Eye Opener: Aug. 26, 2009
Happy Wednesday! Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), who died last night at age 77, supported several key pieces of legislation that further expanded the size, scope and mission of the federal government (much of which can be seen on his official timeline).
As President Obama said in a statement earlier this morning, "For five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts."
Please note: An article by The Eye in today's Post quotes a Kennedy spokesman expressing the senator's support for a Labor Department nominee. The spokesman was contacted Tuesday afternoon well before news of the senator's death.
• Cabinet and Staff News: Former top fundraiser for Hillary Clinton charged with $74 million fraud. Manufacturers ask Commerce Secretary Gary Locke for $20 billion in loan guarantees. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says vaccinations key to swine flu defense. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner takes questions from Digg users. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack headed to California to announce grants for farmers.
• Rebuild Pay-for-Performance System, Panel Says: In a report released Tuesday, the Defense Business Board recommended a "reconstruction" of the National Security Personnel System. The report is the result of a Defense Department and OPM decision to review NSPS, which has been controversial since it was created during George W. Bush's administration.
• Who's Sitting on the Federal Bench: How Sonia Sotomayor's elevation to the Supreme Court alters the diversity of federal judgeships.
• Republicans Decry 'Witch Hunt' of CIA Interrogators: The attorney general's appointment of John H. Durham, a career prosecutor, will hinder future intelligence gathering in the fight against terrorists, Congressional Republicans argued.
• White House Projects Budget Deficit to Soar to Nearly $1.6 Trillion: The gap between spending and tax collections will amount to 11.2 percent of the overall economy, more than tripling last year's deficit of $459 billion.
• Construction of MLK Memorial Awaits Park Service Permit: Memorial officials said they are eager to get started on the project, which has stalled in recent months.
• Swine Flu Could Infect Half of U.S.: The virus could cause symptoms in 60 million to 120 million people, more than half of whom might seek medical attention, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology estimated.
• Panel to Advise FDA on Menthol, Smokeless Tobacco: One area where the panel will likely have a large impact is smokeless tobacco. Companies want to be able to market these products as less risky than traditional tobacco products.
• IG: Energy Employees Violated Purchase Card Rules at Yucca Mountain: In a report (pdf) released on Tuesday, the department's deputy inspector general found that a key official did not approve or review purchase card transactions in advance and did not always review cardholders' account statements in a timely manner.
• Nuclear Regulators Urge High-Tech Fire Detection: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is urging nuclear plants to embrace a more systematic approach to assessing fire risk -- one that relies on a computer program instead of humans.
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