and meets with advisers.

In Washington, members of the Greater Washington Haiti Relief Committee mark the one-month anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti by beginning a candlelight vigil at the Haitian Embassy at the exact time the quake struck. 4:53 p.m., 2311 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.

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Top Stories

Note to Readers

The Midday Update will publish next on Feb. 22, after the congressional Presidents Day recess.

Drug Companies' Top Lobbyist Plans To Resign

Billy Tauzin — the head of the powerful drug lobby that cut an $80 billion deal with Democrats to help cover the costs of their health care overhaul effort — is stepping down in June, according to the organization. [Read More]

Pelosi, Other Lawmakers Head to Haiti

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading a bipartisan House and Senate delegation on a one-day visit Friday to earthquake-stricken Haiti. [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Raleigh News & Observer reports that Cal Cunningham, a former North Carolina state senator and an Iraq war veteran, formally entered the race Thursday for the Democratic nomination against incumbent Sen. Richard M. Burr, R-N.C. "Cunningham, a 36-year-old lawyer from Lexington, starts the race little known across North Carolina but with encouragement from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and from the White House, which view him as having the most potential" against Burr, according to the newspaper.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, Republican Brian Krolicki, Nevada's lietennant governor, "says he won't run for the U.S. Senate to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid." Instead, Krolicki will seek another term in his current job. The newspaper says Krolicki had given the Senate race "serious consideration after receiving encouragement from Washington insiders, including Ariz. Sen John McCain." In particular, "Republicans in Washington are afraid the current crop of GOP challengers to Reid is second-tier," according to the Sun. Reid's potential GOP challengers currently include former state Sen. Sue Lowden, former UNLV basketball star Danny Tarkanian and former state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Thursday, February 11, 2010 1:55 p.m.

In This Issue

  • Bipartisan Jobs Bill Unveiled in Senate
  • New Extension Likely for Key Patriot Act Provisions
  • Sen. Corker Takes GOP Lead in Talks on Financial Rules Bill
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session; reconvenes Feb. 22.

The Senate convenes at 2:30 p.m., with likely discussion of legislation to promote job creation.

The President signs the annual economic report to the president; meets separately with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; meets with 2009 and 2010 March of Dimes ambassadors.

In Washington, the sun has come out at last, and the city is starting to dig out from the latest blizzard that pushed snowfall totals to a winter record.

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Top Stories

Bipartisan Jobs Bill Unveiled in Senate

Leaders of the Senate Finance Committee circulated a bipartisan draft of tax cuts and spending provisions Thursday, billing it as a job-creation initiative and urging colleagues not to "needlessly delay Senate completion of consideration of this package through partisan means." [Read More]

New Extension Likely for Key Patriot Act Provisions

The Senate may vote on a second temporary extension of several controversial counterterrorism authorities as part of the jobs bill unveiled Thursday. [Read More]

Sen. Corker Takes GOP Lead in Talks on Financial Rules Bill

Senate Banking Chairman Christopher J. Dodd , D-Conn., said Thursday he will try to negotiate a bipartisan financial regulatory overhaul bill with one of the panel's junior GOP members, a week after talks with the committee's top Republican stalled. [Read More]
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Political Clippings

The Chicago Sun Times reports that "former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, caught on tape calling the opportunity to appoint someone to President Obama's Senate seat "(bleepin') golden," said yesterday he wants the jury in his corruption case to hear the full recording. "Play all the tapes. Play all the tapes. Play the truth, and play the whole truth," Blagojevich said. He pleaded innocent to the charges against him.

According to The Oklahoman, state Corporation Commissioner Jeff Cloud is ending his bid for the GOP nomination to succeed Rep. Mary Fallin, R-Okla., in the 5th District because of a health issue. Fallin is running for governor. Cloud said he will continue in his current job after surgery for "a nonlife-threatening health concern." Several Republicans remain in the race; no Democrats have announced for the seat as yet.

The Miami Herald reports that one year after GOP Gov. Charlie Crist welcomed President Obama to Florida to pitch the $787 billion economic stimulus package, conservative Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio has made Crist's "hug" of Obama the defining image of a bitter primary campaign. "From tea parties to marches, from New Jersey to Virginia, from Massachusetts and soon even here in Florida . . . all across this country people are making it very clear," Rubio told more than 300 people at the so-called hug rally sponsored by FreedomPAC, a conservative network group led by former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey. "What they're going to choose in 2010 are leaders who will stand up to this agenda and offer a clear alternative."

