- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 15, 2010

CONGRESS

White House sends spending wish list

The Obama administration is pushing a pre-election shopping list on its Democratic allies in Congress as they prepare must-pass legislation to prevent a government shutdown next month.

Republicans are protesting the spending requests, which include $1.9 billion for school grants, financial help for the Postal Service and more than $4 billion to finance settlements of long-standing lawsuits against the government.

The administration also wants to renew parts of last year’s economic-stimulus measure, including $800 million for child care grants to states.

They’re all tacked onto a bill to continue funding the government past the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year. Such bills typically don’t carry controversial legislation.

SENATE

Poll: Rubio clear leader in race

Republican candidate Marco Rubio has opened a clear lead in the Florida Senate race, becoming the latest “tea party” favorite to benefit from voter anger at Washington, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found Wednesday.

Six weeks ahead of Nov. 2 congressional elections, Mr. Rubio leads state Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican-turned-independent, by 40 percent to 26 percent among likely voters, the poll found. Democrat Kendrick B. Meek trails at 21 percent.

The conservative tea party roiled Republican politics when a little-known candidate backed by the movement beat a veteran lawmaker in Delaware on Tuesday in the race to decide the Republican nominee for Senate in the November election.

The tea party is a loose-knit group of mostly Republicans concerned about reducing government spending and debt who are strong critics of President Obama. The group is gaining support this election season.

Florida, like other states, has a large “enthusiasm gap” with Republicans far more motivated to vote in November than Democrats. The poll said 82 percent of Republicans said they are certain to vote, compared with 61 percent of Democrats.

Mr. Crist and Mr. Meek are likely splitting Democratic votes, according to the poll.

When voters were asked their choice between Mr. Rubio and Mr. Crist if Mr. Meek was not in the race, the contest is essentially tied - Mr. Rubio at 46 percent and Mr. Crist at 45 percent.

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