Let's Talk, Democrats Tell Bush

Senate Democrats urged President Bush to consult them about filling the next Supreme Court vacancy without having a political fight.

Democrats made the request yesterday as the high court approaches the end of its term next week with Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist battling thyroid cancer.

"The way to avoid the divisiveness and discord that occurred over past judicial nominations is through consensus and cooperation in the selection of future candidates," Senate Democratic leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) and 43 colleagues said in a letter.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush "would be more than glad to hear the opinions of members of Congress."

Report Notes Barriers to Space Travel

U.S. trade and visa policies hinder international cooperation that is essential for President Bush's ambitious program for space exploration, an independent report said.

George Abbey, former head of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, and former White House science adviser Neal Lane listed four "serious barriers" to the space program in a report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Mass.

The barriers are: the negative impact of U.S. export controls on space commerce and international cooperation; an expected decline in the science and engineering workforce; inadequate planning for NASA's future; and erosion of international cooperation in space.

Medicare to Test Adult Day Care

Medicare will test the possibility of paying for day-care services for disabled elderly people, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services said.

The idea is to let caregivers use adult day-care facilities for some of the day, instead of some home health services.

As many as 15,000 beneficiaries at any one time will be eligible to enroll in the three-year demonstration, which is scheduled to begin next February, the CMS said.

Armitage Distances Self From Bolton

Former deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage, who clashed repeatedly with John R. Bolton, said he would not have chosen him to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

"Bolton's one focused, smart guy and may be the most qualified of anyone we've ever had," Armitage reporters at the New York Stock Exchange. "But considering his disdain for the organization," he is "probably not the choice I'd make." His remarks, reported by Bloomberg News, differed from what appeared to have been an endorsement last month.

Asked May 4 whether President Bush had made a good choice for the U.N. job, Armitage said Bolton was "eminently qualified," and he supports "the president's choice."

-- Compiled from reports by staff writer

Dafna Linzer and news services