The Note’s Must-Reads for Friday, January 17, 2014

By Will Cantine

Jan 17, 2014 4:27am

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’ Will Cantine, Jayce Henderson and Jordan Mazza  

CONGRESS
ABC News’ Abby D. Philip: “Greener Pastures Await Retiring Members in the Congressional Afterlife” With each passing day, more members of Congress seem to be heading for the exits.  So far in this Congress, 15 members of the House have retired, a loss of a combined more than 240 years of service by the end of this year. In the Senate, seven members have announced that they’re leaving official Washington, a loss of more than 200 years. LINK

SEN. COBURN STEPPING DOWN
The Washington Times’ Stephen Dinan: “Oklahoma’s Sen. Coburn, Battling Cancer, Stepping Down Before Term Ends” Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican who has carved out a niche as Congress’s top waste-watcher, announced late Thursday that he will leave the Senate at the end of this year — a full two years before his term is up. Mr. Coburn has been battling cancer and was scheduled to have key tests next month. In a statement, he said he decided it was time to shift his focus to his family. LINK

USA Today’s Catalina Camia: “GOP Sen. Tom Coburn To Leave Congress At End Of Year” Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma announced Thursday night he will cut short his current term and leave Congress at the end of the year as he battles cancer. Coburn, 65, is one of the Senate’s leading fiscal conservatives and known for his zeal in rooting out wasteful government spending. In a statement, Coburn played down his health issues and said he had always intended to serve no more than two terms or 12 years. LINK

The Hill’s Jessica Taylor: “Okla. Sen. Coburn To Retire At End Of 2014” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) will resign at the end of the year, foregoing the final two years of his term and setting in motion a special election to replace him. The Republican senator has been battling a recurrence of prostate cancer but said in a statement his decision to leave Congress early wasn’t due to his health. ”Serving as Oklahoma’s senator has been, and continues to be, one of the great privileges and blessings of my life. But, after much prayer and consideration, I have decided that I will leave my Senate seat at the end of this Congress,” Coburn said in a statement late Thursday evening. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Mascaro and Michael A. Memoli: “Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn Says He’ll Retire At End Of The Year” Republican Sen. Tom Coburn said late Thursday that he will leave Congress at the end of this session, two years before his term expires. The Oklahoma senator who pioneered budget slashing before the ascent of the tea party has been battling cancer, but had always said he would limit his time in office. His departure will set up a special election in the Republican-heavy state. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Kristina Peterson: “Coburn Set To Retire From U.S. Senate” Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) will leave the Senate at the end of 2014, the lawmaker said in a statement late Thursday, exiting two years before the end of his current term. The lawmaker has been battling a recurrence of cancer, but said Thursday his health had not pushed him out of office. He had previously said he didn’t plan to run for another term in 2016. “This decision isn’t about my health, my prognosis or even my hopes and desires,” Mr. Coburn said in a written statement Thursday night. “As a citizen, I am now convinced that I can best serve my own children and grandchildren by shifting my focus elsewhere.” LINK

Politico’s Alexander Burns and Burgess Everett: “Tom Coburn Won’t Serve Rest Of Term” Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn confirmed Thursday night that he will not serve out his full Senate term and intends to step down after 2014 because of deepening health problems. In a statement, Coburn acknowledged that he is battling a serious recurrence of cancer and said he would continue to fight for his priorities during the remainder of his time in office. “Carolyn and I have been touched by the encouragement we’ve received from people across the state regarding my latest battle against cancer. But this decision isn’t about my health, my prognosis or even my hopes and desires,” Coburn said. “As a citizen, I am now convinced that I can best serve my own children and grandchildren by shifting my focus elsewhere.” LINK

The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe and Paul Kane: “Tom Coburn Announces Plans To Retire” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), a doctor and outspoken fiscal conservative, announced late Thursday that he will step down after the current congressional session ends early next year. Coburn has been suffering from a recurrence of prostate cancer and has hinted privately to reporters and in a published interview last week that his health troubles might force him to leave office before his current term expires in early 2017. He had already announced that he would not run for reelection, meaning his decision will have him exit two years sooner than previously planned. LINK

The New York Times’ Jeremy W. Peters: “Coburn To Leave Senate At Year’s End” Senator Tom Coburn, the Oklahoma Republican known for his blunt personality and distaste for government spending, will leave office at the end of the year as he battles cancer. Mr. Coburn made his announcement late Thursday night. Though he has been treated for repeated bouts with prostate cancer, he said that his decision to step down — two years before his term expires in 2016 — was not about his health or his prognosis. LINK

