The Note: The Very Definition of "Patriot"

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25

NEWS SUMMARY

The following are the ABC News Political Unit must-reads for Wednesday, January 25, 2006. Do you know why?

1. Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times asks the big strategy questions: Will the Democrats continue to make the case for civil liberties and against presidential power? Can it work? And for whom? LINK

2. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI) tells the Washington Times that he will not support a guest-worker program. LINK

"As the chief House negotiator in any House-Senate conference committee on immigration, he said voters will not accept a plan that amounts to amnesty, and said Mr. Bush's proposal would simply push the problem down the road."

3. A Washington Post editorial says the White House's refusal to detail meetings between the Administration and Jack Abramoff is "not a tenable position" and claims, "Republicans wouldn't stand for this kind of stonewalling if the situation were reversed." LINK

4. "The Bush Administration said Tuesday that states would be fully reimbursed for any costs they incurred in paying claims for prescription drugs that should have been covered by the new federal Medicare program," writes Robert Pear of the New York Times. LINK

Pear Notes the federal government expects all the kinks to be worked out by Feb. 15. Sen. Clinton, in an interview with the Times, remains skeptical.

The Senate was beginning consideration of Samuel Alito's nomination to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court at 9:30 am ET. President Bush appears in the Rose Garden with 41 of the world's most famous former clerks at 3:30 pm ET.

The President travels to Fort Meade, MD today to visit the National Security Agency. He makes closed press remarks to NSA employees at 12:50 pm ET. He tours the NSA at 1:25 pm ET. Pool at the bottom.

The winter meeting of the US Conference of Mayors got underway at 8:30 am ET. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) addresses the mayors at 1:00 pm ET. Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) is slated to receive an award from the group during an arts luncheon. And Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the chair of a newly-created mayoral task force on poverty, discusses his vision for the panel at 11:30 am ET.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway will be among those present for the opening plenary session at 10:00 am ET today. Hurricane recovery is sure to be a topic of discussion at the 12:00 pm ET media availability.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan announced this morning that $11.5 billion in new HUD block grants will be announced at 2:00 pm ET.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee holds a 9:30 am ET hearing on "Lobbying Reform: Proposals and Issues" in Dirksen 342. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) testify.

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