The Note: House Rules, Part II

"Other key Democratic voters include those of Maria Cantwell of Washington; Max Baucus of Montana . . . and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. But it's unclear whether Baucus will attend the vote Friday because of the death of his nephew . . ."

"Among Republicans, Sen. George V. Voinovich of Ohio has said he will vote against the measure . . . Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island opposed the estate tax repeal motion in June, but said he is undecided now."

CQ also Notes that "Democrats and liberal activists pounced on the wording of the minimum wage provision, saying it could actually reduce wages for workers in some states."

According to Sen. Kennedy's office, seven states -- Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and (Sen. Cantwell's state of) Washington -- "guarantee that tipped workers get the full minimum wage plus any tips they receive. But the Republican bill would take power away from the states by nullifying these state laws providing stronger wage protections for tipped employees than the federal standard."

"Senator Cantwell Conflicted in Estate Tax, Minimum Wage," Bloomberg. LINK

"Minimum Wage, Maximum Gall," the Washington Post's Harold Meyerson. LINK

Castro politics:

Asked by ABC News on Tuesday to identify which third parties the Bush Administration is concerned about in Cuba, Gutierrez avoided answering the question, saying simply: "…Whatever third party needs to have that clarified, we believe it should be clarified: that there should not be any manipulation going on in Cuba. It should be up to the Cuban people."

"For Castro, a First Step In Calculated Transition," the Washington Post LINK

Be sure to Note the uber skeptical Sen. Mel Martinez's (R-FL) when it comes to the truth about Castro's health.

"Davis knocked for Cuba trip," Miami Herald on state Sen. Rod Smith's (D-FL) criticism of his "Democratic opponent for governor, U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, for visiting Cuba in 2003." LINK

"Leach: U.S. Should be 'Cooperative' if Successor Emerges," Des Moines Register reports that Rep. Jim Leach (R-IA) is urging the United States to use a "cooperative and open-minded approach" should a new leader succeed Fidel Castro. LINK

"'Tense Situation' in Cuba has Iowans Keeping Watch," Des Moines Register. LINK

Politics of Iraq:

"Much Undone In Rebuilding Iraq, Audit Says," the Washington Post LINK

"Senator's Kin Killed in Iraq," New York Post on the death of Sen. Max Baucus' (D-MT) nephew, who was killed during Iraqi combat operations. LINK

"Dems in full retreat," New York Daily News' Michael Goodwin opines that the Democrats' new position on Iraq is wrong: "While there's never a good time for weak knees, now is about the worst." LINK

Politics of the Middle East:

"Murtha wants an immediate cease fire in Lebanon," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette LINK

Sen. Lieberman's Primary Politics:

"Lieberman backs troop withdrawal but not timetable of other Democrats," The New York Times. LINK

"'I don't believe Congress can say in August what the troops should do in December,' Mr. Lieberman said in an interview."

"Ad Man Plays to Lamont's Populism," the Hartford Courant on Ned Lamont's retainment of Bill Hillsman, the media consultant who honed the populist messages of Paul Wellstone and Jesse Ventura. LINK

"Hogging Credit? Lieberman Says No," the Hartford Courant on Sen. Lieberman's touting of his role in saving the US Navy Base New London and Electric Boat from closure by the BRAC commission. LINK

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