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EARLYBIRD

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Tea Party candidates have big day in fight against the establishment. But Rangel holds on despite ethics controversy.

Politics: Tea Party Candidates O'Donnell, Paladino Win

• "Marketing consultant Christine O'Donnell upset Rep. Mike Castle in the Delaware Republican Senate primary" Tuesday, "handing the tea party movement a major victory and giving Democrats an unexpected chance to hold the First State seat," the Washington Post reports. "O'Donnell, who is making her third run for the Senate in as many elections, relied heavily on national surrogates... to fuel a shoestring campaign against the iconic Castle who had held elected office in the state for more than four decades."

• "Carl P. Paladino, a Buffalo multimillionaire who jolted the Republican Party with his bluster and belligerence, rode a wave of disgust with Albany to the nomination for governor of New York on Tuesday, toppling Rick A. Lazio, a former congressman who earned establishment support but inspired little popular enthusiasm," the New York Times reports.

 

• "Former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte led the field for the Republican nomination for the open New Hampshire Senate seat, in a race that was still too close to call" early this morning, Politico reports. "Ayotte led attorney Ovide Lamontagne by less than one percentage point, 38.2 percent to 37.5 percent, with just over 85 percent of precincts reporting."

• In upstate New York, "accountant Doug Hoffman (R), who gained fame in '09 for his insurgent Conservative Party special election bid," lost to "businessman Matt Doheny (R) in the GOP primary by a 53% to 47% score," Hotline On Call reports. "But Hoffman's not out of the general, yet. That's because he's again guaranteed to appear as the Conservative Party nominee, and if he runs -- as promised -- in the general the GOP's chances of taking this seat sink tremendously."

• And in New York City, "Representative Charles B. Rangel, the battle-scarred Democratic incumbent facing numerous ethics charges, captured his party's nomination on Tuesday after a nasty six-way primary battle in which his opponents sharply questioned his fitness to serve," the New York Times reports.

 

Congress: Defense Bill Will Become Vehicle For Proposals

• "The Senate is set to vote on a proposal to end secret holds as soon as next week," advocates said, CongressDaily (subscription) reports. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., "has informed Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., that a bill they have co-sponsored to curtail secret holds will receive a vote as an amendment to the defense authorization bill that Reid plans to move to next week, McCaskill and Senate aides said."

• Reid also hopes to attach the DREAM Act to the bill, CongressDailyAM (subscription) reports. "Acknowledging that immigration reform legislation is not possible in the foreseeable future, Senate Democrats want to turn the heat up on Republicans by trying to pass a smaller measure that would grant citizenship to young adults in the country illegally."

• "While the Senate is expected to vote next week on ending the military's 'Don't ask, don't tell' policy, another top priority of the gay-rights movement is likely to fall by the wayside," The Hill reports. "Gay-rights activists say they are resigned to the fact that the House will not vote before the midterm elections -- and perhaps not this year -- on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill adding workplace protections for sexual orientation and gender identity."

White House: Administration To Face Inquiry Over GM Bankruptcy

• "The special inspector for taxpayer bailout funds is looking into whether the Obama administration pressed General Motors in bankruptcy to backstop the pensions of the union retirees of a former division, Delphi," the New York Times reports. "The inquiry could clarify a lingering mystery of G.M.'s forced restructuring last year: both unionized and white-collar workers earned pensions while at Delphi, a G.M. spinoff also in bankruptcy, but when the federal government took over their failing pension plans, only Delphi's white-collar retirees suffered painful benefit cuts."

 

• "With an acknowledgment that he had slacked off in school himself on occasion, President Obama exhorted the nation's students Tuesday to show 'discipline and drive' to help their country compete in the global economy," the Washington Post reports.

Economy: Voinovich May Not Extend Tax Cuts

• Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, "is leaning against voting for an extension of tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush," The Hill reports. "Voinovich also said he would not vote only to extend tax cuts for middle-class families earning less than $250,000 a year."

• "The Senate invoked cloture" Tuesday "on the substitute amendment to a small-business lending bill, clearing the path for the bill's final passage this week after months of delays," CongressDaily (subscription) reports. Voinovich and Sen. George LeMieux, R-Fla., "sided with Democrats in approving the cloture motion, which passed 61-37."

• "The federal regulator of mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac raised concerns on Tuesday about the Obama administration's approach toward housing, questioning whether the government should continue to play a significant role in helping borrowers get home loans," the Washington Post reports. "Edward J. DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, became the first major voice within the government to express reservations about the administration's strategy for revamping the nation's housing policy."

