The Earlybird: Today's headlines

New patients' rights legislation, Powell's Mideast talks, Bush's focus on energy, new CFR bill, Fed's cut, Schundler's recruitments, Dole's recovery, no White House fireworks:

  • President Bush invited 20 House Republican moderates to the White House to discuss patients' rights on Wednesday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. After the meeting, Bush "backed away from his previous insistence that patients' lawsuits against managed-care providers or insurers be heard in federal court, not state courts," and he "endorsed a new version of the legislation, sponsored by Rep. Ernest L. Fletcher, R-Ky., that would permit state courts to act in some cases."
  • Senate Democrats on Wednesday accepted a compromise to the patients' rights bill "that would exempt nearly all employers from lawsuits by workers who are denied benefits under employer-sponsored health plans," the Baltimore Sun reports.
  • The Senate could possibly vote on a final patients' rights bill today, the Boston Globe reports.
Mideast Negotiating
  • Secretary of State Colin Powell "will urge Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat Thursday to keep down violence against Israelis while the United States tries to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to make do with a less-than-perfect peace," USA Today reports.
  • Powell met with Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres Thursday morning, and he will meet with Sharon Thursday night, AP reports. Powell said during a press conference with Peres that he wanted "to 'move quickly,'" but that that the timing of a peace agreement "was up to the two parties."
Returning To Energy
  • Today Bush will send his energy plan to Congress, "and congressional Republicans will fan out across the country during next week's Fourth of July recess to make the case for spurring domestic energy production by lowering regulatory barriers for new power plants and pipelines," the Washington Post reports.
  • "Seeking to blunt the view that his administration is indifferent to energy conservation," Bush also will announce today new federal grants "to promote energy-efficient technologies," Reuters reports.
  • The White House on Wednesday altered its faith-based initiative legislation to "bring the legislation in line with the US Constitution's separation of church and state," the Boston Globe reports.
  • The Bush administration on Wednesday "all but" accused House members who supported an action to keep Mexican trucks off U.S. roads "of engaging in discrimination rather than acting based on safety concerns," USA Today reports. The administration wants to reverse the policy.
On The Hill
  • During a House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Texas, "offered South Texas as a replacement site for military bombing exercises Wednesday as other members of Congress urged the Navy to fight to retain its controversial training ground on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques," the Dallas Morning News reports.
  • Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., "plans to force a vote on a new organizing resolution for committees before allowing Senators to return home" for the Fourth of July recess, Roll Call reports.
  • House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said during an interview with Roll Call on Wednesday that despite rumors, he is not retiring.
  • "The two most outspoken members of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission tangled again yesterday, this time accusing one another of lying as they testified before a congressional panel seeking input on election reform," the Washington Times reports.
  • "The family of a convicted crime boss paid Roger Clinton $50,000 and the check is being examined by a House panel investigating how the Clinton administration doled out pardons," AP reports.
  • The House Commerce-Justice-State Appropriations Subcommittee approved a $37.9 billion spending bill on Wednesday, National Journal News Service reports.
Campaign Finance Issues
  • House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., "is telling Democrats and key constituencies that an immediate soft-money ban is now a matter of long-term survival for the party," Roll Call reports.
  • Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, will introduce his own campaign finance reform bill today, the Washington Times reports. The bill "is an effort to siphon support away from the McCain-Feingold bill pending in the Senate."
  • A $2,500 per-plate dinner held last night at the Washington Convention Center for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee raised more than $20 million, the Washington Post reports. The event, which featured Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, "could be the committees' last big party before new campaign finance curbs are imposed."
A Little Help From The Fed
  • The Federal Reserve Board cut interest rates by a quarter percentage point on Wednesday, the Baltimore Sun reports. "Banks almost immediately began announcing reductions in their prime rates, the lending rates they charge their best customers."
  • The Fed "also left the door open to additional rate cuts by indicating in a statement that they still believe the risks to the economy 'are weighted mainly toward conditions that may generate economic weakness in the foreseeable future,'" the Washington Post reports.
  • The New York Times reprints the Fed's statement yesterday.
  • "The Dow Jones Industrial Average had been up 30 points just before the announcement, but that gain vanished," the Wall Street Journal reports. However, the Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange showed gains.
In Our Defense
  • Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld asked Congress Wednesday for an additional $18.4 billion for military spending, AP reports.
  • Rumsfeld also plans to ask Congress "for permission to begin scrapping all 50 of its nuclear-tipped MX missiles as a possible first step toward a unilateral reduction in the nation's nuclear arsenal," the New York Times reports.
  • "The Pentagon has prepared a contract that would allow it to begin readying a site for a national missile defense system at Fort Greeley, Alaska, as early as this August," the Wall Street Journal reports.
Government Actions
  • "The State Department has imposed sanctions on companies in China and North Korea for selling chemical-weapons materials and missile engines to Iran," the Washington Times reports.
