The Note's Must-Reads for Wednesday, February 19, 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' Will Cantine, Jayce Henderson and Jordan Mazza

MINIMUM WAGE ABC News' John Parkinson: " Minimum Wage Hike Could Cost 500K Jobs, CBO Reports" While Congressional Democrats and President Obama have made increasing the federal minimum wage a top priority this year, a new report by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office finds a wage hike could result in a net job loss of about half a million workers even though it would increase wages for 16.5 million others. According to CBO, increasing the minimum wage would have two chief effects on low-wage workers: First, about 16.5 million workers would receive higher pay that would increase their family's income, and about 900,000 of those families could earn a big enough increase to eclipse the federal poverty threshold. LINK

The Washington Post's Zachery A. Goldfarb: " Minimum-Wage Hike Would Help Alleviate Poverty, But Could Kill Jobs, CBO Reports" President Obama's proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would increase earnings for 16.5 million low-wage Americans but cost the nation about 500,000 jobs, congressional budget analysts said Tuesday. About 15 percent of the nation's workforce would see wages rise under the proposal, according to the report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. In addition to the 16.5 million people who earn less than $10.10 an hour, as many as 8 million workers whose earnings hover above that level could also benefit, the report said. LINK

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan and Dave Boyer: " Minimum Wage Hike Would Kill A Half-Million Jobs: CBO" Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour will cost the U.S. economy a half-million jobs by 2016 but will substantially boost wages for most low-income workers, according to a Congressional Budget Office report released Tuesday that adds a significant hurdle to Democrats' push for an increase. Stung by the findings, the White House, which is still facing a sluggish job picture five years after the recession, scrambled for a response. It praised the nonpartisan agency's finding that low-wage workers' income would rise but said the CBO job numbers "do not reflect the overall consensus view of economists." LINK

The Hill's Erik Wasson: " CBO Report: Minimum Wage Hike To Cost 500K Jobs, Boost Income" President Obama's proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would cost 500,000 jobs in 2016, according to a report released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The report also found hiking the wage from $7.25 per hour would raise income for about 16.5 million workers by $31 billion, potentially pulling nearly 1 million people out of poverty. The White House and economic groups on the left immediately pushed back at the CBO's conclusions on jobs even as they hailed the findings on poverty, saying its conclusions on jobs ran counter to other research. "CBO's estimates of the impact of raising the minimum wage on employment does not reflect the current consensus view of economists," Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Jason Furman wrote in a blog post. "The bulk of academic studies, have concluded that the effects on employment of minimum wage increases in the range now under consideration are likely to be small to nonexistent." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Eric Morath, Damian Paletta and Carol E. Lee: " Raising Minimum Wage Reduces Jobs, Poverty, Study Says" President Barack Obama's quest to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would eliminate about 500,000 jobs by 2016 but increase pay for millions of Americans and lift nearly a million out of poverty, a Congressional Budget Office report found. The estimates released Tuesday by the nonpartisan budget office add fuel to the debate among economists and politicians about the impact of raising the minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour. The report nodded to economic arguments made by liberals and conservatives, predicting 16.5 million workers would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage, but also estimating that the job losses could hit a minority of workers. LINK

ENVIRONMENT The New York Times' Peter Baker and Coral Davenport: " Obama Orders New Efficiency For Big Trucks" President Obama on Tuesday ordered the development of tough new fuel standards for the nation's fleet of heavy-duty trucks as part of what aides say will be an increasingly muscular and unilateral campaign to tackle climate change through the use of the president's executive power. The new regulations, to be drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department by March 2015 and completed a year later so they are in place before Mr. Obama leaves office, are the latest in a series of actions intended to cut back on greenhouse gases without the sort of comprehensive legislation the president failed to push through Congress in his first term. LINK

Politico's Darren Goode: " Climate Billionaire Aims To Set Stage For 2016" California billionaire Tom Steyer turned heads in Washington with the news that he plans to spend $100 million to help make climate change a defining issue in this year's elections. But it gets even bigger: The hedge fund executive turned green activist might be willing to lay out even more than that eye-popping number, and he's looking to spend it in places that are also important for 2016. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Kathleen Hennessey: " Obama Seeks New Fuel Efficiency Rules To Cut Truck Pollution" President Obama moved ahead Tuesday with plans to further tighten restrictions on carbon emissions from trucks and buses, saying the new fuel efficiency rules will reduce pollution, save consumers money and help cut back on oil imports. "It's not just a win-win, it's a win-win-win," Obama said in remarks delivered from a loading dock at a grocery distribution center. Obama ordered the Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department to issue a first draft of the regulations for medium- and heavy-duty trucks by March 2015 and to finalize the rules a year later. LINK

UKRAINE VIOLENCE USA Today's Aamer Madhani: " Biden Expresses 'Grave Concern' Over Ukraine Violence" With deadly protests spreading in the Ukraine, Vice President Biden called Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Tuesday to express "grave concern" about the violence, according to the White House. Biden, who has been regular contact with Ukrainian authorities since the start of the unrest in Kiev, told Yankovych that the U.S. condemns violence by any side. But the vice president also emphasized that "the government bears special responsibility to deescalate the situation," according to a White House statement. LINK

The Washington Post's Anne Gearan: " U.S. Is 'Appalled' By Deadly Violence In Ukraine, But No Action Is Announced" The United States condemned an explosion of street violence in Ukraine that killed at least 15 people Tuesday and said the government bears primary responsibility for restoring calm. Vice President Biden called Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich to express what the White House termed "grave concern," and called on the embattled leader to pull back government forces after a day of chaotic street clashes and immediately resume political discussions with opponents. LINK

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE ABC News' Shushanna Walshe and Josh Margolin: " Former Chris Christie Aide Refuses To Hand Over Documents, Calls Investigation Political" New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's former campaign manager told lawmakers investigating the George Washington Bridge lane closures scandal today that their probe is invalid and political and he will not hand over the subpoenaed documents under any circumstances. The New Jersey legislative committee probing the issue authorized motions last week to try and force Bill Stepien to turn over subpoenaed documents, but Stepien's attorney has issued a forceful response, again refusing to turn over any of the requested documents. LINK

Bloomberg's Terrence Dopp and David Voreacos: " Christie's Ex-Campaign Manager Rebuffs Revised Subpoena" The former campaign manager for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie won't comply with a pared-down subpoena issued by a legislative committee probing intentional traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge, his lawyer said. The new subpoena, seeking documents from William Stepien about traffic tie-ups last September, doesn't overcome his objection that handing over information violates his constitutional right against self-incrimination, attorney Kevin Marino wrote today to a joint state Senate-Assembly panel. "I can think of no lawful way the committee can obtain documents responsive to its subpoena," Marino said in a letter to Reid Schar, special counsel to the committee. "His principled objections to the subpoena raise significant legal issues that are no less valid because they here arise in the context of a politically charged investigation." LINK

PRESIDENT OBAMA The Washington Post's David Nakamura: " As Obama Heads To Meeting With Canada And Mexico, Several Agenda Items Are Stalled" President Obama is likely to face difficult questions at a summit Wednesday from his Mexican and Canadian counterparts on a slew of thorny issues that have been stalled by U.S. domestic politics. Progress on the Keystone XL oil-sands pipeline, immigration reform and a major new Asian trade pact will be high on the agenda when Obama attends the one-day North American leaders meeting in Toluca, Mexico. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO " New Plan To Rescue Captured US Soldier From Taliban" LINK " President Obama Speaks About Fuel Efficiency Standards" LINK

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