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Conservative Democrat suggests alternative to Pelosi as Speaker. Plus: U.S. seeks power to wiretap the Internet.

Congress: Pelosi's Support In Question

• "Nancy Pelosi's support among moderate Democrats appears to be eroding, with more than a handful refusing to commit to supporting her for Speaker next year," Roll Call (subscription) reports. "The list includes Reps. Bobby Bright (Ala.), Jim Marshall (Ga.), Gene Taylor (Miss.) and Walt Minnick (Idaho), who recently declined to publicly support Pelosi for another two-year term. Roughly a half-dozen other moderate Democrats also demurred when asked whether they would vote to let Pelosi keep the gavel."

• Taylor "told The Hill that he'd like to see" Rep. Ike Skelton, "a Missouri Democrat and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, succeed" Pelosi "if Democrats retain a slimmer hold on the House after the November elections."


• "The Senate will consider a bill this week aimed at discouraging U.S. businesses from outsourcing jobs overseas, a plan that Democrats describe as an effort to fight unemployment but which Republicans deride as a pre-election political maneuver," the Wall Street Journal reports. "Democrats admit they don't have enough votes to defeat a possible attempt by Republicans to block the bill. But they hope that bringing the issue to the Senate floor will underscore their concern about unemployment, now at 9.6%."

• "Senate Democrats are not backing down on their commitment to filibuster reform," The Hill reports. "In the wake of two failed procedural votes last week... many Democrats say the votes make it more, not less, likely that they will pursue filibuster reform in January, after the new Senate has been seated."

White House: Administration Backs Down On College Program

• "The Obama administration... is making clear that its recent decision to postpone a controversial rule for for-profit colleges will have no influence on its effective date," The Hill reports. "The Education Department's so-called 'gainful employment' proposal... was initially scheduled to be finalized Nov. 1, and to take effect in July 2012. On Friday, however, the agency announced that the most controversial element of that rule... won't be finalized until early 2011."


• "The possible delay of Jacob Lew's confirmation to be White House budget director could leave the Obama administration without a key adviser heading into a crucial budget period," The Hill reports. "With the Senate expected to recess next week until after the midterm elections, Lew may have to wait until mid-November, at the earliest, to start work at the Office of Management and Budget."

• "A significant majority of voters are considering voting against" President Obama "in the 2012 election, expressing sour views of his new health care law and deep skepticism about his ability to create jobs and grow the sluggish economy," according to a poll by Politico. "Forty-four percent said they will vote to oust him, and 13 percent said they will consider voting for someone else."

Politics: Reapportionment Could Benefit Florida

• "A new estimate of House reapportionment gains and losses resulting from this year's Census reveals a larger-than-expected impact on Florida and New York," Politico reports. "According to Washington-based Election Data Services, which reviewed new Census data from a private-sector demographic firm, Florida would gain two House seats and New York would lose two seats."

• "Hoping to overshadow last month's large rally led by Glenn Beck that drew many Tea Party advocates and other conservatives, a coalition of liberal groups plan to descend on Washington on Saturday to make the case that they, and not the ascendant right, speak for America's embattled middle class," the New York Times reports. "Predicting a crowd of more than 100,000, some 300 liberal groups -- including the N.A.A.C.P., the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the National Council of La Raza and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force -- are sponsoring" the march.


• "For Republicans, there appears to be a strong possibility that the current chairmen of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee will stay in those roles for another two years," Roll Call (subscription) reports. "But it is unclear whom Democrats will tap to lead the House and Senate political efforts next cycle -- which includes both a presidential race and Congressional redistricting."

Economy: Banker Sees Big Payday

• "Citigroup Inc.'s newest prized banker has won quite a prize of his own: a pay package that could hit as much as $30 million over three years, according to people familiar with the matter," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports. "The deal with Stephen Trauber, an energy banker who defected this month to Citigroup from UBS AG, comes months after U.S. Treasury Department 'pay czar' Kenneth Feinberg ended his oversight of Citigroup's pay practices."

