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EARLYBIRD

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Boehner says he would vote for middle-class tax cut even without one for top earners. Plus: Orszag says his advice on taxes was misunderstood.

Congress: McCaul Faces Ethics Questions Of His Own

• "Rep. Michael McCaul, one of the richest Members of Congress, appears to have failed to fully disclose dozens of stock transactions worth millions of dollars on his annual financial disclosure reports for 2008 and 2009," Roll Call (subscription) reports. "McCaul is the ranking member overseeing the ethics trial of Rep. Charlie Rangel, which is set to begin this month on charges that, among other things, the New York Democrat failed to report or misreported numerous assets or income on his financial disclosure forms between 1998 and 2008."

• "House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Sunday that he would back a bill supporting the extension of tax cuts for the middle class if that's all that is on the table, but stressed he's pushing for extension of all the Bush-era tax cuts," The Hill reports.

 

• "The prospects for major legislative items are dim," reports CongressDailyAM (subscription), which evaluates an "extensive" To-Do List: "tax cuts that expire at the end of the year; funding for the government; a defense authorization bill; a reauthorization of the FAA; a food safety bill; and longer shots like bills to address climate change, immigration and telecommunications."

White House: Orszag Says He Was Misunderstood

• "Former White House budget director Peter Orszag says that some of his New York Times column last week has been misunderstood," Politico reports. "Republicans jumped on the piece last week, saying that Orszag had broken with the Obama administration to support extending the tax cuts for high-income earners."

• "The Treasury Department has selected Patricia Geoghegan to replace Kenneth Feinberg as the 'pay czar' overseeing compensation at companies bailed out by the government," Reuters reports. "Feinberg was tapped earlier this summer by the Obama administration to administer BP Plc's $20 billion oil spill fund."

 

• "President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have a packed social schedule this week, with two major galas and a reception for college athletes," The Hill reports.

Politics: O'Donnell Moving Up In Delaware, Poll Finds

• "A new poll suggests a seismic upset might be in the making in Tuesday's Delaware Republican Senate primary," Politico reports. "The survey, released Sunday night by Public Policy Polling, shows Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell leading veteran Rep. Mike Castle by 47 percent to 44 percent -- a dead heat within the poll's 3.8 percent margin of error."

Economy: New Rules For Banks On The Way

• "Global regulators pushed through a historic remake of the world's banking regulations -- forcing financial institutions to increase protections against unexpected losses -- with the ripple effects likely to impact everything from mortgages to commercial loans to credit cards in coming years," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports. "The new rules are designed to rein in the kinds of risky activities that contributed to the financial crisis that upended Wall Street and shook the global economy to the core."

• "Three in five economists... expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to resume large-scale purchases of securities in the face of a deteriorating economic outlook -- but, by a 3-to-2 margin, most of them also think that would be a mistake," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports on its survey.

 

Health Care: GOP Reiterates Threat To Shut Down Government

• "Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Price of Georgia repeated a Republican threat on Saturday to withhold funding for health care reform if the party takes control of the House after the Nov. 2 elections," Politico reports. "Republicans have been calling for appropriations legislation that doesn't include funds to implement the health reform law, and have expressed a willingness to force a government shutdown if" Obama "vetoes the legislation."

• "Democrats' healthcare reform law... faces yet another challenge from a disengaged public," The Hill reports. "States across the country are reporting lower than expected participation in the high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions, raising concerns that a lack of public engagement could affect the program's success -- and that of health reform more generally."

Energy & Environment: Gulf Compensation Will Be Less Than $20 Billion, BP Says

• "BP believes compensation claims related to its Gulf of Mexico oil spill will be less than the $20 billion the oil giant has put into an independent claims fund, analysts at Citigroup said, following a meeting with incoming Chief Executive Bob Dudley," Reuters reports. "Dudley also told the analysts that claims by Gulf states for lost tax revenue related to the spill 'should not be too high' as any tax drops due to lower economic activity following the spill would be offset by the economic stimulus of the response effort."

• "The Chinese government has begun to make some inroads into its greenhouse gas emissions by holding accountable local and provincial officials -- as well as the nation's top 1,000 emitters," the Washington Post reports. "In the campaign that began in August, several provincial governments have ordered steel mills to work nine days straight and then take five days off and cut off cement plants' electricity supplies for periods of time, threatening to publicly expose factories that defy the new rules."

• "Pepco is drawing closer to the full-scale deployment of 'smart meters' throughout" Washington, "having rolled out 750 of the energy-tracking devices early this month," the Washington Post reports. "But how electricity use would be priced remains unresolved. The D.C. Public Service Commission... is still mulling over the utility's application to implement dynamic, or time-of-use, pricing, in which electricity would cost more during times of heavy demand."

Technology: FCC Decision Could Boost Economy

• "High-tech firms and engineers are dreaming that the Federal Communication Commission's move to release 'white spaces,' or unused television channels, later this month will unleash another boom of mobile innovation," the Washington Post reports. "Two decades ago, the FCC released similar airwaves to the public, but no one thought doing so would have much impact for consumers. They were wrong: That band of short-range radio waves spawned baby monitors, garage-door openers and thousands of WiFi hot spots at Starbucks, New York's Times Square and homes across the nation."

• "The ongoing fight between the White House and" Boehner "has moved to Twitter," Politico reports. "The top Republican in the House and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs traded barbs on the mini-messaging system Sunday in the wake of a front-page New York Times story that painted Boehner as beholden to special interests and swayed by his large network of lobbyists."

• "In the global race to see who can offer the fastest Internet service, an unlikely challenger has emerged: Chattanooga, Tenn.," the New York Times reports. "The city-owned utility, EPB, plans to announce... that by the end of this year it will offer ultra-high-speed Internet service of up to one gigabit a second.... Only Hong Kong and a few other cities in the world offer such lightning-fast service, and analysts say Chattanooga will be the first in the United States to do so."

National Security: Lugar Set To Offer Version Of START

• "The senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will present Democrats" today "with his version of a resolution of ratification for the new START treaty, which may offer the best opportunity to gather needed GOP support for passage of the nuclear weapons agreement with Russia," the Washington Post reports. "Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) has been consulting with his Republican colleagues on the committee to come up with language that meets their varied concerns."

• "The Obama administration is set to notify Congress of plans to offer advanced aircraft to Saudi Arabia worth up to $60 billion, the largest U.S. arms deal ever, and is in talks with the kingdom about potential naval and missile-defense upgrades that could be worth tens of billions of dollars more," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports.

• "The global economic recession significantly pushed down purchases of weapons last year to the lowest level since 2005, a new government study has found," the New York Times reports. "The report to Congress concluded that the value of worldwide arms deals in 2009 was $57.5 billion, a drop of 8.5 percent from 2008."

• "Senior Obama administration officials have concluded they need to step back from promoting American-style law enforcement as the main means of fighting corruption in Afghanistan because of the rift it has caused with President Hamid Karzai," the Washington Post reports. "Officials said there is a growing consensus that key corruption cases against people in Karzai's government should be resolved with face-saving compromises behind closed doors instead of public prosecutions."

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