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Thursday PM January 27th, 2011

Sen. Mary Landrieu on deepwater drilling permits…durable goods orders down in December…nursing home advocates on proposed Texas cuts to Medicaid…Lockheed Martin fourth-quarter earnings…GE, NRG, ConocoPhillips joint venture to promote new energy technologies


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Senator Mary Landrieu again is urging the Obama administration to issue deepwater drilling permits. The Louisiana Democrat called on the administration to approve new permits at a Senate Energy Committee meeting Wednesday. She says five deepwater platforms in the Gulf have left to drill in other parts of the world, costing the Gulf Coast about 5,000 jobs.

U.S. factories saw a disappointing drop in demand for their products in December, reflecting weakness in demand for commercial and military aircraft. The Commerce Department says that orders to factories for long-lasting durable goods dropped 2.5% last month after a 3.1% decline in November. Excluding the transportation sector, orders rose 0.5% in December following a 4.5% jump in November.

Nursing home advocates say Texas state budget proposals to cut Medicaid reimbursement rates by 10% underestimate the impact of cuts. Tim Graves, president and CEO of the Texas Health Care Association, said today the true loss to providers would be closer to 33%. That’s largely because of changes in the federal-state share formula triggered by the end of economic stimulus money. The state legislature is grappling with a revenue shortfall of $15-$27 billion.

Lockheed Martin says its fourth-quarter profit grew, but operating profits fell, and the defense contractor predicts falling net income this year. The company posted earnings of $983 million, after booking a gain of $184 million on the sale of its Enterprise Integration Group. Lockheed says volume on its F-16 and F-22 production programs slid.

General Electric, NRG energy, and ConocoPhillips are forming a new joint venture and have committed $300 million to develop new energy technologies. The companies say they’re aiming for the new joint venture, Energy Technology Ventures, to fund about 30 companies over the next four years. The first investments will be made in companies that produce solar cells, cleaner coal technologies and biofuels.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media's business reporter, covering the oil...

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