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California Capitol Hill Bulletin
Volume 13, Bulletin 32 — December 8, 2006    [or see pdf version]  [or jump to the previous bulletin]


House & Senate Reach Tentative Deal On Tax and Trade; Appropriations Punted To February 2007

Democrats Select Committee Chairs: California Count Up To Three So Far

Republicans Leaders Choose Top Committee Posts: Lewis Keeps Appropriations Ranking, Dreier Rules

California Research University Network Briefs Congressional Delegation Staff Re Breakthroughs Underwritten By DOD Research Funding

PPIC Capitol Hill Briefing: Health Insurance and Health Status in Los Angeles County

Report Finds California HMO Premiums Now As High As Rest of States

PPIC Statewide Survey Reports: California Voters Optimism Returning

GAO Reports On Export Controls As Applied To The Nation’s Universities and Companies

Energy Department Awards Tax Credits to Build Carson Power Plant

Forum Examines “Promoting Opportunity and Growth Through Science, Technology, and Innovation”

Brookings Institution Reports: Suburban Poor Outnumber Urban Poor

Upcoming Events: CSS Year-End Reception Next Wednesday

Mark Calendars: Swearing-In Reception

More FY 2007 Appropriations Bill Analyses Available

Contact Roster For California Congressional Delegation Available

To expand communications between Washington and California, the California Institute provides periodic bulletins regarding current activity on Capitol Hill that affects our state.  Bulletins are published weekly during sessions of Congress, and occasionally during other periods.

House & Senate Reach Tentative Deal On Tax and Trade; Appropriations Punted To February 2007

             As of Thursday, December 7, 2006, it looked like House and Senate negotiators had reached an agreement on a package of tax and trade measures that could be passed before the 109th Congress adjourns sine die at the end of the week. Legislative language, however, had not been released by Thursday afternoon, fueling speculation that both bodies may have to stay in through late Friday to get the deal done.

             The package, estimated to cost about $40 billion, contains extensions for several popular tax breaks, including the research and experimentation tax credit which expired last December. The R&D tax credit, as it is known, would be extended two years through 2007 (retroactive to January 1, 2006), and include a change in the way the formula for calculating the credit is figured. The cost of the provision is estimated to be about $16.5 billion. The R&D tax credit is strongly supported by California corporations, especially those in the biotech and high tech industries.

             Extensions of the welfare-to-work tax credit and the credit for college tuition payments are also included in the bill.

             The trade portion of the bill will contain legislation granting permanent normal trade relations status to Vietnam and trade benefits to Haiti, and may extend some other trade preferences.

             The package has also picked up some additional provisions, including the offshore drilling bill passed by the Senate earlier this year. That legislation opens up some of the Gulf coast to further oil exploration, and gives the Gulf states a greater share of the royalties collected. It does not include more controversial language that an earlier House-passed bill contained which would have allowed California, and other west coast states to “opt-in” or “opt-out” of expanded offshore drilling.

             The tax and trade agreement is also expected to include language delaying a proposed 5 percent cut in Medicare payments to physicians.

             On the Appropriations front, it is expected that the House and Senate on Friday, December 8 will pass a Continuing Resolution to keep the government funded through February 15, 2007. Only two appropriations bills, those governing Defense and Homeland Security, have been enacted by the 109th Congress, necessitating the CR.

Democrats Select Committee Chairs: California Count Up To Three So Far

             On Wednesday, December 6, 2006, House Democratic leaders selected the Members to chair most House committees when the 110th Congress convenes in January, and the House Democratic Caucus (all Democratic members) ratified the choices on Thursday. Rep. George Miller was selected as Chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee, Rep. Henry Waxman was tapped to chair the Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Tom Lantos will be Chairman of the International Relations Committee.

             The Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, which selects members who are typically ratified by the full caucus, generally chooses the most senior members on a panel to serve as chair or ranking member; this cycle fit that pattern. However, despite voting internally in favor of Rep. Bob Filner’s bid to chair the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, the Steering Committee opted to allow the final decision on the post to be made on Friday by the full Democratic Caucus.

