Morning Briefing: October 19, 2011

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has introduced legislation modeled after the New Deal-era Works Progress Administration to get millions of Americans back to work. Lautenberg’s 21st Century WPA Act would be funded by a 5.4 percent surtax on millionaires.

Speaking in support of the Occupy Wall Street protests, President Obama compared the movement to the Tea party. “Both on the left and the right, I think people feel separated from their government,” he said. “They feel that their institutions aren’t looking out for them.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) struck a similar note, saying, “I understand why they are angry.” “I think that if you look at the Occupy Wall Street folks and the Tea Party folks, they come from the same perspective,” he added.

The U.S. deported almost 400,000 people in the 2011 fiscal year, the largest number in U.S. history, according Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. More than 200,000 of those deported, nearly 55 percent, had been convicted of felonies or misdemeanors, which “underscore[s] the administration’s focus on removing individuals … that fall into priority areas,” ICE officials said in a press release.

With its Nov. 23 deadline looming, the congressional super committee is still far from a deal and may need party leaders to intervene. The committee has reportedly made little progress, and the 12 members have not even agreed on a benchmark to measure deficit savings against against, and one Republican reports, “We are going in circles.”

In January, about 55 million Social Security recipients will see a 3.5 percent increase in benefits, the first increase since 2009. Because increases are tied to inflation, there was no raise in 2010 or 2011 because inflation was too low.

Bank of America is no longer America’s largest bank, after JP Morgan Chase surpassed it in size. Bank of America reported $2.2 trillion in assets Tuesday and JP Morgan Chase reported $2.9 trillion.

In what is widely seen as a bad omen for the financial sector, Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs reported a quarterly loss yesterday — its second since going public in 1999.

And finally: While touring a Virginia high school yesterday afternoon, President Obama was asked if he knows Justin Bieber. “I do,” Obama told the teenage fan, he’s a “very nice young man.” However, the president cautioned that he thought Bieber had a girlfriend.

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