(CNN) – Indiana Republican Dick Lugar Friday announced he intends to vote for Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation to the Supreme Court, becoming the first senator in his party to formally state support for President Obama's pick to the high court.
"I have listened to the testimony of Judge Sonia Sotomayor before the Senate Judiciary Committee, carefully reviewed her public service record, and reviewed recommendations from Indiana constituents and colleagues here in the Senate," Lugar said in a statement.
"Judge Sotomayor is clearly qualified to serve on the Supreme Court and she has demonstrated a judicial temperament during her week-long nomination hearing. Judge Sotomayor has had a distinguished career of public service," he also said. "She is well regarded in the legal community and by her peers. I will vote to confirm Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States."
While Sotomayor's confirmation appears all but certain, it remains unclear exactly how many Republicans will support the current appeals court judge when her nomination comes up for a vote on the floor.
In the Judiciary Committee, where Sotomayor will face the first vote on her nomination, at least two Republicans have suggested they will support her - Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Orrin Hatch of Utah. That vote could come as early as next week.
– CNN's Evan Glass contributed to this report
WASHINGTON (CNN) - What the country could easily see this week was a major success story for the Obama White House: A confirmation drama featuring Judge Sonia Sotomayor that left even Republican critics predicting an easy path to confirmation.
But just as Sotomayor was making major advances, a bigger initiative from President Obama, health care reform, was dealt a bruising body blow.
Douglas Elmendorf, chief of the Congressional Budget Office, said this of the leading Democratic health care proposals in the House and Senate: "In the legislation that has been reported, we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount and, on the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs."
Translation: The bills, as they stand, do not meet the president's promise to reduce the long-term drain of health care spending on the federal budget.
(CNN) - President Obama has released a statement on the recent bombings in Jakarta, Indonesia:
Statement by the President on the bombings in Indonesia
I strongly condemn the attacks that occurred this morning in Jakarta, and extend my deepest condolences to all of the victims and their loved ones.
The American people stand by the Indonesian people in this difficult time, and the U.S. government stands ready to help the Indonesian government respond to and recover from these outrageous attacks as a friend and partner.
Indonesia has been steadfast in combating violent extremism, and has successfully curbed terrorist activity within its borders. However, these attacks make it clear that extremists
remain committed to murdering innocent men, women and children of any faith in all countries.
We will continue to partner with Indonesia to eliminate the threat from these violent extremists, and we will be unwavering in supporting a future of security and opportunity for the Indonesian people.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Calling her a "rising star in the Democratic caucus," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Friday that he's backing Kirsten Gillibrand's bid to retain her Senate seat in 2010.
“I am endorsing Senator Gillibrand’s campaign because she is a rising star in our caucus,” Reid said in a statement. “As a working mother with two young children, Kirsten brings unique perspective to the challenging issues we are debating in Congress. In just six month, Kirsten has introduced a number of new and innovative legislative approaches to the problems many families face.”
Reid picked Gillibrand over Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York lawmaker who plans to challenge the sitting senator in next year's Democratic primary. Gillibrand, a former congresswoman, was appointed to the Senate in January to succeed Hillary Clinton.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House Ways and Means committee passed the House Democrats health care bill out of committee early Friday morning after a marathon markup that started Thursday morning.
The vote on the so-called "tri-committee bill" was 23-18, with three Democrats voting with all of the committee's Republicans against the bill. The three Democrats voting against the bill were: Ron Kind of Wisconsin, Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota, and John Tanner of Tennessee. Pomeroy and Tanner are blue dogs and Kind is a leader of another group of moderate Democrats, the "New Democrats."
Two other House committees are still marking up the bill. The Education Labor Committee is expected to vote Friday. But a key challenge will come next week at the Energy and Commerce
Committee where a group of blue dogs who oppose the bill could block it.
Rep Mike Ross, D-Arkansas, said Thursday the group is drafting several amendments to make major changes to the bill. He also said right now leaders do not have enough votes to pass the bill on the House floor.
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com.
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