Good morning. Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Washington Post reports: “President Obama and lawmakers in both parties latched on to a new strategy for reducing the federal debt Tuesday, saying an emerging plan to save $3.7 trillion over the next decade could help break a political impasse over the debt limit and avert a U.S. default.”
2. Markets rallied yesterday on news of a potential deal, but policy-makers don’t expect the “Gang of Six” deficit reduction plan to be the vehicle of a deal to lift the Federal debt ceiling. Senate leaders Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) downplayed the proposal because it would take too long to enact before August 2nd, when Treasury will exhaust its cash reserves.
3. The US House of Representatives last night passed the “cap, cut and balance” budget bill on a more-or-less straight party-line vote. The bill is dead on arrival in the US Senate. The vote was staged to allow members of the House to posture.
4. Dissatisfaction with the management and operations of the Federal government is at its highest level since the 1990-1991 recession, according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll. Fully 80% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the Federal government works.
5. A plurality of Americans (38%) now believe that the Federal debt ceiling should be raised, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. 30-one per cent of Americans are opposed to raising the debt ceiling. This represents a turn-around in public opinion from only a month ago.
6. The WSJ/NBC News poll found that former Massachusetts Mitt Romney remains the national front-runner for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. He is the choice of 30% of GOP primary voters. Rep, Michele Bachmann has gained significant support since the second GOP presidential candidates debate and now runs second with 16 per cent of the “vote.”
7. The New York Times reports: “Representative Michele Bachmann suffers from migraine headaches so intense that she has sometimes sought emergency medical treatment, but the congresswoman said Tuesday that the condition would not preclude her from serving as president if elected.”
8. We argued yesterday that GOP primary voters and caucus attenders will likely find Rep. Bachmann’s medical condition disqualifying and that her campaign for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination is almost certainly doomed.
9. The New York Times reports: “As European leaders prepare to convene on Thursday in another emergency summit meeting, a new awareness is growing: Greece is effectively insolvent, contagion is spreading to Italy and Spain, and time is running out to shore up confidence in the euro.”
10. Pakistan’s intelligence services have secretly spent millions of dollars through a front group over the past two decades to influence US foreign policy and to buy the allegiance of members of both parties, according to Justice Department charges unveiled yesterday. US-Pakistan relations, which seemingly cannot get any worse, keep getting worse.
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