News roundup: Obama's Hollywood friends to help pitch health reform
Lee pits Obamacare vs. a federal shutdown. Animal rights groups rally against "ag gag" law. Count My Vote is revving up.
Happy Tuesday. President Barack Obama is leaning on his Hollywood friends to help sell the Affordable Care Act. He met with such big names as Oprah Winfrey, Amy Poehler, Alicia Keys and others who have signed up to help him out.
Also if you are a Funny or Die fan, expect to see some pro Obamacare videos in the months to come. [CNN]
Topping the news: Sen. Mike Lee has threatened to try to shut down the federal government unless Democrats agree to stop funding for Obamacare. [Trib]
-> Animal rights activists in Utah are arguing the "ag gag" law, which criminalizes undercover investigations and videography, violates their first amendment rights and they are demanding that a federal judge strike it down. [Trib] [Fox13] [DNews]
-> Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart hasn't decided whether she needs to replace Rep. Lowry Snow as chairman of the committee investigating AG John Swallow after the Tribune reported he had done legal work for a key player in the scandal. [Trib] [DNews]
-> Here's a recap of the nine Utah House members who make up the panel that will investigate AG John Swallow. [Trib]
Tweets of the day: From @markknoller: "Here at the WH today, no royal babies. Unless you count the press. (Beat you to it.)"
From â@FLOTUS: "Congratulations to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their son! Being a parent is the best job of all. -mo"
From â@BretBaier: "Well.. That's a new one RT @sunnyright Al Qaeda is alive and Detroit is dead."
In other news: The Count My Vote group, which is advocating for a change in the way that Utah picks candidates for elected offices, has started fundraising in preparation for its official launch. [Trib]
-> House Republicans have threatened to subpoena the EPA unless it hands over the research data that it's using to justify new clean-air regulations by the end of the month. [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley gives his take on state Sen. Aaron Osmond's suggestion that Utah do away with compulsory education. [Trib]
-> Conservation groups are protesting a permit approved last month by the Utah Division of Air Quality for a new oil refinery near Green River. The Emery Refinery, the groups contend, will harm the air quality of the area. [Trib]
-> State ethics boards ready to investigation accusations of wrongdoing have been set up in recent months. [UtahPolicy]
-> The University of Utah has chosen MarÃa FrÃ¡nquiz, a bilingual professor at the University of Texas, as the new dean of the College of Education. She will take up the position in January. [Trib]
Nationally: A review by Politico finds the IRS did scrutinize some liberal groups who were seeking tax-exempt status, but the frequency and severity did not equal the level faced by tea-party groups. [Politico]
-> Die-hard supporters of President Barack Obama continue to send checks to his reelection bid, even though the election is long since over. [Politico]
-> Obama's approval rating has dropped below 50 percent, while the approval rate of Congress is on the rise. It's all the way up to 21 percent now. [ABCNews]
-> Obama issued a statement congratulating the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their first child, the third in line to the British throne. [NYTimes] [WaPost]
-> A North Dakota law that would ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy has been blocked by a federal judge, who called the law "clearly unconstitutional." [Politico]
-> Speaking to a crowd of Organizing for Action volunteers at a D.C. hotel, Obama called on his supporters to get behind a push to help the middle class and bolster the economy. [WaPost] [Politico]
-> Super PACs and other independent political groups have already set up shop in D.C. to begin preparations for the 2016 Presidential race, even though the candidates are as yet unknown. [WaPost]
-> House GOP members have suggested huge cuts from environmental, arts, and wildlife programs in an attempt to meet their budget targets. The proposal includes slashing the EPA budget by a third. [Politico]
Where are they?
Rep. Rob Bishop meets with Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., and Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., to discuss the joint efforts of the Republican Study Committee and the Congressional Western Caucus, attends the weekly GOP caucus meeting and chairs a Public Lands and Environmental Regulation subcommittee hearing.
Rep. Chris Stewart attends a weekly Republican Conference meeting, attends a briefing on stopping government abuses, discusses global poverty issues with a constituent group, talks homeland security with the Science Application International Corporation, meets with Utah metal workers and attends "A Night to Honor Israel."
SLC Mayor Ralph Becker holds an orientation for new hires, attends a budget meeting and joins a conference call on transportation funding.
President Barack Obama discusses immigration reform with members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and welcomes the Louisville Cardinals Men's Basketball Team to the White House to celebrate their 2013 NCAA championship.
Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at email@example.com. If you haven't already, sign up for our weekday email and get this sent directly to your inbox. [Trib]
Matt Canham and Isobel Markham Twitter.com/mattcanham and Twitter.com/i_markham