             Last week, Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi tapped Silvestre Reyes (TX) to chair the Select Intelligence Committee; ranking Democrat Jane Harman had reached the maximum term of service on the panel.

             Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald remains the leading contender to chair the House Administration Committee.

Republicans Leaders Choose Top Committee Posts: Lewis Keeps Appropriations Ranking, Dreier Rules

             On Wednesday, December 6, 2006, the House Republican Steering Committee made selections for a number of ranking member assignments for 110th Congress Committees. Among those choices was the retention of Rep. Jerry Lewis (Redlands) as top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee. With Republicans in control of the 109th Congress, Lewis had taken over the chairmanship of Appropriations only two years before.

             Republican Leader John Boehner has chosen Rep. David Dreier to retain the top rank on the House Rules Committee. Dreier had already hit and exceeded the 6-year term limit normally applied to GOP chairs; he had been given special dispensation to remain Rules Committee Chairman during the 109th Congress, and he was expected to move to another panel if the Republicans had retained the majority. But with the change in House control resetting some clocks, and particularly given the fact that the top Rules job is at the sole discretion of the lead in the party, Boehner decided to ask Dreier to remain the Ranking Minority Member on the Rules Committee for the 110th Congress.

             On Thursday, December 7, the Steering Committee backed a number of ranking member selections. Two more Californians are expected to retain their top ranks. Rep. Buck McKeon (Santa Clarita) is considered the leading candidate to remain Ranking Republican on the Education & Workforce Committee (which is expected to revert to its former name, “Education & Labor”, when Democrats take over in January. Likewise, Rep. Duncan Hunter (Alpine) is likely to be confirmed as retaining the Armed Services Committee top Republican for the 110th Congress.

             Final full committee chairmanships for both parties are slated for completion on Friday.

California Research University Network Briefs Congressional Delegation Staff Re Breakthroughs Underwritten By DOD Research Funding

             On December 5, 2006, the California Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of California and University of Southern California held a luncheon to present the scientific advances made by several California academic experts professors using research funding from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Defense basic research, also known as 6.1 research, is part of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Research, Development, Test and Evaluation’s Science and Technology (RDT&E) Program. Basic research produces new knowledge in a scientific or technology area of importance to the military. About 60% of basic research awards go to universities via grants or contracts, and California’s research universities win a very large proportion of funds awarded competitively.

             Dr. Daniel J. Blumenthal, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UC Santa Barbara, discussed the LASOR center at UCSB. The LASOR project is funded by the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency Data in the Optical Domain Network program. Christopher Contag, professor of Pediatrics at Stanford, discussed his work on the Medical Free Electron Laser (MFEL) program. He also presented the findings of the Stanford’s Center for Innovation in In Vivo Imaging (SCI3). Both rely upon federal research funds. W. Lewis Johnson, director of the Center for Advanced Research in Technology for Education (CARTE) at USC, presented the educational systems his work has produced. His video game system for learning language and culture applies Artificial Intelligence to education and training and is currently being used to train U.S. troops in Arabic and middle eastern culture. Axel Scherer, professor of electrical engineering at California Institute of Technology, discussed miniaturization and the success of his integrated miniaturization using optics, electronics and fluidics. Dr. Scherer also draws the majority of his funding from the DoD.

             The panel agreed that DoD funding is critical to their work and California’s unique role in research and development has secured much of that funding. California universities still must compete with other researchers across the country for funding, but the panelists were optimistic due to California’s past success and ability to convert research into marketplace applications.

             When funds are awarded competitively, California institutions compete strongly for research grants and contracts. However, perhaps in part thanks to California’s successes, members of Congress from other states have increasingly sought to earmark such funds specifically for projects in their districts — a practice that significantly reduces the pool of funds available for competition.

             The California Institute recorded both audio and video of the event. It is available to view in windows media (.wma) format or to hear in MP3 format at .

PPIC Capitol Hill Briefing: Health Insurance and Health Status in Los Angeles County

             On November 30, 2006, the California Institute and the Public Policy Institute of California hosted a luncheon to discuss a recent PPIC report written by Marianne Bitler and Weiyi Shi, entitled “Health Insurance, Health Care Use, and Health Status in Los Angeles County.” The briefing featured Marianne Bitler, author of the report and Research Fellow at PPIC.

