Friday, May 21, 2010

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Friday, May 21, 2010

In This Issue

  • President Pushes for Better Fuel Efficiency on Larger Trucks
  • Oil Companies Face Tax Hit on Production, Big Debate on Spill Liability
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Today in Washington

The House convened for a pro forma session.

The Senate is not in session.

The President receives, with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presidential daily briefing; meets with senior advisers; delivers remarks and signs a presidential memorandum on cleaner, more efficient vehicles; has lunch with Biden.

In Washington, the Intelligence and National Security Alliance is honoring Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates with the 26th annual William Oliver Baker Award for excellence in intelligence and national security. 7:30 p.m., Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner, Grand Ballroom, 1700 Tysons Boulevard, McLean, Va.

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Top Stories

President Pushes for Better Fuel Efficiency on Larger Trucks

President Obama announced an unprecedented national policy on Friday to increase fuel efficiency for medium and heavy-duty trucks, his latest move aimed at reducing U.S. oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. [Read More]

Oil Companies Face Tax Hit on Production, Big Debate on Spill Liability

Lawmakers are set to move forward with a plan to quadruple the size of an oil production excise tax and open a federal oil spill trust fund to more claims, a month after a BP oil rig exploded off the Gulf Coast and unleashed an ecological disaster. [Read More]

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CQ Politics: The Eye

More Rand Paul -- But You Have To Wait Until Sunday: Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul is clearly taking his damage control seriously. The Republican has agreed to appear on "Meet the Press," according to host David Gregory's Twitter account.

DSCC's Pro-Specter Spending Topped Half A Million: According to the DSCC's April campaign finance report, the organization spent $540,594 on "coordinated" expenditures to support Sen. Arlen Specter's primary campaign through the end of last month, including $492,247 in April alone. Rep. Joe Sestak won the May 18 primary in Pennsylvania by 54 percent to 46 percent.

The CQ Politics staff reports the latest news in House, Senate and governors' races in The Eye.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Thursday, May 20, 2010

In This Issue

  • Tax and Benefit Extensions Ready for Floor Action
  • Democrats Say Toyota Put Legal Defense Ahead of Safety Investigation
  • Salazar Urged To Shut Down Second BP Oil Rig
  • House Panel Defies Obama With $760 Billion Defense Bill
  • Defense Bill Could Tilt Tanker Competition to Boeing
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Today in Washington

The House considers a resolution authorizing the Education and Labor Committee to pursue an investigation into underground coal mining safety.

The Senate considers amendments and votes on limiting debate on a bill to overhaul financial regulations.

The President receives daily briefings and meets with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner.

In Washington, the Italian Embassy hosts opening reception for an exhibition and fundraiser, the Save L'Aquila Project, commemorating the one-year anniversary of the April 2009 earthquake in L'Aquila that claimed more than 300 lives and damaged 50 villages. 6:30 p.m., Embassy of Italy, 3000 Whitehaven St. N.W.

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Top Stories

Tax and Benefit Extensions Ready for Floor Action

The chairmen of the House and Senate tax-writing committees unveiled a compromise package of tax cuts and benefit extensions Thursday as Democrats began a tough push to clear the measure before the Memorial Day recess. [Read More]

Democrats Say Toyota Put Legal Defense Ahead of Safety Investigation

House Democrats investigating the causes of sudden acceleration in Toyotas accused the automaker of using its resources to fend off court challenges instead of figuring out what went wrong with its vehicles. [Read More]

Salazar Urged To Shut Down Second BP Oil Rig

A group of House Democrats led by Arizona's Raúl M. Grijalva on Thursday urged the Interior Department to shut down drilling immediately on a second BP rig in the Gulf of Mexico. [Read More]

House Panel Defies Obama With $760 Billion Defense Bill

The House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday night approved a $760 billion fiscal 2011 defense authorization bill that defied the Obama administration on several policies. [Read More]

Defense Bill Could Tilt Tanker Competition to Boeing

The House's defense authorization bill could make it harder for a U.S.-based unit of a European company to win a multibillion-dollar air tanker contract. [Read More]

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CQ Politics: The Eye

Van Hollen Says GOP 'Crashed And Failed' In Pa. Special: The chairman of House Democrats' campaign arm says that the election of Democrat Mark Critz in Pennsylvania exposed Republican "hype" about winning a majority of House seats this fall and repudiated an early GOP effort to nationalize the election around opposition to President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Sen. Bennett Will Not Run as Write-In: Utah Sen. Robert F. Bennett said Thursday that he will not mount a write-in campaign this fall after losing earlier this month at the state GOP nominating convention. Bennett said this cycle brought "the nastiest race that we have had for a party nomination in the history of the state of Utah." He blamed outside groups for helping to make the atmosphere "completely toxic." Bennett did not offer an endorsement of either Tim Bridgewater or Mike Lee, the Republicans running in the June 22 primary.