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

CQ Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In This Issue

  • Blizzard Brings Nation's Capital to a Snow-Choked Halt
  • Senate Agrees To Relax Some Tax Shelter Penalties
  • Reps. Ehlers, Watson Announce Their Retirements
  • Special to Replace Murtha Highly Competitive
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session; reconvenes Feb. 22.

The Senate is not in session; scheduled to reconvene tomorrow.

The President was scheduled to meet with African American leaders at the White House.

In Washington, blizzard conditions prevail, with high winds and intense snowfall.

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Top Stories

Blizzard Brings Nation's Capital to a Snow-Choked Halt

Unrelenting snow and howling winds brought the nation's capital to a halt Wednesday, burying landmarks and modest residences under huge drifts of snow. [Read More]

Senate Agrees To Relax Some Tax Shelter Penalties

A bipartisan group of senators last night won passage of tax legislation they have been seeking for eight months that would relax penalties on small businesses that participated in certain tax shelters. [Read More]

Reps. Ehlers, Watson Announce Their Retirements

Two more House members -- one from each party -- announced Wednesday that they will retire at the end of this Congress. [Read More]

Special to Replace Murtha Highly Competitive

Rep. John P. Murtha's death Monday has undoubtedly left a huge void in the Pennsylvania delegation and the Democratic Caucus, but it also sets up a competitive special election contest that both parties will heavily target. [Read More]
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Political Clippings

A new Rasmussen Reports survey shows former Rep. John Kasich, R-Ohio, "holding a modest lead" over incumbent Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, 47 percent to 41 percent. That was essentially unchanged from last month. Republican former Rep. Rob Portman "also still has narrow leads over his two chief Democratic opponents for the seat being vacated by GOP Senator George Voinovich in Ohio."

The latest WMUR Granite State Poll, conducted by the University of New Hamshire Survey Center, shows that Democratic Rep. Carol Shea Porter "trails all of her Republican challengers in New Hampshire's First District while former Republican Congressman Charlie Bass leads the top two Democrats in the Second Congressional District, and former Attorney General Republican Kelly Ayotte maintains a lead over Second District Congressman Paul Hodes in the race for the US Senate from New Hampshire. However, most voters are far from finally deciding who they will support."

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Tuesday, February 09, 2010

In This Issue

  • Reid Hopes for Vote on Jobs Bill by This Weekend
  • GOP Leaders Remain Cool to Debt Commission
  • Shelby Drops Holds on All But Three Defense Nominees
  • Message to Candidates: Ignore These Voters at Your Own Risk
  • Earlybird Candidates Collect Campaign Cash
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Today in Washington

The House meets at 2 p.m. for legislative business but no action scheduled for today; schedule for rest of the week remains uncertain due to impending winter storm.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m., with votes scheduled at 5 p.m. on the nominations of Joseph A. Greenaway Jr. to be a judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Craig Becker to be a member of the National Labor Relations Board.

The President signs a memorandum on childhood obesity; meets with Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate; lunches with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.; receives economic briefing and meets with senior advisers.

In Washington, the federal government remains closed, except for essential personnel, as the nation's capital braces for another major winter snowstorm.

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Top Stories

Reid Hopes for Vote on Jobs Bill by This Weekend

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Tuesday he intends to push for a vote by this weekend on job creation legislation, though another winter storm bearing down on Washington made the Senate schedule increasingly tenuous. [Read More]

GOP Leaders Remain Cool to Debt Commission

Despite a renewed appeal from President Obama, Republican leaders in Congress remained cool Tuesday to the idea of naming a bipartisan commission to recommend ways to control the nation's ballooning debt. [Read More]

Shelby Drops Holds on All But Three Defense Nominees

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., has stopped blocking most of President Obama's pending nominations but still has holds on three Defense Department nominees over an Air Force project of interest to his state. [Read More]

Message to Candidates: Ignore These Voters at Your Own Risk

Latino voters are poised to make a difference in contests for Congress, according to a new study released by a national organization pushing for comprehensive immigration reform legislation. [Read More]

Earlybird Candidates Collect Campaign Cash

Some candidates have large campaign funds they can't use right now because the seats they're eyeing aren't open just yet. [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that "Georgia's Republican establishment is showing signs of discomfort with the prospect that [state Insurance Commissioner] John Oxendine will be the party's nominee for governor, despite his popularity with many voters and status as early front-runner. Their concerns surfaced last week when an influential Republican congressman," Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, "publicly attacked Oxendine, a rare overt sign of discord among Georgia Republicans. Some party regulars have even suggested that a victory for Oxendine in this summer's GOP primary could place the party in the position of losing the Governor's Mansion to a Democrat" -- well-funded Roy Barnes, a former governor who is the front-runner for the Democratic nomination.

