The Note: The Note

The Boston Globe's Charlie Savage writes that Sens. Kennedy and Kerry's filibuster effort "succeeded only in splitting the Democratic caucus." LINK

Deborah Orin bemoans John Kerry's filibustering ways in a New York Post op-ed . LINK

With four Democrats who have endorsed Alito and only one Republican that opposed his nomination, the U.S. Senate will confirm Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, writes James Rowley of Bloomberg News. LINK

Note that all five of the Democratic senators thought to be considering presidential runs in 2008 -- Evan Bayh of Indiana, Joe Biden of Delaware, Hillary Clinton of New York, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, and John Kerry of Massachusetts -- voted to block the Alito vote from moving forward yesterday by voting against cloture.

Big Casino budget politics:

The Bush Administration is considering asking Congress for a minimum of $2 billion later this year for Iraqi reconstruction, which is in addition to the $24 million already approved, per the Washington Times. LINK

Per the Los Angeles Times, the wide-ranging spending-cut bill scheduled for a final House vote on Wednesday includes provisions toughening welfare regulations, including work requirements on two-parent welfare families that experts say is "almost impossible to meet." LINK

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan writes that with spending as one of the top issues for House Republicans this election year, the President should expect pressure from conservatives to tightly monitor spending, including more cutbacks in this year's budget. LINK

The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne Notes that Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT) is backing away from supporting the "cut-the-poor, help-the-big-interests federal budget" that he voted for last year but that still needs final ratification. LINK

Blunt v. Boehner v. Shadegg:

RSC members pledged to push for an overhaul of ethics and lobbying rules. But more importantly, they want the GOP to renew its commitment to fiscal restraint and small government, the Los Angeles Times reports. LINK

The Hill's O'Connor reports on the Majority Leader hopefuls' appearances at the conservative retreat and Rep. Blunt's continued "front-runner" status. LINK

The New York Times on the Majority Leader candidates wooing the cool "clique" at the conservative retreat: LINK

Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times writes that the contest for Majority Leader, to be decided this Thursday, has become a "real race," with no candidate a sure thing. LINK

The AP on the race, the maneuvers, and the candidates' connections to Rep. DeLay. LINK

Bloomberg News' Laura Litvan reports on the challenges that the new House Majority Leader will face and names Blunt as the front-runner in the Leadership race, with 95 public commitments LINK

Lobbying reform:

House Republicans plan this week to propose a bill, partly drafted by Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-CA), to limit the amount of money that tribal casinos can give to politicians, reports USA Today's Jim Drinkard. LINK

Per the Washington Post's Jeffrey Birnbaum, the DSCC and the Senate Republican Conference are dropping regular meetings with lobbyists. LINK

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