More than healthcare rides on Obama’s speech


More than healthcare rides on Obama's speech

His address to Congress and the nation is intended to bolster the chances for a healthcare overhaul. It could also help him regain the upper hand in federal government.

By Peter Nicholas

September 9, 2009

Reporting from Washington

Amid a summer of setbacks, President Obama's speech tonight before a joint session of Congress is a crucial moment that could determine whether he will be able to reestablish his presidency as what John F. Kennedy called the "vital center of action" in the government.

Apart from reviving his healthcare plan, the president needs to reassert his grip on a political apparatus that soon will determine whether his agenda succeeds or fails.

This piece continues at

Pardon the Dust

Dear Loyal Readers,

The greeting of course assumes you haven't deserted us. As you may have noticed recently, ICT has gone dormant.

But fear not — our content is just coming to you from a new source. Starting in September, ICT founder and Managing Editor Alexander Hart is joining the Tribune Washington Bureau, where he'll continue bringing you great stories from inside Washington.

Stay tuned!

Climate Change Discussion Heats Up Part 1: H.R. 1862

Today, we start taking a look at Congressional approaches to combating climate change.

At the moment, most of the work is being done in the House of Representatives, where there are two major bills.

The first is sponsored by Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). 

Van Hollen recently annoyed some senior Democrats by publicly saying he wanted to proceed cautiously on climate-change legislation if it appeared the Senate would not take it up. He wants to avoid forcing freshman Representatives to take a stand on the highly controversial issue unless he is confident the effort to regulate greenhouse gases will not fizzle out.

The second is sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman  (D-Calif.) and the committee's Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.). The bill has not been formally introduced, but a discussion draft is available on the committee's Web site. Analysis will come later this week.

After the jump, we take a look at Van Hollen's bill.

Continue reading

Congress is Back and So Are We: A Look Ahead at Upcoming ICT Coverage

After a two-week district work period, the House and the Senate are back in session today. 

On the floor for both bodies, it is a slow week, but do not let the apparent tranquility fool you, for big things are happening backstage!

Today, the Senate confirmed former head envoy to North Korea Christopher Hill as the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. The nomination had proved contentious before the break, but today he was confirmed easily, 73-23.

Soon, we will take a look at the draft of the climate change bill currently under discussion in the Energy and Commerce Committee. A sneak preview: a lot of people are going to hate it.

And later, we will tell you about some Congressmen and Congresswomen who are a bit slow on updating their Web sites.

We hope you will join us. Are there other issues you are following or are particularly concerned with? Tell us what you think.