"Morning Briefing: November 16, 2011"
While publicly insisting that failure is not an option for the super committee, White House advisers are privately preparing for the committee’s failure if they do not reach a deal by the Nov. 23 deadline. President Obama has reiterated that Congress “must not shirk its responsibilities,” but has not issued a veto threat if the committee decides to undo earlier budget cuts.
Occupy Wall Street protesters are vowing to continue their movement even as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to evict them from Zuccotti Park raised questions about its future. “I think everyone’s still in the processing mode,” one protester told the New York Times. “This will be a catalyst.”
House Democrats angrily sounded off on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s eviction of Occupy Wall Street yesterday. “I’m afraid that what the mayor says is temporary may tend to be permanent as they put up more restrictions,” said Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY). “I’m very cautious [because] I’m very supportive of [the protesters], and if the city doesn’t keep its word [I’ll] have a lot more [to say].”
Private groups spent $5 million sending members of Congress on trips this year. The largest group of trips was trips to Israel arranged by the right-wing American Israel Education Foundation.
Bank of America’s CEO promised “more transparency” in banking fees after a public backlash over its proposal to charge for use of debit cards. The banking industry “continues to face challenges of reputation and restoring its trust,” Brian Moynihan acknowledged.
The Secret Service are searching for a suspect after discovering that “bullets hit the exterior of the White House” on Friday. Police are searching for 21-year-old Oscar Ramiro Ortega who “has ties to Idaho” and will be charged with “carrying a dangerous weapon,” police said.
Some American troops will stay in Iraq as military trainers even after the end of the year deadline to remove all soldiers, according to Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. About 200 troops will remain to train Iraqi soldiers in counterterrorism and also in operation of American-made military equipment.
The Arab League will formalize the “unprecedented suspension” of Syria today for “refusing to end its bloody crackdown against anti-government protesters.” Because Syria has failed to abide by a Nov. 2 agreement to halt attacks, Qatar — the country leading the effort — said, “We cannot accept that people are being killed in the way they are now” and “we are moving to stop the flow of blood.”
Israel’s military chief of staff warned today that the armed forces may “carry out another large-scale military operation in Hamas-controlled Gaza.” “We cannot continue with one round after another” of violence, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz told lawmakers.
And finally: Former President George W. Bush once offered some fashion, or really a fashion directive, to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the congresswoman reveals in her new book. “Lose the gloves,” Bush told Bachmann at a campaign stop in 2006 about pink gloves she was wearing that matched her pink suit. Then the two went and got ice cream. Seriously.