The Earlybird: Today's Headlines

Patients' rights delay, Powell in China, Dem support on defense, Hussein's close shot, Barbour's potential bid, Torricelli's new PAC, Edwards' loud mouth, Jeffords' enemies:

  • House Republicans on Wednesday postponed a vote on patients' rights legislation until next week at the earliest "while they search for votes to pass the version favored by President Bush," the Dallas Morning News reports.
  • Rep. Greg Ganske, R-Iowa, a co-sponsor of the patients' rights bill that the Republican leadership opposes, "called the decision a tactical defeat" for Republican leaders, Roll Call reports.
  • "The move revealed Bush's political weakness on the issue even in the Republican-majority House, embarrassing him on his first full day back in the United States after a tour of Europe," the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
  • And while "it may be premature to conclude that Bush has lost control of his agenda... lawmakers and strategists in both parties said that Bush's next year is much more likely to look like the fractious month of July than like the orderly march toward Bush's tax cut this spring," the Washington Post reports.
Special Treatment?
  • Immigrants from countries other than Mexico are upset about Bush's plan to offer permanent legal status to illegal Mexican immigrants living in America, the New York Times reports. On Wednesday hundreds of immigrants stood in line at the federal immigration office in Arlington, Va., to demand equal treatment.
  • The Senate could vote today on "safety standards for Mexican trucks in the United States," AP reports.
Facing The Issues
  • Secretary of State Colin Powell, who will visit China this weekend, said Wednesday that "he's pleased China paroled U.S.-based scholars before his Beijing visit in an apparent step toward improving strained ties," the Houston Chronicle reports.
  • Ralph Boyd Jr., the Justice Department's civil rights chief, said the department will "sue local police departments that don't stop engaging in" racial profiling, the Boston Globe reports.
  • The General Accounting Office will release a report today showing that the Pentagon "made $615 million in illegal and improper accounting entries last year to pay its contractor bills, despite a 1990 law designed to prohibit the practice," the Washington Post reports.
Mixed Support
  • Sens. Joseph Biden Jr., D-Del., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., said Wednesday they would support "President Bush's proposal to scuttle the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, provided the United States does not act unilaterally," the Washington Times reports.
  • Meanwhile, some congressional Democrats "are threatening to block the Pentagon's plans to begin work next month on a new missile defense test site at Fort Greely, Alaska, contending that Congress never appropriated financing for such work," the New York Times reports.
On The Hill
  • The House voted Tuesday to allow Americans to travel to Cuba, the Washington Times reports.
  • Congress is not likely to take up the issue of electoral reform until September, Roll Call reports.
  • The House Government Reform Committee on Wednesday "approved a resolution... expressing the sense of the House that the National Capital Planning Commission should develop a plan to reopen a stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue that has been closed to traffic since 1995," National Journal News Service reports.
  • Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons "gate-crashed a Senate hearing on the entertainment industry and told Congress not to censor music or blame society's ills on violent and sexually explicit lyrics," Reuters reports.
  • Mary Sheila Gall, the nominee to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission, told the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday that "working with manufacturers to make products safe often gets better results than creating new regulations," AP reports. "Gall's confirmation prospects are uncertain."
The Energy Report
  • Vice President Dick Cheney said Wednesday that he would not turn over "a list of non-government officials who attended closed-door meetings of his energy task force as a matter of principle and that a court might have to settle the dispute over revealing the names," Reuters reports.
  • The House on Wednesday "rejected a Democratic attempt... to keep the Navy from picking up the full bill for electricity" at Cheney's official home, AP reports.
  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Wednesday "agreed with a federal mediator's rejection of California's demand for nearly $9 billion in refunds for wholesale electricity purchases" and "ordered a hearing to resolve the dollar amount owed to the state," Reuters reports.
Middle East Sanctions
  • The House passed a measure Wednesday "calling on President Bush to impose sanctions on the Palestine Liberation Organization unless it complies with a commitment to renounce terrorism," Reuters reports.
  • The Israeli Army killed a Hamas activist yesterday, the Boston Globe reports. "Palestinians said the raid was the third Israeli assassination operation in nine days -- a policy condemned by the United States."
  • "Palestinian security officials Wednesday handed over a list of 30 militant Jewish settlers to CIA representatives during a security meeting with Israeli security commanders in Tel Aviv," UPI reports.
Around The World
