Morning Briefing: August 2, 2011

A top union leader is warning that the deal struck to raise the nation’s debt limit with lead to job losses. Gerry McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), called the compromise the House passed yesterday “economic malpractice” that “will slow economic recovery and impose more joblessness, wage cuts and hardship on America’s working families.”

Labor market experts don’t expect the debt deal to jumpstart hiring, fearing instead that trillions of dollars in spending cuts may actually slow economic growth. Said one expert: “I would say this will have little effect if any (on hiring). … At the end of the day, demand trumps all, and right now demand is sluggish.”

In an interview with CBS News last night, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said he got “98 percent” of what he wanted in the debt deal passed yesterday. “I’m pretty happy,” he said.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the U.S. is “living like parasites on the global economy” and decried dominance of the dollar in a speech to a pro-Kremlin youth group Monday. Russia holds large amounts of U.S. bonds, and Putin hinted that he had watched debt negotiations closely: “If over there there is a systemic malfunction, this will affect everyone.”

For the second time in a month, a federal judge has temporarily blocked Kansas’s law defunding Planned Parenthood and ordered the state to start distributing funds to the clinic. U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten issued the preliminary injunction of the law because its purpose was clearly “to single out, punish and exclude Planned Parenthood.”

The 11-day shutdown of the FAA that has forced safety inspectors to work without pay will likely last through August as the House recessed yesterday for five weeks without reauthorizing the agency. The partial shutdown has furloughed 4,000 workers and will reportedly cost taxpayers $1 billion unless action is taken this week.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces killed more than 100 people across the country Sunday and, according to human rights activists, 24 more on Monday, the first day of Ramadan. President Obama slammed Assad’s use of “torture, corruption and terror” against his own people and said the regime would be “left in the past.”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen is urging a quick decision from Iraqi leaders about whether they want U.S. troops to stay in the country past Dec. 31. Mullen is also requesting immunity for U.S. troops in the country.

As Somalia suffers one of world’s worst famines in recent memory, the Shabab Islamist insurgent group “is blocking starving people from fleeing the country and setting up a cantonment camp where it is imprisoning displaced people who were trying to escape Shabab territory,” the New York Times reports. The group is “widely blamed” for exacerbating the famine by forcing out Western aid organizations.

And finally: Iron-pumper, actor, terminator, governornator, philanderer: Arnold Schwarzenegger has another feather to place in his cap after his hometown of Thal, Austria opened a museum devoted to Schwarzenegger this week. Schwarzenegger was not on hand for the opening, but will make a “future trip for an official ceremony.”

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