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Analysis: Cantor Takes New Strategy In Government Funding Debate, Senate's Shield Law Redefines 'Journalist'

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Congressional lawmakers are continuing their efforts to ward off a government shutdown. They have until the end of the month to pass a bill to extend federal funding. It has House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia taking on a different tone with House Speaker John Boehner, as he tries to rally members of his party behind a funding resolution. Meanwhile, a bill that would protect journalists from revealing names of confidential sources to government authorities has cleared a key hurdle in the Senate. David Hawkings, writer of the Hawkings Here column for Roll Call, talks about some of the details.

On Eric Cantor taking on a new leadership strategy in the debate over government funding:

"One of the most fascinating interpersonal political stories to watch at the Capital in the past three years has been the relationship between Eric Cantor, the majority leader, and John Boehner, the speaker. They come from different political traditions, they're at the top of the House hierarchy, and they haven't always gotten along... this year it seems like a different story so far. Especially when it comes to the budget. It seems as though the two of them were working in tandem. They're both looking at the same problem of trying to pass a budget bill that both a majority of Republicans will vote for, and the president would sign. At this point, it seems very unlikely they could do that."

On the Senate committee's proposed federal shield law, and who would be protected under their definition of a journalist:

"That was the big debate — how to define what a journalist is in the new media age. Is it any 17-year-old with a blog? Is it Wikileaks? Sen. Diane Feinstein said no... It's anybody who has been employed as a journalist for a mainstream journalism organization for just one year in the past 20, or for the last three months out of the last five years. Student journalists are protected. It also says if none of those apply, a judge can grant an exception, so the idea is to define the gist enough so that most people who are working journalists can feel comfortable being protected."

Listen to the full analysis here.


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