"Legislation to rein in credit card practices and eliminate sudden rate hikes and late fees that have entangled millions of American consumers is getting closer to becoming law, bolstered by presidential pressure and the backdrop of economic calamity," the AP says.
"Defense Secretary Robert Gates is urging Congress to pass an $83.4 billion spending bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by Memorial Day, saying the Pentagon will deplete its funding for Pakistan next month and money for U.S. operations will start running out in July."
Not so fast, Specter… "Senior Senate Democrats are objecting to the deal Majority Leader Harry Reid made with Sen. Arlen Specter, saying they will vote against letting the former Republican shoot to the top of powerful committees after he switches parties," The Hill reports. "I won't be happy if I don't get to chair something because of Arlen Specter," said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), who sits on the Appropriations Committee. "I'm happy with the Democratic order, but I don't want to be displaced because of Arlen Specter."
"One senior Democratic lawmaker told The Hill that the Democratic Conference will vote against giving the longtime Pennsylvania Republican seniority over lawmakers like Harkin, Mikulski and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) when they hold their organizational meeting after the 2010 election."
The rescued Maersk Alabama captain is slated to testify today before Foreign Relations.
And finally, per Roll Call: "Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she has no words for Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), who earlier Wednesday called it 'a hoax' that Matthew Shepard was murdered because of his homosexuality." Foxx said on the House floor: "The hate-crimes bill that's called the Matthew Shepard bill is named after a very unfortunate incident that happened where a young man was killed, but we know that the young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn't because he was gay." Pelosi: "It is really beneath comment."