The Note: Next Week's Senate Scramble

Image credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • SERIOUS ROADBLOCKS AHEAD: This week's big news was the breaking of a Republican filibuster that allowed for the gun control bill to move forward in the Senate. But, ABC's JEFF ZELENY and SUNLEN MILLER report that the road ahead is bumpy and not defined. Aides to the Republican filibuster signers tell ABC News they are potentially willing to try to filibuster every amendment they believe feel violates the second amendment in any way. This means that for the foreseeable future - next week and perhaps even the week after - there are going to be numerous votes on various gun amendments in the Senate. At each of those votes Republicans will make a judgment call to try to block each specific amendment or not.
  • BOTTOM LINE: Zeleny and Miller note that Republicans, as of now, intend to slow walk this legislation and the next few weeks will be full of painstaking votes that both sides of the aisle will have to fight for to win. Even if this bill makes it out of the Senate it faces another very steep hill to climb in the House of Representatives. Speaker John Boehner told ABC News today he would send any Senate bill for more hearings in the House Judiciary Committee, which could take the process back to square one. It's won't be pretty - but it's the roller-coaster ride that is actual legislating. Watch Zeleny's "Good Morning America" report on the week that was and the week ahead for gun control:
  • THIS WEEK ON 'THIS WEEK': ABC News' Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl goes one-on-one with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on the push for immigration reform, Sunday on "This Week." Plus, Sen. Charles Schumer, D, N.Y. and Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., face off on immigration reform, gun control, and the battle over the budget, only on "This Week." And the powerhouse roundtable tackles all the week's politics, with ABC News' George Will; House Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.; Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.; Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus; and Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel. Plus, in this week's Sunday Spotlight, longtime New York Yankees' closer Mariano Rivera, the last Major League Baseball player to wear the number 42, and Yankees slugger Robinson Cano, discuss the new film "42? and baseball legend Jackie Robinson's legacy. Tune in Sunday:


ABC's RICK KLEIN: Could there be a new legacy of Newtown on Capitol Hill? The extraordinary scene this week, with grieving families swarming congressional offices with their demands for gun-control votes, may still fail to produce any new legislation. But it could dictate a new playbook for citizens as lobbyists. It's been their voices, well-organized and fully strategized, providing the emotional backdrop for this debate. Others, with other causes, should be taking notes.

ABC's JEFF ZELENY: Never mind the Republicans, the biggest worry on the mind of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as the gun debate is set to begin next week may be his fellow Democrats. The 68-31 vote to kick off the Senate debate on guns doesn't offer much of a guide for how difficult a vote this will be for Democrats, particularly those in gun-friendly states. A slew of amendments will be offered on guns that will echo until the 2014 mid-term elections. That's why the majority leader's office is still on the lookout for Republican senators who can support the compromise on background checks. For at least a handful of Democrats, it's still too much to swallow.

ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: First, the Republican National Committee came out with its "autopsy" of their 2012 election loss and they called for inclusion and broadening the party. Then, Rand Paul called for comprehensive immigration reform, with an eventual pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented people. Paul also became one of only a handful of Republicans to speak at historically black Howard University this week. And now Paul Ryan is also trying to open up his party and the conservative movement. Headlining the Susan B. Anthony List dinner last night he called for anti-abortion advocates to reach out to pro-abortion rights advocates in an effort to "attract a broad coalition" to the movement. "To advance the pro-life cause, we need to work with people who consider themselves pro-choice - because our task isn't to purge our ranks. It's to grow them," Ryan said. He told the audience that by trying to appeal to people that wouldn't usually be advocates for their cause they can win future elections and do it without moderating their position on the issue. Ryan, a Catholic, said like many in the audience his anti-abortion views come from his religion, but he said they "can't just make arguments based on faith. We also need to make arguments based on reason," adding "if we want to appeal to the broadest audience, we need to use every tool at our disposal" noting the "best way to advance a cause isn't to push our political adversaries away, but to convince them." It's a message the GOP is pushing: Inclusion without moderation.


