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Monday, January 26, 2009

Democratic Chatter 1-26-2009

George Wenschhof Bio

President Barack Obama to direct EPA to allow States environmental protection flexibility - in yet another reversal of positions taken by the George W. Bush administration, President Obama is expected to to sign an executive order this morning. The order would allow the Environmental Protection Agency to process and approve stricter tailpipe emissions regulations California and 13 other states want to enact. The NY Times has more here.


Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) will introduce constitutional amendment to change the way vacant U.S. Senate seats are filled - recently, the method of having the Governor appoint vacant Senate seats has been exposed for scrutiny due to the many open seats resulting from appointments to the Obama administration. New York with the Caroline Kennedy media circus and of course Illinois with Governor Rod Blagojevich being arrested in an alleged "pay-to-play" scheme has brought tons of attention to this section in the constitution. Senator Feingold says it is time to begin holding special elections to replace Senators who leave prior to the end of their term. has his statement here.


Meanwhile, the "Blago watch" continues - the impeachment trial is scheduled to begin today for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. He is refusing to take part, saying the state senate impeachment trial is unfair and he is not even being allowed to have witnesses testify. Instead, he has gone on a frenzied media tour, appearing on whatever show will have him. One of the more outlandish statements made so far is his admission he had considered appointing Oprah to the vacant Senate seat. Tonight, he appears on CNN Larry King Live at 9:00 PM ET. The Chicago Tribune has more here.


Over in Minnesota, the Norm Coleman trial begins - the incumbent Republican Senator filed suit challenging the mandated recount results by the state canvassing board which certified Democrat Al Franken the winner by 225 votes. The argument will try to show errors in the recount. Hopefully, this drama will end soon with this Senate seat filled by Franken. has more here.


House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) says comprehensive heathcare reform will not happen this year - he was remembering the healthcare reform failure by Hillary Clinton back in 1994 when she tried to push it through in President Clinton's first year in office. However, his statement is at odds with Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) who has promised comprehensive healthcare reform in 2009. Kennedy is suffering from brain cancer. has more here.


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