QOTD – “He hit the ball well, and he’s got an amazing touch. He can certainly chip and putt. If he … spends more time playing the game of golf, I’m sure he can get to where he’s got pretty good stick” – Tiger Woods on Barack Obama after their weekend foursome.
The Latest from The Blotter on Chinese Hacking Allegations – http://abcn.ws/Y4ub8w
Hey Marco, It’s Barack. Can We Talk Immigration? - Jon Karl has some developing news on the immigration debate: President Obama made his first direct overture to Republicans on immigration tonight, placing calls to the three key GOP players on the issue in the Senate: John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio.
The calls come after Rubio called a White House immigration plan that leaked over the weekend “half-baked and seriously flawed”.
Rubio says he appreciated the call (even though he may have been roused from bed to take it; he’s in Israel):
“Senator Rubio appreciated receiving President Obama’s phone call to discuss immigration reform late tonight in Jerusalem,” according to a statement from Rubio’s office. “The Senator told the President that he feels good about the ongoing negotiations in the Senate, and is hopeful the final product is something that can pass the Senate with strong bipartisan support.” – http://abcn.ws/15sPELV
4 Capitol Hill Work Days Separate Us from Sequester - John Parkinson’s perspective – Both chambers of Congress are out of session, and a solution before March 1 would require something that has become characteristic of Congress in the past three years of divided government: another last-minute agreement….The House of Representatives meets next for legislative business Feb. 25, beginning a four-day workweek that ends when sequestration takes hold March 1. http://abcn.ws/153ydQJ (John Parkinson)
Biden Squares 2nd Amendment with Gun Restrictions – Tough questions for the Vice President at a forum sponsored by Parents Magazine. Talk at one point turned to tanks – http://abcn.ws/YEMldN
Indiana Farmer Takes on Monsanto Over Seed Patent – Is Vernon Bowman a Roscoe Filburn for the new century? - We love any story about a persnickety farmer in front of the Supreme Court. He made patent law riveting as the court considered who owns seeds.
“I have one good thing going for me: I’m poor as nothing, I was lucky when they brought a suit against me that I was broke anyway. ” A full dispatch from our Ariane de Vogue at the court – http://abcn.ws/153RS32
An End to Individual Campaign Contribution Limits? - Upcoming SCOTUS Case could further upend campaign finance law - http://bit.ly/XsWDzI
The prevailing wisdom has suddenly become that sequestration is a done deal (at least in the short term).
White House: Stop-gap Measure Only Way to Avoid Sequestration Deadline-The White House says that a short-term resolution may be the only workable option to avoid triggering the sweeping package of federal budget cuts known as “the sequester,” unless Congress can reach a broader deficit-reduction agreement. http://abcn.ws/VGaMMY (Larotonda)
Obama Warns of Grim ‘Meat-Cleaver’ Spending Cuts – With sweeping, indiscriminate spending cuts on the horizon, President Obama today used his bully pulpit to warn of the real-life impact on thousands of Americans while casting shame on Congress for not acting to stop it.
But, reports Devin Dwyer, there is little sign of urgency to reach a deal. With Congress on recess for the next week, Democrats and the White House remain sharply at odds with Republicans on how to replace the package of automatic cuts – totaling $1.2 trillion – with a more sensible plan. http://abcn.ws/Y6LKTt
Bowles, Simpson Protested at Playbook Breakfast - Counting the 2011 budget talks and the recent tax deal as steps one and two, Simpson and Bowles issued a call for two more big steps—which include measures like lowering the growth of Medicare and Medicaid payments to providers, lowering drug costs, enacting Social Security reforms, adopting a “chained CPI” to reduce the growth of Social Security payments and other spending tied to inflation, and reforming the tax code. Those proposals (or, at very least, proposals like them) were included in the original plan approved by President Obama’s fiscal commission, which Simpson and Bowles led. That plan offered more specifics on how to achieve the goals laid out by Simpson and Bowles this morning. http://abcn.ws/Y7EaYZ(Chris Good)
Top Cabinet Nominee Filibusters and Failures – Chuck Hagel, it seems, will eventually be confirmed. But he was also sort of filibustered. So in this cool-off week, We’re looking at other failed nominees. Zoe! (plus Tom Daschle, John Tower and more). – http://abcn.ws/XslQdF - (Sastry)