  • The United States on Wednesday "abandoned seven years of global talks on enforcing a treaty banning germ warfare," AP reports. The move surprised allies and prompted "criticism for the latest in a string of go-it-alone US positions."
  • "Pentagon officials say Iraq came close to hitting a U-2 spy plane with an unguided surface-to-air missile Tuesday, the second attempt by Iraq to shoot down a U.S. surveillance plane in less than a week," reports.
  • "The incident signaled that the regime of Saddam Hussein had gained new capabilities to use against Western pilots," reports.
  • "A sailboat packed with perhaps as many as 156 Haitians trying to get to the United States ran aground on the reefs surrounding Great Inagua Island in the Bahamas during the past week, leaving six dead and possibly dozens more missing," the New York Times reports.
  • India's "bandit queen," Parliament member Phoolan Devi, "was killed by masked gunmen outside her home" on Wednesday, the New York Times reports.
Flip Flops
  • The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Virginia gubernatorial rivals Mark Earley (R) and Mark Warner (D) have flipped views on issues such as vouchers and gun control, "raising questions about their credibility and potentially doing more to inflame voters than entice them."
  • "Influential Democrats disappointed with the way" Ed Rendell (D) ran Philadelphia in the 1990s are backing Robert Casey Jr. (D) in the 2002 gubernatorial primary, AP reports.
  • Former Republican National Committee Chair Haley Barbour "may try to restore the" Mississippi GOP "to power in 2003 by taking on Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (D)," the Washington Post reports.
Bring It On
  • Sen. Robert Torricelli, D-N.J., preparing for "what is likely to be a costly re-election bid," has set up a political action committee, the Newark Star-Ledger reports.
  • The Boston Globe reports that "the four Democratic senator-candidates for the 9th Congressional District got downright pugilistic" during a radio debate Wednesday morning.
  • During the debate, front-runner Stephen Lynch, "stung by two days of steady attacks from rival Brian A. Joyce, charged... that Joyce's barbs show 'desperation' as he drops in the polls," the Boston Herald reports.
  • Michigan Secretary of State Candice Miller (R) has "just over $363,000" in her campaign account -- more than "any other U.S. House candidate running for an open seat next year," AP reports.
In The States
  • Massachusetts House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran (D) "showed little sign yesterday that he plans to back away from a redistricting scheme that would vaporize" the 5th District of Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass., the Boston Herald reports.
  • In Colorado, "the first 43 sex offenders set to be released left prison" on Tuesday, AP reports. "Another 73 will be released as soon as possible" because of "legislative errors."
  • "A forest fire south of Jackson, Wyo., met fire officials' worst expectations Wednesday, forcing the evacuation of about 175 homes in the rural, affluent Mosquito Creek area," the Denver Post reports.
  • "A driver trapped in the cab of his dump truck dangled from a Capital Beltway bridge guardrail -- 35 feet above the Suitland Parkway -- for 2 1/2 hours yesterday before firefighters could stabilize the truck and rescue him," the Washington Post reports. James Watts, 57, "was not seriously hurt."
That Ongoing Investigation
  • Billy Martin, the attorney for the parents of missing intern Chandra Levy, "said he wants to interview" Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif., "to learn more about" their relationship, the Washington Post reports. "Condit's representatives say Martin's request is more a public relations ploy than a true quest for information."
  • Authorities are investigating whether a top aide to Condit urged Joleen Argentini McKay to not "speak with law enforcement officials about an affair she says she had with the congressman," USA Today reports. McKay "has drawn authorities' interest in part because she says she gave Condit a Tag Heuer watch," which an Alexandria, Va., man "says he saw Condit discard" just before police searched his apartment July 10.
  • "A private polygraph administered" to Condit "asked 10 questions, four dealing with Chandra Levy and none dealing with allegations by a flight attendant that the congressman tried to persuade her to sign a false affidavit," AP reports.
  • Rep. Charles Stenholm, D-Texas, yesterday became the first Democrat to speak out publicly against Condit, saying the California congressman "had brought 'discredit to his family, his district and the Congress,'" Reuters reports.
  • The Washington Times reports that internal Republican polling "shows that the scandal engulfing" Condit "is hurting his party's ability to reach voters on other issues."
Names In The News
  • Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., "who publicly insists that he's not looking ahead to 2004," was overheard at Bistro Bis Monday night boasting "that he will be able to transfer money from his Senate campaign to a presidential committee" while soliciting support from Iowa Democrats, Roll Call's "Heard on the Hill" reports.
  • Michael Hahalyak and John Hoffman have "filed a federal civil suit against Sen. Jim Jeffords (I) attempting to force the Vermonter back into the Republican Party," Roll Call reports.

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