When Chairman John Spratt's House Budget Committee announced Wednesday that it would hold hearings Jan. 17 with Ben S. Bernanke, it meant Spratt had won an intra-Democratic race with Sen. Charles Schumer's Joint Economic Committee to get the Federal Reserve chairman to testify about the declining economy.
Both Spratt and Schumer wanted to hear from Bernanke the first week that Congress will be back in session following the year-end break. Bernanke said he was not going testify on the same subject twice in the same week, and he gave the edge to Spratt.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made clear she wants the House to get ahead of the economic issue in this election year, and the Bernanke hearing is the start.
Although Mike Huckabee is first in the polls for the Jan. 19 South Carolina Republican primary, the latest Federal Election Commission (FEC) figures show him not even among the top four Republican presidential candidates for fund-raising in South Carolina.
Rudy Giuliani leads the South Carolina Republican money game, followed by Sen. John McCain, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson.
Huckabee is also not among the top four Republican presidential candidate fund-raisers in two other impending primary states: Michigan (Jan. 15) and Florida (Jan. 29). FEC numbers put Romney in the money lead in Michigan and Giuliani ahead in Florida.