• "As the mortgage market grew frothy in 2006 -- leading to a housing bubble that nearly brought down the banking system two years later -- ratings agencies charged with assessing risk in mortgage pools dismissed conclusive evidence that many of the loans were dubious, according to testimony given last week to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission," the New York Times reports.

• "The Obama administration wants to require U.S. banks to report all electronic money transfers into and out of the country, a dramatic expansion in efforts to counter terrorist financing and money laundering," the Washington Post reports. "Officials say the information would help them spot the sort of transfers that helped finance the al-Qaeda hijackers who carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks."

Health Care: School Lunch Program Investigated

• "Sodexo, Inc., is already facing questions over its handling of a food service contract with the U.S. Marine Corps. Now the company is also confronting a possible probe over its school lunch business," The Hill reports. "On Sept. 16, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), chairwoman of the House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee, wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack calling for an inspector general investigation into the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs."

Energy & Environment: New Theory On Spill Emerges

• "A new theory about the origin of the blowout of a BP PLC oil well emerged on Sunday when an outside investigator said the problem could potentially be traced to cracks that formed in an underwater formation," the Wall Street Journal reports. "BP has said that the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history started with flaws in the cement, blaming Halliburton Co. for developing a faulty cement foam that didn't stay mixed with nitrogen. Halliburton says tests conducted before the cementing job showed that the foam was stable."

• "Engineering experts probing the Gulf of Mexico oil spill exposed holes in BP's internal investigation as the company was questioned Sunday for the first time in public about its findings," AP reports. "BP's lead investigator acknowledged that the company's probe had limitations."

• "The administration's so-called energy czar is just about the only high-ranking official to emerge from the BP oil disaster with an enhanced reputation -- making" Carol Browner, "some say, the most powerful woman in the White House next to Obama's longtime friend Valerie Jarrett," Politico reports. "Yet even as Browner's stock rises, her rationale for remaining by Obama's side is declining. The collapse of the administration's comprehensive climate change effort -- a career-long goal for Browner -- has stoked rumors that she'll head for the exit rather than settle for an incremental, vastly scaled-back energy agenda."

Technology: U.S. Seeks Power To Wiretap Internet

• "Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is 'going dark' as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone," the New York Times reports. "Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications -- including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct 'peer to peer' messaging like Skype -- to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages."

• "Doubting that a proposed total ban on cellphone use behind the wheel could be enforced, the nation's highway safety officials Sunday declined to endorse a prohibition," the Washington Post reports. "The Governors Highway Safety Association set aside a California proposal that the group press for state legislatures to consider a complete ban."

• "The high-tech and telecommunications sector has been favoring Democratic candidates in this election cycle, according to a CQ MoneyLine analysis of Federal Election Commission records," Roll Call (subscription) reports. "The industry's political action committees have given $10.4 million to Democrats and $8 million to Republicans through the middle of summer."

National Security: Worm Hits Iranian Nuclear Facilities

• "Computer systems at Iran's first nuclear-power plant have been infected with a potent worm capable of taking over their control systems, Iranian officials said, citing the most significant example yet of potential dangers posed by the so-called Stuxnet worm," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports. "The development further fueled suspicions that the worm, which was discovered in July and has disproportionately hit facilities in Iran, was designed to attack Iranian nuclear facilities."

• A "stark divide between the nation's civilian and military leaders dominated Obama's Afghanistan strategy review, creating a rift that persists to this day," the Washington Post reports. "So profound was the level of distrust that Obama ended up designing his own strategy, a lawyerly compromise among the feuding factions."

• "Federal prosecutors in New York have opened a criminal probe of one of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's brothers, raising the stakes in Washington's sometimes-contentious dealings with the Karzai government," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports.

• "Washington area defense contractors are buying and selling companies at an increasingly high rate as they seek to position themselves for a realignment in Pentagon spending priorities," the Washington Post reports.

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