Morning Brief: Inauguration Business Parties On

The city's bartenders must be happy. For four days in January (you guessed it, inauguration weekend) bars in the District will be open 24 hours a day.

Staff writer David Nakamura reports that, under emergency legislation approved by the D.C. Council on Tuesday, any District establishment with a liquor license, including restaurants and nightclubs, will be allowed to serve alcohol until 5 a.m. -- three hours later than usual -- and serve food round-the-clock from Jan. 17 until the morning after President-elect Barrack Obama's swearing-in on Jan. 20.

The bill was the idea of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington and was introduced by council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who represents the nightlife-heavy neighborhoods of Adams Morgan and Mount Pleasant.

But while big hotels in the Washington area are filling up and demanding clients to accept Super Bowl-like packages for the upcoming inauguration next month, there is one locally based hotel company that is struggling in the midst of the downturn.

Interstate Hotels & Resorts said in a filing that it was warned on Nov. 25 by the New York Stock Exchange that its continued listing was in jeopardy because its share price has been less than $1 for a consecutive 30-trading-day average. The company said it would take steps to remedy its slumping share price.

And in today's Federal Diary, Washington Post columnist Joe Davidson takes a look at a court decision made on Nov. 4 amidst all of the excitement surrounding the election of Barack Obama that struck down a Pentagon program that included a 5 percent set-aside for companies run by African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans.

Rep. Edolphus Towns questions the ruling that there isn't discrimination in federal contracting. (Carol T. Powers - Bloomberg News)

Davidson writes that the impact of the decision is unclear; the court's focus on an old Pentagon rule to decide the case created uncertainty about whether the set-aside remains.

But, Davidson continues, the implications for minority-owned companies that received almost $15 billion in fiscal year 2006 in Defense Department contracts could change the program that has allowed under-represented groups access to lucrative government contracts.

By Alejandro Lazo  |  December 3, 2008; 8:53 AM ET  | Category:  Economy , Economy Watch , Hospitality , Morning Brief
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