Congressional briefing: Roberts — Bush reversal on warrantless wiretaps ‘good news’
Here are today's headlines from the Kansas congressional delegation:
(Bloomberg) Lawmakers to Press Gonzales for Details on Surveillance Program: Members of Congress say they'll keep pressing for details about President George W. Bush's domestic eavesdropping program after the government reversed itself and sought court approval of the secret spying on U.S. citizens. ... The announcement is ``good news, it will help keep the country safe,'' said Senator Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican and former Intelligence Committee chairman. Roberts said the change should eliminate any need for Congress to pass legislation concerning the program.
(WIBW) Roberts to Korean Ambassador: Open Beef Trade: Kansas Senator Pat Roberts says Korea must open its markets to American beef, or jeopardize future trade chances with the U.S. Roberts made his remarks Wednesday in Senate Finance Committee meetings with Ambassador Lee Tae-sik of the Republic of Korea. The action is just the latest in a series of efforts by Roberts as a new member of the Finance Committee. He's also a senior member of the Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry.
(AP) Brownback calls for diplomacy in Iraq: Back from a weeklong trip to the Middle East and Africa, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback said Wednesday he is disappointed at the lack of security in Baghdad and urged the Bush administration to launch a serious diplomatic effort to resolve the conflict in Iraq. Brownback, one of a small group of Republicans to publicly oppose sending more U.S. troops to Iraq, called on Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to begin "shuttle diplomacy" with leaders of the three major Iraqi groups. Brownback painted a bleak picture of his meetings with Iraqi leaders, saying Sunni leaders "blame everything" on Shiites and vice versa. Although Sunnis are a distinct minority in Iraq, they had dominated the government until the U.S.-led ouster of Saddam Hussein left Shias in control. "All of this suggests that at the present time, the United States cares more about a peaceful Iraq than the Iraqis do," Brownback said in a speech on the Senate floor. "If that is the case, it is difficult to understand why more U.S. troops would make a difference."
(Broadcasting & Cable) CNN, AstraZeneca Partner To Fight Obesity: CNN has re-upped with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to sponsor its year-long Fit Nation initiative to combat obesity. ... CNN is in the midst of a year-long news series examining that epidemic, but will go beyond that to encourage viewers to exercise in a "Challenge America" initiative that will launch in March. The FCC has encouraged the media to join with government and the health community to tackle the problem. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate last year joined with Sen. Sam Brownback to create an obesity task force to spearhead that effort.
(AP) Boyda sponsors measure to deny pensions to convicted lawmakers: It has been just two weeks since Rep. Nancy Boyda was sworn in as Kansas' newest member of Congress, but she already is sponsoring one of the Democrats' most high-profile bills. Boyda introduced a measure in the House late Tuesday that would strip federal pensions from lawmakers convicted of crimes such as bribery, perjury and fraud. The Senate approved similar legislation last week. While freshmen lawmakers usually don't get to take the lead in sponsoring major legislation, the Democratic leadership has made every effort to help Boyda raise her profile and impress her constituents back home.