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July 13, 2010 / Robyn Swirling

Things You Should Know About – Tuesday Edition

Photo via Pax Communications
  • BREAKING: President Obama just announced that he will nominate Jacob Lew to replace Peter Orszag as Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Lew is currently a deputy secretary of state for management and resources, and held the position of OMB director under President Clinton. [Politico Breaking News Email]
  • Some leading conservatives will launch a new pro-Israel group this week. The Emergency Committee for Israel’s leadership will be led by William Kristol and Gary Bauer. The Jew and cynic in me doesn’t think this has a thing to do with Israel, in actuality, as the group plans to air their first ad on FOX News and CNN, attacking Pennsylvania Senate candidate Joe Sestak for criticizing Israel’s blockade against Gaza. [Politico]
  • The US trade gap widened unexpectedly in May, “as a surge in imports from China more than offset the impact of falling oil prices.” [WSJ]
  • Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana) supports birther groups challenging President Obama’s citizenship in the courts. I wonder how he feels about trial lawyers and frivolous lawsuits. [WaPo]
  • BP has fitted a new cap on the gushing well in the Gulf and will test it today. BP also announced that their plan to sell off some core assets to pay for the spill cleanup is moving forward. [Reuters]
  • Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) announced yesterday that he would support the Wall Street reform package, giving Democrats the key 60th vote that they needed to get the bill passed. Now it looks like Brown holds the key to another pivotal piece of legislation, the DISCLOSE Act, in response to the Citizens United SCOTUS ruling. Groups who support the bill have written to Brown to urge him to vote for it, and you can read the letter here. [Politico]
  • Also over at Politico, since they seem to have all the scoops this morning, two new surveys by the US Chamber of Commerce show that small business owners and voters are extremely concerned about the administration’s actions. They reveal increasing worries about the impact of government expansion and debt on job creation. Read the full report here. [Politico]
  • For some reason, Senate Republicans want to delay the full Senate vote on Elena Kagan’s SCOTUS nomination. Judiciary Committee Republicans will, reportedly, ask for a one week delay before sending the nomination to the Senate floor, and Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vermont) has said he would grant it. Kagan is expected to be confirmed, and the one week delay would still allow for the vote and confirmation to happen before Congress recesses on August 6, and for Kagan to begin with the Court when they begin again in the fall. Unless this is some crazy Republican plan to delay it another week and then filibuster and be jerks about it, but there are no reports indicating that. [WaPo]
  • FBI counter-intelligence has unearthed a twelfth man in the Russian spy ring. The 23 year old man has been detained, and has been under FBI surveillance since shortly after he entered the US in October, 2009. No charges have been brought against the man, and it seems that his role was different from that of the other eleven people detained and sent back to Russia this past weekend. The man is awaiting deportation. [WSJ]
  • The twin bombings in Kampala, Uganda that killed 74 people on Sunday could have been even worse: authorities have found a third unexploded bomb jacket. Four men have been arrested in connection with the bombings; the men are not Ugandan and have refused to tell investigators their nationalities. Based on an al-Qaeda-linked Somali militant group’s praising of the bombings yesterday, it is believed that the men arrested are Somali. [AP]
  • The National Rifle Association, not content with winning all their legislative and court battles and endangering the public, have set their sights on other legislative issues that seemingly have little to do with them, but they’re having their say anyways. For instance, did you know that the NRA pushed through a little-noticed provision in the health care reform bill that bans insurance companies from charging higher premiums for people with guns in their homes? They also managed to kill the bill that would have granted Washington, DC a voting seat in Congress over the District’s gun ban. [NY Times]
  • Freshman congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has broken from the Republican party line and is advocating for withdrawal from Afghanistan. Rather than voting for full funding of the war, Chaffetz joined a small bloc of Republicans in voting for a provision that would allow funding only for actions related to withdrawal. [WaPo]
  • At 11am EST the President and Vice President will be meeting with the Senate Democratic Leadership Team to discuss legislative priorities in advance of Congress’ August recess, which starts August 6. The meeting is closed to the press, and they are expected to discuss looming issues such as the Wall Street reform package and how to handle energy. [Politico Playbook]
  • CNN plans to fire John King, according to someone who gossips to the New York Post. King took over Lou Dobbs’ 7pm spot [ed note: instead of Lou I typed Loud. I considered leaving it since it’s no less accurate] and has lost half of Dobbs’ audience, and is being blamed for the poor ratings of Campbell Brown’s 8pm show due to the weak lead-in. An insider predicts that Wolf Blitzer will take over King’s spot, though CNN vigorously denies the report that they plan to fire him. [Daily Beast]
  • Business leaders are all pissed off at the White House for messing with them and meddling in the free market and whatnot, and they wrote to senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett to tell her so.  Jarrett has responded, and you can read her letter, offering an open door and open minds, here. [Politico]
  • A new ABC News/Washington Post Poll was released this morning, showing that registered voters, by an 8-point margin, would prefer to see Republicans take control of Congress in November.  51 percent want Republicans to take over, “to act as a check on Obama’s policies,” while 43 percent want the Democrats in charge in order to help support those policies. The poll also shows a 7 point drop in approval of how Obama has handled the economy, to the lowest point in his tenure. [ABC News]
  • John Castellani, president of Business Roundtable, will be named the new president of PhRMA this morning, according to a senior PhRMA official. Castellani will start there September 1. [Politico Breaking News]
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One Comment

Leave a Comment
  1. NefariousNewt / Jul 13 2010 11:11 am

    Senator David Vitter can’t get much more out of touch, can he?

    The reason John King is not pulling the same ratings as Lou Dobbs did is that he does not go off on anti-immigration screeds or challenge the legitimacy of the President’s birth certificate, so those people have stopped watching.

    Senator Scott Brown shows that Massachusetts tends to send pretty independently-minded people to Capitol Hill.

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