Morning Briefing: June 28, 2011

In a long floor speech yesterday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) implored President Obama to “not yield to outrageous Republican demands” in debt ceiling negotiations that would “greatly increase suffering for the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society.” The senator also demanded that 50 percent of a deficit reduction package come from increasing revenues.

President Obama will not insist that any deal to raise the debt ceiling include an end to the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday. Instead, he will focus on ending tax breaks and closing loopholes that benefit a narrow group of the super rich, such as owners of private jets.

Some lobbyists who went to work for members of Congress this year took a pay cut of about $100,000, more in the Senate, a new analysis by The Hill found. The data shows just how coveted the congressional jobs are, which can help a lobbyist secure even higher pay once they return to the private sector.

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) was convicted on 17 of 20 counts of public corruption, including all the charges related to the selling of Obama’s former Senate seat. He was found not guilty on one charge and the jury deadlocked on two others. No sentencing date has been set, and Blagojevich remains free on bail.

Politico’s Ken Vogel reports that Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Texas Gov. Rick Perry attended a Koch retreat in Vail, Colorado this weekend. “It marked at least the eighth time McDonnell has attended one of the Koch conferences, which typically bring together about 200 conservative business titans and dignitaries hand-picked by the Koch brothers.”

Israel has been receiving criticism for issuing a threat to journalists who attempted to board an aid flotilla bound for Gaza. Yesterday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday rescinded the warning by the Israeli Government Press Office, directing that “the regular policy against infiltrators and those who enter Israel illegally not be implemented” against the journalists.

Afghanistan’s “central bank governor has left for the U.S. and isn’t expected to return” following concerns over his safety after he began fraud allegations into the country’s largest lender, Kabul Bank. Bank Governor Abdul Qadir Fitrat left to the United States about 10 days ago.

And finally: Former President Clinton appeared on NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” this weekend to play the news quiz show, where the ex-leader of the free world was asked about “My Little Pony.” Clinton got all three correct. Asked how that accomplishment stacked up with his considerable other ones, Clinton replied, “It’s right up there.”

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