(CNN) - The White House announced Wednesday Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will visit the White House later this month:
Statement by the Press Secretary on the visit of Prime Minister al-Maliki to the White House
President Obama looks forward to welcoming Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq to the White House on Wednesday, July 22. The United States and Iraq enjoy a close relationship and are partners in building a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq through the responsible withdrawal of U.S. forces and the encouragement of new ties in trade, commerce, culture and education. The President looks forward to consulting with the Prime Minister on a broad agenda of issues of mutual concern.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Under persistent questioning on her personal views on abortion and gun control, Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor repeatedly avoided direct answers Wednesday by saying she needed the specific circumstances of a case in order to respond.
Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma pushed Sotomayor to express her opinions on whether certain abortions would be legal and whether a person has a fundamental right to possess firearms and a right to self-defense. Each time, Sotomayor said would need to know the specifics of a particular case, such as applicable state statutes and other facts.
Sensing Coburn 's frustration over her responses, she offered an explanation.
"What we do is different than the conversations citizens have about what they want the law to do," Sotomayor said on the third day of her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing.
(CNN) - President Obama released a statement Wednesday on a congressional committee's passing of legislation to overhaul health care.
Statement by the President on the Health Care Reform Legislation Passed Today by the Senate HELP Committee
"Today, thanks to the unyielding passion and inspiration provided by Senator Edward Kennedy, the HELP committee he chairs has produced a proposal that will finally lower health care costs, provide better care for patients, and ensure fair treatment of consumers by the insurance industry.
Like the legislation produced by the House of Representatives, this proposal would offer Americans quality, affordable health care that is there when they need it. No longer will insurance companies be able to deny coverage based on a pre-existing medical condition. No longer will Americans have to worry about their health insurance if they lose their job, change their job, or open a new business.
This proposal will bring down costs, expand coverage, and increase choice. Through a health insurance exchange, families and small businesses will be able to compare prices and quality so that they can choose the health care plan that best suits their needs. Among the choices that would be available in the exchange would be a public health insurance option that would make health care affordable by increasing competition, providing more choices, and keeping the insurance companies honest.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Republicans will not attempt to filibuster the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to become the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice, a Republican senator said Wednesday.
"You will get that up-or-down vote on the Senate floor," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said to Sotomayor on the third day of her confirmation hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Cornyn and other Republicans on the committee have criticized Democratic filibusters of previous judicial nominees by Republican presidents. The Democratic filibusters prevented a full vote by the Senate.
Facing a filibuster-proof 60 Senate seats in the Democratic caucus, Republicans have said they expect Sotomayor to be confirmed by the full chamber.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Call it Kerry vs. Palin, Round 2.
Massachusetts Democrat Sen. John Kerry, a longtime Obama ally, and Alaska's Republican Gov. Sarah Palin are sparring again, this time over climate change and energy policy.
In her op-ed, Palin slams President Obama's cap-and-trade energy plan, saying she believes the plan is "an enormous threat to our economy."
In his response, Kerry takes a dig at Palin in an apparent reference to Tina Fey's "I can see Russia from my house" take-off on Palin.
"The global climate change crisis threatens our economy and our national security in profound ways," writes Kerry.
"Governor Palin need no look further than the view from her front porch in Alaska to see how destructive this crisis can be," says Kerry, pointing to a two-year-old New York Times report about a small Alaskan village facing destruction because of melting permafrost.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - One committee down, four to go.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Wednesday morning passed a bill the revamp health care, becoming the first congressional committee to act on President Barack Obama's push to overhaul the nation's health care system.
The HELP committee voted 13 to 10, along party lines, to pass a $600 billion piece of legislation. Committee chairman Sen. Ted Kennedy, a long time proponent of health care reform, was not present for the vote. The Democrat from Massachusetts has been absent from Capitol Hill as he battles brain cancer, but his vote in favor counted by proxy.
- CNN's Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rep. Jim Gerlach, a four-term Republican from Pennsylvania, announced Tuesday that he will give up his congressional seat and run for governor in 2010.
Gerlach is the first Republican to formally jump into the race, but former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan and Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett have also formed exploratory committees. The current governor, Democrat Ed Rendell, is term-limited and cannot run again.
"I have been on the front lines for years fighting for smaller government and greater efficiency in Harrisburg and Washington," Gerlach said in a statement released Tuesday. "Our next Governor must employ those values and put them to work in Harrisburg, and make Pennsylvania a competitive place to do business so we can create jobs and put families back to work. It's that simple."
Gerlach said he has "secured" over $1 million in financial commitments and raised more than $200,000 in his bid to become governor.
"I did not want to wait any longer to make this announcement," Gerlach said in the statement. "I know our team will need plenty of time to formalize our support and organize the campaign's infrastructure. In addition, I know full well how competitive a 2010 open seat congressional race will become, and I owe it to our Party's candidates to ensure they have enough time to raise the money and support to be successful."
With Gerlach leaving his seat, GOP state Rep. Curt Schroder announced his decision to throw his hat into the ring to replace the incumbent in the state's 6th congressional district. Democrat Doug Pike, who is expected to have a significant cash advantage to start, is considered to have the edge heading into the race in this increasingly Democratic district.
(CNN) - Democrat Judy Chu is headed to Washington. The former California State Assembly member won a special election Tuesday for the U.S. House of Representatives seat left vacant when Rep. Hilda Solis resigned in February to become President Barack Obama's Secretary of Labor.
Chu, a current member of the state Board of Equalization, won around 62 percent of the vote, easily topping Republican Betty Chu, her cousin by marriage.
The battle was for California's 32nd Congressional district, which is located east of downtown Los Angeles and heavily dominated by Democrats.
The victory will give the Democrats 256 seats in the House, to the Republicans 178. Democrats are likely to win a special election in September for the vacant seat in California's 10th Congressional district. The incumbent, Ellen Tauscher, stepped down to accept a post in the State Department.
- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor was in the hot seat on the second day of her Senate confirmation hearings. The judge faced harsh criticism from Republicans and received praise from Democrats. In today's installment of CNN=Politics Daily, watch a complete recap of today's nearly seven hours of testimony.
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