The Note’s Must-Reads for Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Dec 16, 2010 5:41am

Compiled by ABC News Digital News Associates and Desk Assistants CLAUDIA MORALES, JACQUELINE NG FERNANDEZ, JAYCE HENDERSON and MELISSA NOEL

PRESIDENT OBAMA
USA Today: “Obama praises Senate, pressures House over tax cut deal” President Obama praised the U.S. Senate today for passing his tax extension package, and pressured the House — particularly fellow Democrats — to follow suit. LINK

The Washington Post's Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Scott Wilson: "Administration's next big Afghan battle: How many troops to withdraw" President Obama's national security team this week revisited the same vexing issues it worked through a year ago in devising the administration's troop escalation in Afghanistan. This time, one key element was missing: impassioned dissent. LINK

CONGRESS
The Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Power: “Spending Bill Provision Would Extend Review for Offshore Oil Exploration” A provision tucked into the $1.1 trillion Senate Democratic plan to fund the federal government would let the Obama administration take more time to review oil companies’ plans for offshore exploration. LINK

The Hill’s Susan Crabtree: “House ethics chief counsel has resigned” The staff director and chief counsel for the House ethics committee tendered his resignation before the election. Blake Chisam , who Ethics Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren(D-Calif.) handpicked to help run the committee at the beginning of this Congress, will be departing imminently, according  to two White House aides.  LINK

Newsweek's Ben Adler: "Will The Supreme Court Overturn Health-Care Reform?" Conservatives have been quick to declare that "ObamaCare is on life support" in the wake of Monday’s decision by federal district court Judge Henry E. Hudson in Virginia that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement to buy health insurance is unconstitutional. But in truth Virginia’s attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, won only a partial victory. LINK

TAX BILL
The Hill’s Russell Berman: “Liberals to take last stab at estate tax rate before Thursday vote” The House will vote on President Obama’s tax proposal Thursday after first giving liberal Democrats one last chance to force a change   to the Senate-passed agreement. The key question is whether the House will send the bill back to the Senate or to the White House for the president’s signature. LINK

Politico’s Carrie Budoff & Jake Sherman: “House Dems resigned to tax bill’s passage” One week ago Democrats were furious over President Barack Obama’s tax compromise with Republicans, eventually approving a resolution to try to block the bill form coming to the floor. Now after several sessions and calls from the administration, House Democrats are resigned to the fact that one of their final votes of this Congress- and for some, their careers- will be to extend the very tax cuts they railed against for the last decade.  LINK

Bloomberg’s Richard Rubin: “Senate Passes $858 Billion Tax-Cut Compromise Measure, Sends It to House The U.S. Senate passed an $858 billion tax-cut plan, giving bipartisan endorsement to an agreement crafted by President Barack Obama and Republicans that extends Bush-era reductions for all income levels.  LINK

The New York Times' David Herszenhorn: "Democrats Yield as Senate Passes Tax Package" The Senate on Wednesday approved the $858 billion tax plan negotiated by the White House and Republican leaders, and House Democrats said they expected to pass the bill on Thursday after a final, and seemingly futile, effort to change a provision that benefits wealthy estates. LINK

ECONOMY
Politico’s David Rogers: “Robert Gates backs omnibus spending bill” Defense Secretary Robert Gates threw his support Wednesday behind the Senate’s omnibus spending bill, saying it would be far better for the military than subjecting the Pentagon to a yearlong continuing resolution passed by the House last week. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Michael J. Mishak: “California Legislature wants a say in public university budgets” Angered by years of student fee hikes, lawmakers in California are pursuing legislation  would give them broad new powers over how the higher education system spend taxpayer money. LINK

Bloomberg’s Brian Faler: “Crucial funding bill will test senators on earmarks” A $1.2 trillion omnibus bill to fund the government is headed for a Senate vote that will put lawmakers on the spot over the practice of earmarking money for such projects as the Edward M. Kennedy Institute of the US Senate in Boston, which would receive $8 million in the measure. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS
ABC NEWS: “Tapper on Obama’s Meeting with CEO’s” The president urged 20 CEOs to spend trillions they have in reserve.  The President would like the CEOs to use the money in reserve in order to create new jobs. LINK

ABC NEWS: “Jonathan Karl Tracks Holiday Pork in Washington” The Ominbus Appropriation Bill has $8 billion in earmarks and special projects. LINK

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