Capitol Hill Bureau Chief
Good morning, Capitolists! We're happy to report that the Year of the Woman continues with news this morning that Australia is getting its first female prime minister and Kathleen Parker is getting paid a lot more than Eliot Spitzer for their new CNN show. All that and the day ahead in Washington await you in the next 60 seconds:
- Iran, Extenders and Campaign Finance on the Floor.
If you're following the action on the House and Senate today instead of the World Cup, buckle up for a day of debate on the House side on the DISCLOSE Act, a bill to dial back the Supreme Court decision letting corporations and unions spend as much as they please electing or defeating candidates in federal elections. On the Senate side, Democrats will start the day on a stripped-down -- but still too big to pass -- tax extenders bill, and will then debate a bill to put sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program.
- Rudd on the Barbie; Sheila in Charge Down Under.
Thanks to "Crocodile Dundee" parts 1 and 2, we know that "sheila" is another word for "woman" in Australia, and thanks to a political crisis, a sheila-- Julia Gillard-- is the new prime minister of the country. Gillard was the popular deputy PM to Kevin Rudd, who was ousted yesterday after his Labor Party worried that he couldn't win the country's upcoming elections. The AP has the details.
- Generals Changing Command In Iraq, Too.
Lost in the week's headlines over Gen. Stanley McChrystal's demotion from his command in Afghanistan is the fact that American troops in Iraq are getting a new leader, too. The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing today for Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III to take over in Iraq for Gen. Ray Odierno, who is being promoted to lead Joint Forces Command.
- Whose Sorry Now, Joe Barton?
A classic D.C. faux-scandal broke out Wednesday afternoon, hours after Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) made a Houdini-like escape from the jaws of career death after apologizing to BP's Tony Hayward for the "shakedown" Hayward endured at the White House. Inside-the-beltway bloggers stumbled over their pajamas Wednesday to report that Barton had gone rogue and Tweeted a link to an article titled "Joe Barton Was Right," hours after his colleagues let him keep his committee leadership post. But what really happened? As The Hill reported
, Barton's communication director, not Barton, typed out the offending Tweet "without thinking much about it" and later deleted it. Barton never knew about the Tweet.
- Kathleen Parker Gets the Big Money; Client No. 9 Gets What's Left.
Props to Kathleen Parker for getting her own show on CNN and props to CNN for recognizing the global appeal of a southern lady with a brain and a Pulitzer. We're less excited that Parker's co-host will be ick-laden Eliot Spitzer, but The New York Post
gives us the silver lining -- Parker will get $700,000 a year, while Spitzer will get just $400K.