US politics from outside the beltway

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Beltway Briefing

The top stories from US politics today.

1. Congress races for solution as debt ceiling looms

Senators resumed talks today on the possibility of raising the federal government's debt ceiling. Congressional leaders remain divided as to what proposals should go through to allow an increase on the current $14.3 trillion ceiling. Republicans are refusing to go along with an increase unless it is coupled with deep spending cuts, while Democrats are trying to minimise the impact of cuts on public services. Officials have warned of potentially catastrophic consequences is the ceiling is not raisedby2 August, at which point the budget could default.

2. Dearth of questions for Obama's Twitter meeting

President Obama is dues to hold his first Twitter town hall meeting on Wednesday, but so far the event has suffered from a lack of pick-up on the social networking site. With just under a day to go, the hashtag #AskObama is still only attracting a trickle of tweets. Among the policy questions from Republicans and Democrats alike, there have been several tongue-in-cheeck tweets, such as this one from @whateversusan:

"#AskObama My first question is: Twitter? REALLY? You do realize this is the place where Justin Bieber trended for two years straight, right?"

3. Mitt Romney misspeaks on Congressional approval in Libya

 

The Republican presidential candidate mistakenly refers to to No Fly Zone in Libya as being Congressionally approved, which is was not. A Romney source has replied by saying that he was merely drawing attention to Obama's "muddling" of the Libyan mission:

"The Governor is pointing out that Obama is pursuing a mission in Libya that is different than the one he presented to the nation in his March 28th speech. When he announced his humanitarian mission, many members of Congress - both Democrats and Republicans - were calling for a humanitarian mission that included a no-fly zone."

4. Tim Pawlenty trumpets Minnesota's 2005 budget fight in new TV ad

In the first really bizarre campaign video of the election, Tim Pawlenty boasts about putting Minnesotans through one of the longest transit strikes in history, and bringing the Minnesotan government to a shuddering halt in order to stop Democrats increasing taxes. In some political cultures, boasting about bringing government to a halt or putting voters through months of strikes would be odd. Amid the climate of near-suicidal political and financial brinkmanship that has gripped the Republican party, however, Pawlenty's boasts make sense.