NSA
USA Today’s Aamer Madhani: “Obama Faces Criticism On Both Sides Ahead Of NSA Speech” President Obama will wade into treacherous waters Friday when he delivers his much-anticipated address on government surveillance. Already the knives are out on both sides.  Privacy activists worry that he won’t go far enough to curtail government snooping. Conservative national security experts want him to reject all recommendations for change; a member of Obama’s own review panel is expressing disappointment over reports that the president will reject one of the panel’s key recommendations. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Carol E. Lee and Siobahn Gorman: “Obama Wrestles With Final Details of Overhaul Plan For NSA” President Barack Obama’s address on government surveillance Friday will be a key step in his re-examination of post-Sept. 11 security practices, a process White House officials say is designed to restructure terrorism policies and shore up their credibility before he leaves office. Mr. Obama, in a highly anticipated speech that follows a six-month review of U.S. spying programs, is expected to extend privacy protections to non-U.S. citizens and announce measures to continuously evaluate sensitive surveillance, particularly involving foreign leaders, people familiar with the plan say. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ David Lauter and Ken Dilanian: “U.S. Intelligence Gathering Not Likely To Change Much” “I already won,” Edward Snowden declared recently about the reaction to his disclosures of National Security Agency secrets. But as President Obama prepares to unveil new recommendations and rules for government surveillance in a major speech Friday, it is the nation’s intelligence agencies that appear to be coming out on top. Officials said Obama, who discussed the topic with British Prime Minister David Cameron in a telephone call Thursday, was still making decisions about the proposals he will offer. But the president already has made it clear that his objective is not to fundamentally change what the NSA does so much as to make Americans, and U.S. allies, more comfortable with it. LINK

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE
Bloomberg’s Terrence Dopp and Stacie Sherman: “New Jersey Panel Issues 20 New Subpoenas In Bridge Probe” A New Jersey legislative panel investigating politically motivated lane closures at the George Washington Bridge issued 20 more subpoenas, as the probe widens into the four days of tie-ups in Fort Lee. Assemblyman John Wisniewski, a Sayreville Democrat leading an investigative committee in his chamber, said the panel issued the subpoenas to 17 individuals and three organizations seeking e-mails and documents related to the closures. He didn’t identify the targets, saying he would after they had acknowledged being served. LINK

The New York Daily News’ Edgar Sandoval and Larry McShane: “20 Subpoenas Issued In Response To ‘Bridgegate’ Scandal, One Of Which Likely Includes A Trusted Member Of Gov. Christie’s Inner Circle” A state investigative committee issued 20 “Bridgegate” subpoenas Thursday to targets that likely include one-trusted members of Gov. Chris Christie’s inner circle. But exactly who was summoned to appear before the state Assembly’s committee remained a secret as officials declined to identify their targets. Committee chair John Wisniewski said he didn’t want the people subpoenaed to see their names in the media before their lawyers are served with the court papers — most likely by Friday. LINK

The Washington Times’ Stephen Dinan: “New Jersey Lawmakers Probe Christie’s Handling Of Bridgegate” The New Jersey General Assembly voted Thursday to open a special investigation into Gov. Chris Christie’s handling of the bridge-closure scandal, setting up a committee that immediately issued 20 subpoenas. Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the chairman of the investigative committee, wouldn’t disclose who got the subpoenas, saying they would only be announced after all 20 persons were served. “This is the next logical step in our investigation into this threat to public safety and abuse of government power,” the Democrat said. “We have many unanswered questions about what happened here, who was involved and why. I am confident these subpoenas will shed more light on this situation and I look forward to cooperation from all parties.” LINK

USA Today’s Marth T. Moore: “Christie’s Florida Trip Will Test Impact Of Scandal” Gov. Chris Christie heads to Florida this weekend to woo Republican donors — and find out whether he can shake off the subpoenas and scandal back home in New Jersey. Christie, the new chairman of the Republican Governors Association, is set to appear at several fundraisers for Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the RGA, which will defend 20 GOP incumbents this year. But more critical to Christie’s own political career is likely to be a gathering Sunday at the North Palm Beach home of Ken Langone, the Home Depot founder and major GOP donor who wants Christie to run for president in 2016. LINK

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