Morning Briefing: December 7, 2011

Unemployed workers took their message directly to congressional offices on Tuesday, pushing for Congress to pass the president’s jobs bill, extend the federal payroll tax holiday, and extend federal unemployment insurance. The protesters occupied congressional offices in sit-in protests.

Today, thousands of protesters are expected to converge on K Street in Washington today, taking aim at the influence of lobbyists in Washington. The actions are part of a week of activities planned by “Take Back The Capitol,” which is being organized by a coalition of community and labor groups allying themselves with Occupy D.C.

In a major victory for Occupy protesters in New York, who had been protesting around the issue, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced a deal with state legislators last night under which he agreed to raise taxes on some of the wealthiest New Yorkers. The deal will also include lowering taxes on many middle class residents.

The Justice Department began sending letters to sheriff’s offices and police departments in Alabama warning them against infringing on people’s constitutional rights when enforcing the state’s immigration law. The letter, signed by Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general of Justice Department’s civil rights division, warns local officials that DOJ might request records from the agencies related to the immigration law and that the federal government could terminate federal funds or file lawsuits against agencies that violate civil rights.

House GOP leaders are split over whether to include a corporate tax holiday in a year-end tax deal, a divide that pits Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and the powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee on one side against Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA) and the GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy (CA) on the other. The repatriation holiday would allow U.S. corporations to bring money held overseas back to the country at a dramatically lower tax rate.

The White House does not have the Senate votes necessary to confirm Richard Cordray as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Senate Republicans made it clear yesterday they will filibuster Cordray.

Top U.S. officials are “playing a behind-the-scenes role” as intermediaries in the European debt crisis, working between governments and the European Central Bank. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner urged Europeans to create a large rescue fund, a move that has congressional Republicans scrambling to oppose any U.S. financial commitment.

More than 40 percent of international investors see the U.S. as the economy that will perform best over the next year, the highest rating in more than two years, according to a Bloomberg survey. That’s a sharp rise from September, when less than a third had such confidence, and is double the poll result for the next two top-rated markets, Brazil and China.

And finally: Lady Gaga visited the White House yesterday to promote her anti-bullying campaign. White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett was excited by the meeting, writing in a blog post that “Lady Gaga is a source of strength for many young people who feel isolated and scared at their schools.”

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