Friday, December 11, 2009

CHPP Daily Brief - December 11, 2009

In This Issue
• Today's Daily Brief
• The Middle East in Focus
• The Good News Corner

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The Daily Brief - Friday, December 11, 2009

"Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." (2 Kings 6:16)

Today's Daily Brief

1. A. Health Care Loophole Would Allow Coverage Limits - Newsmax

A loophole in the Senate health care bill would let insurers place annual dollar limits on medical care for people struggling with costly illnesses such as cancer, prompting a rebuke from patient advocates. The legislation that originally passed the Senate health committee last summer would have banned such limits, but a tweak to that provision weakened it in the bill now moving toward a Senate vote. As currently written, the Senate Democratic health care bill would permit insurance companies to place annual limits on the dollar value of medical care, as long as those limits are not "unreasonable." The bill does not define what level of limits would be allowable, delegating that task to administration officials.

B. House approves major financial regulation bill - Washington Times

The House on Friday passed the most sweeping regulatory overhaul of the nation's financial sector since the New Deal, a measure that calls for greater consumer protections and tighter government control of the industry. The measure still faces hurdles in the Senate, which is expected to take it up in early 2010. But House Democratic leaders where able to fend off fierce opposition from Republicans and major financial interest groups, as well as a threatened mutiny within their ranks, to advance one of President Obama's top domestic priorities.

C. House lifts ban on D.C. abortion funding - Washington Times

The House passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill Thursday that gives the District of Columbia more control over such local issues as funding abortions and legalizing medical marijuana. The legislation, which passed 221-202, also would overturn a ban on local funding for D.C. needle-exchange programs and phase out the city's federally-funded school-vouchers program. The legislation also would lift a nationwide ban on the use of federal funds for needle exchange. The Senate is expected to pass the legislation, with a vote as early as Saturday.

- As Congress works to pass many laws at the end of the year, we pray that there will be legislators who will courageously stand up to challenge any overreaching from the Senate or House.

- "For they are a nation lacking in counsel, And there is no understanding in them. Would that they were wise, that they understood this, That they would discern their future!" (Deuteronomy 32:28-29)

2. Judge Blocks U.S. Ban on Funding for Acorn - Wall Street Journal

A federal judge blocked U.S. officials from enforcing a funding ban on Acorn, the beleaguered community organizer. Congress cut off funding for Acorn -- the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now -- in September after Web sites and TV news outlets played secretly recorded videos in which employees of an affiliated organization offered advice on how to set up brothels and avoid paying taxes. Acorn sued the federal government in November, arguing Congress had violated the Constitution by singling out the group. It says it has fired employees suspected of wrongdoing. U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon in New York issued a temporary injunction late Friday. Her ruling is expected to stand until the current restrictions on Acorn expire next Friday as part of a temporary spending bill. A permanent ban, the Defund Acorn Act, has passed the House and is pending in the Senate. Acorn's lawyers argued in part that Congress had violated the Constitution's ban on bills of attainder, legislation that punishes a specific person or group without the rights that courts provide. In making its argument, the Acorn lawyers included quotes from several Republicans accusing Acorn of being a criminal organization that deserved to be punished.

- Lord, we pray for true justice. May the guilty be punished and may there not be a continuation of funding for groups that are exploiting the poor and helpless.

- "Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment." (Job 19:7)

3. More Federal Workers Make Six Figures in the Recession - Politics Daily

The number of federal employees making over $100,000 per year has exploded in the first 18 months of the recession, USA Today reports, sending the total percentage from 14 percent to 19 percent. The highest-paid federal workers are seeing the largest increases: In the same period, the number of civil servants making over $150,000 jumped from 1,868 to 10,100. When the recession began, only one person at the Department of Transportation was making over $170,000. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees do. The skyrocketing federal pay is systematic, reaching every level in every agency. Congress approved across-the-board raises of 3 percent in January 2008 and 3.9 percent in January 2009. President Obama has recommended 2 percent pay raises in January 2010, the smallest since 1975. Most federal employees get "steps" -- pay increases based on length of service -- that can run up to 1.5 percent per year.