• "The Obama administration has set a goal of doubling American exports over five years, and has called on Congress to eventually ratify free-trade agreements that were negotiated by the Bush administration with South Korea, Colombia and Panama," the New York Times reports. "But a report by a group that is skeptical of trade liberalization questions whether the first goal requires the second. The group, Public Citizen, will release a study" today "saying that in the last 12 years, exports to the 17 countries with which the United States has free-trade agreements grew at a slightly slower pace than exports to other countries."

Health Care: Filing Requirement Revision Defeated

• "The Senate on Tuesday defeated an effort to strip a controversial tax-reporting provision from the sweeping healthcare law Congress passed earlier this year," The Hill reports. "In a 46-52 vote, lawmakers killed an amendment sponsored by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) that would have saved businesses and nonprofit groups from having to report an array of small and medium-sized purchases to the IRS."

• "Every one of the 30" House Democrats "who voted against the health care bill and is seeking another term won re-nomination," Politico reports. "The last of the group to be tested, Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch, won his primary Tuesday, dispatching former Service Employees International Union Regional Political Director Mac D'Alessandro."

• "The Iowa egg farm linked to a national outbreak of salmonella illness found the bacterium in its facilities hundreds of times in the past two years, according to records released by congressional investigators," the Washington Post reports. "The laboratory results were obtained by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating the outbreak and subsequent recall of 500 million eggs, a record number."

• "The makers of high-fructose corn syrup asked the federal government Tuesday for permission to sweeten its image with a new name: corn sugar," the Washington Post reports. "The Food and Drug Administration could take two years to render a decision, but in the meantime, the industry has begun using the term in its advertising -- in an online marketing campaign, at www.cornsugar.com, and on television."

Energy & Environment: Feinberg Revises Rules For BP Fund

• "Kenneth Feinberg, the administrator of claims related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, told Florida hotel and restaurant owners he will not impose a 'proximity' requirement on those seeking payments for lost business," the Washington Post reports. "Feinberg said he had changed his view on whether to set definite lines about how close to the oil spill a business must be to file a claim for damages. But he insisted that businesses must still document damages."

• "A federal audit shows that the cost of cleaning up millions of gallons of radioactive waste at a South Carolina facility will cost almost $1.5 billion more than expected," AP reports. "The report released Tuesday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office finds that the U.S. Department of Energy underestimated the true costs of cleaning up the Savannah River Site in its $3.2 billion bid."

Technology: Cyber Squatters Buying Candidates' Names

• "A survey by the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse, a Washington-based trade group, has found that lawmakers are not as conscious of their online images as they ought to be," the New York Times reports. "Not quite half of United States senators and 40 percent of representatives own what the report called their FullName.com domain names."

• "Is the NSF still NSFW? That's the question" Grassley "is asking the independent agency this week, after new whistleblowers offered his office more 'credible evidence' that the National Science Foundation has failed to crack down on employees viewing sites not suitable for work," Politico reports.

National Security: Gates To Meet Russian Counterpart On Cost Cutting

• "It has been almost six years since a Russian defense minister set foot inside the Pentagon, and when Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates devotes Wednesday to hosting his Kremlin counterpart, Anatoly E. Serdyukov, they are expected to find common ground on a topic that would have been unimaginable during the cold war," the New York Times reports. "In parallel, Mr. Gates and Mr. Serdyukov have declared war on their expensive, inefficient bureaucracies, to the frustration of their respective defense industries, civilian employees and some members of their officer corps."

• "Gates on Tuesday laid out details of his plans to save $100 billion in five years as he tries to run the Pentagon more efficiently," the Washington Post reports.

• "An openly gay Saudi Arabian diplomat in Los Angeles who requested asylum in late August said he had received death threats since making it public on Saturday that he had asked to be allowed to stay in the United States," the New York Times reports. "The diplomat, Ali Ahmad Asseri, was still awaiting word from American officials on his application Tuesday, and said he feared execution if he returned to his home country."

• "The leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority held more than two hours of face-to-face peace talks in" Egypt "on Tuesday, delving into several of the core issues that divide the two sides but not breaking an impasse over Jewish settlements," the Times also reports. "Obama's special representative, George J. Mitchell, said he was encouraged by the overall direction of the talks, but declined to say whether the two sides had made any progress on a dispute over Israel's moratorium on settlement construction, which is scheduled to expire on Sept. 26."

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