Morning Briefing: September 26, 2011

Flood victims in Pennsylvania are getting fed up with Congress for putting politics ahead of their need for immediate disaster aid. Families in northeastern Pennsylvania who have already lost their homes are further disheartened by the political bickering in Washington as Republicans refuse to increase FEMA’s budget this week. “Members of Congress are playing with people’s lives, not just their own political careers,” said a local fire chief.

President Obama went after congressional Republicans at the Congressional Black Caucus awards dinner Saturday. In a fiery speech, he highlighted what his jobs bill would do to help the hardest hit communities, including minorities, and pushed for Republicans to prove that they care about jobs creation. CBC members cheered the speech, and Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) said the president “showed he’s going to fight.”

Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain easily defeated Republican frontrunners to win the Florida straw poll this weekend, taking nearly 40 percent of the vote. Texas Gov. Rick Perry finished second, followed closely by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann won just 1.5 percent of the vote.

An Afghan employed by the U.S. government killed an American citizen in an attack on a CIA office in Kabul Sunday. The CIA compound where the attack took place is one of the most heavily guarded buildings in the city. It is still unclear if the shooter had been won over by the insurgency, or if there were other motives behind the attack.

A new Gallup poll finds a record high of 81 percent of Americans disapprove of the government. Sixty-five percent of self-identified Democrats were dissatisfied and 92 percent of self-identified Republicans were dissatisfied.

The nation’s “biggest energy consumer,” the Pentagon, is “spearheading” efforts to shift to clean energy sources. These efforts included a 300 percent increase in spending on renewable energy between 2006 and 2009 — from $400 million to $1.2 billion. That spending should hit $10 billion by 2030, according to a Pew report.

Despite conservatives’ attempt to paint President Obama as anti-Israel, that country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that “every” president, “including President Obama…acts on the tremendous innate friendship of the American people and Israel.” Netanyahu spoke on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

After years of being largely immune cost concerns, children’s hospitals are facing unprecedented challenges as state lawmakers slash Medicaid payments to children’s hospitals as part of their efforts to close budget gaps. About half of children’s hospitals’ revenues come from the program, so even small cuts can have big impacts.

And finally: Pop star lady Gaga sat front row at a fundraiser for President Obama last night, using the venue to advance her fight against bullying. Gaga and Obama spoke for two minutes, when “she thanked Obama for hosting his anti-bullying conference with Michelle Obama, and then made a general plea to everyone in the room, including the president, to do what they can to prevent bullying.”

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