Morning Briefing: June 1, 2011

One percent of households hold 39 percent of the world’s wealth, according to a new study published Tuesday. The Boston Consulting Group’s report illustrates growing inequality in the wake of the global downturn.

Yesterday, the House overwhelmingly rejected a “clean” vote to raise the debt ceiling without the enormous spending cuts Republicans are demanding. An act of “political theater” with a preordained outcome, the measure was defeated 318 to 97.

Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) signed legislation requiring adults applying for welfare assistance to undergo drug screening, saying “we don’t want to waste tax dollars” on those with drug addictions. Under the law that takes effect July 1, aid recipients must pay for the screening test and will only recoup the fee if they qualify.

The Justice Department has expanded its hiring of lawyers with civil rights backgrounds to fill its Civil Rights Division, reversing a pattern of “systematically hiring conservative lawyers with little experience in civil rights.” The division was the subject of politicization scandals during the Bush Administration, which was found to have violated rules by screening out liberals in the hiring process.


Despite bipartisan calls to cut defense spending, the “House Appropriations Committee has crafted a Pentagon spending measure that would swell military spending.” The bill comes to $544 billion, which is actually $9 billion less than the White House’s proposed 2012 Pentagon budget.

The House Appropriation Committee’s defense spending request includes $1.1 billion in counterinsurgency assistance for Pakistan, but the aid is conditional to Pakistan’s progress against its domestic insurgency. The “language withholds three-quarters of the funds until the Defense and State Department come up with a report” on how the money is being used.

And finally: While other candidates make informational videos, GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain made a music video called the “The Herman Cain Train.” ThinkProgress’ Lee Fang even makes a cameo appearance at the 2:22 mark, interviewing Cain.

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