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Legacy Content / EARLYBIRD

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Obama plans 'major' financial speech, and Pakistani soldiers capture Taliban spokesman. Plus: Baucus health care plan may require proof of citizenship.

September 11, 2009

White House: Obama To Deliver 'Major' Financial Speech On Monday

• "President Barack Obama will appear at Federal Hall in New York City on Monday to deliver what the White House is billing as a 'major speech' on the financial crisis," Roll Call (subscription) reports. "Amid slumping poll ratings, Obama has begun to aggressively tout his handling of the financial crisis, which White House aides view as a strong point and which the administration is billing as no less than a rescue from the economic abyss."

• "An open-air farmers market with as many as 20 vendors will operate just north of the White House on Thursday afternoons this fall," the Washington Post reports. "The vendors' debut next week, encouraged by the White House and community groups, will mark the return of a fresh produce market that once stood nearby during the administration of Thomas Jefferson, at the dawn of the 19th century."

Health Care: Baucus Plan May Require Proof Of Citizenship

• "Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) indicated Thursday that bipartisan negotiators are considering a potentially controversial citizen verification component for their health care reform bill," Roll Call (subscription) reports. "'We spent some time talking about how one proves one's status to be eligible... to prove that you're a citizen,' Baucus said of the bipartisan gang of six negotiations that occurred earlier Thursday. 'Illegal residents are clearly excluded.'"

 

• "Obama this week has been laying the foundation for Senate Democrats to use a controversial budget maneuver to pass healthcare reform," The Hill reports. If Republicans don't compromise on health care, Democrats could argue "that Senate leaders have been forced to use a partisan budget tool known as reconciliation to pass a health bill through the Senate by a simple majority, instead of 60 votes."

• "Obama's new call to impose automatic spending cuts if the health care overhaul adds 'one dime' to federal budget deficits could help push his top domestic priority over one of the biggest hurdles in its path through Congress," the New York Times reports. "But once in law, such automatic triggers have not proved effective as a way to reduce federal spending. In the past, Congress and the White House have simply overridden or ignored them."

• "The number of people in the U.S. without health insurance rose by about 700,000 between 2007 and 2008 to 46.3 million. The proportion of uninsured was essentially unchanged at 15.4%," the Wall Street Journal reports.

Politics: Wilson Tries To Regroup As Challenger Tops $700K

• "Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) on Thursday night released an online video responding to the controversy he sparked after shouting 'You lie!' during" Obama's "address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday," Roll Call (subscription) reports. Wilson also makes a fundraising pitch "after his Democratic opponent raised more than $700,000 in the wake of the Congressman's outburst."

• "Appointed Sen. Michael Bennet's (D-Colo.) campaign was silent Thursday on the move by former Colorado state Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D) to file a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission, but the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released a statement reiterating its support for Bennet in the Centennial State primary," Roll Call reports.

World: Pakistani Soldiers Capture Taliban Spokesman

• "Pakistani soldiers arrested the spokesman for the Taliban in the Swat Valley and four other commanders, the military announced" today, "striking its first major blow against the leadership of the insurgency in the one-time tourist resort," AP reports.

• "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she sees little congressional support for boosting troop levels in Afghanistan, putting the Democratic majority in Congress on a possible collision course with the Obama administration over the future conduct of the war there," the Wall Street Journal reports. "The remarks Thursday by Ms. Pelosi (D., Calif.) make her the highest-ranking Democrat to signal opposition to the administration's handling of the Afghan war, a top national-security priority."

National Security: AT&T Will Help Government Detect Network Intrusions

• "After months of delay, the Homeland Security Department has launched a program with the National Security Agency and AT&T to develop a system to detect and prevent intrusions of government computer networks, despite privacy concerns and unanswered questions from civil liberties advocates," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports. "An exercise began about two weeks ago using data from AT&T and technology developed by the NSA and other agencies to help devise an advanced intrusion detection and prevention system called Einstein III, Homeland Security officials acknowledged Thursday."

• "The newest member of a panel that advises the president on declassification policy is a former top intelligence official who oversaw some of the Bush administration's most controversial counterterrorism programs," the Washington Post reports. "Michael V. Hayden, a retired four-star Air Force general, was appointed to the Public Interest Declassification Board by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) during the August recess."

