November 18th, 2009
04:36 AM ET
5 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: November 18, 2009

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The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.

WASHINGTON/POLITICAL
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com

CNN: West Virginia's Byrd becomes the longest-serving member of Congress
When Robert Byrd came to Congress from West Virginia, a postage stamp cost 3 cents and kids were clamoring for a new toy called Mr. Potato Head. On Wednesday, almost 57 years later, Byrd became the longest-serving member of Congress in history.

ABC News: Sarah Palin: I Want to Play a Major Role in National Politics, 'If People Will Have Me'
Sarah Palin may be mum about her presidential ambitions, but the former GOP vice presidential candidate is opening up about her campaign experiences and has some harsh words for President Obama.

CNN: Congressional inquiry into Fort Hood sought
Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee have sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling for an immediate Congressional investigation into circumstances surrounding the Fort Hood shooting.

USA TODAY: Senators have tough questions for Holder
Attorney General Eric Holder has said his decision to bring self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged accomplices to New York City to stand trial in civilian court was the "toughest" call in his short tenure as the nation's top law enforcement officer.

Washington Post: In Senate vote, signs of shift on detainees
The Senate on Tuesday rejected an attempt to bar using funds from a defense spending bill to build or modify prisons in the United States to hold detainees from Guantanamo Bay, a move that suggested congressional Democrats may be lining up behind President Obama's vision for closing the military prison.

CNN: White House reports billions of improper payments in 2009
The federal government made $98 billion in improper payments in fiscal 2009, and President Obama will issue an executive order in coming days to combat the problem, his budget director announced Tuesday.

The Dallas Morning News: Cheney warms up patient crowd for Hutchison
The rally for Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is running for governor, got a late start because of Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is serving as senator.Dick Cheney was there Tuesday to provide a crowd-pleasing endorsement of Hutchison.

Harford Courant: Biden To Visit Hartford For Dodd Fundraiser
In another measure of just how important U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd's fate is to the Democratic party, the embattled Connecticut senator is getting his third high-profile visit of the fall.

The Hill: Dems eye stock trade tax
House Democratic leaders are considering imposing a new tax on stock transactions to fund a jobs bill, leadership sources tell The Hill.

St. Petersburg Times: Sink, McCollum scale back use of state airplanes
The two leading candidates for Florida's governor have grounded their high-flying ways on state-owned airplanes.

NATIONAL
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USA Today: Prices for H1N1 drug Tamiflu vary widely for same dose
Some pharmacies are charging three times what others are for a scarce liquid form of the H1N1 drug Tamiflu used by children, USA TODAY has found. At least two states' attorneys general are investigating. The out-of-pocket price to fill the same liquid Tamiflu prescription can range from $43 to $130, according to USA TODAY's phone survey of more than 100 pharmacies in six states.

Los Angeles Times: California faces a projected deficit of $21 billion
Less than four months after California leaders stitched together a patchwork budget, a projected deficit of nearly $21 billion already looms over Sacramento, according to a report to be released today by the chief budget analyst.

New York Times: Many Doctors to Stay Course on Breast Exams for Now
Despite new recommendations that most women start breast screening at 50 rather than 40, many doctors said Tuesday that they were simply not ready to make such a drastic change.

CNN: Army suicides set another yearly record
Suicides among soldiers this year have topped last year's record-breaking numbers, but Army officials maintain a recent trend downward could mean the service is making headway on its programs designed to reduce the problem, Army officials said Tuesday.

INTERNATIONAL
For the latest international news: http://edition.cnn.com

Christian Science Monitor: US 'dismay' at expansion of Israeli settlement in Jerusalem
An unusually harsh White House statement on an Israeli settlement construction project suggests both a widening rift between the White House and the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a deep freeze of the Obama administration's Mideast peace initiative.

New York Times: Pakistani Successes May Sway U.S. Troop Decision
This windswept, sand-colored town in the badlands of western Pakistan is empty now, cleared of the militants who once claimed it as their capital. But its main brick buildings, intact and thick with dust, tell not of an epic battle, but of sudden flight.

Bloomberg News: Terror Attacks Roil Business in Pakistan’s Economic Heartland
A spate of attacks in Pakistan’s Punjab as Islamic militants work more closely with the Taliban has raised business concern in the province that generates more than half of the country’s economic growth.

BUSINESS
For the latest business news: www.CNNMoney.com

Bloomberg News: Orszag Says Erroneous Federal Payments Rose 36 Percent in 2009
The U.S. government identified $98 billion in erroneous or fraudulent payments made during the 2009 fiscal year, up from $72 billion the previous year, White House budget chief Peter Orszag said yesterday.

New York Times: $500 Million and Apology From Goldman
How much good will can an apology — and half a billion dollars — buy? A lot, Goldman Sachs is hoping. After first staunchly defending its outsize profits and pay, and then bristling at calls for restraint in these tough economic times, Goldman is trying a new tack: It is apologizing for past mistakes that led to the financial crisis — and sharing at least some of its riches.

Wall Street Journal: Feds Mull Rules, Fees to Spur Net Access
Federal regulators are considering whether the government should take greater control of the Internet and ask consumers to pay higher phone charges in order to provide all Americans with cheaper access to broadband Internet service.

Washington Post: Swiss no longer shielding biggest U.S. tax dodgers
If your secret Swiss bank account was small enough, you can breathe easier: A landmark deal between the United States and Switzerland to expose American tax dodgers does not call for the Swiss to blow your cover.

In Case You Missed It

CNN: Mom chooses son over deployment
An Army soldier says she failed to show up for deployment because of a child-care problem. CNN's Brian Todd reports.

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