POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/7

Clinton Expected to Sail Through Hearings

The confirmation hearing for Sen. Hillary Clinton to become Secretary of State will begin next Tuesday with a vote scheduled for Thursday.

Clinton has been meeting individually with Senate Foreign Relations committee members, in addition to the lengthy discussions with the incoming Chairman, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), and ranking Republican, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN).

The AP reports that “despite initial concerns that former President Bill Clinton’s business deals and global charitable endeavors could create problems, lawmakers from both parties do not expect serious objections to the New York senator’s confirmation.” 

Massive Deficit Projected

The federal budget deficit will balloon to roughly $1.2 trillion this fiscal year, a record total that does not even include the costs of the economic recovery plan now being assembled on Capitol Hill,” CQ Politics reports.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“The opposition should be about ideas, and not what my brother suffered through in the last eight years. I don’t wish that on President Obama.”

— Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, advising Republicans to lay off partisan attacks.

Burris Will Be Seated

Senate Democrats have agreed to seat former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris (D), the AP reports.

There has been speculation that Senate Democrats might agree to seat Burris if he would agree not to run for election in 2010, though it is unknown whether such a deal was worked out this morning.

Update: It’s not a done deal yet. According to the New York Times, the Senate is still “awaiting a court ruling in a case that tests whether the signature of the Illinois secretary of state is needed for Burris to take the seat.”

Blagojevich Could Be Impeached This Week

The Chicago Tribune reports a state House committee weighing Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s political fate will “delve into alleged hiring irregularities” today and prepare “for a crucial stretch that may culminate in his impeachment by week’s end.”

The committee is also “getting ready to hear former Illinois Atty. Gen. Roland Burris testify Thursday about Blagojevich’s offer to appoint him to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.”

Meanwhile, Politico notes Burris “heads into a pivotal meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin on Wednesday with an unmistakable sense of momentum.” 

Conventional wisdom suggests Burris will now eventually be allowed to take the seat.

Obama to Announce New White House Position

At a press conference this morning, President-elect Obama will announce his pick for “chief performance officer,” a newly created position that will work on the federal budget and to reform government, CNN reports.

“Obama has selected Nancy Killefer, according to two Democratic officials. She is a senior director for McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm. She was an assistant secretary of the treasury in the Clinton administration.”

Reid Pledges to Stay as Majority Leader Until 2015

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) vowed that he’ll lead the U.S. Senate “until 2015 and beyond, taunting Republicans who’d like to unseat him and dashing the hopes of Democrats who’d like to succeed him,” Politico reports.

“The Nevada Democrat, who is up for reelection in 2010, said he’s actually looking forward to being considered a ‘vulnerable’ incumbent then.”

Said Reid: “You know, to be honest with you, I hope I am. That way, [the Republicans are] going to spend lots of resources on me and leave states we’re looking at. They won’t have as many resources — and we have a lot of targets.”

Murkowski Would Crush Palin

A new KTUU poll in Alaska shows Gov. Sarah Palin (R) would have a tough fight if she decides to challenge Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in a primary battle for U.S. Senate.

Murkowski clobbered Palin in the survey, 57% to 33%.

Update: The Anchorage Daily News notes that this poll was actually paid for by conservative radio host Dan Fagan, not KTUU.

Quote of the Day

“I do not work for Barack Obama. I work with him.”

— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), in an interview with The Hill, asserting his believe in “three separate but equal branches of government.”

Obama Considers Parsons for Commerce

Former Time Warner Chairman and CEO Richard Parsons is under consideration as possible secretary of Commerce, Time reports. 

Parsons is a Republican, a former White House aide to President Ford and former CEO of Dime Bank.

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