POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Monday, April 11, 2011
April 11th, 2011
04:21 AM ET
7 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Monday, April 11, 2011

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

For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com

CNN: House takes up budget deal
The House is scheduled to begin considering on Monday a budget deal covering the remainder of this fiscal year. A vote is expected on Wednesday. The Senate would take up the bill at some point after that, according to Jon Summers, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office. Last week, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders negotiated an agreement to cut $38.5 billion in non-military discretionary spending for the rest of the current fiscal year, which ends on September 30. The deal came about an hour before funding authorization for the government was scheduled to expire, which would have partially shut down government operations.

CNN: Obama to lay out long-term deficit plan this week
Fresh off last-minute budget negotiations that averted a partial government shutdown, President Barack Obama this week will lay out his plan for long-term deficit reduction demanded by conservatives. White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe appeared on four Sunday talk shows to announce Obama's intentions and deliver the administration message that further deals like the one reached last Friday night with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, will be necessary as Congress and the administration face more major budget decisions in coming months.

CNN: Schumer: Details of budget cuts arriving Monday
Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer revealed Sunday that about half the $38.5 billion in cuts agreed upon in last week’s budget negotiations came from mandatory spending areas like agriculture and highway funding. The senior New York senator said reductions in the spending programs, known in appropriations parlance as "changes in mandatory spending" or CHIMPS, brought down spending while allowing other programs like Head Start to continue. “That’s what allowed us to get to that number,” Schumer said Sunday on the CBS program “Face the Nation.” “The Tea Party folks wanted them all to come from the domestic discretionary. And it’s much broader than that.”

CNN: Republican Rep.: Congress deserves to be 'tarred and feathered’
Fresh off the debate to avoid a government shutdown, Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling and Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin expressed cautious optimism following the resolution, while gearing up politically for the debt ceiling drama. Hensarling, the chairman of the House Republican Conference, explained two ways to view the budget negotiations. “On the one hand, this is the single largest year-to-year cut in the federal budget, frankly in the history of America in absolute terms… probably for that we all deserve medals, the entire Congress,” the Texas congressman said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. “Relative to the size of the problem, it is not even a rounding error. In that case we probably all deserve to be tarred and feathered.”

Huffington Post: Mike Pence: Spending Deal 'Probably Not Good Enough' To Vote For
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), a leading conservative House Republican, said Sunday he will likely vote against a budget deal to cut about $38 billion from federal spending levels because the compromise bill does not eliminate subsidies for Planned Parenthood. Pence, who introduced the amendment to strip federal funding from the reproductive health services provider, is one of many conservatives who have said they could not support a deal that did not include such riders, including one that would have blocked funds for the implementation of President Barack Obama's signature health care law. "From what I know, it sounds like John Boehner got a good deal - probably not good enough for me to support it," Pence said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

CNN: Budget battle continues for Rep. Ryan
The battle over the budget came down to the wire in Congress this week, but the fight is far from over for House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan. Ryan, R-Wisconsin, is the man behind "The Path to Prosperity" – a drastic budget plan that has been criticized by Democrats as barely touching the pockets of the nation's wealthiest citizens or national defense spending, while placing a disproportionate burden on seniors, the middle class, would-be college students and the economically disadvantaged.

CNN: Plouffe: Don’t play ‘political chicken’
The president will lay out his plan for long-term deficit reduction Wednesday, White House senior adviser David Plouffe told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley Sunday. “He's going to lay out his approach very clearly,” Plouffe said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “He's going to be clear about the types of deficit reduction we need in terms of dollar amounts over what period of years.” Without getting “ahead of the president,” Plouffe said the President Obama will look at savings in Medicaid and Medicare, which he said is a “huge driver of costs.”

Roll Call: Campaign Lawyers Reject Idea FEC Is Broken
Campaign finance reform advocates say the Federal Election Commission is “broken” and unable to enforce campaign finance laws, but most Republicans and even some Democratic experts say the agency is working just the way it ought to. Last month, a group of eight nonprofits that often seek stronger campaign finance rules wrote to President Barack Obama calling the commission so “dysfunctional” that “the FEC itself has become a national campaign finance scandal.” The criticism from these nonprofits is that the three Republican commissioners — who often vote en bloc — “have paralyzed the agency by consistently blocking enforcement of the laws and repeatedly misinterpreting the laws.”

