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EARLYBIRD

Top News

Obama pushes for new line-item veto powers while Secretary Clinton pressures China to back South Korea in naval dispute. Plus: Reid considers Memorial Day session to pass tax extenders.

White House: Obama Makes Play For Line-Item Veto

• "As part of what the White House called a campaign to crack down on wasteful government spending, President Obama on Monday asked Congress to grant him new powers to slice lawmakers' pet projects from congressionally approved spending bills," the Washington Post reports.

• "Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Monday told" Obama "''that the 'clock is ticking' on Mideast peace and that failure to reach an agreement will lead to more violence and extremism in the region," AP reports.

 

• "The Obama administration gave its support to legislation that would repeal the law barring acknowledged gays and lesbians from military service before the Pentagon completes a review of the policy," Bloomberg News reports.

Energy & Environment: EPA Orders BP To Curtail Use Of Dispersants

• "The EPA Monday ordered BP to 'take immediate steps to significantly scale back' its use of potentially dangerous chemical dispersants being spread -- against EPA's orders -- to break up oil that continues to pour into the Gulf of Mexico," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports.

• Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "and Senate Energy and Natural Resources ranking member Lisa Murkowski have agreed to hold a June 10 debate on the Alaska Republican's resolution to block EPA from regulating greenhouse gases," CongressDailyAM (subscription) also reports.

 

• "White House senior adviser David Axelrod defended BP's response to the Gulf oil spill on Monday and signaled it should not be pushed aside," The Hill reports.

• "Federal regulators responsible for oversight of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico allowed industry officials several years ago to fill in their own inspection reports in pencil -- and then turned them over to the regulators, who traced over them in pen before submitting the reports to the agency, according to an inspector general's report to be released this week," the New York Times reports.

• "BP PLC on Tuesday outlined its backup plan if the so-called "top kill" process the company plans to use to cap a leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico fails to work," the Wall Street Journal reports.

• "The price to insure offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico has risen at least 15% since last month's Deepwater Horizon disaster and may stay permanently higher, as unknowns about the spill cleanup have left insurers feeling in the dark about their risks, industry executives say," the Wall Street Journal also reports.

 

• "The federal agency responsible for regulating U.S. offshore oil drilling repeatedly ignored warnings from government scientists about environmental risks in its push to approve energy exploration activities quickly, according to numerous documents and interviews," the Washington Post reports.

Congress: Reid Considering Memorial Day Session For Tax Bill

• Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., "on Monday hinted he would hold the Senate in session into the Memorial Day recess if that's what it takes to pass a $192 billion package of tax breaks, physician payments and aid to the unemployed," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports.

• "The Senate on Monday began consideration of a $59 billion war supplemental spending package as Democrats braced to fend off efforts from Republicans who are attempting to force votes on offsetting the cost of the measure," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports.

Politics: Republicans Want Public Input On National Platform

• "House GOPers will roll out a new initiative" today "aimed at taking the first step toward introducing a comprehensive national platform, but instead of offering policy proposals, GOP leaders will be soliciting advice instead," Hotline On Call reports.

• "Nearly six in 10 Americans do not have an opinion of the tea party political movement, but those who agree with the activists are less likely to vote for incumbents or backers of healthcare and economic bailout legislation, a new poll shows," NationalJournal.com reports.

Economy: Obama To Speak On Small Businesses

• Obama "will today urge Congress to act on proposals he's put forward to help small businesses secure financing and reduce taxes for investments that create jobs," Bloomberg News. "Obama will host small-business owners at the White House today and give remarks on the important role those kinds of companies play in reducing unemployment."

• "Yuan reform is a decision for China to make by itself, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Tuesday at the end of talks in Beijing during which the two powers gingerly pressed each other to ease economic strains," Reuters reports.

• "Congressional leaders began putting together the team of U.S. lawmakers Monday that will finalize sweeping changes to U.S. financial markets, and the expected lineup suggests banks could face an uphill battle eliminating the more onerous curbs on their business," the Wall Street Journal reports.

World: Clinton Pushes China To Criticize North Korea

• The Wall Street Journal reports on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's attempts to persuade China to criticize North Korea in the sinking of a South Korean ship.

• "A newly elected member of Iraq's Parliament was shot and killed in northern Iraq on Monday night," the New York Times reports. "The candidate, Bashar Mohammed Hamid, a Sunni mill owner from Mosul, had run with the electoral coalition of Ayad Allawi, a former interim prime minister."

National Security: Documents Indicate U.S. Expanding Secret Missions

• "The top American commander in the Middle East has ordered a broad expansion of clandestine military activity in an effort to disrupt militant groups or counter threats in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and other countries in the region, according to defense officials and military documents," the New York Times reports.

• "Gen. Ray Odierno, the top commander in Iraq, has been nominated to lead U.S. Joint Forces Command, officials announced Monday," Military Times reports. "Odierno has commanded U.S. Forces-Iraq since September 2008."

Health Care: CMS Detailing Changes To Medicare

• "The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services plans to send out over 40 million brochures to Medicare beneficiaries this week to detail how the program will change under the health overhaul law, but the announcement was quickly criticized by Republicans," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports.

• "Funding concerns about a proposed World Trade Center Health Program are expected to return in today's Energy and Commerce Committee markup of a bill that would provide over $5 billion to emergency responders and residents affected by the 2001 attacks on New York," CongressDailyAM (subscription) also reports.

Transportation: Senate Exempts Auto Dealers From New Regulation

• "The Senate voted Monday night to instruct its conferees on legislation to overhaul the nation's financial regulatory system to exclude auto dealers from oversight of a new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports.

Technology: Democrats Plan To Revamp Communications Act

• "Key Democrats in both chambers plan to embark on the first major rewrite of the 1934 Communications Act since 1996 -- a process that could take years and appears poised to trigger a significant lobbying battle as major telecommunications, cable and Internet companies, among other stakeholders, jockey for position," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports.

• "House leaders are hoping to organize Democrats' approach to Twitter, YouTube and other new media tools through a New Media Caucus that will serve as a one-stop resource for information and advice," Roll Call reports.

• "The dust-up over Facebook Inc.'s privacy practices is becoming a political headache for the company's former privacy chief in his campaign for California attorney general," the Wall Street Journal reports.

• "NASA declared the Phoenix Mars lander program officially dead Monday after repeatedly failing to regain contact with the spacecraft," AP reports.

Supreme Court: NFL Shut Out On Antitrust Exemption

• "The National Football League gets no pass from the nation's antitrust laws, the Supreme Court held Monday," the Wall Street Journal reports. "Despite the coordination needed to run the sports league, the NFL isn't a single entity but rather a consortium of 32 separately owned teams that compete with one another, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for a unanimous court."

Lobbying: Chamber Opposes New Union-Organizing Rule

• "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce joined a federal lawsuit Monday against a new union-organizing rule," The Hill reports. At issue is a rule under which "workers who don't vote in a union election are not counted as votes either for or against forming a union. Such non-votes previously were counted as votes against forming a union, and labor organizers needed to win a majority of a company's employees' votes to form a union."

Commentary: Is Summers Missing Empathy?

• In Earlybird's Pundits & Editorials section, Dana Milbank argues that Larry Summers might sometimes be dismissive of the way a tough economy plays out in the everyday lives of Americans.

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