Downer To File in Louisiana's 3rd District: Former Louisiana Speaker Hunt Downer, a Republican, plans to file officially Thursday for the open-seat 3rd District race to succeed Democratic Rep. Charlie Melancon. Downer, a retired major general in the National Guard who is expected to have the backing of his party's establishment, has been widely expected to run. He enters the GOP primary as the heavy frontrunner against attorney Jeff Landry. The winner of the GOP contest will face Democratic Attorney Ravi Sangisetty in the general election.

The CQ Politics staff reports the latest news in House, Senate and governors' races in The Eye.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Wednesday, May 19, 2010

In This Issue

  • Kagan Confirmation Hearings Set for June 28
  • House Panel Will Take Up Measure to License, Regulate Internet Gambling
  • House GOP Aims To Force Floor Votes on Spending Cuts
  • Science and Technology Bill Rebuffed Again by House GOP
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Today in Washington

The House considers legislation authorizing $85.6 billion over five years for science and technology research initiatives and programs.

The Senate considers amendments and votes on limiting debate on a bill to overhaul financial regulations.

The President meets with Mexican President Felipe Calderón and holds joint news conference with him; meets with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the U.S. ambassador to Great Britain; with first lady, hosts state dinner for the President Calderón and his wife, Margarita Zavala.

In Washington, the McClendon Group presents a talk on Iran by Bruce Laingen, who was the American charge d'affaires in Tehran during the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979-80 and is now president of the American Academy of Diplomacy. 6:30 p.m., National Press Club, 14th and F Streets N.W.

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Top Stories

Kagan Confirmation Hearings Set for June 28

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy announced Wednesday that hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan would begin June 28, with a goal of completing them before the July Fourth recess. [Read More]

House Panel Will Take Up Measure to License, Regulate Internet Gambling

House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank said Wednesday that his committee will act in July on legislation to license and regulate online gaming. [Read More]

House GOP Aims To Force Floor Votes on Spending Cuts

House Republicans hope to force a floor vote as soon as Thursday on cutting a $2.5 billion emergency welfare program that was the winning item on a new weekly GOP-sponsored poll of possible spending cuts. [Read More]

Science and Technology Bill Rebuffed Again by House GOP

House Republicans on Wednesday again scuttled legislation to authorize science research programs, accusing Democrats of failing to incorporate GOP-favored language in the latest version of the bill. [Read More]

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CQ Politics: The Eye

Club For Growth Backs Angle in Nevada: The anti-tax group the Club for Growth on Wednesday announced its endorsement of Republican former state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle in Nevada's Senate race. Angle is facing nearly a dozen other Republicans in the primary, now less than three weeks away. She has already earned significant support from tea party groups but recent polls still show her trailing former state GOP Chairwoman Sue Lowden, and Las Vegas businessman Danny Tarkanian appears to be nipping at her heels. The winner will take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the fall.

GOP Leaders Acknowledge They Have Work to Do to Reclaim Majority: House Republican leaders conceded that Democrat Mark Critz's victory Tuesday in a special election to succeed the late Democratic Rep. John P. Murtha in Pennsylvania's 12th district was a disappointment. "I do think we will reclaim the majority," said Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia. "But last night is evidence of the fact that we have a lot of work to do and we just can't get ahead of ourselves."

Lewis Endorses Marshall in N.C. Senate Runoff: North Carolina attorney Ken Lewis, the third-place finisher in the May 4 Democratic Senate primary, today endorsed Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, a move that may turn out to be a game changer in the sprint to the June 22 runoff for the nomination to take on GOP Sen. Richard Burr.

The CQ Politics staff reports the latest news in House, Senate and governors' races in The Eye.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Tuesday, May 18, 2010

In This Issue

  • Sen. Cornyn Calls for Time to Review Files in Kagan Confirmation
  • Interior Kept Up With Oil Spill, Salazar Says
  • Clinton Announces Agreement on Iran Sanctions
  • START Treaty Meets Skeptical Reception From Senate Republicans
  • Financial Overhaul Amendment Sponsors Seek Compromise
  • Congress Without Souder
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Today in Washington

The House considers several minor parks and natural resources bills, as well as legislation to reauthorize juvenile justice block grants to states and a bill to authorize bonus payments to states that collect DNA samples from suspects arrested for certain violent crimes and post the information to searchable data bases.

The Senate continues to debate amendments to a bill to overhaul financial regulations.

The President tours V&M Star, a manufacturer of steel tubular goods in Youngstown, Ohio, where he delivers remarks on jobs and the economy; returns to Washington for a later afternoon meeting with Jewish Democratic members of Congress.

In Washington, the U.S. Dream Academy, which provides after-school mentoring and skill-building programs in 10 cities for children of incarcerated parents, holds its ninth annual gala, honoring Dan Rather, Angela Bassett, Judge Joe Brown, Dr. Bernice King and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas.

