The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world. Click on the headlines for more.
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CNN:Republicans signal a hard-line stance after election success
A post-mortem Sunday of the mid-term elections provided little evidence that Democrats and Republicans will work together to address major issues such as deficit reduction any better than they have in recent years. Republicans interviewed on talk shows promised congressional investigations, an all-out effort to repeal health care reform, and steadfast opposition to any form of higher taxes. Democrats, meanwhile, said the losses they suffered in the congressional elections reflected voter dissatisfaction with lingering high unemployment in the slow recovery from economic recession, rather than an outright repudiation of their policies.
CNN: GOPer says voters have 'had enough'
The man running for House majority leader from the Republican Party in the next Congress thinks Democrats don't get it. "If Democratic members in the House elect Nancy Pelosi as their leader, it's almost as if they just didn't get the message from voters this election," Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia said on "Fox News Sunday." "The voters outright rejected the agenda that she's been about and here they're going to put her back in charge."
CNN: Top Dem endorses Pelosi
The man in charge of electing House Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections endorsed House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi to continue as his party's leader and called Tuesday's election a "perfect storm" against Democrats. "We saw a convergence of events that created a perfect storm against the Democrats," Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "What this was all about, and understandably so, was a referendum on 9.5 percent unemployment… We had not made enough progress."
CNN: Hoyer vs. Clyburn: working all weekend for votes
Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, and Rep. James Clyburn, D-South Carolina, worked the phones all weekend, talking to Democratic lawmakers to try to gather support in their competition for the number two spot in the new House minority. Sources close to each insist to CNN their candidate will prevail. “We will win,” said a senior Democratic source in the Hoyer camp, declining to speak on the record in order to talk about the internal process. “He [Hoyer] is racking up the votes. He knows how to do this because he has done this before,” said the source, referring to a bitter contest for House majority leader he ended up easily winning in 2006 against the late John Murtha. A source close to Clyburn voiced similar confidence about his effort to be House minority whip, saying “he will lock up the votes.”
CNN: Republican Governors agree- repeal health care
Most Republicans agree on at least one thing – that the health care reform legislation passed last year should be repealed – and two prominent governors are no exception. "I think Obamacare is one of the worst pieces of legislation passed in the modern history of the country," Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota said on CNN's "State of the Union." "They (the American people) understand intuitively that what this is going to do… will be rationing health care," Texas Gov. Rick Perry told Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley on the same program.
New York Times: Now in Power, G.O.P. Vows Cuts in State Budgets
Republicans who have taken over state capitols across the country are promising to respond to crippling budget deficits with an array of cuts, among them proposals to reduce public workers’ benefits in Wisconsin, scale back social services in Maine and sell off state liquor stores in Pennsylvania, endangering the jobs of thousands of state workers. States face huge deficits, even after several grueling years of them, and just as billions of dollars in stimulus money from Washington is drying up.
CNN: Obama starts busy third day in India
U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in India's capital on Monday, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh greeting him and first lady Michelle Obama. The Obamas have a full day of events scheduled in New Delhi, starting with a wreath-laying at a memorial for Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi and ending with a state dinner with Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil. In between, Obama is slated to address Parliament. The Obamas are on the third and final day of their visit to India.
NPR: Some Democrats Fear White House Is Too Insular
In virtually every important area of the White House, an outgoing senior official has been replaced by a longtime confidant of President Obama in the past two months. Christina Romer, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, was replaced by council member Austan Goolsbee, whom Obama described as "one of my good friends and close economic advisers for many years." …Now that the president's party has lost dozens of congressional seats in the midterm elections, though, some Democrats are worried that the White House is ignoring a big, flashing sign that it needs to change course.
CNN: 2012, 2012 and… 2016?
