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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof 

Obama Continues Charm Offensive - following a series of phone calls to Republican members of Congress, President Obama has invited some of his fiercest critics in the Senate to have dinner with him Wednesday night, according to a list of invited Republican Senators obtained by CNN.

The list of invitees, provided to CNN by a GOP source, includes some of the president's harshest critics: Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, John McCain of Arizona, Dan Coats of Indiana, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Pat Toomey Pennsylvania, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and John Hoeven of North Dakota. has more here.

In addition, President Obama has asked to meet with the entire House and Senate Republican coalitions next week, CNN reported Wednesday.
On the Senate side, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that the president will attend the weekly GOP lunch meeting next Tuesday.

"Senate Republicans welcome the President to the Capitol," McConnell said in a statement. "And I appreciate he took my recommendation to hear from all of my members."
On the House side, a meeting is being worked out.

Mike Sommers, chief of staff to House Speaker John Boehner, said his office had received Obama's request to meet with the House GOP conference next week, and was "currently working to schedule that meeting."


Mikulski Works on Senate Continuing Resolution - Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski is picking up steam and bipartisan support in her bid to substantially expand on the six-month, stopgap spending bill House Republicans rolled out this week.
Mikulski’s ability to draw Republican support is an important first step if Congress is to ever find some middle ground in how to respond to the automatic spending cuts ordered last week under sequestration. Her progress comes as President Barack Obama has begun calling Senate Republicans himself in what’s described as a serious — albeit late and still tentative — attempt to turn the crisis around.

Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat, has scaled back her plans to substitute a governmentwide omnibus package and is focused instead on writing a hybrid bill that will include full-year budgets for at least several major Cabinet departments beyond Defense and Veterans Affairs.

The House is slated to vote Wednesday on its bill and, assuming passage, Mikulski’s plan is to build on that continuing resolution, or CR, once it arrives in the Senate. has more here.


Reid Presses For Senate Confirmation Vote on Brennan - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is seeking a deal with Republicans that could allow John Brennan to be confirmed Wednesday as CIA director.
Reid is asking Republicans to agree to an up-or-down vote for Brennan that would be subject to a 60-vote majority.

The deal would require Republicans to drop a filibuster over Brennan. If they refuse, the Senate wouldn’t be able to get to an up-or-down vote on the nominee until Friday. has more here.


Senate Republicans Block Vote on Obama Judicial Nomination - Caitlin Halligan, a top judicial nominee of President Obama, was denied a final confirmation vote on the Senate floor Wednesday, after Republicans expressed concern she would be an "activist" on the bench.

Now general counsel for Manhattan's district attorney's office, she is one of two nominees named in January by Obama to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, seen by many as a professional stepping stone to the Supreme Court. She would fill the seat vacated by John Roberts, who joined the high court in 2005 and is now chief justice.

A 51-41 cloture vote failed to achieve the necessary 60 senators to end debate on Halligan's qualifications, with Democrats complaining she was being unfairly filibustered. Her third nomination to this judicial seat remains in political limbo. has more here.


Maduro Succeeds Chaez as Venezuela's President - Even in death, Hugo Chavez’s orders are being followed. The man he anointed to succeed him, Vice President Nicolas Maduro, will continue to run Venezuela as interim president and be the governing socialists’ candidate in an election to be called within 30 days.

Foreign Minister Elias Jaua confirmed that Tuesday, just hours after Maduro, tears running down his face, announced the death of Chavez, the larger-than-life former paratroop officer who had presided over Venezuela as virtually a one-man show for more than 14 years.

It was not immediately clear when the presidential vote would be held.  You can read more here.


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