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Congress: UI, Goodwin, Kagan, Clapper

The New York Daily News: "President Obama and Senate Democrats expect they will have the votes Tuesday to pass an extension of unemployment benefits on the fourth try. The vote is set for shortly after Democrat Carte Goodwin of West Virginia is sworn in to fill the vacancy left by the late Sen. Robert Byrd."

MSNBC.com's Dann and Miller on today's Kagan Judiciary Committee confirmation vote: "After more than two months in the national spotlight and over 17 hours of grueling committee testimony, Elena Kagan is poised to take one step closer to a permanent seat on the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States." The vote won't be a "nailbiter," they point out, because Democrats control the committee 12-7. How assured has Kagan's nomination been? "One Republican lawmaker, Sen. John Cornyn, even accidentally betrayed the widely-held expectation that she will eventually win confirmation, reportedly referring to the nominee at one point during the hearing process as 'soon-to-be Justice Kagan. '"

The AP says, "the only real question [on today's Kagan vote] is whether she will get any Republican votes."


"Tough questions and blunt answers are likely Tuesday when retired Air Force Gen. James T. Clapper goes before the Senate Intelligence Committee seeking confirmation as the next director of national intelligence," the AP writes. "Clapper is expected to explain how he would streamline the massive flow of information from the intelligence community's 16 agencies. He has already answered more than 80 questions from the Intelligence Committee, providing some 90 pages in responses that will be posted to the committee's website at the start of the hearing."

How this for a make-up session? While campaigning yesterday for a Pennsylvania congressional candidate, Vice President Joe Biden called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "the most powerful person in American politics -- With the exception of the president of the United States. And I mean that sincerely.” He added, “The single most successful, the single most persuasive, the single most strategic leader I have ever worked with is Nancy Pelosi.” He also called her "the mother of health care."

The Tea Party now has an official House caucus (seriously.)