CNN: Trump talks birthers, White House adviser predicts his failure
Real estate mogul Donald Trump kept up his birther blasts Sunday, while one White House adviser hoped his stock continues to rise. Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Trump called the situation surrounding President Obama’s birth certificate “very strange,” lamenting the negative connotation attached to “birthers.” “The fact is nobody has any information. And his people in the United States don’t even know which hospital. His relatives don’t even know which hospital he was born in,” Trump told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

CNN: Palin gives Trump some verbal support on birther issue
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin supported Donald Trump's decision to hire investigators to examine President Barack Obama's birth, but stopped short of embracing the birther wave. "I appreciate that the Donald wants to spend his resources in getting to the bottom of something that so interests him and many Americans. You know, more power to him," Palin said Saturday on Fox News. "He's not just throwing stones from the sidelines, he's digging in, he's paying for researchers."

New York Times: A New Push to Let H.I.V. Patients Accept Organs That Are Infected
David Aldridge of Los Angeles had a kidney transplant in 2006, but he will soon need another. Like many people living with H.I.V., he suffers from kidney damage, either from the virus or from the life-saving medications that keep it at bay. Until recently, such patients did not receive transplants at all because doctors worried that their health was too compromised. Now they can get transplants, but organ-donor waiting lists are long. And for Mr. Aldridge, 45, and other H.I.V. patients, a potential source of kidneys and livers is off limits, because it is illegal to transplant organs from donors who test positive for the virus — even to others who test positive. But federal health officials and other experts are calling for repeal of the provision that bans such transplants, a 23-year-old amendment to the National Organ Transplant Act.

For the latest national news: www.CNN.com

CNN: Red River crests on North Dakota-Minnesota border
The swollen Red River that forms the border between Minnesota and North Dakota crested near 40 feet in Fargo, North Dakota, a spokesman for the City of Fargo Fire Department said Sunday. The river is expected to remain swollen for the next few days, said spokesman Jesse Schmidt. Rain forecast for Sunday had raised flooding fears along the Red River, where recreational boating was barred in several counties. But the worst of the predictions seems not to have materialized.

CNN: Sheriff: Tornado causes 'major devastation' but no deaths in Iowa city
An Iowa community was shut down much of Sunday afternoon while emergency crews remained hard at work, sifting through wreckage caused by a wave of powerful tornadoes that swept across the state overnight. The twisters caused major damage to about 60% of Mapleton, a city of about 1,200 residents, Monona County Sheriff Jeff Pratt told reporters Sunday. It was all part of a violent storm system that struck overnight, originating in eastern Nebraska and following a warm front across northern Iowa, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Frank Boksa.

CNN: New Texas fires quickly contained, but big blazes still out of control
Once fearing one of the worst days in the state's history for battling wildfires, Texas firefighters got the upper hand Sunday on several blazes though others remained out of their control. The six new wildfires reported Sunday, all in different counties, were relatively small and quickly brought under control, the Texas Forest Service said in a statement. "(Firefighters were) pretty lucky today," said Alan Craft, a spokesman for the state's Lone Star Incident Management Team. The most damage - to an unoccupied mobile home, horse trailer and another building - occurred over an acre in Newton County, but that fire was controlled.

The Hill: Study: Gas from ‘fracking’ worse than coal on climate
Cornell University professors will soon publish research that concludes natural gas produced with a drilling method called “hydraulic fracturing” contributes to global warming as much as coal, or even more. The conclusion is explosive because natural gas enjoys broad political support – including White House backing – due to its domestic abundance and lower carbon dioxide emissions when burned than other fossil fuels. Cornell Prof. Robert Howarth, however, argues that development of gas from shale rock formations produced through hydraulic fracturing – dubbed “fracking” – brings far more methane emissions than conventional gas production.

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

CNN: Gadhafi approves plan to stop fighting, allow peacekeepers
Embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has agreed in principle to stop all hostilities in his North African nation and let in outside forces to help keep the peace, his government and African Union mediators said Monday in a joint statement. Ramtane Lamara, the African group's commissioner for peace and security, read off the agreement early Monday, flanked by Libyan government spokesman Musa Ibrahim. The African Union team plans to travel to Benghazi to meet with leaders of the movement dedicated to ousting Gadhafi, who has ruled Libya for 42 years.

