The Note: Pick Your Poisoned Apple

(If you want to understand how immigration will likely play out in the end, be sure to read Sarah Lueck's story in the Wall Street Journal, which leans heavily into lame duckery, far and away the most likely option. Bravo, The Lueckster.)

While immigration consumes the Hill, the President will be trying to get back to his tax cut message today. He signs the Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2005 at 1:45 pm ET. He attends a 7:05 pm ET RNC gala at the Daughters of the American Revolution's Constitution Hall, and he delivers 10:30 am ET remarks to the 2006 United States Winter Olympic and Paralympics teams on the South Lawn. The RNC expects a $17 million haul and 800 attendees at tonight's event.

Democrats will respond to the President's bill signing by holding a 2:15 pm ET press conference with Sen. Reid, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), and Senate hopeful Ben Cardin (D-MD). Democrats are expected to criticize the President for "eliminating tax deductions that help students pay for college in order to give massive handouts to big business and multi-millionaires."

On the politics of surveillance front, the full House and Senate Intelligence Committees will receive briefings on the NSA domestic warrantless wiretapping program today in advance of Gen. Hayden's confirmation hearings tomorrow. LINK

On the energy independence front, a slew of Senate Democrats -- including the man from Searchlight, NV -- will join John Podesta at 10:15 am ET in the Mansfield Room of the US Capitol for the unveiling legislation of the Clean EDGE Act, legislation aimed at reducing US dependence on foreign oil.

The five-point plan will include an "aggressive effort" to ensure that an increasing number of new vehicles sold in the US run on alternative fuels, "starting with 25 percent in 2010." Democrats will also propose that the federal fleet of vehicles reduce its petroleum consumption by 20 percent over the next five years and 40 percent by 2020. The legislative package is also expected to include rolling back subsidies and tax breaks for oil companies and making price gouging a federal crime.

"Noticeably absent from the package is any nod toward increasingly fuel-economy standards," reports the Wall Street Journal's Laura Meckler. "Democrats are split on this issue, with lawmakers from auto-producing states opposing stronger mileage targets."

As part of its "Kick the Oil Habit" campaign, the Center for American Progress will show a short video that "connects the dot" on the "complicated matrix" of events and geopolitics that the oil industry has waged over America's energy future.

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) will also be engaging the energy issue today. To demonstrate his support for the "Vehicle and Fuel Choices for American Security Act," Brownback joins Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), and others at 12:00 pm ET for a hybrid vehicle demonstration behind the Cannon House Office Building.

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