  • The Immigration and Naturalization Service said Wednesday that it "had stopped nearly 7,900 migrants from illegally making it into the United States and Canada" during a two-week operation, the Dallas Morning News reports.
  • The Census Bureau "says it will not provide states and cities with the figures on their homeless populations," the New York Times reports.
Making The Pledge
  • Last night the United Nations "approved by acclamation a sweeping plan to combat AIDS around the globe," the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. "The plan sets timetables for reducing the prevalence of the disease among young people in the hard-hit countries of sub-Saharan Africa and cutting the transmission of the AIDS virus from pregnant women to their newborns."
  • The House International Relations Committee on Wednesday "called for $1.36 billion in AIDS funds -- significantly more than the Bush administration's request," National Journal News Service reports.
Around The World
  • "The US Embassy yesterday ordered up to 30 Americans to leave Macedonia following riots that revealed rising anti-Western sentiment in the tense nation," AP reports.
  • Slobodan Milosevic's lawyers on Wednesday called "for the dismissals of two judges and a prosecutor working on his case," AP reports. Milosevic is trying to fight his extradition.
  • "The United States will participate in a donors conference Friday on aid to Yugoslavia because its government has begun legal steps to send former president Slobodan Milosevic to a war crimes tribunal in the Hague," the Washington Post reports.
N.J. Race Takes Shape
  • The day after his primary victory, New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Bret Schundler (R) met with his former opponent, Bob Franks (R), and "former Gov. Tom Kean -- two leaders of the moderate GOP establishment that Schundler toppled" in his win, the Newark Star-Ledger reports. "After the meeting, Franks and Kean pronounced themselves 'delighted' to join Jack Kemp... as co-chairmen of Schundler's campaign."
  • Democratic candidate Jim McGreevey "wasted no time taking shots at his new opponent," saying "Schundler's conservative views on education, guns and abortion do not match those of New Jersey's voters," the Newark Star-Ledger reports.
  • Pennsylvania Auditor General Robert Casey Jr. (D), who is running for his party's nomination for governor, raised $2.3 million on opponent Ed Rendell's (D) "turf" last night at the Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel in Center City, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Open Seat Candidates
  • Rep. Bob Etheridge, D-N.C., became "the latest in a growing line of well-known Democrats to pass up next year's U.S. Senate race" by deciding not to run for the seat currently held by Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., the Raleigh News & Observer reports. The News & Observer also reports that "the trial balloon for Republican Elizabeth Dole's candidacy appears to have lost gas."
  • Roll Call reports that "both parties are busy preparing for what one GOP strategist called the 'increasing likelihood' that" Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., will "opt to retire in 2002."
  • Franks' loss to Schundler in the New Jersey GOP primary Tuesday has left the state party with a "field of possible GOP contenders seeking to challenge embattled" Sen. Bob Torricelli, D-N.J., in 2002, Roll Call reports.
  • St. Paul, Minn., Mayor Norm Coleman (R) was in Los Angeles Monday raising money for his 2002 Senate challenge to Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., "at the home of Bradford Freeman, a venture capitalist and a top fund-raiser for President Bush," the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
  • The Boston Herald reports that "longtime Boston pol" Joseph Timilty (D) said "he's purposely bursting on the scene" of the 9th District special election "to shake up the lackluster field."
  • Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris (R) "is widely thought to be preparing to run for the House seat in Florida's 13th Congressional District," USA Today reports. She "has not confirmed she is running and did not return phone calls for comment."
In The States
  • "A truck that overturned on the Virginia end" of the Woodrow Wilson bridge at "about 7:35 a.m. yesterday spilled 500 gallons of hot tar," backing up traffic for "five miles," the Washington Post reports.
  • "About 1,500 employees will lose their jobs" when Firestone's Decatur, Ill., plant closes its doors by the end of the year, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. "Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. blamed the decision on plummeting tire sales."
  • A Los Angeles Times poll shows that "most Californians remain unconvinced that the state suffers from a shortage of energy."
Names In The News
  • The Rev. Al Sharpton "is set to end his hunger strike when three local politicians who were arrested with him in a Vieques protest are freed" tomorrow, the New York Post reports. Sharpton, who has lost "more than 25 pounds," is "not scheduled to be sprung until Aug. 15 because he had a prior arrest for civil disobedience."
  • Jesse Jackson's wife, Jacqueline Jackson, "held up two fingers in a peace sign" as she was released from jail on Wednesday "after serving a 10-day sentence for trespassing during protests on Vieques island," AP reports.
  • Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif., "has admitted to cops he broke off all contact with Chandra Levy two days before the intern vanished." He also said "the 24-year-old intern became extremely distraught when he broke the news to her on April 29 that he was ending their 'close friendship,'" the New York Post reports.
  • One of the surgeons who operated on Bob Dole yesterday said the former senator "maintained his sense of humor throughout his care," AP reports. "Dole is expected to be released by the end of the week and will be able to resume normal activities within 10 days."
  • Morgan Grams, son of former Sen. Rod Grams, R-Minn., "was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years and 364 days in prison for possession of a stolen car and six other charges" in New Mexico, AP reports.
  • Two-time Oscar winner Jack Lemmon died Wednesday, AP reports. He was 76.
Better Make Other Plans

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