Quick Takes

By Dan Froomkin
12:20 PM ET, 04/28/2009

Andrew Taylor writes for the Associated Press: "House-Senate negotiators on Monday night announced the agreement on a $3.5 trillion budget outline for 2010, with votes expected in the full House and Senate by Wednesday." The pact "would give an endorsement to President Barack Obama's agenda by his 100th day in office...[and] would prevent Senate Republicans from delaying or blocking Obama's plan to vastly expand government-subsidized health care when it advances this fall. The $3.5 trillion plan for the budget year starting Oct. 1 embraces several of Obama's key goals besides a health care overhaul, including funds for domestic programs and clean energy, and a tax increase for individuals making more than $200,000 a year or couples making more than $250,000."

Steven Mufson writes in The Washington Post: "Once a symbol of capitalist might and U.S. industrial prowess, General Motors would be half owned by the Treasury under a new sweeping plan that would also shut down GM's Pontiac operations, lay off 21,000 workers and impose harsh terms on the company's bondholders. The partial nationalization proposal [is] a last-ditch effort developed by GM and the Obama administration's auto task force to keep the leading U.S. carmaker out of bankruptcy....The move would represent one of the largest ownership stakes the U.S. government has ever taken in an American manufacturer. But the Obama administration said yesterday that it would not seek any seats on the company's board and vowed to take a hands-off approach to GM management."

A.G. Sulzberger and Matthew L. Wald write for the New York Times: "An Air Force One lookalike, the backup plane for the one regularly used by the president, flew low over parts of New York and New Jersey on Monday morning, accompanied by two F-16 fighters, so Air Force photographers could take pictures high above the New York harbor. But the exercise — conducted without any notification to the public — caused momentary panic in some quarters... By the afternoon, the situation had turned into a political fuse box, with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg saying that he was 'furious' that he had not been told in advance about the flyover.... When President Obama learned of the episode on Monday afternoon, aides said, he, too, was furious. Senior administration officials conveyed the president's anger in a meeting with [Louis E. Caldera, director of the White House Military Office]... At 4:39 p.m. Monday, the White House issued an apology for the flyover."

Juliet Eilperin writes in The Washington Post: "Interior Secretary Ken Salazar instructed the Justice Department yesterday to seek a court order to overturn a Bush administration regulation allowing mining companies to dump their waste near rivers and streams, calling the regulation 'legally defective.' The announcement, coming on the same day the Environmental Protection Agency said it was taking a second look at a handful of Bush-era rules on air pollution, shows that the Obama administration continues to chip away at its predecessor's environmental policies."

Alan Zibel writes for the Associated Press: "The Obama administration is expected to announce Tuesday that it is expanding its plan to stem the housing crisis by offering mortgage lenders incentives to lower borrowers' bills on second mortgages."

Krissah Thompson and Michelle Boorstein write in The Washington Post: "Everyone in Washington's church-going community seems to have an opinion about where the first family should go to church -- and nowhere is hope higher than among the city's scores of predominantly black churches, which are in the mix for the first time....Like so many choices the first family is making in this city, the search for a church has spurred discussions about the state of race relations and a hot competition for its mark of approval."

The Associated Press reports: "Fox became the first broadcast network to turn down a request by President Obama for air time, opting to show its drama 'Lie to Me' on Wednesday instead of the president's prime-time news conference."

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