Good morning! Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Wall Street Journal reports that some House Republicans are “dismissing as meaningless” the US Treasury’s insistence that August 2nd is the day the United States defaults if the federal debt ceiling limit is not raised. Treasury Secretary Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke have both said that a US default on its obligations would be a “catastrophic” economic event.
2. NYT columnist David Brooks is uncharacteristically upbeat about the prospects for a budget agreement that enables the raising of the Federal debt ceiling. He seems to think that the “Gang of Six” (US Senators) will produce a politically viable plan.
3. The Washington Post reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) yesterday clarified “his party’s stance on Medicare heading into high-stakes talks with the White House, telling President Obama he wants “significant” changes to the program in exchange for lifting the legal limit on government borrowing.”
4. Political consultant and columnist Dick Morris argues that Republicans are cutting their own throats by supporting Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to “transform” Medicare. Mickey Kaus calls on them to cravenly reverse themselves.
5. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) announced his candidacy for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination today from New Hampshire. In the last 8 days, Mr. Paul has endorsed the legalization of heroin, cocaine and prostitution and come out against the raid by Navy Seal Team Six on Osama bin Laden.
7. Cherie Daniels played it straight down the middle at last night’s Indiana state Republican dinner. There was no indication, one way or another, as to whether her husband, Gov. Mitch Daniels, would become a candidate for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.
8. The Muslim Brotherhood has fielded a candidate for the upcoming presidential election Egypt. The country is reeling from a wave of disorder; including sectarian violence, jail breaks and a sharp increase in violent crime.
10. Suicide bombers killed at least 80 para-military trainees in northern Pakistan. The Taliban took “credit” for the assault, which it said was in retaliation for the US raid on Osama bin Laden.
11. So-called “core” European Union states, like Germany and France, are generating strong growth in GDP. The positive growth figures have eased concerns that commodity price increases would dampen economic activity.
12. Simon Tilford argues that default by Portugal and Greece is a certainty and that they will like have to leave the eurozone as a result.