• "Military attorneys for Ramzi Binalshibh, an alleged conspirator in the Sept. 11 attacks, have filed an emergency writ with a federal court in an attempt to stop hearings in their client's case at a military commission at Guantanamo Bay," the Washington Post reports. "In a sweeping brief... the Navy lawyers asked that the commission be found unconstitutional, arguing that 'nothing about this case bears any resemblance to the orderly and regular criminal process that occurs in federal and state courts.'"

Economy: Geithner Tells Congress To Pull Back On Bailout Measures

• "One year after the federal government began the biggest financial bailout in history, President Obama's top economic advisers say the banking system has regained enough health to begin removing the government's backstops," the New York Times reports. "'We must begin winding down some of the extraordinary support we put in place for the financial system,' the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, told the Congressional panel that oversees the $700 billion rescue program."

• "The Securities and Exchange Commission's internal watchdog, fresh off issuing a blistering report on how the agency bungled its handling of the Bernard L. Madoff case, offered on Thursday a series of recommendations to fix the problems that contributed to the failure to stop the disgraced financier's infamous Ponzi scheme," the Washington Post reports.

• "Warren Buffett, the renowned investor and the world's second richest man, told Senate Democrats" over lunch Thursday "that wealthy Americans need to pay higher taxes, giving Democrats something to mull as they address healthcare reform and soaring federal deficits," The Hill reports.

Energy & Environment: World Leaders Still Split On Reducing Greenhouse Gases

• "The Obama administration's senior negotiator on global warming warned Thursday that developed and developing nations remained deeply divided in talks on reducing greenhouse gases and that time was running out before United Nations treaty negotiations in December," the New York Times reports. Todd Stern "told a Congressional panel that it was critical that Congress act on proposed energy and global warming legislation to demonstrate the nation's willingness to play its part in reducing harmful emissions."

• "For liberal Democrats unhappy with the way" Baucus "is handling health care reform, here's another dose of bad news: He's got his hands on climate and energy, too," Politico reports. "Behind closed doors, Sen. Baucus has been staking his claim on major aspects of the climate bill, including financing for a cap-and-trade system."

Lobbying: Another Fraudulent Letter Discovered

• "Congressional investigators on Thursday uncovered yet another forged letter sent to a House Democrat purportedly from a local nonprofit -- but actually from a Washington, D.C., lobbying firm -- urging opposition to controversial climate change legislation," Roll Call (subscription) reports. "The discovery means that at least 14 fraudulent letters were sent by Bonner & Associates, a subcontractor for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, to at least three different House Members in an effort to sway their votes on the climate change bill before it narrowly passed the House in June."

• Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., "has come down on the side of a labor-backed petition for relief from a surge in Chinese tire imports this decade, making good on a pledge to United Steelworkers union president Leo Gerard," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports. "'Such relief is important to the tire industry, and the workers and communities it supports throughout America,' Reid wrote" to Obama "in a letter dated Sept. 2."

• "Six of Washington's biggest business lobbies are urging lawmakers to boost the nation's debt limit above $12.1 trillion as the economy confronts historic mountains of red ink," The Hill reports. "The associations said in a letter on Thursday that it is 'critical to ensuring global investors' confidence in the creditworthiness of the United States, that Congress approve the administration's request for a higher debt limit.'"

Transportation: Transportation Bill May Be Extended Three Months, Not 18

• "Backers of the transportation bill have moved to option B -- a three-month extension of the existing law, instead of the 18 months the Obama administration requested," The Hill reports. "House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) has pushed to avoid extending the existing law, but one of his top lieutenants on the committee, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), said it would be 'reasonable' to extend the law to the end of the year."

• "The Senate Thursday began debate on the $122 billion, FY10 Transportation-HUD appropriations bill, which is $12.9 billion or 12 percent above the FY09 enacted level, and $1.2 billion, or about 1 percent, below President Obama's budget request," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports. "Senate Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., said she hoped the Senate could pass the bill early next week."

Technology: Head Of Copyrights Says Google's Online Library Is Not Lawful

• "Google's battle with Amazon.com, Microsoft and Yahoo came to Capitol Hill on Thursday as the head of the U.S. copyright office backed claims that Google violates author copyright issues with its online library," The Hill reports. "Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters told the House Judiciary Committee that she opposes the proposed $125 million settlement Google reached with authors and publishers."

Commentary: Eight Years Ago Today

• On the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Obama underscores the importance of military strength and diplomacy in Earlybird's Pundits & Editorials section while some commentators and editorialists fear we have forgotten what we're fighting for.

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