The Note’s Must-Reads for Thursday June 6, 2013

Jun 6, 2013 3:25am

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’ Carrie Halperin, Jayce Henderson, Amanda VanAllen and J.P. Lawrence

PHONE TRACKING
The Wall Street Journal’s Siobhan Gorman and Jennifer Valentino-Devries: “Government Is Tracking Verizon Customers’ Records“ The National Security Agency is obtaining a complete set of phone records from all Verizon U.S. customers under a secret court order, according to a published account and former officials. The account provides fresh evidence that NSA’s far-reaching domestic surveillance effort has continued after Congress passed a law five years ago to institutionalize a post-9/11 warrantless surveillance program. LINK

IRS
ABC News’  Abby D. Phillip: “IRS Suspends Two After Probe of Lavish Conferences“ The Internal Revenue Service’s new acting commissioner, Danny Werfel, has put two employees on administrative leave after they were accused of inappropriately accepting food and gifts during a 2010 conference. ”When I came to IRS, part of my job was to hold people accountable,” Werfel said in a statement today. “There was clearly inappropriate behavior involved in this situation, and immediate action is needed.” The two employees were Fred Schindler and Donald Toda, according to a congressional aide. LINK

The Hill’s Bernie Becker: “IRS officials suspended for taking gifts” The IRS has placed two staffers on administrative leave for inappropriate behavior at a 2010 conference in California and has initiated the process to dismiss them, the agency said Wednesday. The IRS said the staffers were put on leave over a private party in an Anaheim hotel suite where “food was allegedly inappropriately provided free of charge in violation of government ethics standards.” LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s John D. McKinnon and Dionne Searcey: “IRS Staff Cite Washington Link” Two Internal Revenue Service employees in the agency’s Cincinnati office told congressional investigators that IRS officials in Washington helped direct the probe of tea-party groups that began in 2010. Transcripts of the interviews, viewed Wednesday by The Wall Street Journal, appear to contradict earlier statements by top IRS officials, who have blamed lower-level workers in Cincinnati.LINK 

FOREIGN POLICY
The Wall Street Journal’s Bob Davis: “Tables Turn a Bit on Growth as U.S.-China Summit Nears“ Friday’s summit between the leaders of China and the U.S. marks a turning point in economic relations between the world’s two largest economies: China growth is slowing sharply after a long boom while the U.S. economy is slowly regaining its vigor after a long slump. ”There has been an air of triumphalism on the part of China in recent meetings of Chinese and U.S. leaders,” said Mark Williams, a former British Treasury China hand who is now an analyst for Capital Economics in London. “That has faded as China’s recognition of the medium-term challenges it faces has increased.” LINK

NATIONAL SECURITY
ABC News’ Mary Bruce: “Rice to Replace Donilon as National Security Adviser
Shaking up his foreign policy team, President Obama announced today that National Security Adviser Tom Donilon is resigning and will be replaced by UN Ambassador Susan Rice. ”Susan understands that there’s no substitute for American leadership,” the president said in a Rose Garden ceremony. “She is at once passionate and pragmatic. I think everybody understands Susan is a fierce champion for justice and human dignity, but she’s also mindful that we have to exercise our power wisely and deliberately.” LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Peter Nicholas and Adam Entous: “Obama Confidantes Get Key Security Jobs” President Barack Obama further tightened his control of U.S. foreign policy Wednesday by tapping a pair of trusted advisers for key national-security roles. President Barack Obama formally announced that Susan Rice, ambassador to the U.N., would become national security adviser in July. The position doesn’t require Senate confirmation. Mr. Obama named Susan Rice, now U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to succeed National Security Adviser Tom Donilon next month. The president also will nominate Samantha Power, a former National Security Council official, to succeed Ms. Rice at the U.N. Both women worked on then-Sen. Obama’s 2008 campaign. LINK 

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl: “White House Benghazi Emails Show Susan Rice Got a Bad Rap” If we learned anything in all the back and forth over the Benghazi talking points – the 12 revisions first reported by ABC News, the 100 pages of emails released by the White House, etc. – we learned this: Susan Rice got a bad rap. LINK

The New York Times’ Peter Baker: “In Personnel Appointments, Obama Takes Assertive Tack” President Obama’s defiant selection of Susan E. Rice as his new national security adviser on Wednesday underscored the newly assertive approach he has taken to appointments ever since he abandoned a potential cabinet nominee named Susan E. Rice. Mr. Obama made no secret of how upset he was when he passed over Ms. Rice for secretary of state last winter amid a furor about the handling of the deadly attack on the American mission in Benghazi, Libya. But ever since, he has been choosing appointees and nominees he knew would provoke fights with Republicans, almost as if trying to redeem the moment. LINK

