iowa or D.C.? votes pose quandary
By Times Wires
Published December 7, 2007
Energy or Oprah? That's the dilemma facing Democrat Barack Obama.
The Illinois senator and presidential hopeful has scheduled two highly anticipated rallies in Iowa on Saturday with talk show host Oprah Winfrey. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday he may have to schedule a procedural vote Saturday on a major energy bill, one that would sharply increase the production of ethanol and biodiesel - an important industry in Iowa.
Iowa holds its leadoff presidential caucuses on Jan. 3, and polls indicate a tight three-way contest there between Sens. Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. All the Democratic senators running for president were rearranging their schedules to accommodate possible weekend votes. Clinton's campaign had not disclosed her plans as of late Thursday.
Hate crimes billdies in Congress
Congress has dropped legislation that would have expanded laws against hate crimes to include attacks on gays after it became clear the measure wouldn't pass the House, aides said Thursday.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., was widely supported by Democrats and some moderate Senate Republicans. But because it was attached to a major defense policy bill that would have authorized more money for the Iraq war, many antiwar Democrats said they would oppose it.
Compromise on Iraqfunds is shaping up
Democrats controlling Congress sent the most explicit signals yet Thursday that they are resigned to providing additional funding for the war in Iraq before Congress adjourns for the year.
Democrats are cooking up a pre-Christmas endgame that would deliver tens of billions of dollars for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan on conditions acceptable to the White House.
The Iraq funding would ultimately be attached by Bush's Senate GOP allies to a $500-billion-plus "omnibus" appropriations bill taking shape in closed-door talks. That's the only way they would let the measure advance through the Senate.
House Democratic leaders, though hardly enthusiastic, recognize it is the only way for Democrats to have a chance to wrap up their long-unfinished budget work and adjourn just before Christmas.
Farm bill moves forward in Senate
Senators cleared a major hurdle in negotiations on a multibillion-dollar farm bill Thursday, agreeing to pare down a list of hundreds of proposed amendments.
Democrats and Republicans have been arguing for weeks over procedural issues, holding up the five-year bill that would extend and expand crop and dairy subsidies along with popular nutrition aid programs, including food stamps.
GOP Hispanic gainseroding, poll finds
Gains made by Republicans among Hispanic voters in the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 have been erased over the past year, with Hispanics returning to earlier strong preference for the Democratic Party, a survey released Thursday by the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington shows. Immigration has become a more important issue for Hispanics than it was in 2004, the poll showed, and far more registered Hispanic voters say Democrats are doing better on illegal immigration. Times wires
[Last modified December 7, 2007, 02:16:39]
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