             Dr. Bitler discussed how both adults and children are faring in the health arena, paying attention to differences across racial and ethnic groups. The presentation focused particularly on Hispanics, a large and growing part of California’s population. The study analyzed outcomes according to nativity (U.S.-born) and immigration status (naturalized, documented, and undocumented) and the use of the health care system. Notable findings included:

             – Hispanics are much more likely to be uninsured, 38% of Hispanic adults 24% of Hispanic children were uninsured compared to 13-18% of white, black or Asian adults.

             – When immigration status is included in this analysis, the racial and ethnic differences in insurance coverage disappear for adults.

             – Documented immigrant adults were much more likely than U.S.- born residents to be uninsured. Undocumented adults were 34% more likely than U.S.-born residents to be uninsured.

             – Hospital and Emergency room usage did not vary by race/ethnicity or immigration status. And

             – Immigrant groups showed lower prevalence of some doctor-diagnosed conditions

             For more information or to download a copy of the report, visit the Public Policy Institute of California website at .

             The California Institute recorded audio and video of the event. It is available to view in windows media (.wma) format or to listen in MP3 format at .

Report Finds California HMO Premiums Now As High As Rest of States

             A report released in November 2006 by the California Healthcare Foundation found that for the first time HMO premiums for single coverage in California are as high as those in the rest of the country. Historically, CHCF states, HMO premiums in California were significantly less than the national average. The findings are discussed in the Foundation’s California Employer Health Benefits Survey 2006, an independent survey based on a national employer survey conducted annually by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET).

             The report also found that:

             – Health insurance premiums rose 8.7% in 2006, compared to a 4.2% increase in the California inflation rate;

             – California workers paid $547 annually for single coverage and $2,824 for family coverage;

             – Sixteen percent of California employers offered a high-deductible health plan in 2006 and 6% offered a health savings account-eligible HDHP; and

             -Forty-one percent of large employers (more than 200 workers) reported that they are “very likely” and 28% “somewhat likely” to increase the amount employees will pay for health insurance in 2007.

             The full report is available at: .

PPIC Statewide Survey Reports: California Voters Optimism Returning

             On December 6, 2006, The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released the results of its most recent survey which polled 2,000 voters in the 12 days following the election. The survey is entitled “What a Difference a Year Makes: Optimistic Voters Take Leap of Faith, Have High Hopes for Bipartisanship in Sacramento.”

             Conducted by Mark Baldassare, research director at PPIC, it found that voters were more likely to say that November’s election made them feel better about California politics (30% to 14%), although for 54 percent it made no difference. This is far different from PPIC’s post-election survey in 2005 when 38 percent of voters said the special election made them feel worse and only 21 percent said that it made them feel better about state politics.

             The report states that bipartisanship and confidence in leadership led to the improved mood about the state’s elections. “Voters are happy, but not satisfied,” says PPIC survey director Mark Baldassare. “Their expectations are extremely high, especially when it comes to getting the job done in Sacramento. If state leaders cannot sustain a bipartisan atmosphere – or if the economy lags – voters could be quick to turn on them.”

             Other key findings from the report:

             – Immigration is a top issue for voters: 20% of voters view Immigration as the most important issue facing the state; 14% say the economy is, and13% say education is the top issue.

             – Voters did not view bond issues as a single package: only 28% say they voted yes on all of the bond measures and only 15% voted no on all bonds.

             – The Internet was a major source of election information: 35% of voters say they got election information from the Internet this fall; of more traditional sources of political information for bond issues 42% of voters used the sample ballot, 17% advertisements and 11% used news coverage.

             – Moderates were key to Schwarzenegger’s victory: 57% of self-described moderate voters supported Governor Schwarzenegger; only 39% of moderates supported Phil Angelides.

             – Public funding for campaigns is losing support: 57% in November 2002 supported public funding, 38% supports public funding today.