The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that Sen. David Vitter, R-La., has gained strength in his bid for re-election, piling up campaign cash and a lead in the pools. "Vitter's likely Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Charles 'Charlie' Melancon, dismissed the factors. 'This is not about who wins today,' Melancon said. 'This is a long trudge through the swamp for another nine months.' " A telephone poll of 500 likely voters by Rasmussen Reports showed Vitter leading Melancon by 53 percent to 35 percent, increasing his lead by 7 percentage points since a similar October poll."

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Monday, February 08, 2010

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Monday, February 08, 2010

In This Issue

  • Capitol Hill Leaders Welcome a Health Care Summit
  • Senate Postpones Votes as Washington Digs Out
  • Transportation Earmarks Prove Difficult to Derail
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session.

The Senate convenes at 2 p.m. for a short session to delay today's planned votes until Tuesday.

The President receives briefings, meets with advisers and meets with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

In Washington, federal agencies are closed because of the weekend's snow storm, and many events have been postponed or canceled.

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Top Stories

Capitol Hill Leaders Welcome a Health Care Summit

Congressional leaders say they welcome President Obama's idea for a health care summit — but it is far from clear that more talking will deliver Republican votes for any bill that Democrats rewrite. [Read More]

Senate Postpones Votes as Washington Digs Out

As the nation's capital struggled to get back to business after a big winter storm, the Senate postponed until Tuesday votes on two of President Obama's nominees. [Read More]

Transportation Earmarks Prove Difficult to Derail

One of the biggest applause lines in President Obama's State of the Union address was his call to reduce earmarks. But the cheering faded quickly, and appropriators are already pushing back hard against the president's proposal to eliminate two Transportation Department programs that provide ample opportunities for earmarking. [Read More]

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Political Clippings

The Seattle Times reports that Republican state Sen. Don Benton "has become the latest, and possibly the strongest, candidate to announce he's running for Democratic U.S. Sen. Patty Murray's seat this fall." Benton has been a Washington state senator since 1996 and also served a term in the state House. "He said Sunday he was inspired in part by Republican Sen. Scott Brown's upset victory in Massachusetts, and he's retained the same consulting team behind Brown's candidacy," the newspaper reports. The other Republican candidates are: Chris Widener, a motivational writer and speaker from Preston; Sean Salazar, a Mountlake Terrace chiropractor; Clint Didier, a former tight end for the Washington Redskins and the Green Bay Packers from Pasco; Craig Williams, an energy trader and Realtor from Vancouver; Arthur Coday Jr., a physician from Shoreline; and Rod Rieger, owner of a security-systems company in Marysville.

According to The Intelligencer of Wheeling, W.Va., "Officials at the National Republican Congressional Committee believe a potentially contentious Democratic primary election in West Virginia's 1st District congressional race could benefit a future Republican nominee." State Sen. Michael Oliverio has announced he will challenge incumbent Alan B. Mollohan in the May 11 Democratic primary election. "I think with Mollohan, he is not in a position financially where he would be able to afford (a primary election)," NRCC spokesman Andy Sere told the newspaper. "It is so rare for an incumbent member of Congress to be challenged by credible officials - especially after being in office for 27 years." Meanwhile, six Republicans have entered the race, according to The Intelligencer: Wheeling residents Cindy Hall, Patricia Levenson and David McKinley, Mac Warner and Sarah Minear of Morgantown and Thomas Stark of Parkersburg.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that California Attorney General Jerry Brown "still won't call himself a candidate for governor, but he's sure talking like one." Brown "swung by a gathering of young Democrats in San Francisco Saturday, where he preached the importance of environmental protections and building the state's green industry, touted his record as the state's top cop, stressed the importance of overhauling the state's criminal justice system, and took a couple swipes at Meg Whitman, the race's Republican front- runner," according to the newspaper. But Brown wouldn't say when he might enter the governor's race, "despite the fact that he's the only serious Democratic contender. The filing deadline for candidates to appear on the June ballot is March 12, something Brown said he is keenly aware of."

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