WHAT WASHINGTON COULD LEARN FROM PRESIDENT CALVIN COOLIDGE. President Calvin Coolidge isn't typically remembered as one of the great American presidents, but as Congress moves to consider the president's budget released Wednesday, biographer Amity Shlaes makes the case that Washington could learn a thing or two from the 30th president. "When he left office, the federal budget was lower than when he came in real terms, nominal, with vanilla on top," Shlaes says of the former president, pointing to this as his great legacy. "He actually cut the budget." In her new biography Coolidge, Shlaes lays out how that the former president led a successful battle to reign in the government and cut taxes. "The big drama of his life was holding the government back, and he did that when he was president by vetoing and by cutting taxes and it wasn't an easy campaign," Shlaes told ABC's RICK KLEIN and Yahoo's! OLIVIER KNOX. WATCH:


BOEHNER WARNED NOT TO BREAK 'HASTERT RULE' ON NEW GUN MEASURES. Two hard-right conservatives in the House of Representatives have worked over the past week to collect signatures on a letter to House Speaker John Boehner discouraging him from bringing any new gun measures to the floor without support from a majority of the House Republican Conference, ABC's JOHN PARKINSON reports. The effort is being led by Reps. Paul Broun, a Senate hopeful gunning for Georgia's open seat, and Steve Stockman, a Texas Republican who gained notoriety earlier this year for inviting rocker/2nd Amendment-defender Ted Nugent to the State of the Union. "We are writing to express our strong opposition to legislation requiring private sale background checks for firearms purchases," the letter reads. "Under the precedents and traditions of the House, we would ask that no gun legislation be brought to the floor of the House unless it has the support of a majority of our caucus." That majority within the majority is also known around the Capitol as the Hastert Rule, after former GOP Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois. Boehner has broken it on key votes this year, testing his speakership, such as votes on the Fiscal Cliff agreement, Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, and emergency relief for victims of Superstorm Sandy.

THE SPEAKER SPEAKS: Boehner has long-maintained that he aspires to be the Speaker of the Whole House of Representatives, not just House Republicans, although it's a tricky high-wire act to execute and one more slip could cost Boehner his perch atop the party. The speaker yesterday emphasized that he does not feel beholden to the informal rule. "It was never a rule to begin with," he said. "Certainly my prerogative or my intention is to always pass bills with strong Republican support."

KENTUCKY DEMOCRAT SAYS PROGRESS KENTUCKY RECORDED MITCH MCCONNELL. The secret recording of a Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell campaign strategy session was allegedly made by two members of Democratic super PAC Progress Kentucky, a longtime Democratic operative charged yesterday. Jacob Conway, who is on the executive committee of the Jefferson County Democratic Party in Kentucky, told ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE in an interview that Shawn Reilly and Curtis Morrison admitted to him that they made the tape on Feb. 2. Conway said one of the men held the elevator while the other stood by the door of McConnell's office and recorded the conversation. Neither Reilly nor Morrison returned calls and emails for comment and calls and messages to Progress Kentucky also were not returned. McConnell's campaign manager Jesse Benton called the accusation against Progress Kentucky "very disturbing." "At this point, we understand that the FBI is immersed in an intensive criminal investigation and must defer any further comment to them," Benton said in a statement. Conway says the FBI has not contacted him yet and he came out with the story to "protect" the state and local party and believes if they are tied with the scandal it could hurt the party.

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S WEIRDEST NEW TAXES: VODKA, CIGARETTES, GOLF COURSES, OH MY! President Obama has plenty of big taxes in his budget proposal.To achieve $1.8 trillion in new revenue, the president suggested a few of the policies he's raised while battling Republicans over the past four years: taxing higher incomes by capping itemized tax deductions, rolling back domestic-production credits for oil companies, instituting the "Buffett Rule" of a 30 percent minimum tax rate for people making over $1 million in a year, and taxing investment managers' "carried interest" profits as regular income top the list. But the tax code is a jungle of odd rules, and the penny-pinching side of Obama's budget raises some new taxes (or closes some "loopholes") that might not readily occur to most taxpayers filling out run-of-the-mill 1040s this weekend. As laid out this week by the Treasury Department in its "green book," a massive spiral-bound document that explains tax changes in the White House budget proposal - it is pale green, and 246 pages - here is a list some quirky maneuvers the president suggests to offset spending and keep the deficit just a bit lower curated by ABC's CHRIS GOOD:

