Daily Briefing: Sticking Your Hand in a Wasp's Nest Edition

Does He Look Disappointed To You Republicans end effort to loosen ethics rules but continue to seek full House approval of changes to investigations. Hefley, a conservative Republican: "Ethics reform must be bipartisan and this package is not bipartisan." Wamp (R-Tenn.): "I feel like we have just taken a shower." [WP, NYT, WSJ, WT]

Sizable reduction of benefits seen in proposed adjustment to Social Security formula that would tie benefits to inflation, not wages. Analyst at Heritage Foundation: "This is going to be very much like sticking your hand in a wasp nest, and the reaction will be similar." [WP]

Congress anticipates White House request of $100b for Iraq, Afghanistan, pushing cost of war well beyond initial estimates of $50b. [USAT]

Bush-41, Clinton will jointly encourage private donations to tsunami relief; visited affected embassies with the president. McClellan: "We'll be in it long after the media attention fades." [WP, WP, NYT, WSJ, USAT, WT]

White House denies need for additional funds from Congress to cover tsunami relief. Leahy: "I worry that the administration is robbing Peter to pay Paul, helping people dying from disease and dehydration in Indonesia and Sri Lanka but taking that money from programs to relieve famine and childhood diseases." [NYT]

On trip, Powell aims to assess, inspire aid workers; contradicts Bush on need for additional donations. [WP, NYT, USAT]

Bush tells new lawmakers to think big: "My hope is that we can show the nation that we can come together to achieve big things for the good of the country." [LAT, USAT]

A dozen military officers express "deep concern" about Gonzales, urge sharp questioning of his role in defining interrogation practices. [WP, WT]

White House to encourage states to support faith-based initiatives; slice of $40b desired. [WP]

Republican unity cracking. [WP]

Allawi phones Bush, possibly building groundwork for delay of election. [NYT]

Kerry begins 13-day tour of Middle East, determined to keep high profile. [BG]

Upon Rehnquist's departure, Bush has option of making two appointments. [WSJ]

Resistance from left and right expected if Bush wants expansion of No Child Left Behind. [LAT]

White House seeks new World Bank president. [WSJ]


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