- - Wednesday, July 27, 2011

SENATE

Lawmakers confirm Mueller for new term as FBI head

The Senate has voted unanimously to extend the term of FBI Director Robert Mueller, who took over the agency just days before the Sept. 11 attacks.

The vote to confirm Mr. Mueller for up to two more years came a day after President Obama signed legislation making a one-time exception of the 10-year limit to how long an FBI director may serve. Mr. Mueller’s term was set to expire on Tuesday.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Democrat Patrick J. Leahy said Mr. Obama asked Mr. Mueller to stay on the job to ensure continuity at a time when the nation was getting a new defense secretary and a new director of the CIA.

ELECTION

Palin to speak in Iowa, stoking bid speculation

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is booked to speak in Iowa in September, stoking speculation she might join the presidential race.

Tea Party of America founder Ken Crow said Wednesday the 2008 vice presidential nominee will speak at his group’s Sept. 3 rally near Des Moines. Iowa holds the lead-off nominating caucuses, and her Labor Day Weekend trip there comes as Mrs. Palin weighs whether to mount a White House campaign.

She has said she will decide on a presidential bid in late August or early September.

Mrs. Palin made headlines for a campaign-style bus tour from Washington to New England during Memorial Day weekend.

News of Mrs. Palin’s trip to Iowa was first reported by Real Clear Politics.

HOUSE

Catholic bishops seek tax increases, fewer cuts

Weighing in on the debt talks, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops this week said it fears the House Republicans’ plan to reduce spending and raise the government’s borrowing limit would cut essential services, and the group urged Congress to instead look at tax increases and military spending cuts.

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