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December 19, 2014

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With Congress back, Harry Reid and Pelosi to visit the White House

WASHINGTON -- Greetings, Early Liners. Welcome back to the fall congressional session here on the Hill where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is headed to the White House this afternoon, the tourism promotion bill is tee-ed up for a do-over today in the Senate and Daniel Bogden’s nomination for U.S. Attorney is slated for committee action by week’s end.

As Congress resumes session, Democrats are on the defense over health care reform after the long, hot summer of raucous town hall meetings in August.

“Democracy is not always the process of sweetness and light,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters this morning. House Democrats plans to spend the next several weeks listening to members (including Reps. Shelley Berkley and Dina Titus) to hear what they can support. “August was a learning experience,” he said.

Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will meet with President Barack Obama this afternoon at the White House and, oh to be a fly on that wall.

Pelosi’s push for a public option in the health care bill – she says she can’t pass a bill in the House without the government health care option -- is bumping smack into the now-59-seat Democratic majority in the Senate after the death of former Democratic Sen. Teddy Kennedy of Massachusetts. Reid does not have the votes from conservative and moderate members of his caucus, let alone the few Republicans, for the government-run provision to pass.

Obama has made it clear something is better than nothing, and is likely to reiterate the position in his televised address on Wednesday (5 p.m. PST).

Will we look back on today’s White House confab as the one where the decision is made that half a loaf – or perhaps the idea of a trigger before the public option is established – is better than none?

The Nevada-friendly tourism promotion bill is back today as the first order of business when the Senate convenes.

The bill from Reid and Republican Sen. John Ensign (and, in an earlier era, former Republican Rep. Jon Porter) would tack a $10 fee on foreign visitor visas to fund a new overseas advertising campaign to boost tourism to the United States.

Reid believes he has the votes to move the bill forward, even as Republicans continue to attack it as corporate welfare (check out this piece from Republican Sen. Jim De Mint of South Carolina in the Washington Post over the weekend.)

The bill died during a summer vote as several Democrats missed the vote and very few Republicans, even with Ensign’s support, joined.

Bogden’s nomination to return to his job as U.S. Attorney in Nevada, is expected before the Senate Judiciary Committee later this week.

The 2010 campaigns are right around the corner, and state Sen. Mark Amodei is the latest Republican expected to announce his campaign to oust Reid.

Amodei’s scheduled Wednesday announcement would come as former UNLV basketball player and now real estate Danny Tarkanian has announced his entry into the race and Sue Lowden has said she will step down as state Republican Party chairwoman at month’s end as she mulls her own bid.

Many good weekend reads, as always.

Check out Michael Mishak’s piece on the Reid dynasty problem as both Harry Reid and his son, Rory Reid, the chairman of the Clark County Commission who is expected to run for governor, share the 2010 ballot. The piece has ricocheted a bit this morning around the capital.

That’s it for now. Check back often for all the political news in Nevada.

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