The Note: Carving Out the Carve-Outs?

At 8:30 am ET, the National Journal's Hotline and Westhill Partners hosted a breakfast briefing on this month's poll, on immigration, and a panel discussion with Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), the Hotline's Chuck Todd, Ed Reilly of Westhill Partners, and GOP strategist Ed Rollins.

At 2:30 pm ET, the Senate Judiciary Committee considers the nominations of Terrence Boyle to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals; James Dever to be U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina; and Robert Conrad to be U.S. District Judge for the Western District of North Carolina. The nominees testify.

At 11:30 am ET, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT), and Reps. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Tom Lantos (D-CA) hold a news conference to announce the Advance Democratic Values, Address Nondemocratic Countries and Enhance Democracy Act of 2005.

At 12:30 pm ET, Energy Secretary Sam Bodman and Interior Secretary Gale Norton join Sens. Pete Domenici (R-NM), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Robert Bennett (R-UT), James Bunning (R-KY) and John Thune (R-SD) hold a news conference to talk about the upcoming CODEL to ANWR.

At 10:00 am ET, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, Energy Secretary Sam Bodman, and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez are all on the Hill testifying in hearings on their agencies' FY2006 budget appropriations.

At 2:00 pm ET, the House Armed Services Committee looks at the FY2006 budget request and its ability to meet military readiness needs. General Richard Cody, vice chief of staff for the Army; Admiral John Nathman, vice chief of Naval Operations; General Michael Moseley, vice chief of staff for the Air Force; and General William Nyland, assistant commandant for the Marine Corps, testify.

At 2:30 pm ET, the Senate Special Committee on Aging holds a hearing to look at the effect of the Medicare Modernization Act; Medicare administrator Mark McClellan testifies.

Happy birthday to pressgaggle.com.

Social Security: the politics:

The Des Moines Register's Jane Norman leads breathlessly:

"Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley of Iowa said Wednesday that Congress should focus on the solvency of Social Security rather than the president's plan to create personal investment accounts for younger workers."

"Grassley, a Republican and the head of the committee that would handle any Social Security overhaul in the Senate, said he still intends to try to get a bill approved this year. 'But maybe we ought to focus on solvency, and bring people to the table just over what do you do for solvency for the next 75 years,' Grassley said in a conference call with Iowa reporters."

Democrats are, as you can imagine, quite pleased about all this.

The Chicago Sun-Times' Bob Novak leads breathlessly:

"George W. Bush, who is not prone to confessing mistakes, has confided to close associates that he committed a whopper on Social Security. He admitted error in pushing for new personal accounts while not stressing the repair of the safety net for seniors. As a result, Republicans returned to Washington this week from the congressional recess deeply shaken by what they encountered back home."

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