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Legacy Content / EARLYBIRD

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Oil industry executives to face tough questions on Capitol Hill as President Obama prepares for first Oval Office address. Plus: South Carolina GOP consultant denies ties to Greene.

June 15, 2010

Congress: Ethics Office Focuses On Eight Members In Regulatory Debate

• "A congressional ethics office has begun examining eight House lawmakers to see if there were improper links between campaign fund-raising and the financial regulatory overhaul bill still before Congress, according to lawmakers," the Wall Street Journal reports.

• "Democratic efforts to alter Senate rules to reduce filibusters and secret holds are highlighting the continued but often overlooked presence of a top foe of those efforts: Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports.

• "Thousands of files released Monday by the FBI reveal decades of threats against the late Sen. Edward Kennedy and breathe new life into the myth of the Kennedy brothers," Roll Call (subscription) reports. "The bulk of the 2,234 pages have less to do with the Massachusetts Democrat than with those who obsessed over him and his famous family."

 

White House: Obama Using Weight Of Oval Office To Discuss Oil Spill

• "The venue says it all," the New York Times reports. "By choosing to speak to the nation" tonight "for the first time from the Oval Office, where his predecessors have spoken of wars and disasters, President Obama is conveying the gravity of the spill in the Gulf of Mexico."

Energy & Environment: Waxman, Markey Draft Tough Questions for Oil Execs

• "Henry Waxman's war on Big Oil has begun," Politico reports. "The California Democrat, along with Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), will force top oil executives to defend or condemn industry practices and profits, according to series of pre-hearing questions obtained by POLITICO, foreshadowing an intense, made-for-TV hearing" today "that could create an iconic Washington moment for the petroleum industry."

• "To save time and drilling costs, BP took 'shortcuts' that may have led to the oil rig explosion and the spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a letter released Monday by two House Democrats leading an investigation of the disaster," the Washington Post reports.

• "President Obama on Monday stepped up his efforts to limit the economic fallout from the oil spill, announcing steps to assure consumers that seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is safe and promoting tourism in the region as BP, under pressure from the White House, agreed to accelerate the cleanup," the New York Times reports.

Politics: GOP Consultant Denies Ties To Greene

• "A former campaign manager for Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) denied an assertion by a top Democrat that he and his firm ran" unknown Democrat Alvin Greene's "successful primary bid for Senate in the state," The Hill reports.

• "During her 10 years as chief executive of eBay, Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate for governor of California, was known as a demanding leader who did not hesitate to express displeasure with employees who failed to live up to her standards," the New York Times reports. "But on one occasion, she was accused of going too far -- and paid for it."

• "Four weeks after claiming the Pennsylvania Senate nomination, Rep. Joe Sestak continues to have an awkward relationship with many leaders of the state's Democratic establishment -- with the two-term congressman so far neglecting to check many of the boxes that ordinarily would be routine for a candidate trying to unify his party after a hard-fought primary," Politico reports.

• "Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin [R] is planning a trip to London and a visit with former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, her staff has confirmed," Politico also reports.

Health Care: Administration Unveils Rules For Employers

• "The White House on Monday outlined broad new rules designed to prevent employers from dropping health insurance benefits for their workers or shifting huge new costs onto them," The Hill reports. "The regulations empower the administration to revoke the so-called grandfather status of businesses that shift 'significant' new burdens onto employees -- a considerable penalty that would subject those plans to all the consumer protections in the Democrats' new healthcare reform law."

Economy: Fed Officials Prepare Backup Plan

• "Federal Reserve officials are beginning to debate quietly what steps they might take if the recovery surprisingly falters or if the inflation rate falls much more," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports.

• "An amendment from Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., to strike $25 a week in extra unemployment compensation from a nearly $140 billion package of benefit payments and tax breaks could shore up support among wavering senators concerned about its deficit impact," CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports.

• "An effort to force some of the nation's biggest banks to spin off their lucrative derivatives-dealing operations appears to be gaining traction, as members of a House-Senate conference begin finalizing details of far-reaching new financial regulations," the Washington Post reports.

• "House Democrats want the Senate to accept stronger protections for state insurance regulations under the Wall Street overhaul bill," The Hill reports.

• "Obama's latest push for a $50 billion local aid package is sparking a backlash from Hill Democrats who say they got no notice of the plan and have no means to pay for it -- a clash that puts on full display a growing lack of coordination between the White House and Congress," Roll Call (subscription) reports.

National Security: Fresh Concerns About Afghanistan Strategy

• "A series of political and military setbacks in Afghanistan has fed anxiety over the war effort in the past few weeks, shaking supporters of President Obama's counterinsurgency strategy and confirming the pessimism of those who had doubts about it from the start," the Washington Post reports.

• "Defense Secretary Robert Gates has recommended that Gen. James Amos will be the next commandant of the Marine Corps, POLITICO has learned. Lt. Gen. Joseph Dunford has been recommended to be assistant commandant," Politico reports.

Supreme Court: Justices Halt Automatic Deporations

• "Immigrants convicted of minor drug offenses should not face automatic deportation, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday, a decision that could allow thousands of legal immigrants the chance to argue for leniency from immigration judges," the Washington Post reports.

Lobbying: Finance Bill Discussions Intensify Lobbying

• "Wall Street's lobbying army is marching around Washington in a push to shape the final financial-overhaul bill," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports. "But it has gotten harder to get through the door with some lawmakers."

• "House Democratic leaders have brokered a deal to exempt the National Rifle Association from legislation to counteract a controversial Supreme Court decision relaxing campaign finance rules," Roll Call (subscription) reports.

• "National Association of Convenience Stores lobbyist Lyle Beckwith had some sharp words for Members of Congress on a credit card interchange fee proposal," Roll Call (subscription) reports. "On Friday, he sent an e-mail missive to state convenience and petroleum retail association executives saying that House Members opposing the 'swipe fee' amendment to the Wall Street bill are 'flipping the bird' to the group's membership."

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