While some midterm election battles still hang in the balance, the media seems to have already turned the page to 2012. Potential Republican presidential hopefuls were on the Sunday morning talk shows and the hosts couldn't resist the will you or won't you questioning. "We've been very humbled by the encouragement we've received back in Indiana and around the country," Indiana Rep. Mike Pence said on ABC's "This Week." "We're intent on taking the coming weeks to really prayerfully consider that, to wait on the Lord, to seek counsel." Pence said he'll make his decision after the first of the year, the same time frame given by Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
Newark Star Ledger: In appearance on 'Meet the Press,' Christie rejects presidential run in 2012
Gov. Chris Christie has repeatedly slammed the door on speculation he’s a presidential contender for 2012, but in an appearance on NBC’s "Meet the Press" today, he left open the possibility of a run in 2016. Christie said he would first have to decide whether to seek re-election as governor in 2013 before weighing any other political aspirations. "And that’s going to be determined by how good a job I do and whether the people of the state of New Jersey want me back," he told moderator David Gregory.
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Burlington Free Press: Vermont Yankee shuts down due to water pipe leak
The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant shut down Sunday night after workers detected radioactive water seeping from a leaky pipe in the complex. A Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman said the public is not in any danger. Plant spokesman Larry Smith said the reactor was taken out of service about 7 p.m., and Smith said it would take about 13 hours for it to cool down enough for technicians to enter the area where the repair needs to be made. Smith did not know how long it would take to fix the pipe once the work begins Monday morning.
Denver Post: Rising fees for utilities may be slowing recovery, economists say
Even in one of the most contentious election cycles in recent history, most politicians agree on one thing: It's a mistake to raise taxes during an economic recession or early in a recovery. But equally mandatory fees have quietly and relentlessly crept up in Colorado and across the nation, and economists say they could be slowing the economic recovery. Rates for electricity, water, sewage treatment and phones — even bus fares — have risen during the recession.
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U.S. drones operating in Yemen, foreign minister says
In a rare public admission, Yemen's Foreign Minister told CNN that U.S. drones are aiding his country in its campaign against al Qaeda. "The [drone] attacks are undertaken by the Yemeni Air Force but there is intelligence information that is exchanged about the location of the terrorists by the Americans," said Abu Bakr Abdullah Al Qirbi. Although Americans aren't known to let other nations operate their drones, Al Qirbi declined to confirm that Americans were operating the drones in his country. If the Yemeni Air Force is operating the drones as he says, it would be a rare concession by the Americans.
Los Angeles Times: U.S. concerns grow as militants move bases along Pakistan border
A militant network that is a major Western adversary in Afghanistan is expanding its reach into tribal badlands outside its longtime sanctuary in Pakistan, a move that could complicate U.S. efforts to eradicate the group. Pakistani tribal elders in the Kurram region along the Afghan border say large numbers of fighters from the Haqqani network, an ally of Al Qaeda, have been stationing themselves in the highlands of their rugged district and are demanding the freedom to move in and out of Afghanistan at will to carry out attacks in the neighboring country.
CNN: Gates: Sanctions are impacting Iran
Sanctions aimed at stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons are having an impact on that country, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday. "We know that they are concerned about the impact of the sanctions. The sanctions are biting more deeply than they anticipated, and we are working very hard at this," he told reporters in Australia. He said he disagreed with a recent assertion by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that a military threat was the only way to influence Iran's nuclear policies.
CNN: Biden reaffirms U.S. support for Israel in speech to Jewish group
Vice President Joe Biden forcefully reaffirmed U.S. support for Israel during a speech Sunday before the general assembly of a major Jewish organization, telling the audience that "the ties between our two countries are literally unbreakable." Biden spoke at the Jewish Federations of North America annual gathering in New Orleans, Louisiana, after meeting for about an hour with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is scheduled to address the group Monday.
Washington Post: NATO allies want Canada to keep some troops in Afghanistan as trainers
The United States and other NATO allies are trying to persuade Canada, whose troops are due to withdraw from Afghanistan next year, to leave a hundreds-strong residual force as trainers for Afghan security forces. The buildup of Afghan forces is a crucial component of President Obama's plans to begin a gradual U.S. withdrawal next summer. But while coalition leaders have cited significant recent improvements in Afghan recruitment and capabilities, NATO members consistently have fallen short on pledges to provide more trainers.
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CNN: Report: China considering tightening rare earths mining safety
China is considering clamping down on pollution tied to the mining of rare earths, state media said Monday. Such a move probably would lead to higher prices for electronics around the world that include the minerals. "We heard the new standards will be strict, which will force uncompetitive miners out of the industry," said mining executive Zhang Zhong, according to the Xinhua news agency.
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