             – More voters support required debates – 67% of voters say they would support an initiative that required gubernatorial candidates to participate in five prime-time publicly broadcasted debates compared to 56% of likely voters in November 2002.

              For more information, please visit: .

GAO Reports On Export Controls As Applied To The Nation’s Universities and Companies

             The Government Accountability Office recently issued two new reports regarding compliance with export control regulations by universities and companies.

             The U.S. export control system requires export licensing for defense items and items that have both commercial and military applications, except where exclusions apply. Noting that these regulations may be applicable to universities in some circumstances, the first report notes that the U.S. export control agencies place the onus on universities to understand and comply with the regulations. However, according to GAO, the Departments of State and Commerce expressed concerns that universities may not correctly interpret and apply export regulations, given the large number of foreign students participating in research at universities and the relative lack of license applications from universities. Nevertheless, GAO found that although federal internal control standards contain guidelines for agencies to conduct risk assessments, these agencies have not conducted an overall assessment of available trend data on technology development research and foreign participation in such research at U.S. universities to identify potential vulnerabilities. As a result, GAO recommends that Commerce and State use available information to assess potential vulnerabilities and based on that assessment improve outreach, guidance, and interagency coordination.

             The U.S. government controls exports of defense-related goods and services by companies and the export of information associated with their design, production, and use, to ensure they meet U.S. interests. In the second report, GAO assessed (1) how the government’s export control processes apply to the protection of export-controlled information, and (2) steps the government has taken to identify and help mitigate the risks in protecting export-controlled information. To do this, GAO analyzed agency regulations and practices and interviewed officials from 46 companies with a wide range of exporting experiences. To improve oversight of export-controlled information at companies, GAO recommends Commerce and State strategically assess vulnerabilities and improve guidance for protecting such exports.

             The reports are: Export Controls: Agencies Should Assess Vulnerabilities and Improve Guidance for Protecting Export-Controlled Information at Universities, GAO-07-70, December 5, available at: , and Export Controls: Agencies Should Assess Vulnerabilities and Improve Guidance for Protecting Export-Controlled Information at Companies, GAO-07-69, December 5, at .

Energy Department Awards Tax Credits to Build Carson Power Plant

             On November 30, 2006, federal officials from the Department of Energy and the Internal Revenue Service announced that $90 million in tax credits have been awarded to British Petroleum (BP) America to offset the costs of developing a clean power plant in Carson, California. The estimated final cost for the joint hydrogen-fueled gasification power plant is $1.5 billion.

             BP America will work in cooperation with Southern California Edison, one of the nation’s largest investor-owned utilities, to develop the project, which is located in Edison’s service territory. The new Carson Hydrogen Power LLC plant will be located adjacent to an existing BP/Arco refinery.

             For additional information, visit .

             On the California Institute website, one may view streaming videotape of a May 2006 briefing regarding the facility. Video (in..wma format) of the briefing, which was held in the U.S. Capitol building, is archived at . A Bulletin article regarding the Edison/BP project and briefing is available at .

Forum Examines “Promoting Opportunity and Growth Through Science, Technology, and Innovation”

             On December 5, 2006, the Brookings Institution and A Hamilton Project presented a forum to advance an economic strategy to restore America’s promise of opportunity, prosperity and growth. The forum examined the importance of science and technology to meeting the challenges of the 21st century and introduced proposals to enhance U.S. expertise and competitiveness. The forum, entitled “Promoting Opportunity and Growth Through Science, Technology, and Innovation” featured two panel discussions hosted at Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, John’s Hopkins University.

             The first panel discussion, “Practical Policies to Advance Science, Technology, and Innovation” featured three strategy papers with their authors exploring the importance of investments in innovation, research and in the education of a highly skilled American workforce to fueling American growth, prosperity and competitiveness. The second panel discussion, “Meeting the Nation’s Innovation Challenge” featured distinguished professors, researchers, and businessmen who explored how best to meet the challenges of an economy fueled by rapid scientific and technological advancements.

             For more information visit .

