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K Street Moves

Thomas O’Donnell, a longtime close aide and former chief of staff to ex-Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.), has joined his one-time boss’s new firm. O’Donnell, formerly with the consulting firm Doak, Carrier, O’Donnell, Wilkinson, Goldman and Associates, will be executive vice president at the Gephardt Group. [IMGCAP(1)]

Meanwhile, the Motion Picture Association of America’s press operation is losing yet another GOPer. MPAA Director of Communications Cara Duckworth, a former press aide to Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), is joining the Recording Industry Association of America as director of communications. She is replacing Jenni Engebretsen, who left the RIAA to do public affairs for the Democratic National Convention Committee. Republicans John Feehery and Gayle Osterberg also recently left MPAA.

Progress Report. Doctors for Sen. Tim Johnson said on Monday the South Dakota Democrat has made significant progress in his recovery and should be able to return to the Senate at the end of his in-home therapy, his office announced.

Johnson spokeswoman Julianne Fisher said that while “nobody wants Tim to be back at work more than Tim Johnson,” he and his family are “letting doctors take the lead” on deciding when he can return to the Senate.

Johnson’s doctor, Michael Yochelson, director of Brain Injury Programs at the National Rehabilitation Hospital, said the Senator’s speech and ability to walk on his own were improving. “In my discussions with Senator Johnson, I am very well aware that he is interested in continuing his work as a Senator and I am confident that he will be able to resume his duties,” Yochelson said.

Markup Time. Several amendments are expected to be offered at today’s markup of the House’s fiscal 2008 legislative branch appropriations bill, including one that would save the Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress.

While the bill will cut funding for the Open World center, the amendment, developed by Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), would preserve the program by moving it to the State Department next year. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) also will offer an amendment to the bill that could make tuition reimbursement available to some 10,000 House employees.

Moran’s amendment would direct the House Chief Administrative Officer to study tuition reimbursement programs for executive branch employees and report back, within six months, on whether such a program would be feasible in the House.

— Kate Ackley, John Stanton and John McArdle

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