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Obama agenda: Prioritize this

Obama’s day: “President Barack Obama is discussing legislative priorities with Democratic congressional leaders for a second day Wednesday,” the AP writes. “The president met with the Senate Democratic leadership on Tuesday. On Wednesday it's the House Democrats' turn. Obama is getting the meetings in before Congress takes its August break.”

Yesterday, “President Barack Obama used a Tuesday meeting with Senate Democratic leaders to urge action on three agenda items in the coming weeks as part of a larger messaging strategy on the economy, the top issue on voters’ minds leading to the November elections,” Roll Call says.

Jack Lew as LeBron? “I was actually worried that Hillary would not let him go,” Obama said in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House yesterday, introducing Lew as his new (old) budget director. “I had to trade a number of No. 1 draft picks to get Jack back at OMB.”

BusinessWeek writes up the “jobs summit” that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is holding today. “The Chamber, the biggest lobbying group for U.S. business, plans to release a letter to Obama today calling for him to sell government-owned minerals to raise revenue without raising taxes, said Stan Anderson, managing director at the group’s Campaign for Free Enterprise. The letter will be discussed at a “jobs summit” the Chamber will hold in Washington. ‘We are running a reasonable risk of going back into a recession,’ Anderson said in an interview. ‘As you wear off the artificial spending of the stimulus, you are seeing weakening in job growth.’ The Chamber, which spent more than $30 million lobbying this year, believes the “overhang” of pending health, financial, environmental and other regulations is stifling business spending and curtailing the economic recovery, Anderson said.”

The AP: “In a high-stakes national intelligence stare-down between congressional Democrats and the White House, Sen. Dianne Feinstein blinked.” Feinstein “ended weeks of delay Tuesday and set a confirmation hearing for President Barack Obama's nomination of retired Air Force Gen. James T. Clapper to be the next director of national intelligence. The hearing was scheduled for July 20. By doing so, Feinstein backed off from a threat to wait until a key piece of intelligence legislation passed the House before putting the confirmation process in motion.” Why the holdup? “Feinstein and the top Republican on the committee, Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri, used the pending hearing as a lever to expand intelligence reform. In a standard bit of quid pro quo negotiation with the White House, Feinstein wanted to see action first on last year's intelligence bill. The Senate has passed that bill, but it has languished in the House.”

“The Obama administration rolled out an ambitious five-year plan yesterday for moving doctors and hospitals to computerized medical records, promising greater safety for patients and lower costs,” the AP reports. “Starting next year, doctors’ offices and hospitals can get federal money to help defray the costs of the systems, which can run to millions of dollars for hospitals. Providers who don’t comply by 2015 will face cuts in Medicare payments.”