ZUCKERBERG'S POLITICAL GROUP INCLUDES CO-FOUNDERS WITH THEIR OWN IMMIGRATION STORIES TO TELL. Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg unveiled his new political group yesterday that has the powerful backing of a who's who of technology leaders. The group, called ("Forward U.S."), represents the most ambitious effort yet to connect the innovators and entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley with the politicians and policy wonks of Washington, DC. In a Washington Post Op-Ed, Zuckerberg cited several initial policy goals for the group, including advocating for "comprehensive immigration reform." And the organization, registered as a 501(c)(4) and able to accept unlimited funds without disclosing the names of its donors, will be using the lobbying muscle of at least two firms: Peck Madigan Jones and Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, a source close to the group told ABC News. Among the ranks of Zuckerberg's co-founders are several who have their own immigration stories to tell like Ruchi Sanghvi, the vice president of operations at Dropbox, who in a video posted on the group's website says she came to this country to attend college 2000 when she was 18 years old. Later, she became the first female engineer at Facebook. "All of us have something unique to offer to the country," Sanghvi says. "America has been a country of immigrants and I hope that we can change immigration reform."

'GLEE' DEPICTS SCHOOL SHOOTING. Less than four months since 20 children and six educators were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the television show "Glee" depicted a school shooting in Thursday night's episode, notes ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ. Halfway through the episode, Will Schuester, the glee club coach played by Matthew Morrison, gathered his students in the choir room to begin their practice. "Let's get started," he said, clapping his hands together as a gunshot was heard in the background. A second shot rang out and Schuester and a coach ran to shut the door to the choir room. Ahead of the "Glee's" airing, the Newtown Action Alliance sent an e-mail Thursday with a warning from a Newtown organization about the sensitive nature of the "Glee" episode. "I would suggest if you do watch this TV show to either not watch it tonight or watch with caution," the message read. Ryan Murphy, the co-creator of "Glee," tweeted last week that he was excited about the episode. "Just saw the rough cut of next week's "Shooting Star". It is the most powerful emotional Glee ever. So proud of the cast & crew," Murphy tweeted last week.

WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH CHAINED CPI? President Obama's outline for government spending in fiscal year 2014 includes a controversial proposal that has not only thrown the Republican Party off balance at the outset of upcoming budget negotiations but has also split his own party. The proposal is a move to slow entitlement spending, and it goes by the name Chained CPI. The president's budget recommends a chained Consumer Price Index, or CPI - the measure by which a heavy percentage of government spending, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, is calculated. Much of the country's projected debt is a result of future retirees collecting on entitlements that are not fiscally sustainable in the long run. Current law calculates benefits based on CPI-W, or CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, which tracks the value of the U.S. dollar. Chained CPI adds nuance to the equation. Everything you ever wanted to know about Chained CPI from ABC's SARAH PARNASS:


ABBY PHILLIP JOINS ABC NEWS DIGITAL. ABC News Digital's Managing Editor Eric Noe announced that Abby Phillip will be joining the ABC News Washington bureau us as a digital reporter covering politics. Abby has spent the past year as part of the ABC News Fellowship program where she's worked at Nightline and This Week. Prior to joining ABC she spent three years with Politico covering Money and Politics and also serving as a White House Correspondent. Abby is a Harvard graduate with a degree in Government.


@juliannagoldman: A look at WH COS Denis McDonough and how his dashboards and due-outs are organizing the West Wing @BloombergNews

@mateagold: First fundraising effort by @OFA generated a modest $4.8 million, constrained by its decision not to accept corporate $.

@reidepstein: Illinois moves to eliminate lieutenant governor post

@DavidMDrucker: Five Gun Amendments to watch when Manchin-Toomey-(Schumer) is debated next week in the Senate: h/t @johngramlich

@JustinBarasky: The Hill: Family Research Council tells conservatives to withhold donations to GOP …

@matthewjdowd: Good Friday am!! when we fear, we don't trust. when we love, we trust. the path to trust, starts with love. with ourself, then others.

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