Technology: Military Contractors Preparing To Cash In On Cyber-Security
• "The Defense Department banned YouTube from its networks, and built a military-friendly video-sharing site to take its place," Wired reports. "But in an odd twist, many military bases are now blocking that new site, TroopTube, as well."
• "The biggest U.S. military contractors are counting on winning billions of dollars in work to protect the federal government against electronic attacks," the Wall Street Journal reports. "Anticipating the demand, defense companies are bolstering training, buying smaller firms and hiring former top government officials. The move into the cyber-security field could offer new revenue streams for the contractors and help offset declines stemming from budget pressures on the Defense Department's traditional weapons systems."
• "The Obama administration says the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures does not apply to cell-site information mobile phone carriers retain on their customers," Wired reports.
Health Care: Drugmakers Worry Over Patents, FDA Deputy
• "The debate over how long biotechnology drugmakers should retain exclusive rights to their patents -- five, seven or as long as 12 years -- has returned to center stage, prompted by soaring health care costs and cries for reform," Roll Call (subscription) reports. "Getting it right, stakeholders say, will save patients' lives and cut costs; if done incorrectly, however, it could cripple investment in products that cost billions to develop."
• "Food, pharmaceutical and medical device groups have lauded" Obama's "pick to lead FDA, but his selection for second in command is giving the drug industry heartburn," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports. "Industry insiders describe their colleagues as cautiously optimistic about FDA Administrator-nominee Margaret Hamburg, a former New York City health commissioner who works at a nuclear nonproliferation think tank, and nervous in varying degrees about Baltimore City Health Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein."
• "An Obama administration proposal to bill veterans' private insurance companies for treatment of combat-related injuries has prompted veterans groups to condemn the idea as unethical and powerful lawmakers on Capitol Hill to promise their opposition," the Washington Post reports.
Energy: Steven Chu Argues For Tariffs To Discourage Carbon-Intensive Imports
• "House and Senate leaders have long struggled with how to eliminate the embarrassing cloud of pollution hanging over the nearby Capitol Power Plant," Roll Call (subscription) reports. "But fixing the problem is expensive -- and politically difficult."
• "As the Obama administration outlines its energy plans, it is caught between oil companies, who are reminding the president of his campaign pledge, and environmental groups, who are demanding a reinstatement of the drilling ban that Congress lifted in September," the New York Times reports. "The renewed fight over offshore drilling comes amid efforts by the White House to map out an ambitious new energy policy for the country. For the first time since the Carter administration, an American president is putting energy at the center of his domestic agenda."
• "Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Tuesday advocated adjusting trade duties as a 'weapon' to protect U.S. manufacturing, just a day after one of China's top climate envoys warned of a trade war if developed countries impose tariffs on carbon-intensive imports," the Wall Street Journal reports.
Lobbying: Card Check Fight Gears Up In Three States
• "Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday filed yet another resolution aimed at triggering a House ethics probe of the PMA Group, the defense lobbying firm under criminal investigation for allegedly providing improper campaign contributions," Roll Call (subscription) reports. "Flake's resolution, the fourth of its kind, is more narrowly focused than the previous three: It asks the ethics committee to examine the relationship between fiscal 2009 earmarks for PMA clients and campaign contributions from PMA CEO Paul Magliochetti and his relatives."
• "The battle over a bill that would ease union organizing is zeroing in on lawmakers in three states -- Pennsylvania, Arkansas and Colorado," the Wall Street Journal reports. "Business and labor are pressuring three key senators who are up for re-election in 2010, sparing little expense as they ratchet up television and radio ads, and recruit well-connected lobbyists."
• "Alliant Techsystems, a defense company with a relatively low profile, is preparing for growth even as the Pentagon works to cut what it spends on weapons systems," The Hill reports. "The Minnesota-based company, known as ATK, has increased its political giving and reached out to a number of offices on Capitol Hill to raise its profile in Congress and the administration."
Transportation: Predicted Budget Shortfall Shocks House Committee
• "A yawning gap between domestic transportation needs and the revenue stream to pay for them appeared to overwhelm the House Budget Committee [Tuesday] as outside experts drew a grim and controversial picture of the nation's crumbling infrastructure and the hundreds of billions it would cost to modernize it," CongressDailyPM (subscription) reports. "Spokesmen for a special commission on transportation needs and for state highway commissioners delivered a sobering assessment that more than a half trillion dollars -- at a minimum -- would be required over the next five years to meet the country's expanding needs."