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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Democratic Chatter 3-11-2009

George Wenschhof Bio

President Barack Obama to address Earmark concerns today - He is expected to sign the 410 billion omnibus spending bill today that was finally passed by the Senate last night. The bill was needed to keep funding government agencies through the end of the current fiscal year which ends on September 30. The bill contained countless earmarks from Republican and Democratic members of Congress worth about 20 billion or 5% of the total funding in the bill. The president will probably say something to the effect that this is a bill he inherited and sign it. Then he will discuss reforms he plans to institute to avoid earmarks in the future. has more here.


Obama to nominate Seattle police chief Gil Kerlikowske to be U.S. drug czar - the president is also removing this department from a cabinet level. the office of National Drug Control Policy was raised to a cabinet level under the previous George W. Bush administration. has more here.


Meanwhile, another nominee withdraws from consideration - Charles Freeman had been nominated by National Intelligence Director Admiral Dennis Blair to be Director of the National Intelligence Council. Freeman came under fire after disclosures he was less than pro-Israel and for statements attributed to him regarding the Chinese crackdown at Tianamen square. When it was apparent Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) would not support Freeman, he withdrew from consideration. has more here.


Chinese Foreign Minister to meet with Secretary of State Clinton today - a recent flare of tensions between the countries occurred when Chinese ships intercepted a U.S. intelligence ship in international waters off the coast of China. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Hillary Clinton are expected to discuss this incident along with broader U.S. - Chinese interests. You can read more here.


In Minnesota, the Franken campaign last witness to testify today - the never ending trial is coming to a close - maybe. The ruling will most likely come next week but then there are possible appeals to the state supreme court and the U.S. Supreme Court. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has more here.


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