The Note’s Must-Reads for Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dec 21, 2010 5:03am

The Note's Must-Reads are a round-up of today's political headlines and stories from ABC News and the top U.S. newspapers. Posted Monday through Friday right here at www.abcnews.com

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

DOMESTIC POLITICS
The Boston Globe’s Mark Arsenault and Matt Viser: “Brown joins Kerry to back treaty Senator John F. Kerry, laboring to achieve a foreign policy victory that would be a highlight of his career, gained crucial support yesterday for a nuclear arms control treaty with Russia from his Republican counterpart, Senator Scott Brown. LINK

USA Today’s Susan Page: “America’s place in the world to play part in 2012 elections” It might as well be the national anthem: America the Exceptional. LINK

Politico’s Manu Raju: “Mitch McConnel plans power plays against  Democrats”  Emboldened  by Democrats’ decision to scrap an omnibus funding bill and extend the Bush-era tax cuts for two years, McConnell is ready to deploy his larger Republican minority next year, insisting that Democratic leaders will need to bend  his party’s will-particularly on spending issues. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Jessica Holzer, Josh Mitchell, and Janet Adamy: “Funding Deal Snags Health Law” A Senate deal to fund the federal government until early March doesn't include money to enact the health-care overhaul or stepped up regulation of Wall Street, boosting Republican efforts to curb key elements of President Barack Obama's domestic agenda. LINK

ARMS TREATY

The Hill’s Alexander Bolton : “Dems reach magic number on arms treaty as GOP support builds.” Senate Democrats appear to have the nine Republican votes they need to ratify the New START nuclear treaty this week and give President Obama his third major victory of the lame-duck session. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) told reporters Monday afternoon that he would vote to ratify the treaty and also support a motion to end debate, which the Senate will consider Tuesday. LINK

The Washington Times’  Bill Gertz: “Chiefs opposed Russian ban on conventional  strike ICBMs”  The military's joint chiefs closely watched U.S.-Russian arms talks and rejected Moscow's call for banning new conventionally-armed long-range missiles in the START arms accord, but accepted some curbs, according to a letter from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman, outlined the opposition in a letter made public on Monday endorsing Senate ratification of the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty now being debated in the Senate. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Paul Richter  and Lisa Mascaro: “Senate vote on Nuclear treaty may be defining moment for Obama” The upcoming Senate vote on a U.S- Russia  nuclear arms treaty may turn out to be a defining moment for the Obama administration's foreign policy. If he wins the support of at least two-thirds of the Senate for the New START agreement in a vote that may come as early as Tuesday, President Obama could build on the victory as he turns to a long list of foreign policy challenges- including Afghanistan , Iran, North Korea and his broader plans to limit nuclear weapons. LINK

The Washington Times’: “Seoul arms test draws no flak” South Koreans breathed a collective sigh of relief Monday after a test-firing of artillery in the Yellow Sea passed without North Korea’s threatened retaliation. But as the smoke clears and tensions simmer, the crisis is far from over. LINK

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