ThinkFast: September 18, 2007

The White House has “told nearly a dozen Cabinet secretaries to send letters to Capitol Hill” rejecting Congress’s proposed new funds for their agencies. The “carefully scripted letters” warn lawmakers that their moves would harm “agency operations” and the “integrity of the budget process.” Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) responded that he was “disappointed” in their “rhetoric.”

A week after he told U.S. lawmakers about “progress” in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus will be in Britain today, briefing Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO), who previously “has not supported Congress using its ability to stop war payments in order to force President Bush to change direction,” said yesterday that Congress should look at cutting off funds. “If it could be done then I think we ought to take a look at it,” Salazar said.

Thirteen senior House members “have been served with subpoenas from defense attorneys representing Brent Wilkes, the former defense contractor charged with bribing imprisoned ex-Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.). None of the lawmakers will comply with the subpoena.”


The Senate will vote today on a bill to provide the District of Columbia with voting rights. The legislation, which has passed the House, would give D.C. a full voting member of the U.S. House while also providing Utah an additional seat.

A day after Iraqi officials ordered Blackwater USA to leave the country, the government has announced that it will “review the status of all private security firms operating in the country.”

Salon writes that Iraqis who seek redress for the deaths of the civilians at the hands of U.S. contractors in a criminal court are out of luck. Because of an order promulgated by the former Coalition Provisional Authority, “there appears to be almost no chance that the contractors involved would be, or could be, successfully prosecuted in any court in Iraq.”

A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concludes “hundreds of millions of people in developing nations will face natural disasters, water shortages and hunger” due to climate change. “Developed regions like the the US and southern Europe are likely to experience more severe summer heatwaves.”

And finally: “Fashionistas all over Capitol Hill hailed Rep. Al Green Monday for rocking his cell phone earpiece during remarks on the House floor. The fashion-forward Texas Democrat may or may not be the first ever lawmaker to sport such a device during remarks on the floor, but he certainly turned heads from C-Span viewers everywhere.” See the photo HERE.

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.