National Journal Online

Dem Hopes For Holding Open Seats Fading

The Cook Political Report made ratings changes in 7 districts today (listed below), re-evaluating Democrats' chances of holding onto their competitive open seats. They note, "In 1994, 22 of Democrats' 25 marginal open seats fell to the GOP, and early this summer, Democrats set an ambitious goal of holding onto 8 of their 16 less-than-safe opens.

Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 3:30pm

Stearns Says He May Seek Top Commerce Spot

If the GOP takes control of the House, Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., said Thursday that he will seek the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the 112th Congress if the panel's current top Republican, Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, does not want the job. During a taped interview on C-Span's "The Communicators" program, Stearns said he would not challenge Barton for the job, calling the Texan a "good friend" who has done a good job as the ranking member of the full committee. Stearns is currently the ranking member on the committee's Communications, Technology and the Internet

Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 3:29pm

FCC Backs White Spaces Order

The FCC approved an order Thursday that would enable wireless broadband devices to use vacant spaces between broadcast channels enabling the deployment of "super Wi-Fi" and other technologies. On a 5-0 vote, the FCC took final action to approve the use of "white spaces" for wireless broadband applications, which could include much faster and more robust Wi-Fi service and enabling smart grid technologies. "This new unlicensed spectrum will be a powerful platform for innovation.

Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 3:16pm

Minnick The Lone Dem To Nab Conservative Watchdog's Backing

Rep. Walt Minnick (ID) became the only Democrat in Congress to garner the endorsement of Citizens Against Government Waste on Thursday.

Citizens Against Government Waste is a leading government watchdog on fiscally conservative issues, like taxes and earmarks. The group frequently issues "Pork Alerts" when it sees wasteful government spending, and asks candidates to sign a "No Pork Pledge."

Citizens Against Government Waste has endorsed 32 candidates so far this year, but Minnick is the only Democrat.

Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 3:04pm

Perkins Content, Not Thrilled With Pledge

Social conservatives have been concerned that their issues would be overlooked by the GOP's new election agenda, but Family Research Council chief Tony Perkins says he's content with the foundation the party has laid -- though he's not about to frame the new document on his office wall.

"When you compare this to the Contract in '94, this is an improvement. This is a good beginning document. It gives us a good foundation to build on," Perkins said in an interview, comparing the GOP's "Pledge to America" with the "Contract with America" from 16 years ago.

Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 2:51pm

Insiders Downplay Repealing Health Care Reform As Campaign Theme

Republicans and Democratic operatives largely concur on what the best campaign themes are for their respective parties in the midterm congressional elections -- government spending for the GOP and an old reliable, defending Social Security and Medicare for the Democrats -- according to the results of the latest National Journal Political Insiders Poll. And surprisingly, neither party believes that repealing health care reform is a top argument for Republicans to make--at least not when compared to other arrows in their quiver.

Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 2:25pm

Independents Dropping Dems Over Economy

Independents are angry about the economy, and they're ready to take it out on the party in power. An exhaustive poll released today by the Pew Research Center shows independents are much more engaged than they usually are in midterm elections, and Democrats' recent advantage with this group has been turned on its head. Independent registered voters now lean 47% to 43% towards the GOP. As a Democratic pollster put it, "Independents are independent again instead of being a relatively reliable Democratic bloc."

Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 2:03pm

Privacy Likely To Remain On Agenda In House Next Year

Regardless of which party controls the House in the next Congress, privacy and possibly a rewrite of the 1996 telecommunications act may be on the agenda of the committee with prime jurisdiction over both issues, two key House lawmakers said Thursday.

Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 1:35pm

More Hostile Environment For Net Neutrality After Nov Elections

With Republicans poised to make gains in both chambers of Congress, President Obama's campaign promise to preserve the Internet's openness should face a more hostile reception after the midterm elections CongressDaily reported. If Republicans take control of the House, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., is likely to become chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over Internet and telecommunications issues, sources on and off Capitol Hill said.

Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 1:21pm

Assessing The GOP's Pledge To America

House Republicans are dominating the morning news cycle the unveiling of their "Pledge To America." The document is being labeled this cycle's version of the successful '94 "Contract With America."

A look at the plan reveals a few things worth keeping in mind when assessing how effective it will be: It's long, it's ambitious, it's poll tested and -- for the first time in a while -- it appears to have unified the GOP House leadership.

Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2010 - 10:36am