Even though both parties' leaders agreed to the renewal of the Voting Rights Act as a "clean bill" without amendments, Roll Call's Jennifer Yachnin reports that some disgruntled House Republicans mutinied in a Republican Conference meeting, "at one point chant[ing] in unison for the legislation to be dropped from consideration." For now, VRA has been removed from the House's calendar, putting its cyclical 4-year renewal in jeopardy.
The Washington Post's Charles Babington sees the postponed vote on the Voting Rights Act as "the latest example of divisions within the GOP that have complicated House and Senate leaders' efforts to move legislation backed by President Bush." LINK
Roll Call's John Stanton writes that Leader/Dr./Sen. Frist's upcoming agenda for the Senate -- anti-flag burning, anti-estate tax, and pension reform legislation -- are "sure to thrill both conservative voters and big-business donors alike."
In a column that will tickle Doug Hattaway and irk Crider/Manley, the Washington Post's David Broder blesses "Democracy: A Journal of Ideas" while calling the "new legislative 'agenda' that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and Co. trotted out last week" as being "as meager as it was unimaginative." LINK
The Abramoff affair:
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and the rest of the Indian Affairs Committee will unveil their conclusions today to a two-year investigation into Abramoff and his associates' $40 million swindling of tribes, reports Roll Call.
The Arizona Republic's Billy House writes that the committee's report will "read more like a summer mystery novel with chapters missing than a tell-all account of former GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff's corrupt influence in Washington." LINK
Christy Setzer of the Democratic "Senate Majority Project" pushes back against McCain thusly: "What we need is straight talk about how Jack Abramoff corrupted the Republican Party -- it's too bad John McCain cut and run from the job."
The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman reports that Speaker Hastert, Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), and Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA) have aroused the suspicions of watchdog groups by allegedly profiting from earmarks that they have pursued. LINK
House Democrats continue to bruise their own ethics record. Tax forms and other documents released yesterday show that "Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) helped funnel at least $179 million in U.S. government contracts over the last six years to companies that gave to his family-run charity." Bloomberg's Michael Forsythe reports. LINK
In the Washington Post's Metro section, Amy Gardner and Lisa Rein report that President Bush's "unpopularity and the split among Republicans in Congress and the Virginia statehouse" have Republican leaders in Northern Virginia worried about the party's election chances. LINK
Quinnipiac University is out with a new poll this morning showing KT McFarland and John Spencer locked in a statistical dead heat (27 to 24 percent) in their battle for the GOP nomination in NY and the right to take on Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Quinnpiac finds Sen. Clinton's approval rating at 58 percent. (Thirty-one percent of Empire State Republicans approve of the job she's doing, according to the poll.)