- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 23, 2010

SENATE

Bayh sees Brown as part of ‘cure’

Retiring Sen. Evan Bayh, Indiana Democrat, said Monday that electing more lawmakers like Scott Brown, the new Republican senator from Massachusetts, may be the “ultimate cure” for partisan gridlock in Washington.

Mr. Brown’s upset victory over a Democrat who held a double-digit lead a week before Massachusetts’ special Senate election last month signaled that voters wanted “more practical problem solving,” Mr. Bayh said in an interview Monday on ABC-TV’s “The View.”

“Scott Brown is a good example of what I think the ultimate cure might be,” Mr. Bayh said. “My read on what happened in Massachusetts is the vast majority of moderates and independents rose up and said, ‘Enough already.’ ”

Mr. Bayh, who has clashed regularly with more liberal members of his party, announced last week that he had decided against seeking re-election after two terms in the Senate. He said he was tired of partisan wrangling in Washington.

He reiterated that Monday, saying the Senate used to be a more polite place. He said senators should be more open to compromise and rely less on filibusters to block legislation.

“Those on my side need to accept half a loaf when the alternative is nothing,” he said.

VICE PRESIDENCY

Cheney hospitalized for chest pains

An aide to Dick Cheney said the former vice president was taken to George Washington Hospital after experiencing chest pains.

Mr. Cheney’s assistant, Peter Long, said in a statement late Monday that Mr. Cheney, 69, was resting comfortably and that his doctors were evaluating the situation.

Mr. Cheney has a history of heart problems and has a pacemaker.

In 2008, doctors restored a normal rhythm to his heart with an electric shock. It was the second time in less than a year that Mr. Cheney had experienced and been treated for an atrial fibrillation, an abnormal rhythm involving the upper chambers of the heart.

Mr. Cheney has had four heart attacks, starting when he was 37. He has had quadruple-bypass surgery and two artery-clearing angioplasties.

LABOR

Union prepares for airport screeners

The nation’s largest federal employee union pushed ahead Monday with efforts to represent about 40,000 airport screeners, even though the government has not given them collective-bargaining rights.

John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said his union wants to be ready to begin contract negotiations as soon as bargaining rights are granted.

The move could pressure the White House to more quickly name an administrator to head the Transportation Security Administration. That official could make the changes.

“We think the administration has to step up to the plate here,” Mr. Gage said.

Workers at the agency have tried for years to win union rights similar to those of other federal employees, such as basic protections from overwork, dangerous conditions and retaliation if they report security breaches.

Republican opponents say such bargaining rights could jeopardize national security and make it more difficult to implement staff changes in response to terrorism threats.

President Obama pledged during his campaign to get the screeners bargaining rights. But Erroll Southers, Mr. Obama’s choice to head the agency, withdrew last month, saying his nomination had become a lightning rod for criticism from those with a political agenda.

NEW YORK

Sen. Gillibrand keeps solid lead over Ford

ALBANY, N.Y. | A poll shows Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand maintaining a wide lead over Harold E. Ford Jr. in a potential Democratic primary matchup.

The Siena College poll shows Mrs. Gillibrand with the support of 42 percent of Democrats, compared with 16 percent for Mr. Ford. The former congressman from Tennessee is expected to announce soon whether he will challenge Mrs. Gillibrand.

The poll shows Mrs. Gillibrand making a small gain in her favorability rating to 34 percent, up from 30 percent in January.

Looking at a potential general election matchup, former Republican Gov. George E. Pataki outpolls both Mrs. Gillibrand and Mr. Ford.

Mr. Pataki has not indicated whether he would run.

The poll released Monday surveyed 805 registered voters from Feb. 14 through Friday. It has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama, Shakira discuss child policy

President Obama and pop superstar Shakira talked at the White House on Monday about U.S. policy toward children.

Mr. Obama and the Colombian entertainer talked briefly after Shakira met with staff from the National Security Council and the Domestic Policy Council to discuss early childhood development. A White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the meeting was not on the president’s public schedule, said Shakira stopped by to say hello to Mr. Obama when the meetings ended.

Shakira is a UNICEF goodwill ambassador and has been an advocate for children in poverty.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports


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