The Note’s Must-Reads for Friday, February 18, 2011

By Jayson

Feb 18, 2011 4:47am

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 Jayce Henderson, Jacqueline Fernandez and Katy Conrad

PRESIDENT OBAMA:
The Washington Post’s Brady Dennis and Peter Wallsten: “Obama joins Wisconsin’s budget battle, opposing Republican anti-union bill”  President Obama thrust himself and his political operation this week into Wisconsin's broiling budget battle, mobilizing opposition Thursday to a Republican bill that would curb public-worker benefits while planning similar action in other state capitals. LINK

LA Times: “White House statement on meeting between Obama and Silicon Valley leaders” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney issued a statement after President Obama met with Silicon Valley leaders, including Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs, Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. In his statement Carney discussed the meeting,  saying “The President expressed his desire to continue a dialogue with the group to share new ideas so we can work as partners to promote growth and create good jobs in the United States.” LINK

FOREIGN AFFAIRS:
Bloomberg’s Glen Carey and Caroline Alexander: “Bahrain Army Moves to End Protests as Unrest Spreads Protesters in Bahrain gathered for the funeral of two men killed by security forces, calling for democracy and the fall of the government as unrest in the Middle East spread to Libya where 20 were reported dead in clashes. Thousands of mostly Shiite Muslims attended the funeral procession in the town of Sitra south of the capital, Manama. Marchers sobbed and hugged the coffins of Ali Khadeer, 52, and Mahmood Makki, 23.  LINK

The Hill’s Bridget Johnson: “Cantor, Hoyer continue to press Obama to veto Israeli settlement resolution” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) are pressing forward with their effort to urge President Obama to veto a resolution at the U.N. Security Council that would declare any post-1967 Israeli settlements, including East Jerusalem, illegal. LINK

IMMIGRATION REFORM:
ABC News’ Devin Dwyer: “McCain, Napolitano Hint at Joint Benchmarks for Immigration Reform Talks” John McCain says he wants to develop a mutually-agreeable set of benchmarks with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for what level of security is sufficient and how to determine when that goal has been met. “We have to agree on certain criteria on what is successful securing of our border,” McCain said today during a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing. LINK     

JOBS BILL:
ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe “'First Jobs Bill' of New Congress Passes Senate: $35 Billion FAA Bill Takes Flight, Wins Senate Passage” The Senate tonight passed the $35 billion Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill by a vote of 87-8 after weeks of debate. The FAA bill would help streamline the implementation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System – known as NextGen – a nationwide project designed to change the country’s system from a ground-based one to a satellite-based one using GPS technology. LINK

BUDGETS:
NY Daily News’ Jonathan Lemire and Erin Einhorn: “Mayor Bloomberg unveils $65.6 billion city budget; fire dept., senior centers, teachers face cuts” Mayor Bloomberg blames Albany and Washington for devastating budget cuts that could mean firing teachers and shutting firehouses – while warning more pain may be on the way. "New York City has to make choices," Bloomberg said Thursday as he unveiled a proposed $65.6 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts in July. "Everybody expects you to do everything. That's not the world we live in." LINK

LA Times’ Kathleen Hennessey: “Tensions escalate over Republican budget cuts” The prospect of a government shutdown loomed larger on Capitol Hill on Thursday when Republican leaders ruled out the easiest path around a budget impasse and Democrats accused them of playing a dangerous game of chicken. Tensions over funding the government for the rest of this year escalated as House Republicans crept closer to approval of massive spending cuts to social services, environmental programs, foreign aid and research. LINK

HEALTH CARE REFORM:
The Hill’s Alexander Bolton: “Sen. Conrad worries Democrats by calling to revisit the healthcare debate” Unshackled by the need to get reelected, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) suggested Thursday that Democrats reopen the bitter healthcare debate, arguing that the reform law’s provisions could yield opportunities to cut the federal deficit. But several Democratic colleagues rejected the idea — it did them enough damage in the last election cycle — over worries that those facing re-election in 2012 could be faced with a storm of negative political ads. LINK

G.O.P. / DEMOCRATS:
The New York Times’ Jennifer Steinhauer: “Fervent G.O.P. Freshman Ignite Budget Fight” The last speaker was Representative Steve Southerland, freshman lawmaker from Florida, and so he dug deep. Drawing on the two things that propel him through each day — his experience as funeral home operator and his general loathing of all things Washington — Mr. Southerland politely lit into Republican House leaders one day last week, explaining that he had not come to Washington to whack the federal budget this year by one dollar less than the $100 billion he had pledged to cut in his campaign.  LINK

Politico’s Alex Isenstadt: “Pols grease state lawmakers' palms” Even as they spent furiously on their 2010 campaigns, House Democrats and Republicans were quietly doling out cash in preparation for their next battle for survival: the upcoming round of redistricting. The exercise in political palm-greasing funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to state legislators who could control their fate this year when the new congressional maps are drawn. LINK

DOMESTIC / OTHER:
USA Today’s Catalina Camia: “Donald Trump gives campaign cash to both parties” Donald Trump says he is a Republican and believes in GOP principles such as fiscal restraint and a strong national defense. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Kris Maher and Douglas Belkin: “Union Fight Heats Up” Democratic lawmakers fled the state Thursday in an effort to torpedo a closely watched vote on what would be the nation's first major overhaul of union laws in years, as government workers flooded the statehouse for a third day seeking to block passage of the bill. LINK

The Washington Times’ Andrea Bullups: “Wis. Dems flee to avoid anti-union bill vote” A dramatic week of angry protests over a bill in the Wisconsin Legislature that would radically limit collective bargaining for state employees came to a boil Thursday with 14 Democratic senators dodging a vote in the Republican-led chamber by fleeing the state and efforts by state police to track them down. LINK

The Boston Globe’s Sarah Schweitzer “Lawmakers in N.H. push for repeal of gay marriage”  Two years after New Hampshire and Maine capped a wave of New England states that legalized same-sex marriage, the foothold many advocates believed they had established in the region looks less secure. Maine voters repealed that state’s law months after lawmakers approved it in 2009. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO:
"Border Benchmarks? McCain Napolitano Talk ReformLINK
Boehner: 'Read My Lips We're Going To Cut Spending'LINK

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