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EARLYBIRD

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California judge halts 'don't ask, don't tell' enforcement, while senators ask administration to let repeal stand. Plus: Denial based on pre-existing conditions was widespread.

Congress: Bright Boasts of Vote Against Pelosi

• "The first House Democrat to publicly say that he would oppose Nancy Pelosi for Speaker in the next Congress is now running a campaign ad touting his position," Roll Call (subscription) reports. "In a new 30-second television spot, Rep. Bobby Bright (Ala.) pledges to vote 'for the person who will allow [him] to best represent [his] constituents,' as a Friday Associated Press headline that reads 'Bobby Bright Won't Vote for Pelosi' flashes across the screen."

White House: 'Don't Ask' Halted by Judge

• "A federal judge ordered an immediate end Tuesday to the Pentagon's enforcement of its ban on openly gay service members, rejecting the Obama administration's argument that an injunction to stop the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy might harm military readiness," the Washington Post reports.

 

• "Democratic Senators are urging the Obama administration not to appeal" the federal court ruling, Roll Call (subscription) reports. "Sens. Mark Udall (Colo.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) authored a letter signed by 21 Senators pressing Attorney General Eric Holder to let the injunction on the policy stand."

• "Michelle Obama makes her official entrance on the 2010 campaign stage in Milwaukee" today "but is expected to keep politics at arm's length and emphasize her role as 'Mom-in-Chief,'" Politico reports.

• "Over the objections of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, the Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear a case brought by two people who said they were barred from a speech given by President George W. Bush because they arrived in a car with a bumper sticker that read 'No More Blood for Oil,'" the Washington Post reports.

 

Politics: GOP Ahead in Key Races, Poll Finds

• "Republicans are winning eight out of 10 competitive open House seats surveyed" by The Hill in a new poll. "Taken on top of 11 GOP leads out of 12 freshman Democratic districts polled last week, The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll points toward 19 Republican victories out of 22 races, while Democrats win only two and one is tied."

• "Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) called on the IRS on Tuesday to quickly investigate the tax status of Crossroads GPS and other organizations that are spending tens of millions of dollars on campaign ads without disclosing the sources of the money," Roll Call (subscription) reports.

• "Amid this year's heated debate over corporate campaign cash, the top donor to House and Senate campaigns is a company that was an also-ran in political Washington just a few years ago: Honeywell International Inc.," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports. "Honeywell, a diversified manufacturer with a big presence in aerospace and defense contracting, has used its political-action committee to dole out $3 million of federal campaign contributions for next month's elections, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics."

Economy: Fed Open to New Action on Economy

• "Many Federal Reserve policymakers were leaning toward new action to boost the economy at their last meeting but decided to gather additional information and more carefully analyze their strategy before making any moves, according to minutes of the meeting," the Washington Post reports. "The minutes of the Sept. 21 meeting, released Tuesday, offer a portrait of a monetary policy committee with significant divisions, but one that appears more inclined to act to strengthen a faltering economy and increase inflation above its current rock-bottom levels."

 

• "Amid growing inquiries by law enforcement into dubious paperwork by home lenders, one of the nation's largest, GMAC Mortgage, said Tuesday that it was expanding its review of foreclosures to all 50 states," the New York Times reports.

• "Federal bank regulators took a first step on Tuesday to spell out how they would use a new law to seize and dismantle large, failing financial institutions so that taxpayers are not on the hook, as they were in the 2008 financial crisis," the New York Times reports. "The proposal would require the creditors of a large financial firm to suffer losses if the firm fell apart. It would 'absolutely bar' additional payments to shareholders and holders of long-term senior debt and subordinated debt.... But the proposal would give the F.D.I.C. board some flexibility to make payments to certain creditors if the payments were for 'essential operations.'"

Health Care: Investigation Finds Widespread Denial of Coverage

• "The House Energy and Commerce Committee" on Tuesday "released a memo chock-full of ammunition on insurance companies' denial of applicants for pre-existing conditions before the health care overhaul law was signed, information it is sure to use to prove implementing the legislation is necessary," CongressDaily (subscription) reports. An investigation "found that more than 650,000 people were denied insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions in the individual market from 2007 to 2009 by the country's four largest insurance companies: Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealth Group, and WellPoint."

• "The Obama administration" Tuesday "announced a one-year delay of a provision of the health care law requiring employers to report the cost of health insurance coverage on employees' W-2 tax forms, saying the extra time is necessary to give employers time to prepare to comply with the requirement," CongressDaily (subscription) reports.

• "The Supreme Court seemed divided Tuesday on whether allowing lawsuits by people allegedly harmed by the side effects of childhood vaccines would hurt the general public by exposing drug companies to so much risk that they would leave the business," the Washington Post reports.

Energy & Environment: Drilling Ban Ended Early

• "The Obama administration announced" Tuesday "it is lifting its six-month deep-water drilling ban more than a month early, but the oil and gas industry is not convinced it will do anything to help get current and new operations online," CongressDaily (subscription) reports. "And the Interior Department isn't making assurances about how fast it will issue permits under new regulations."

• "Both Louisiana Senators applauded the Obama administration's decision" to lift the moratorium, "but Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu said the announcement was not enough to persuade her to abandon her hold on the nominee to run the White House budget office," Roll Call (subscription) reports.

• "Internet search engine giant Google announced Tuesday that it is investing in a mammoth project to build an underwater 'superhighway for clean energy' that would be able to funnel power from offshore wind farms to 1.9 million homes without overtaxing the already congested mid-Atlantic power grid," the Washington Post reports.

Technology: U.K. Warns of Cyber Attacks

• "The head of Britain's communications intelligence agency said Tuesday that it may need to receive direct feeds of information from private companies in key economic sectors in order to better protect the U.K. economy from the threat from cyber attacks," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports. "In a rare speech, Iain Lobban, director of GCHQ since 2008, said the risks from cyber attacks were expanding along with the rise in the Internet, which was growing by 60% a year."

• "Like a father trying to exhibit coolness to a wary teenager, President Obama has been making an elaborate effort to appeal to younger voters in the final weeks before the midterm elections," the Washington Post reports. "On Tuesday night, Obama took his youth tour a step further, fielding the first presidential question via the Internet-calling service Skype."

• "Sarah Palin isn't the only political celebrity with the heft to endorse a candidate by simply typing a tweet," Politico reports. "California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger took to the site Tuesday, throwing his support behind Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's independent bid for Senate."

National Security: Pakistan Reopens Border Crossing for Supply Line

• "After a 10-day shutdown, Pakistan reopened a vital border crossing into Afghanistan Monday, allowing supply convoys to resume their deliveries of goods to U.S. troops," CongressDaily (subscription) reports. "Since the border's closing, more than 100 trucks were set on fire in a series of six deadly attacks by militants."

• "Leaders from 18 countries, including the United States, gathered in Vietnam on Tuesday to try to resolve a spate of territorial conflicts in Asian waters that have escalated political tensions," the Washington Post reports. "Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told the conference of Asian defense ministers that the United States holds a 'national interest in freedom of navigation' in the region, despite China's recent claims of sovereignty over much of the South China Sea, the East China Sea and other waters off its coast."

• "After another highly successful year of meeting their personnel requirements and attracting exceptionally high quality young men and women, the military's top recruiting officials acknowledged" Tuesday "that the high unemployment rate was a factor, but praised the post-9/11 GI bill educational benefit as an important draw," CongressDaily (subscription) reports.

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