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Congress: Waxman's war on oil

“Henry Waxman’s war on Big Oil has begun,” Politico says. “The California Democrat, along with Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), will force top oil executives to defend or condemn industry practices and profits, according to series of pre-hearing questions obtained by POLITICO, foreshadowing an intense, made-for-TV hearing Tuesday that could create an iconic Washington moment for the petroleum industry.”

“The bottom line: Oil Week in Washington — complete with CEO testimony, a presidential address to the nation and the release of damaging documents about BP’s safety record — may represent a turning point in the way the public views the domestic oil industry if Waxman and the White House succeed in their efforts. Longtime environmentalists like Waxman see the oil spill crisis as their moment to put the industry on its heels after decades of having its way on Capitol Hill — much like Waxman did with the tobacco industry in the 1990s.”

"In an unusually timed letter that went out Saturday night, Obama urged Congressional leaders in both parties to pass a sweeping emergency aid package — $23 billion to stem teacher layoffs and $25 billion for state Medicaid assistance -- to help the economy get back on track, saying it is 'a critical juncture in our nation’s recovery,'" Roll Call reports. "But aides to several leading House and Senate Democrats are criticizing the White House’s handling of the $50 billion request -- not on policy grounds, but because the administration didn’t coordinate with them first and seemed to have hastily thrown the plan together with no follow-through."

The power of the gun lobby: "House Democratic leaders have brokered a deal to exempt the National Rifle Association from legislation to counteract a controversial Supreme Court decision relaxing campaign finance rules," Roll Call reports. "The compromise marks a major breakthrough for the bill, because the gun lobby’s opposition was hamstringing Democratic efforts to round up majority support."

"A House ethics office is demanding fundraising information from lobbyists on five Republicans and three Democrats, according to a document obtained by The Hill. The House Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) this month sent letters to officials on K Street requesting detailed information on the lawmakers, all of whom sit on the Financial Services Committee or the Ways and Means Committee… The lawmakers are Reps. John Campbell (R-Calif.), Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Chris Lee (R-N.Y.), Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Mel Watt (D-N.C.)."

"Republican Tom Graves, a real estate investor and former Georgia state legislator whose campaign had tea party backing, was sworn in Monday as the House’s newest Member," Roll Call reports.