(UPDATE, 1:25 pm: The House has passed the $2 billion extension of the cash for clunkers program 316-109; there will be no Senate vote before Monday)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Friday the extremely popular "cash for clunkers" program is still up and running at least through this weekend, and said Obama administration officials are working furiously behind the scenes with Congressional leaders to find extra money to extend the program for a longer time period.
"It's up and running," Gibbs told reporters in his office, adding that it "can, will and should" continue indefinitely.
Meanwhile, Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan announced that lawmakers are closing in on a deal with the White House that would give the program, which allows consumers to trade in old cars for newer more fuel-efficient vehicles, an extra $2 billion to continue and expand it.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is continuing its campaign to pressure Republicans - particularly members who represent districts won by President Obama in 2008 - over health care reform.
Most are on the National Republican Congressional Committee's Patriot program list of potentially threatened incumbents, and the DCCC's list of top 2010 targets; the majority are already facing serious Democratic challengers.
"We already know Congressman Pat Tiberi took nearly $600,000 from the insurance industry," says the narrator in a minute-long radio spot slated to run in Ohio's 12th congressional district over the August recess.
"So what do you think Tiberi talks about when he meets with the big insurance companies? How they reap record profits while your health care costs skyrocket? Or how the special interests want to stop health reform? Whatever it is Tiberi and the insurance companies talk about, it probably isn't affordable health care for you…"
UPDATE Friday 10:30 a.m.: Michigan Sen. Stabenow tells CNN the Michigan, Ohio and Indiana congressional delegations are working on a $2 billion extension for the "cash for clunkers" program, which will come from reprogrammed stimulus money. She said there’s agreement in the House to do this today, but that the proposal's path in the Senate is unclear, and it could face hurdles there next week.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - This much seems certain about the Cash for Clunkers program: Consumers are happy to take government rebates to buy new cars.
The fate of the $1 billion trade-in program was up in the air over concerns that it may have already burned through its funds less than a week after it was officially launched.
It was unclear whether car buyers would be able Friday to trade in clunkers.
Congressional sources said early Thursday evening that the program would be put on hold. But Obama administration officials said later that Clunkers had not been suspended and that they were studying the situation.
"Auto dealers and consumers should have confidence that all valid ... transactions that have taken place to date will be honored," a White House official said in a statement.
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.
CNN: Obama, Biden, professor, officer sit down over brews
President Obama sat down for a beer at the White House Thursday night with a top African-American professor and the police officer who arrested him earlier this month.
CNN: GOP, Blue Dogs get health reform slowdown they wanted
A key Senate committee won't vote on its compromise health care overhaul plan before the upcoming month-long August recess, giving Republicans and some conservative Democrats their desired slowdown in congressional action on President Obama's top domestic priority.
CNN: Top Dems blame insurance industry as health care roadblock
As Congress prepares to head into a monthlong August recess, Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill ripped into the insurance industry, framing the health care debate as a battle against insurers.
CNN: Pelosi agrees to key aspect of health care deal
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signed off Thursday on a key component of a health care deal reached with conservative Democrats earlier in the week, potentially paving the way for a new consensus among the fractured House majority.
CNN: Palin not attending California event
Despite an earlier announcement from a California Republican womens group, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will not be speaking to an event sponsored by the group scheduled for next weekend at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, a spokeswoman for her political action committee said Thursday night.
CNN: Poll of Polls: President's approval ratings slip
It's late July, a time for hot and humid weather in the nation's capital. But when it comes to President Barack Obama's approval rating, an average of the most recent national surveys indicates a cooling trend.
CNN: Obama's weapon: A dose of homecoming king charm
As President Obama pushes forward with his agenda, he may find that a homecoming king's likeability is just as integral as the power and authority inherent to the Oval Office.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Despite an earlier announcement from a California Republican womens group, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will not be speaking to an event sponsored by the group scheduled for next weekend at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, a spokeswoman for her political action committee said Thursday night.
“As repeatedly stated to several in the media over the last week, former Governor Sarah Palin is not committed to attend the Simi Valley Republican Women’s event at the Reagan Library and in fact is not attending the event,” read a statement from Meghan Stapleton that was posted on Palin‘s Facebook site.
“Neither the Governor’s state staff nor SarahPAC has ever committed to attending this event or speaking at this event, and even requested that the Governor's name be removed from the invitation several weeks ago.”
Stapleton said Palin “has other work and commitments to take care of at that time” without elaborating.
A representative of the Republican Women of Simi Valley, which bills itself as a non-profit group of volunteers, told CNN she had no comment about Palin’s statement. When asked if she knew who from Palin’s staff had accepted the invitation, she again said she had no comment.
In a statement released earlier this month, the group said the Saturday August 8th event, meant to commemorate the group‘s anniversary, said Palin was one of several scheduled speakers and was “slated to attend.”
“Sarah Palin loves Alaska & she has roots in southern California and our organization is very supportive of the troops! Palin also has a huge following in California, mostly folks who pay tribute to the Reagan legacy,” said Pat Saraceno, hospitality chair for the group. “Most of us view Palin as a ‘Reaganesque figure.”
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/30/art.obama0730.gi.jpg caption="A CNN Poll of Polls out Thursday indicates that 54 percent of Americans approve of President Obama."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - It's late July, a time for hot and humid weather in the nation's capital. But when it comes to President Barack Obama's approval rating, an average of the most recent national surveys indicates a cooling trend.
According to a new CNN Poll of Polls, 54 percent of Americans approve of how Obama is handling his duties in the White House. That's down 7 points from late June, when the president's approval rating stood at 61 percent. The latest approval rating is the lowest for Obama in his young presidency. The CNN Poll of Polls, compiled and released Thursday, is an average of seven national surveys conducted over the past nine days.
It appears a drop in Obama's numbers on health care and the economy, the two issues that have dominated his domestic agenda since he took office in January, are contributing to the deterioration of his overall approval rating.
A CNN Poll of Polls of the five surveys that specifically asked about how Obama's handing the economy indicates that 48 percent approve and 45 percent disapprove.
(CNN) - The White House released a statement Thursday from President Obama on his meeting with Sergeant James Crowley and Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
“I am thankful to Professor Gates and Sergeant Crowley for joining me at the White House this evening for a friendly, thoughtful conversation. Even before we sat down for the beer, I learned that the two gentlemen spent some time together listening to one another, which is a testament to them. I have always believed that what brings us together is stronger than what pulls us apart. I am confident that has happened here tonight, and I am hopeful that all of us are able to draw this positive lesson from this episode.”