Morning Briefing: June 24, 2011

Congressional Republicans abandoned budget talks yesterday when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) abruptly walked out of the closed-door negotiations led by Vice President Biden. It will now come down to President Obama and House Speaker Leader John Boehner (R-OH) to come to an agreement to raise the debt ceiling before the default date of Aug. 2.

Cantor’s exit from the debt talks had been planned for weeks, according to GOP lawmakers and aides. Republicans tried to cast the decision as a natural progression in negotiations.

During an LGBT fundraiser last night, President Obama called for equal rights for the gay community but stopped short of endorsing same-sex marriage. Obama tiptoed around the marriage debate taking place in New York, saying that by debating the issue in its legislature, the state is doing “exactly what democracies are supposed to do.”

The New York Senate will finally take up the marriage equality bill today after the Senate Republicans meet “behind closed doors” this morning. Senate Republicans will likely begin “a lengthy debate” over the bill in the closed-door caucus after which “they could then send the bill to the floor, or kill it.”

According to a new Gallup poll, a plurality of Americans now oppose U.S. military action in Libya. The poll found that “46 percent of respondents disapprove of the Libyan military action, while 39 percent approve. Another 15 percent have no opinion.”

On Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) publicly expressed her disagreement with the administration’s strategy for withdrawing from Afghanistan, and suggested Congress could take steps to bring the troops home sooner. “Many of us would like to see this go faster than the path that was laid out,” she said.

Three bombs ripped through a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad yesterday, killing more than 20 people and wounding more than 107. The “worst attack” in several months, the bombing comes days before thousands of Shiites will make an annual pilgrimage into Baghdad and occurred on the same day a road-side bomb killed a U.S. citizen in a diplomatic convoy.

In a move that shocked many, yesterday the Democrat-controlled New Jersey Assembly approved the deepest benefits cuts in modern history for 750,000 public workers and retirees in a stunning victory for Gov. Chris Christie and a “stealth assault on collective bargaining.” The measure passed as thousands of protesters shook the halls with chants and vows of electoral revenge.

And finally: Newt Gingrich thinks the problem with progressives is we’re bad at magic, or at least not as good as Martians. Speaking on CNBC this morning, Gingrich said of liberalism: “Wouldn’t you love to be in a brand new, magic vehicle invented by Martians, which uses no energy, lasts forever and is terrific? Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist.”

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