The Note's Must-Reads for Monday, February 17, 2014

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' Jayce Henderson, Will Cantine and Jordan Mazza

DEBT CEILING The Hill's Peter Schroeder: " With debt deal, relief on Wall St." Wall Street is greeting the drama-free hike to the debt ceiling with a sigh of relief. Ever since Republicans took control of the House in 2010, the financial sector has had to keep a close eye on Congress when it comes to the borrowing limit, with fiscal standoffs suddenly commonplace. But on Wednesday, a Congress that has made a habit of pushing the debt limit fight to the final days approved a borrowing hike with plenty of time and relatively little suspense. LINK

HEALTH CARE The New York Times' Ashley Parker: " On Health Act, Democrats Run To Mend What G.O.P. Aims To End" The ad supporting Representative Ann Kirkpatrick, Democrat of Arizona, opens with a montage of Americana Main Streets, followed by the green fields and dirt roads of the West - the "small towns and wide-open spaces," the narrator explains, where Ms. Kirkpatrick "listens and learns." His voice remains tranquil even as he turns to a more cutting message about President Obama's signature health care law: "It's why she blew the whistle on the disastrous health care website, calling it 'stunning ineptitude' and worked to fix it," he says, before adding, "Ann Kirkpatrick: Seeing what's wrong, doing what's right." LINK

MARRIAGE EQUALITY The Los Angeles Times' David Savage: " Same-sex marriage moving swiftly back toward Supreme Court" The legal campaign for marriage equality is picking up speed, moving at a pace that has surprised even longtime advocates and increasing the likelihood of a definitive Supreme Court test as early as next year. Efforts by some lawyers to plan a careful strategy for which cases to push forward to the high court have largely been put aside amid a rush of lower-court rulings striking down bans on same-sex marriage. The most recent came Thursday in Virginia, the first such ruling in the South. LINK

F-35 FIGHTER PLANE Politico's Andrea Drusch: " F-35 Fighter Plane Cost Overruns Detailed" The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is $163 billion over budget, seven years behind schedule, and will cost taxpayers about twice as much as sending a man to the moon. But according to Pentagon officials, the Lockheed Martin-built plane is light years ahead of its competition from other countries, and there's no turning back on the project now. In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" that aired Sunday night, the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer Frank Kendall called the $400 billion purchase "acquisition malpractice" that strayed from the long-standing "fly-before-you-buy" rule. LINK

IMMIGRATION The Wall Street Journal's Jonathan House: " McCain Presses for Immigration Overhaul This Year" Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) Sunday rejected the notion that an overhaul of immigration laws is off the table this year. "I won't give up," said Mr. McCain, who has long supported overhauling the nation's immigration system. LINK

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan: " High rate of approval for 'dreamers' vexes critics of immigration reform" The test run for immigration legalization - the 2012 program to grant tentative legal status to young illegal immigrants - has exposed some serious problems that likely would need to be solved if Congress approves a broad immigration reform bill creating a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 12 million in the country illegally. From exceptionally high approval rates - 97 percent of all applicants have been given legal status - to accusations that the government gave the illegal immigrants' applications priority over those of legal immigrants, the trial run shows some of the difficulties in administering any legalization. LINK

GOP ABC News' Rick Klein: " How a Fiscal Truce Rekindled Republicans' Civil War" GOP leaders on Capitol Hill were looking for a fiscal truce. But they closed out the week having spurred another round in the Republican Party's long-running civil war. House Speaker John Boehner was bearing the scars of the endless budget battles of the past three years when he announced that he would give up trying to get anything in return for an increase to the nation's borrowing limit. LINK

STIMULUS USA Today's Gregory Korte: " Five years since stimulus: Many fraud cases, few losses" Despite thousands of fraud cases, the financial losses under the 2009 Recovery Act have been just a fraction of what the government expected. Five years after President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law, investigators have proven 1,268 cases of fraud in the $840 billion stimulus program, resulting in $57 million in recovered funds. LINK

MODERNIZATION The Washington Post's Lisa Rein: " Group Tries To Slow Federal Government's Move Away From Paper To The Web" s the Obama administration pushes to do more business over the Internet, finally seeking to close the technology gap with the private sector, the digital makeover is running into a dogged opponent called Consumers for Paper Options. The group is working the halls of Congress in closed-door meetings, underwriting research favorable to its position and mounting a news media campaign in an effort to preserve Washington as the capital of paper - and slow the move away from printed checks, forms and other paper communication. LINK

FOOD STAMPS The New York Daily News' Dan Friedman: " Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, other Democrats to ask for delay of law cutting food stamps" Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and 71 other congressional Democrats are asking the agriculture secretary to delay a new law cutting food stamps for hundreds of thousands of Americans. "Our states need time to adjust their policies to accommodate this drastic cut and roll out the changes seamlessly," the lawmakers say in a letter they plan to send Tuesday to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO " 'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable" LINK

BOOKMARKS The Note: LINK ABC News Politics: LINK George Stephanopoulos' Blog: LINK ABC News on Twitter: @ThisWeekABC | @ABCPolitics ABC News Mobile: LINK ABC News Apps: LINK ABC News YouTube: LINK

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