Brookings Institution Reports: Suburban Poor Outnumber Urban Poor

             This month, The Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program released a report of its most recent installment of Living Cities Census Series. The Living Cities Census Series is an analysis of poverty in cities and suburbs of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, based on data from the 2005 American Community Survey and Census 2000. The report is entitled “Two Steps Back: City and Suburban Poverty Trends 1999-2005” written by Alan Berube, research director of the Metropolitan Policy Program, and Elizabeth Kneebone, research analyst of the Metropolitan Policy Program.

             The report found that the percentage of all people in poverty has increased, with the poverty rate in suburban areas outpacing that of cities. The report also noted regional differences namely in the Southern and Midwestern metropolitan areas which saw a vast increase in their poverty rates compared to the rest of the nation.

             Other key findings from the Brookings report:

             – In 1999 large cities and their suburbs had nearly equal numbers of poor individuals, but by 2005 the suburban poor outnumbered their city counterparts by at least 1 million.

             – In 2005, the poverty rate in large cities was 18.8%, and 9.4% in the suburbs.

             – In the West, only seven of 23 metro areas experienced poverty rate increases, and poverty actually fell in five.(In contrast, poverty rates rose in 18 of 20 Midwestern metropolitan areas.)

             – Six of the ten cities with the largest poverty rate increases were located in the Midwest, including Cleveland, Toledo, Detroit, and Columbus. New York City and the Greater Los Angeles area actually experienced small poverty-rate declines over this period.

              For more information, please visit: .

Upcoming Events: CSS Year-End Reception Next Wednesday

             On the evening of Wednesday, December 13, 2006, the California State Society will hold its annual year-end party at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Only 2006/2007 CSS members are eligible to attend and — in a change from prior years’ events — everyone attending the event must have a ticket in hand. For information regarding the event, visit .

Mark Calendars: Swearing-In Reception

             The California Institute is planning a reception on the day Congress reconvenes — January 4, 2007 — for delegation members and staff, supporters, and special guests. The event will be in honor of the swearing-in of the new and returning members of California’s Congressional Delegation. Stay tuned for further details.

More FY 2007 Appropriations Bill Analyses Available

             This week, the California Institute’s analyses of the following FY 2007 Appropriations bills have been posted on the Institute’s website: Senate Department of the Interior and Environment; House Department of the Interior and Environment; Senate Labor, Health & Human Services & Education; and House Labor, Health & Human Services & Education. The reports represent quick analyses of the bills from a California perspective as prepared by the California Institute. The analyses include major programs, California related earmarks, and quick comparisons between the previous years appropriations and the President’s budget request. To view the reports, visit .

Contact Roster For California Congressional Delegation Available

             With the assignment of office spaces for Members of Congress complete, an updated roster for the California Congressional Delegation for the 110th Congress is now available. The Roster contains the members’ office addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers (when published), district number, and hometown. To view the roster in plain text format, visit ; to download a printable .pdf version, visit .

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California Congressional Roster – 110th Congress

Dst.Member Name                     Party / Hometown   Office Address       Ph 202-      Fax 202-

