TPMDC Morning Roundup

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Obama Set To Allow Tighter Emissions Standards By States
President Obama is expected today to clear the way for allowing California and other states to set their own emissions standards, something that the Bush Administration had previously blocked. Federal regulators are expected to formally approve the changes, which will then force car manufacturers to increase the efficiencies of their vehicles in order to sell their products in major states.

Obama Speaking On Economy This Morning
President Obama will be speaking from the White House today on the subject of the economy, at 10:30 a.m. ET. Vice President Biden will also be joining Obama at today’s briefings and meetings.

Minnesota Election Trial Begins Today
The Minnesota Senate litigation enters a new phase today, with the trial beginning at 2 p.m. ET in St. Paul. Norm Coleman’s legal team will have the opportunity to go first, calling witnesses and laying out their case that he, and not Al Franken, was the true winner of this super-tight race. A video feed will be available at The Uptake.

Blago Impeachment Trial Beginning Today, Minus Blago
The Illinois state Senate is set to begin the impeachment trial of Gov. Rod Blagojevich today, though Blago himself is boycotting the proceedings. Instead, Blago is set to appear on the TV talk circuit, making his case that he is innocent and that the trial is rigged against him.

Blago: I Thought About Appointing Oprah To Senate
Rod Blagojevich told ABC News that he had considered appointing Oprah Winfrey to Barack Obama’s former Senate seat. But Blago says he didn’t do so because it would make too much of a commotion: “she probably wouldn’t take it, and then if you offered it to her, how would you do it in a way it wasn’t a gimmick to embarrass her.”

Cornyn To GOP: Forget The House, Give For The Senate
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, confirmed to Roll Call that he is recruiting potential candidates and courting donors by disparaging the status and comparatively limited power of the House GOP. “I would love to get a Republican majority in the House, I just don’t think it’s feasible this cycle,” said Cornyn, describing the House campaign committee and himself as “friendly competitors.”

Feingold To Introduce Amendment Banning Senate Appointments
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) has announced that he will introduce a constitutional amendment to end gubernatorial appointments to Senate vacancies, instead requiring special elections as is done in several states including Wisconsin. Said Feingold, in a statement: “The controversies surrounding some of the recent gubernatorial appointments to vacant Senate seats make it painfully clear that such appointments are an anachronism that must end.”

Clyburn: No Health Bill In 2009
In an interview on C-Span this past weekend, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) said that it’s unlikely a comprehensive health care bill will pass the Congress this year, with a slower approach being more feasible. “I would much rather see it done that way, incrementally, than to go out and just bite something you can’t chew,” said Clyburn. “We’ve been down that road. I still remember 1994.”

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