- Lord, we pray that those employed by the federal government will consider themselves servants of the people. May all these workers be paid fairly for their work and not be rewarded for other reasons.

- "Like a cage full of birds, So their houses are full of deceit; Therefore they have become great and rich." (Jeremiah 5:27)

4. A. U.S. Freezes $2 Billion in Iran Case - Wall Street Journal

More than $2 billion allegedly held on behalf of Iran in Citigroup accounts were secretly ordered frozen last year, in what may be the biggest seizure of Iranian assets abroad since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

B. Iran confirms missing Iranian was nuke scientist, is being held in U.S. - World Tribune

Iran has for the first time acknowledged that an Iranian who disappeared was a nuclear scientist who was taken to the United States. The Iranian Foreign Ministry said a nuclear scientist left Teheran for Saudi Arabia in 2009 and disappeared. The ministry said the scientist, identified as Shahram Amiri, was taken into custody by Saudi authorities in May and transferred to the United States. "Shahram Amiri, Iran's nuclear scientist who had gone to Haj in Saudi Arabia, was handed over by Riyad to Washington," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said.

- Thank You for these advances. May the government be able to find out information from this scientist that will allow for the protection of Israel and the rest of the Middle East from the designs of the Iranian government.

- "Let those be ashamed and dishonored who seek my life; Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me." (Psalm 35:4)

5. China cracks down on Christian churches - MSNBC

The closure of what may be China's first mega-church is the most visible sign that the communist government is determined to rein in the rapid spread of Christianity, with a crackdown in recent months that church leaders call the harshest in years.

- May the Christians in China be protected under Your wings. If they endure any suffering, may it continue to be the stimulus for the spread of the Gospel.

- "He who leads the upright astray in an evil way Will himself fall into his own pit, But the blameless will inherit good." (Proverbs 28:10)

6. Al-Qaida operative killed by US missile - AP

A U.S. government official says senior al-Qaida operations planner Saleh al-Somali was killed in an American missile strike Tuesday in western Pakistan. Al-Somali was responsible for the terror group's operations outside the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, reaching into activities in Africa. The official said al- Somali has likely been involved in plotting attacks against the United States and Europe. He was killed by an unmanned drone missile Tuesday.

- We thank You when those who plot against innocents are caught or killed. We pray for focus and insight for those tasked with finding the evil and stopping their plots.

- "But repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face." (Deuteronomy 7:10)

The Middle East in Focus

This week, for all the headlines cited below, please join us in proclaiming THIS DECREE:

" For ever, O LORD, Your Word is settled in heaven." (Psalm 119:89)

1. Hamas plans 'surprises' at Monday rally - Jerusalem Post

Hamas on Thursday called on the Palestinians to expect "surprises" during next week's rally marking the 22nd anniversary of the founding of the Islamic Movement, sparking speculation that its leaders may exploit the event to announce a prisoner exchange agreement with Israel.

2. U.K. government urges businesses: Label products from settlements - Ha'aretz

The British government has issued an official recommendation urging business owners to mark Israeli products produced in West Bank settlements so that consumers who want to boycott such items will find it easy to identify them.

3. Israel's talks with Vatican fail - Ynet News

Israel's efforts to reach understandings and achieve reconciliation with the Vatican have failed for the time being.

4. Israel assures US it is not trying to roll back settlement freeze - Jerusalem Post

The US was not apprised in advance of plans to place dozens of settlements in the revised national priorities map that will be brought to the cabinet on Sunday, but it has been assured that the incentives to be given in these areas will have nothing to do with housing or construction, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

5. IDF: 30 'war crimes' cases 'baseless' - Jerusalem Post

The IDF has completed a review of the 36 "most serious" cases of alleged war crimes as cited by Judge Richard Goldstone in his damning report on Operation Cast Lead, and concluded that 30 of them are "baseless accusations," The Jerusalem Post has learned. The other six were found to relate to genuine instances, where operational errors and mistakes were involved.

The Good News Corner

Just a Closer Walk With Thee

A classic song of comfort . . . rest in His arms of love today . . .