CNN: U.N. forces pound Gbagbo loyalist camps in Ivory Coast
U.N. military helicopters Sunday pounded heavy weapons positions of fighters loyal to self-declared Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, U.N. officials said. U.N. Special Representative Young-Jin Choi said pro-Gbagbo forces were shelling the Golf Hotel in Abidjan, where the country's internationally recognized president Alassane Ouattara is staying, and "today they began to shell our quarters" - the section of the hotel in which the U.N. forces are headquartered - as well. "So we decided we cannot pass this moment without action," Choi said.

CNN: Japan marks 1 month since deadly quake, tsunami
With the ringing of bells and bowing of heads Monday afternoon, Japan marked the passage of a month since the deadliest earthquake and tsunami in its modern history. Buddhist monks at the Tsukiji Hongwanji temple in Tokyo struck their bells at 2:46 p.m., the time the March 11 earthquake struck off Japan's northern coast. The magnitude 9 quake sent walls of water slamming into the country's Pacific shores, sweeping away whole villages and leaving more than 27,000 dead or missing. In Youriso, a fishing village north of the quake's epicenter, Japanese troops stopped their ongoing search for bodies, took off their hats and safety helmets and bowed their heads to observe a nationwide minute of silence. Of the town's population of 400, 12 died in the tsunami and 150 remain in shelters.

CNN: France's ban on burqas, niqabs to take effect Monday
France's controversial ban on wearing Islamic veils such as burqas and niqabs takes effect Monday. A silent protest march against the burqa ban is planned for Monday morning in Paris. The ban pertains to the burqa, a full-body covering that includes a mesh over the face, and the niqab, a full-face veil that leaves an opening only for the eyes. The hijab, which covers the hair and neck but not the face, and the chador, which covers the body but not the face, apparently are not banned by the law.

CNN: Runoff likely in tight Peruvian presidential race
Left-leaning Ollanta Humala looked poised to win the first round of Peru's presidential election, but is not likely to garner enough votes to avoid a runoff, a partial vote count showed Sunday. With close to half of all ballots tallied, officials said that Humala had 26.99% of the vote, followed by Pedro Pablo Kuczynski with 23.61% and Keiko Fujimori with 21.85% of the total vote. While Humala looked likely to get a spot in the runoff, Fujimori and Kuczynski were too close for pollsters to call.

For the latest business news: www.CNNMoney.com

CNNMoney: NYSE rejects takeover bid from Nasdaq
The parent company of the New York Stock Exchange said Sunday that its board has rejected a takeover offer from the owner of Nasdaq and another rival exchange. NYSE Euronext (NYX, Fortune 500) said it has reaffirmed a deal to merge with Germany's Deutsche Boerse. The two exchanges announced that merger, worth $10 billion, in February. But earlier this month, Nasdaq OMX (NDAQ) and IntercontinentalExchange (ICE), more commonly referred to as ICE, unveiled an unsolicited offer to buy NYSE Euronext for $11.3 billion. That deal would have split the NYSE, with Nasdaq purchasing the stock and options exchanges and ICE acquiring the NYSE's derivatives business.

CNN: Gas prices in 'firing range' of all-time high
Gas prices have jumped nearly 20 cents over the past two weeks, approaching the all-time high, according to a survey published Sunday. The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular is $3.76, the Lundberg Survey found. The previous survey three weeks ago found an average of $3.57. That means prices are now just 35 cents - "within firing range" - of the all-time high of $4.11 set in July 2008, said publisher Trilby Lundberg.

USA Today: Federal judge to mandate NFL lockout mediation
Judge Susan Nelson today will impose forced mediation between NFL owners and locked-out players under federal court oversight in Minnesota, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY on Sunday. The person could not speak on the record because Judge Nelson wanted details of a Friday conference call between the sides to remain private. League owners wanted talks toward a new collective bargaining agreement they opted out of to continue in Washington under federal mediator George Cohen.

In Case You Missed It

Candy Crowley wraps up this week's busy and entertaining edition of "State of the Union."

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