TPMDC Morning Roundup

Today: Blago Speaking To Illinois Senate
Rod Blagojevich will be speaking to the Illinois state Senate, the body that is poised to remove him from office in his impeachment trial, delivering a closing argument in his own defense at 12 p.m. ET. This should be very interesting to watch.

Obama’s Day Ahead — Signing Ledbetter Bill
President Obama will be signing the Lily Ledbetter Bill, a law to make it easier for women to sue for pay discrimination, at 10 a.m. ET. He will also be holding a series of closed meetings throughout the day with his economic advisers, Hillary Clinton and others. There will also be a pooled press meeting with Vice President Biden and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, scheduled for 3 p.m. ET.

Biden Meets With Daschle
Vice President Biden is meeting for breakfast this morning with Health and Human Services Secretary-designate Tom Daschle. He will then join with President Obama for the meetings and events listed above.

NYT: Stimulus Varies In Speed, Efficiency
The New York Times takes a look at the stimulus plan as it currently stands in the House-passed package, finding that its various components vary in terms of just how quickly they will spread through the economy. The quickest portions will be in unemployment benefits, food-stamp increase and tax cuts, while infrastructure spending would take a while to get going.

Minnesota Senate Trial Continues
This is the fourth day of the Minnesota election trial, scheduled to reconvene at 10 a.m. ET. Al Franken’s legal team will continue their cross-examination of Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbmann, who was originally called by the Coleman campaign to examine the fallibility in the system — and which the Franken camp has rebutted by pointing out that Coleman’s team fought against the fallibility case right up until he fell behind.

Senate Expected To Pass Children’s Health Care Bill
The Senate today will likely pass a bill expanding the SCHIP program, extending health insurance to 11 million children who are currently not eligible. The bill passed in the last Congress, but was vetoed by President George W. Bush.

Mitchell Speaks To Palestinian Leaders In West Bank
Middle East Envoy George Mitchell travelled to the West Bank today to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, in an effort by the Obama Administration to restart the Middle East peace process. He did not meet with Hamas.

Obama To Make First Foreign Trip To Canada
President Obama will be making his first trip outside the United States as president next month, the White House has announced. Obama will be visiting Canada, the United States’ largest trading partner, on February 19.