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Inside Politics

- - Sunday, March 20, 2011

ENERGY

Chu: Reactor locale changing

Energy Secretary Steven Chu says Japan's nuclear crisis will influence the locations of new U.S. nuclear reactors.

He is suggesting that population might be a greater factor than it has been in deciding where to build a plant.

President Obama has ordered a comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear plant safety.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is seeking a review of the Indian Point power plant, located about 40 miles north of New York City. At least 21 million people live within 50 miles of the plant.

Mr. Chu tells "Fox News Sunday" that officials believe Indian Point is safe, but they will review whether it should continue operating in the aftermath of the Japanese disaster.

Mr. Chu says decisions on where to locate future plants will be different than in the past.

HOUSE

Freshman: Senate should step up

A newly elected Republican congresswoman says senators should confront President Obama about his veto threat and approve $61 billion in spending cuts.

Freshman Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington state issued the challenge in the Republicans' radio address Saturday. She said senators should "step up" and follow the House to rein in federal spending.

But the House bill does not have enough support to pass the Senate. It's unclear what progress can be made toward compromise with Congress headed on a 10-day vacation.

Mrs. Beutler accused Mr. Obama of staying on the sidelines instead of offering a long-term spending plan.

And she blamed an "army of lobbyists" in Washington for blocking efforts to address the country's debt. She said gridlock is preventing the job creation the country needs.

HOUSE

Delegation visits Italy

A bipartisan group of five House members, led House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, arrived in Italy Friday to help commemorate the 150th anniversary of Italian unification.

"This is a time to celebrate the birth of modern Italy and the brave patriots who made it possible," said Mrs. Pelosi in a prepared statement issued by her office.

The California Democrat and Italian-American said the trip was an opportunity to honor the ties between the two nations.

"America is a land discovered by an Italian, named for an Italian, and built by millions of Italian Americans," she said. "Our shared history and culture only serve to strengthen the U.S.-Italy alliance in this new century."

The bipartisan delegation also is scheduled to visit with U.S. troops stationed in Italy and to receive briefings on U.S. military support operations, including those in Africa and South Asia.

The other members of the delegation are Democratic Reps. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Leonard L. Boswell of Iowa and Bill Pascrell Jr. of New Jersey, and Republican Rep John L. Mica of Florida.

DEFICIT

Poll: Voters pass on higher taxes

Despite concern about the country's historic-level budget deficit, most Americans aren't willing to pay more in taxes to reduce it, a new poll says.

Results of a Rasmussen Reports survey released Friday show that only 20 percent of respondents say they would be willing to pay higher taxes to help reduce the federal budget deficit. Seventy-one percent said they wouldn't be willing to do so.

The survey also shows that 83 percent of Americans say the size of the federal budget deficit is due more to the unwillingness of politicians to cut government spending than to a reluctance of taxpayers to pay more in taxes. Seventy percent of likely voters say voters are more willing to make the hard choices needed to reduce federal spending than are elected politicians.

The national telephone survey of 1,000 adults, conducted on March 13-14, has a margin of error of plus/minus 3 percentage points.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama, Rousseff conference no go

A joint press conference with President Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff slated to take place here on Saturday has been called off because the Brazilian government did not want reporters to have the opportunity to ask questions, an Obama administration official said.

Instead, the two leaders will merely "deliver remarks to the media" following their bilateral meeting at the Palacio do Planalto, according to a White House press schedule.

Mr. Obama and Ms. Rousseff had been expected to take at least a couple of questions from journalists eager to ask about the recent U.N. resolution authorizing a no-fly zone over Libya and Brazil's bid for a permanent seat on the world body's security council.

According to the administration official, the White House requested that reporters be allowed to ask questions following the remarks, but the Brazilian government balked.

Mr. Obama was in Brazil for a two-day visit that also includes a stop in the cultural capital of Rio de Janeiro as part of a five-day visit to Latin America. He's expected to emphasize U.S. business ties with Brazil, the world's seventh-largest economy.

NTSA

Rear-facing seats should be to age 2

CHICAGO | Children should ride in rear-facing car seats longer, until they are 2 years old instead of 1, according to updated advice from a medical group and a federal agency.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are to issue separate but consistent new recommendations Monday.

Both organizations say older children who've outgrown front-facing car seats should ride in booster seats until the lap-shoulder belt fits them. Booster seats help position adult seat belts properly on children's smaller frames. Children usually can graduate from a booster seat when their height reaches 4 feet 9 inches.

Children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat, the guidelines from both groups say.

The advice may seem extreme to some parents, who may imagine trouble persuading older elementary school students- as old as 12 - to use booster seats.