43  Joe Baca                              D-Rialto                      1527 Longworth     225-6161    225-8671

31  Xavier Becerra                      D-Los Angeles            1119 Longworth     225-6235    225-2202

28  Howard Berman                   D-North Hollywood     2221 Rayburn        225-4695 

50  Brian P. Bilbray                     R-San Diego                 227 Cannon         225-5452    225-2558

45  Mary Bono                            R-Palm Springs            104 Cannon         225-5330    225-2961

44  Ken Calvert                          R-Corona                    2201 Rayburn        225-1986 

48  John Campbell                     R-Irvine                       1728 Longworth     225-5611    225-9177

23  Lois Capps                           D-Santa Barbara        1110 Longworth     225-3601    225-5632

18  Dennis Cardoza                    D-Atwater                     435 Cannon         225-6131    225-0819

20  Jim Costa                             D-Fresno                    1314 Longworth     225-3341    225-9308

53  Susan Davis                         D-San Diego               1526 Longworth     225-2040    225-2948

  4  John Doolittle                        R-Roseville                 2410 Rayburn        225-2511    225-5444

26  David Dreier                         R-San Dimas                233 Cannon         225-2305 

14  Anna Eshoo                          D-Atherton                    205 Cannon         225-8104    225-8890

17  Sam Farr                              D-Carmel                   1221 Longworth     225-2861    225-6791

51  Bob Filner                             D-San Diego               2428 Rayburn        225-8045    225-9073

24  Elton Gallegly                       R-Simi Valley              2309 Rayburn        225-5811    225-1100

36  Jane Harman                        D-Venice                    2400 Rayburn        225-8220    226-7290

  2  Wally Herger                        R-Marysville               2268 Rayburn        225-3076    225-1740

15  Mike Honda                          D-San Jose                1713 Longworth     225-2631    225-2699

52  Duncan Hunter                     R-Alpine                     2265 Rayburn        225-5672    225-0235

49  Darrell Issa                           R-Vista                         211 Cannon         225-3906    225-3303

12  Tom Lantos                          D-San Mateo              2413 Rayburn        225-3531 

  9  Barbara Lee                         D-Oakland                  2444 Rayburn        225-2661    225-9817

41  Jerry Lewis                           R-Redlands                2112 Rayburn        225-5861    225-6498

16  Zoe Lofgren                          D-San Jose                  102 Cannon         225-3072    225-3336

  3  Daniel Lungren                     R-Folsom                    2448 Rayburn        225-5716    226-1298

  5  Doris Matsui                         D-Sacramento              222 Cannon         225-7163    225-0566

22  Kevin McCarthy                    R-Bakersfield              1523 Longworth     225-2915    225-8798

25  Howard “Buck” McKeon       R-Santa Clarita           2351 Rayburn        225-1956    226-0683

11  Jerry McNerney                    D-Tracy                        312 Cannon         225-1947 

37  Juanita Millender-McDonald D-Carson                    2445 Rayburn        225-7924    225-7926

42  Gary Miller                            R-Diamond Bar          2438 Rayburn        225-3201    226-6962

  7  George Miller                        D-Martinez                  2205 Rayburn        225-2095 

38  Grace Napolitano                 D-Norwalk                  1610 Longworth     225-5256    225-0027

21  Devin Nunes                         R-Tulare                     1013 Longworth     225-2523    225-3404

  8  Nancy Pelosi                        D-San Francisco          235 Cannon         225-4965    225-8259

19  George Radanovich             R-Mariposa                 2367 Rayburn        225-4540    225-3402

46  Dana Rohrabacher               R-Huntington Beach   2300 Rayburn        225-2415    225-0145

34  Lucille Roybal-Allard             D-Los Angeles            2330 Rayburn        225-1766    226-0350

40  Edward Royce                      R-Fullerton                 2185 Rayburn        225-4111    226-0335

39  Linda Sanchez                      D-Lakewood               1222 Longworth     225-6676    226-1012

47  Loretta Sanchez                   D-Anaheim                 1230 Longworth     225-2965    225-5859

29  Adam Schiff                          D-Burbank                    326 Cannon         225-4176    225-5828

27  Brad Sherman                      D-Sherman Oaks       2242 Rayburn        225-5911    225-5879

32  Hilda Solis                            D-El Monte                 1414 Longworth     225-5464    225-5467

13  Pete Stark                            D-Fremont                    239 Cannon         225-5065    226-3805

10  Ellen Tauscher                     D-Alamo                     2456 Rayburn        225-1880    225-5914

  1  Mike Thompson                    D-St. Helena                 231 Cannon         225-3311    225-4335

35  Maxine Waters                     D-Los Angeles            2344 Rayburn        225-2201    225-7854

33  Diane Watson                       D-Los Angeles              125 Cannon         225-7084    225-2422

30  Henry Waxman                     D-Los Angeles            2204 Rayburn        225-3976    225-4099

  6  Lynn Woolsey                       D-Petaluma                2263 Rayburn        225-5161    225-5163

Sen Barbara Boxer                      D-statewide                  112 Hart               224-3553    415-956-6701

Sen Dianne Feinstein                  D-statewide                  331 Hart               224-3841    228-3954



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