The Earlybird: Today's headlines

Lieberman helps Bush's faith-based plan, full Senate to debate Ashcroft, Fed to lower interest rates today, senators introduce election reforms, acting New Jersey gov. to be sworn in, Clinton beats the coach, Bush found on $200 bill:

  • President Bush on Tuesday "proposed increasing tax deductions to faith-based organizations," Reuters reports.
  • reports that former rival Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., stood by Bush's side Tuesday when the president introduced the legislative portion of his plan to provide federal aid to religious-based charities.
  • "Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said Tuesday he believes the Bush administration has close to 'uniform agreement' with Congress on the need for an across-the-board tax cut," AP reports.
  • Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., today will introduce his own education proposal as a challenge to the one Bush introduced last week, Reuters reports. Miller said the "package would increase investment in school construction and after-school programs, and reward public schools that boost academic performance."
  • Bush will hold his first Cabinet meeting today, even though all of his nominees have not yet been approved, reports.
  • A White House spokesman said Tuesday that "prevention of the deadly mad cow disease in the United States is an 'important' food safety issue for the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Agriculture Department," Reuters reports.
  • Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D) and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., will be at the White House Thursday to watch the movie "Thirteen Days" with President Bush, AP reports. The movie is about "John F. Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis."
Ashcroft Clears One Hurdle
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10 to 8 yesterday to send Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft to the full Senate. The only Democrat on that committee to break party line and vote for Ashcroft was Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., the Washington Post reports.
  • "The full Senate planned to resume debate on Wednesday on" Ashcroft, "with a vote on confirmation as early as Thursday," Reuters reports.
  • Feingold has received some heat for his vote, especially from those "who hoped a 9-9 split would underscore the divisiveness and controversy associated with President Bush's nomination of the former Missouri senator," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
  • The Senate confirmed two more nominations yesterday -- Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Environmental Protection Agency head Christie Todd Whitman, the Washington Times reports.
  • Robert Zoellick, U.S. trade representative nominee, sat yesterday before the Senate Finance Committee, where he "received an enthusiastic reception," the Washington Post reports.
Economic Indicators
  • Federal Reserve members will meet today, and they are "likely to lower short-term interest rates by at least half a percentage point," the Washington Post reports.
  • Consumer confidence has "taken its biggest single-month plunge since late 1990, when the last recession was under way," the New York Times reports.
  • The Congressional Budget Office is predicting a $5.6 trillion surplus over the next 10 years, Reuters reports.
  • That estimate hands "President Bush another argument that his $1.6 trillion tax cut plan is affordable," the Washington Post reports.
The Long Road To Reform
  • A bipartisan coalition including Sens. Robert Torricelli, D-N.J., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced an election reform package in both houses of Congress Tuesday, Reuters reports. One part of the proposal "would establish an agency to help research election procedures and make recommendations to states on ways to improve their voting technology and ballot design."
  • Members of Congress visited an electronics fair "for vendors of high-tech voting devices" that was held in a Senate office building Tuesday, the New York Times reports.
  • The House voted Tuesday to "raise the mandatory retirement age of federal firefighters from 55 to 57," which brings it "in line with that of federal law enforcement officers," AP reports.
  • Texas Rep. Tom Delay's (R) PACs "paid his daughter, Dani Ferro, nearly $60,000 in consulting fees during the second half of last year," the Washington Post reports. Ferro "has run her father's reelection campaigns for several years" and "only recently set up her own consulting business."
Around The World
  • One man was convicted and another was acquitted Wednesday by a Scottish court hearing the case of "the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland," which "killed 270 people," AP reports.
  • Secretary of State Colin Powell met with Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda Tuesday, reports. The two men agreed the nations "need to create programs to allow Mexican migrant workers to travel safely to the United States," but they disagreed on the best way to deal with Cuba.
  • "At least 28 people were injured, three of them seriously, when a Japan Airlines passenger jet maneuvered suddenly at 37,000 feet to avoid the path of another airplane" today, AP reports.
  • Financier Marc Rich, who recently was pardoned by former President Clinton, may have to pay back taxes "on income he earned during the 17 years he lived as a fugitive in Switzerland to avoid trial on U.S. racketeering charges," the Wall Street Journal reports.
Official Announcements
  • Virginia Lt. Gov. John Hager (R) "rebuffed" Gov. James Gilmore (R) yesterday by announcing that he would stay in the race for his party's gubernatorial nomination, the Washington Post reports.
  • New Jersey State Senate President Donald DiFrancesco (R) "will be sworn in as" the state's "acting governor" this afternoon, the Trenton Times reports. His upcoming nine months in office are seen by many as a boon to his 2001 gubernatorial bid.
  • New York Comptroller Carl McCall (D) "said he would tell supporters of his expected bid for governor what his decision was" Thursday night, the Albany Times Union reports. "McCall said he wouldn't run for comptroller again."
  • Illinois tax attorney and one-time congressional candidate John Cox (R) officially announced his candidacy to run against Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., in 2002, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports. Cox "is opposed to abortion and gun control laws but plans to highlight cutting taxes and improving schools instead of those hot-button issues."
In The States
  • In a "victory for Georgia's Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes," the state Senate voted on Tuesday to change the state flag by shrinking the size of a Confederate emblem" displayed on its face, Reuters reports. has an image of the new flag.
  • The vote was 34-22 "after a four-hour debate that visited every aspect of Southern heritage," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
  • California has exhausted its $400 million emergency fund during the power crisis, the Sacramento Bee reports. Gov. Gray Davis (D) has ordered "more state money be used to keep the lights on in energy-strapped parts of the state."
Names In The News
  • Former President Clinton took advantage of some new-found free time last night and attended a St. John's University basketball game, the New York Times reports. Upon their victory over the University of Connecticut, Clinton beat Coach Mike Jarvis to the locker room to congratulate the players.
  • President and Laura Bush threw a surprise luncheon for Vice President Dick Cheney, who turned 60 yesterday, the New York Times reports.
  • Former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., will receive the 2001 Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award, the AP reports. Past recipients include former President Ford, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf and former Chief Justice Earl Warren.
No Bush Currency Yet
  • Kentucky police are still looking for a man who paid for a fast-food meal "with a phony $200 bill featuring a picture of President Bush," the Los Angeles Times reports. He was given $198 in change.

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