The Washington Post’s Scott Wilson: “National security team shiffle may signal more activist at White House” President Obama announced a major shuffle of his national security team on Wednesday, ushering out a cautious Washington insider and elevating two long-time proponents of a larger American role in preventing humanitarian crises and protecting human rights. The ideological shift signaled by the choices highlights a central dilemma for Obama as he seeks to make a mark on the world at a time of austerity — and war weariness — at home. How ambitious Obama intends to be abroad at a time of stiff challenges on the domestic front has remained an open question well into his second term. LINK

IMMIGRATION
ABC News’ John Parkinson: “Immigration Overhaul Hits Bump as Conservatives Brainstorm Next Move“ With bipartisan discussions in the lower chamber seemingly on the brink of collapse, six Republican senators met with weary House conservatives this afternoon to discuss the prospects of immigration overhaul. Sens. Marco Rubio and Jeff Flake – both members of the Senate’s so-called Gang of Eight – joined Sens. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Jeff Sessions to attend a meeting of the Republican Study Committee and debate the options ahead. LINK

Bloomberg’s Julie Hirschfeld: “Immigration Law Helps Economy Say Americans Split on Bill” Almost half of Americans say a revision of immigration law would be “mostly good” for the economy, yet, with Senate debate set to begin next week, the public is split on whether Congress should pass a bill. The divide reflected in the latest Bloomberg National Poll is rooted in partisan rifts and ambivalence among Americans about how U.S. law should treat the estimated 11 million immigrants residing in the country without authorization. LINK

ERIC HOLDER
USA Today’s Kevin Johnson: “Reno, Holder approaches to leak investigations differ” In a lengthy analysis of Justice Department guidelines for dealing with journalists in leak investigations, the U.S. attorney general left little room for question. ”The department’s long-standing practice — both in this administration and prior administrations — has been to focus the investigation on the universe of potential leakers rather than on the reporter,” the nation’s top law enforcement officer said. “While this practice has made our job far more difficult, it represents a policy judgment that takes into account concerns that a free press not be unduly chilled in the exercise of its news-gathering function.” LINK

HEALTHCARE
The Wall Street Journal’s Patrck O’Connor and Louise Radnofsky: “Poll Finds Support Slumping for Health Law” Americans’ unease with President Barack Obama’s health-care law has intensified, just as the administration is gearing up to persuade people to sign up for some of its major provisions, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey finds. Prior Journal/NBC polls have found more people calling the health law a bad idea rather than a good one. But the number calling it a bad idea reached a high of 49% in a poll of 1,000 adults taken between May 30 and June 2, with 43% “strongly” holding that view. LINK

USA Today’s Kelly Kennedy: “Policing of Medicare fraud explodes over two years” Administration officials plan to announce the new fraud numbers Thursday as they push for more help from seniors in fighting fraud. The government has revoked the ability of 14,663 providers and suppliers to bill Medicare over the past two years — almost two and a half times the number that had been revoked in the previous two years, new Department of Health and Human Services statistics to be released Thursday show. LINK 

The Washington Times’  Tom Howell Jr.: “GOP congressman pushes for ‘patient-centered’ health law” A Georgia congressman said Wednesday that House Republicans will redouble efforts to replace President Obama’s health care law with a “patient-centered” alternative that uses tax breaks to make insurance affordable without imposing mandates on Americans. Rep. Tom Price, a Republican and a doctor, said he will introduce the “third iteration” of his bill to replace the Affordable Care Act as soon as this week. LINK

GOP
USA Today’s Susan Page: “8 firebrand GOP governors meet 2014′s political reality” They rode a Tea Party-inspired, anti-Obama wave to their statehouses. Now leaders like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker run in a whole new climate. LINK 

SENATE FARM BILL
Politico’s David Rogers: “Senate farm bill stall will be felt across Capitol” The Senate’s farm bill cloture vote Thursday morning poses a critical test for the Agriculture Committee leadership, which needs a strong showing to clear the way for passage Monday and begin to heal the breach sparked by revisions in the commodity title. Center stage is Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, who finds herself cast as the older sister charged with getting her siblings to finish their chores. But beneath her calm — few are more adept at smiling and talking at the same time — the Michigan Democrat knows her time is running short. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO
State Senator’s Wife to Sex Solicitors: ‘No More!’  LINK

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