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The Friday Faxline Issue 495

Location: Washington, DC

The Friday Faxline Issue 495

Rep. Norwood passes away

On Tuesday, Congressman Charlie Norwood (R-GA) passed away at the age of 65 after a long battle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. A dentist, Vietnam veteran, and seven-term Member of Congress, Norwood was greatly admired by his colleagues in Congress. He was a staunch advocate for improving America's health care system and earned the respect of all those he served with for his unwavering commitment to his principles. On Wednesday, the House considered a resolution honoring Norwood for his distinguished service. Though his seat will be filled through a special election, Charlie Norwood will never be replaced in Congress.

Supreme Court Justice testifies before Congress

Though the Supreme Court sits just across the street from the U.S. Capitol, Justices on the Court rarely testify before Congress. On Wednesday, however, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify on two issues affecting the federal judiciary. Kennedy argued that in order to attract and retain the best and brightest from the legal field, federal judges should receive an increase in their salaries. With private law practice offering significantly higher pay than federal judgeships, Kennedy testified that the judiciary is losing its best judges to the private sector. On another issue, Kennedy voiced strong opposition to legislation that would allow TV cameras in the Supreme Court. Kennedy argued that allowing cameras would degrade court proceedings by tempting Justices and lawyers to speak in sound bites for TV.

White House releases annual economic report

On Monday, the White House released the 2007 Economic Report of the President. The report is written by the President's Council of Economic Advisors. It overviews the Nation's economic progress and is transmitted to Congress no later than 10 days after the submission of the White House's annual budget proposal. The comprehensive report examines numerous aspects of the economy, but says overall growth has been strong. It also predicts that the economy can remain robust if Congress will resist enacting tax hikes and burdensome regulations that sap economic strength. The full report can be accessed online at

Budget chief tells agencies to nix earmarks

White House budget director Rob Portman issued instructions to federal agencies Thursday concerning earmark spending. The message: don't fund the pork projects unless they're explicitly written into law. In the past, lawmakers would place hundreds of earmarked spending projects in nonbinding report language accompanying spending bills. Though these accompanying reports don't carry the force of law, they are sometimes funded anyway, often as a result of pressure from lawmakers. Portman's directive makes clear that any earmarks not contained in actual spending bills are not to be funded - a welcome move for taxpayers. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) summed it up this way: "For too long, Washington has handed out American tax dollars based on seniority and political jockeying. This year, these funds will be given out based on merit."

Quote of the Week

"The enemy wants our men and women in uniform to think that their Congress doesn't care about them, that they are going to cut the funding and abandon them and their mission… And we should not allow that to happen."

- Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), speaking during debate this week on the Democrats' nonbinding Iraq resolution. Johnson spent nearly seven years as a POW in Vietnam.

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