The Note's Must-Reads for Monday December 24, 2012

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

Compiled by ABC News' Carrie Halperin, Amanda VanAllen and Jordan Mazza


The Hill's Vicki Needham: " Business groups grow frustrated over impasse in 'fiscal cliff' talks" Business leaders are growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress in talks to head off billions in looming tax hikes and spending cuts they say will harm the nation's economy. Concern increased among business groups following the failure of House Republicans to round up enough votes to pass their "Plan B" bill that would have stopped tax increases on anyone making $1 million a year or less. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Patrick O'Connor and Peter Nicholas: "How 'Cliff' Talks Hit The Wall" Congressional leaders and President Barack Obama called Friday for a return to negotiations to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, a day after talks cratered in a very public fashion when Republicans abandoned House Speaker John Boehner's backup plan. LINK

The New York Times' Jonathan Weisman: " Search for Way Through Fiscal Impasse Turns to the Senate " With little more than a week for lawmakers to avert huge tax increases and spending cuts, attention is turning from the gridlocked House to the Senate, where some Republicans on Sunday endorsed President Obama's call for a partial deal to insulate most Americans from the tax increases but defer a resolution on spending. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Johnny Isakson of Georgia, both Republicans, implored Senate leaders to reach an accommodation with Mr. Obama when Congress returns on Thursday, even if that meant that taxes would go up for those with high incomes and that spending cuts would be put off. LINK

Politico's Mackenzie Weinger: " Media finds fiscal cliff a steep climb" The fiscal cliff could very well send some in the media over the edge. For journalists and pundits, the fiscal cliff has been a nearly all-encompassing political story in D.C.'s post-election media landscape. LINK

USA Today's Susan Davis: "Questions and answers about the dreaded 'fiscal cliff'" President Obama and congressional leaders are struggling to come up with a long-term deficit reduction plan to avert the year-end "fiscal cliff" when all of the George W. Bush-era tax rates expire and $1.2 trillion in unpopular spending cuts over a decade begin. The combined economic effect of the two could send the U.S. economy back into a recession. A number of other laws, including a payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits, are also scheduled to expire at the end of the year unless Washington acts. The president and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, have been unable to bridge the partisan divide over taxes and spending cuts, and Boehner's alternative effort to avert the cliff failed to muster enough GOP support to pass. LINK


The Los Angeles Times' Paul West and David Lauter: " Republican rifts mean more gridlock, obstacles for Obama" In the days immediately after President Obama's reelection victory, White House officials hoped that in a second term he might have better relations with congressional Republicans. The "fever will break," more than one Obama aide forecast. LINK

The New York Daily News' Bill Hutchinson: " US Sen. Crapo of Idaho arrested, charged with DUI" Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, who has claimed he abstains from alcohol because of his Mormon faith, was busted on drunk- driving charges Sunday after Virginia cops saw him blow a red light. Crapo, 61, was arrested in Alexandria, Va., at 12:45 a.m. when he failed a field sobriety test, said police spokesman Jody Donaldson. LINK


ABC News' George Stephanopoulos: "Grover Norquist: Obama and Democrats Using Newtown for 'Political Purposes'" National Rifle Association board member and president of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist said on Sunday that President Obama and Democrats are politicizing the Newtown tragedy by pushing for gun control. LINK

The Washington Times' David Sherfinski: " NRA chief: Enforce the existing gun laws" The National Rifle Association does not plan to support any new gun control measures in the wake of the shooting rampage in Newtown, Conn., the head of the organization said Sunday, arguing that the government should vigorously enforce laws already on the books and reiterating the group's push for more armed guards in schools as part of the solution. LINK

The Washington Post's Philip Rucker and Sari Horwitz: "On gun control, Obama's record shows an apparent lack of political will - until now" The survivors of a gun rampage in Tucson came to Washington in August with a simple message for the Obama administration: Do something - anything - to stop the violence. One was a nurse shopping for Brussels sprouts who rushed to do triage after then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) was shot outside a supermarket. LINK

Bloomberg's Jonathan D. Salant and John Hechinger: " NRA Opposition Toughens Fight Over Gun Laws After Newtown" Wayne LaPierre's dismissal yesterday of stricter gun limits presages a national policy struggle between his National Rifle Association and President Barack Obama, who is promising to make the issue a priority. NRA Chief Executive Officer LaPierre instead recommended arming school guards as a response to the Dec. 14 Connecticut school shooting that killed 20 children and six adults, meaning any effort to pass new gun-control laws must overcome opposition from an organization with longstanding clout in Congress. LINK


"President Obama Nominates Sen. John Kerry for Secretary of State" LINK

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