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Morning Briefing: September 15, 2011

By ThinkProgress  

"Morning Briefing: September 15, 2011"

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Speaking at the annual Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s gala yesterday, President Obama said he will do “everything in my power” to enact the DREAM Act. Noting that the bill lacks a Republican co-sponsor “for the first time in a decade,” Obama said, “It’s heartbreaking, to see innocent young people denied the right to earn an education, or serve in the military” because of their parents’ actions or “the actions of a few politicians in Washington.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) continues to press for a bill that would make the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify system mandatory for all businesses, but opposition is growing against the measure. Small business owners and immigration advocates argue that the system isn’t even effective because undocumented workers could be using false documents, with farmers particularly concerned about losing their labor pool.

Americans are more than twice as likely to blame Republicans for Washington’s infighting, a new Bloomberg poll finds, with 45 percent blaming Republicans, 20 percent blaming President Obama, and 19 percent blaming congressional Democrats for “what’s gone wrong in Washington.”

Liberal legislators are voicing concern that President Obama’s push for a payroll-tax holiday will undermine Social Security. The payroll-tax break is a central feature of Obama’s newly unveiled jobs plan, but since payroll taxes fund the entitlement program, a permanent “holiday” could jeopardize Social Security’s financial footing and seniors’ benefits.

In a report released Wednesday, federal investigators concluded that BP’s many shortcuts contributed to the disastrous Gulf oil spill. The 500-page report is the most comprehensive account yet of the spill, which took 87 days to get under control, killed 11 people, and caused massive pollution. It concludes that BP is ultimately responsible for the spill, and may increase the likelihood that the company will face criminal charges.

Yesterday, federal Judge Marcia G. Cooke blocked a Florida gun law restricting doctors from asking patients about firearms. Cooke said doctors had a First Amendment right to ask about firearms and informed state lawyers that this law “in no way affects” the right to “keep arms.” Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) vowed to appeal the ruling.

The Palestinians will submit their bid for state recognition on Sept. 23, a week from tomorrow, before the United Nations Security Council. If the bid fails — and the United States is widely anticipated to make sure that it does with the use of its veto — the Palestinians will likely seek to be upgraded to a non-member state in the General Assembly.

Boeing will not endorse House Republicans’ efforts to limit the powers of the National Labor Relations Board, even as its fight with the NLRB led to the legislation. Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) proposed the bill, which the House is expected to pass today. In a statement, a spokesperson said Boeing will continue urging the NLRB to withdraw its complaint against the company.

And finally: Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) college transcript is filled with more Cs and Ds than a Tower Records, but he’s not afraid to admit book learnin’ ain’t his strong suit. “I graduated in the top 10 of my graduating class — of 13,” Perry joked yesterday at Liberty University in Virginia, where he talked about his poor grades at length.

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