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Top Stories

Sen. Cornyn Calls for Time to Review Files in Kagan Confirmation

The White House said it will deliver Elena Kagan's answers to a Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire Tuesday afternoon, even as a panel Republican asked that her confirmation hearing be delayed until senators have a chance to review files related to her tenure as an adviser to President Bill Clinton. [Read More]

Interior Kept Up With Oil Spill, Salazar Says

In an effort to blunt Republican criticism that the administration was too slow in responding to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told a Senate committee Tuesday that his agency was "actively and aggressively engaged in this spill from the first events." [Read More]

START Treaty Meets Skeptical Reception From Senate Republicans

The Obama administration sent an all-star national security team to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to urge Senate support for a new nuclear weapons treaty with Russia, but the unified show of support appeared to have little impact on skeptical Senate Republicans. [Read More]

Clinton Announces Agreement on Iran Sanctions

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told lawmakers Tuesday that the United States has reached agreement with major powers, including Russia and China, on a "strong draft" for new United Nations sanctions on Iran. [Read More]

Financial Overhaul Amendment Sponsors Seek Compromise

Sponsors of several controversial amendments to the Senate's overhaul of financial regulation have agreed to modify their proposals, hoping to gain enough votes to include their provisions as the bill moves toward final passage later this week. [Read More]

Congress Without Souder

Some lawmakers walk away from Congress without leaving any footprints. Not so Indiana Republican Mark Souder, who's ending his career today because of a self-inflicted political wound: adultery. [Read More]

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CQ Politics: The Eye

Blumenthal Moves to Damage Control: You've seen his problem: hard-to-refute evidence that he talked about serving in Vietnam without having gone through the inconvenience of actually going to Vietnam. You've also seen the reflexive response from Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal's campaign manager, who called this story "an outrageous distortion of Dick Blumenthal's record of service." As he swings into serious damage control mode today, the urgent unknown is whether the revelations will make a difference to the Democrats in Connecticut who were getting ready to nominate him later this week.

'Apostles of Darkness and Ignorance': Even if you're not following the race for governor of California, this San Francisco Chronicle story is worth a look because of candidate Jerry Brown's memorable use of language. On the state's $20 billion budget deficit, the Democrat said, "This thing took years to screw up, and I'm not going to unscrew it overnight." On the ads being run by the Republicans who want to be on the ballot against him this fall, he said, "The apostles of darkness and ignorance are well-heeled, and they have great political consultants."

The CQ Politics staff reports the latest news in House, Senate and governors' races in The Eye.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

CQ Today Midday Update

Highlights from today's news on CQ.com

Midday Update for Monday, May 17, 2010

In This Issue

  • Fiscal Concerns at Issue as Democrats Look to Enact a Fix for Doctor Payments
  • More Military Trainers Needed in Afghanistan, Commander Says
  • With Overhaul of Patent Law Stalled, House To Consider Narrower Bill
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Today in Washington

The House is not in session.

The Senate continues consideration of legislation to overhaul the nation's financial regulations.

The President receives his daily briefing and meets with advisers; signs legislation intended to promote freedom of the press around the world; meets at the White House with the NCAA champion University of Connecticut women's basketball team.

In Washington, Richard Whitmire discusses his book, "Why Boys Fail: Saving Our Sons from an Educational System That's Leaving Them Behind." 4 p.m., American Enterprise Institute, 1150 17th St. N.W.

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Top Stories

Fiscal Concerns at Issue as Democrats Look to Enact 'Doc Fix'

House and Senate Democrats want to enact a five-year fix in the payment rate for physicians treating Medicare patients. But it is unclear whether Republicans and some moderate Democrats will support the proposal, which lacks offsets to cover its cost. [Read More]

More Military Trainers Needed in Afghanistan, Commander Says

As lawmakers are working on the annual defense authorization measure, the Pentagon's top European commander says the United States and NATO will need to provide more than the prescribed 4,800 military trainers to Afghanistan if government forces there are to start assuming the burden of the country's security. [Read More]

With Overhaul of Patent Law Stalled, House To Consider Narrower Bill

In a sign that congressional negotiations on a broad overhaul of patent law are at a standstill, House Democrats have scheduled floor action this week on a narrower, less contentious bill. [Read More]

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CQ Politics: The Eye

Final Polls Find Many Undecided Voters In Pennsylvania: So many voters have yet to make up their minds about Sen. Arlen Specter and his challenger for the Democratic nomination, Rep. Joe Sestak, that the latest polls still show the race too close to call.

Chiles Has 'Almost A Compulsion' To Run for Fla. Governor: Now that he's taken care of a pesky residency requirement, Bud Chiles, the son of former Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles, feels more than ready to go after his late father's old job. "This is almost a compulsion," he told Florida Today. "I feel like I've got to either leave the state or do this."

The CQ Politics staff reports the latest news in House, Senate and governors' races in The Eye.

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