Morning Briefing: August 29, 2011

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is temporarily diverting funds from recovery efforts form other recent natural disasters to that of Hurricane Irene as it likely the Obama administration will need to request supplemental funding from Congress for disaster relief. The request could lead to a potential congressional fight with Republicans, who may not be willing to give additional funds to FEMA.

According to one preliminary analysis, the financial impact from the landfall of Hurricane Irene this weekend resulted in insured damages between $2 billion and $3 billion. Total losses will likely be about $7 billion.

House Republicans plan to hold votes nearly every week this fall to repeal environmental, health, and labor regulations they claim are stifling job growth. The main targets will be new rules from the National Labor Relations Board and pollution regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, according to Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) memo to GOP members.

President Obama has chosen labor economist Alan Krueger to lead the White House Council of Economic Advisors. Krueger, who returned to Princeton University last November after serving as the Treasury Department’s chief economist for two years, is projected to be an advocate for “more-aggressive government action to bring down unemployment.”

The Associated Press reports that al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, has been killed in Pakistan due to a CIA drone attack. His death is another major defeat for the terrorist organization some believe to be on the brink of collapse after the death of its spiritual leader, Osama bin Laden.

Responding to CAP’s report on the Islamophobia network, the Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney responded like many of his anti-Muslim cohorts — with baseless namecalling. “The ‘Shariah Defense Lobby’ whitewashes and protects political, legal, military and religious doctrines of Shariah law (Islamic law) from scrutiny,” Gaffney wrote.

Redistricting in California could cost the state some of its political clout, the Los Angeles Times reports. New political maps being drawn after the last census threaten the safe seats of several high-ranking House members, including Reps. David Dreier (R-CA), Howard Berman (D-CA), and Dan Lungren (R-CA).

And finally: Late night talk show host Craig Ferguson joked last week about Hurricane Irene: “Our thoughts, of course, are with everyone on the East Coast preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Irene. In Washington, D.C., thousands have been left with no power. They’re called Democrats.”

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