The Senate Intelligence Committee cleared the way on Tuesday for Rep. Porter Goss, R-Fla., to win confirmation as the next director of central intelligence, with three Democrats joining all nine Republicans on the panel in endorsing Goss' nomination.
The 12-4 vote sent Goss' nomination to the Senate floor, where debate was scheduled to begin today. The strength of the vote left little doubt the nomination would win Senate approval.
SLOW DOWN, FORMER OFFICIALS URGE: A bipartisan group of former senior Cabinet members, senators and national security officials, including former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, Tuesday urged Congress not to rush to pass legislation restructuring the intelligence community based "on an election timetable."
The statement marks the first substantial opposition to a rapid congressional response to the recommendations of the commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks.
House votes to lift
Cuba travel restrictions
WASHINGTON _ Renewing an annual battle, the House again challenged the Bush administration's Cuba policy Tuesday with a vote to lift recently imposed restrictions on travel by Cuban-Americans to their homeland.
The 225-174 vote, after a heated debate, would block the administration from carrying out rules that went into effect on June 30 to allow Cuban-Americans to visit families in Cuba only once every three years for a maximum 14 days. It's an amendment to a $90-billion Transportation and Treasury Department spending bill for 2005.
"The United States should not be in the business of separating families," argued Rep. Jim Davis, D-Tampa, the amendment's sponsor. The other west-central Florida representatives voted no.
The White House has warned that President Bush would veto the legislation if it included provisions to weaken Cuba travel sanctions. The Senate Transportation-Treasury bill, still in committee, includes language to lift the travel ban.
2-million poor people to get drug discount cards
WASHINGTON _ Nearly 2-million poor people will soon receive Medicare drug discount cards in the mail, a new step by the Bush administration to boost enrollment in the program.
Only 1.3-million poor people, out of more than 7-million who are eligible, have signed up for a discount card and the $600 subsidy that accompanies it. Total enrollment is 4.4-million people.
Lottery winner's new worries: burglary, body
WINFIELD, W.Va. _ Three men burglarized the home of Jack Whittaker, winner of the biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, as an acquaintance of Whittaker's lay dead inside, police said Tuesday.
Whittaker was not home, and Chief Deputy John Dailey said the death of Jesse Joe Tribble, 18, was not related to the burglary and was not a homicide. It might have been drug-related, Dailey said.
The break-in took place Thursday night or Friday morning. One of those arrested reported Tribble's death late Friday morning, Dailey said. Tribble was a friend of Whittaker's granddaughter, and all three suspects were acquainted with Tribble.
J.C. Shaver, 20, James Travis Willis, 25, and Jeffrey Dustin Campbell, 20, were charged with larceny and other offenses after being captured on a security camera that Whittaker recently had installed, authorities said.
Whittaker won the largest single jackpot in the nation's history when he hit a $314.9-million Powerball jackpot on Christmas Day 2002. Since then, Whittaker's vehicle, business and home have been broken into repeatedly. Last year, a strip club manager and his girlfriend were charged with drugging Whittaker and stealing a briefcase containing more than $500,000 in cash and cashier's checks.