Obama Working Overtime

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • NEXT UP IN THE 'YEAR OF ACTION': President Obama today takes steps to expand overtime pay for workers. This afternoon, the president will sign a presidential memorandum on modernizing overtime protections for workers, ABC's MARY BRUCE notes. "The overtime rules that establish the 40-hour workweek, a linchpin of the middle class, have eroded over the years. As a result, millions of salaried workers have been left without the protections of overtime or sometimes even the minimum wage," according to the White House. Today, the president is directing the Secretary of Labor "to begin the process of addressing overtime pay protections to help make sure millions of workers are paid a fair wage for a hard day's work and rules are simplified for employers and workers alike."
  • WHITE HOUSE - OBAMACARE NOT A FACTOR IN FLORIDA LOSS. Democrats may have lost the first congressional election of 2014, but the White House insists the Democratic loss had nothing to do with Obamacare, ABC's JONATHAN KARL reports. "Any fair assessment of the role that the debate about the Affordable Care Act played reaches the conclusion that at best for the Republicans, it was a draw," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said of the special election to replace Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., who died last year. So why did the better-known, better-funded Democratic candidate, Alex Sink, lose to an unimpressive Republican candidate who constantly hammered her over her support for the President's Affordable Care Act? "It's a race where, again, Republicans held the seat for 58 years, where they routinely won that seat by 30 or more points," Carney said yesterday. "And last night, they won by less than 2 points. So it is what it is." Left unsaid: It was also a district that Barack Obama carried in both 2008 and 2012. It was also a race Democrats expected to win. http://abcn.ws/1ieD3Tc


JOHN KERRY TO MEET RUSSIAN COUNTERPART FRIDAY, BUT WHY NOW? After first rebuffing Russian invitations to meet, Secretary of State John Kerry is set to huddle with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday in London, England, to talk about the turmoil in Ukraine, notes ABC's ALI WEINBERG. The White House indicated yesterday it was time for the two nations' top diplomats to sit down together again - even if, after weeks of talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin hasn't shown any signs of agreeing to U.S. and European demands that he pull back his military presence in the Ukrainian region of Crimea. But why now? Even as Kerry rejected over the weekend an invitation to visit Lavrov in Moscow, U.S. officials held out the possibility of a face-to-face meeting if Russia indicated it was willing to consider participating in a so-called "contact group" made up of European Union countries that would help mediate a resolution in Ukraine. "The point is we're not going to just walk into something where they are just going to say, 'No, no, no, no, no,' to everything and we have traveled all the way there," a senior State Department official told reporters last week. http://abcn.ws/1qxkkWN

DID DARRELL ISSA BOTCH LOIS LERNER'S IRS CONTEMPT PROCEEDINGS? Rep. Elijah Cummings, who sparred passionately with House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa during a public hearing last week, is questioning whether Issa's actions to end the hearing may have let former IRS official Lois Lerner off the hook from potential criminal contempt proceedings, reports ABC's JOHN PARKINSON. Cummings continued his showdown with Issa in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner today that argues Lerner's potential prosecution would likely be dismissed because of a procedural technicality if the House were to move forward with a resolution of contempt. In a memo sent to Cummings, D-Md., today, Morton Rosenberg of the Congressional Research Service concludes that "requisite due process protections" mandated by the Supreme Court to prosecute a witness in contempt of Congress "have not been met." Rosenberg notes that Issa committed an error when he adjourned the hearing last week without making it expressly clear to Lerner that refusing to answer questions would definitely lead to criminal contempt proceedings. http://abcn.ws/1nSgkxM

MINNESOTA LAWMAKERS BRING HOTDISH CONTEST TO DC. What's the one thing that can bring together Democratic Sen. Al Franken and Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann? A Minnesota hotdish, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ reports. For the fourth year in a row on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Minnesota lawmakers competed in the annual Minnesota Congressional Hotdish Competition, which was organized by Franken. A hotdish is considered a Minnesota delicacy - basically their fancy term for what most people call a casserole. "In Washington, you say, 'Hotdish' to someone, they go, 'What?' and then you say 'Casserole,' and they go, "Oh, OK," Franken said to laughter. All 10 lawmakers representing Minnesota participated in the hotdish-off. The requirements: Each hot dish must contain a starch, a protein and a canned liquid. The hotdishes were scored in three categories - taste, texture and consistency, and Minnesota components. Two former congressmen from Minnesota - Republican Rep. Vin Weber and Democratic Rep. Gerry Sikorski - served as official judges in the blind taste test. http://abcn.ws/1hdEfTY

-BACHMANN'S LAST STAND: This year, Bachmann, who will retire at the end of the year, was convinced she would win in her final contest. "I think clearly it's been fixed. Year after year after year, I've been shut out, frozen out, you might say, and so I think this year is the ticket. I've crossed my fingers and this will be the year," Bachmann told ABC News. "I'm 100 percent Norwegian, so there's no one here who could even compete in my league when it comes to hotdish. I've been a mother to 28 children so clearly I get cooking hotdish and feeding it to hungry mouths." Bachmann's hotdish was called the "Polar Vortex-Mex Hot Dish," a spicy mix of beef, pork and chorizo. But the congresswoman failed to take home the prize. Instead, Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., took the grand prize for the second year in a row with his "Turkey Trot Tator Tot Hotdish." VIDEO: http://abcn.ws/1hdEfTY

CAN ZACH GALIFIANAKIS AND LANCE BASS SAVE OBAMACARE? It could have been a really gloomy week for the White House. Obama administration officials were forced to admit yesterday that the Affordable Care Act has so far fallen far short of its goalof ensuring that 40 percent of new health care enrollees are millennials, ABC's ERIN DOOLEY notes. (So far, the 18-34-year-old set represents just one-quarter of new signups.) Enter Zach Galifianakis and Lance Bass. In what appears to be the most successful effort of its kind, President Obama's deadpan "Between Two Ferns" interview with Galifianakis appears to be driving the demographic to the site in record numbers. FunnyorDie.com was the number one referring website to healthcare.gov yesterday - beating out Google, Whitehouse.gov, and Twitter, an administration spokeswoman announced. And just yesterday, pop singer Lance Bass, who in 2001 founded a nonprofit to bring healthcare to low-income children, was invited to the White House to discuss healthcare reform. The Galifianakis interview and Bass's visit underscore the fact that White House officials believe - and have for some time - they need all the star power (and unorthodox ideas) they can get in order to rescue the president's signature legislative achievement, especially when it comes to selling Obamacare to hard-to-reach 18- to 34-year-olds. The White House has drafted celebrities, professional athletes, adorable animals, and even geeks to tout the president's signature law. Here's a look back: http://abcn.ws/1lBj7dh


KOCH-BACKED GROUP GOES ON THE AIR AGAINST PRYOR. Americans for Prosperity is making it clear they're going in big and early when it comes to the Arkansas Senate race, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ reports. The Koch-backed conservative group is out with a new ad buy today against Sen. Mark Pryor - $700,000, a huge amount for this early in the race and for a state like Arkansas. Last month, they placed a $606,000 ad buy against Pryor. The ad highlights the story of an Arkansas woman named Wanda, whose healthcare plan was cancelled under the Affordable Care Act. WATCH: http://youtu.be/YfQhtav0HJ8


SPEAKER BOEHNER AND O'BAMA DO LUNCH. Tomorrow House Speaker John Boehner will host President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Enda Kenny at his annual St. Patrick's Day luncheon. The Speaker's office passes along a new video with rare photos of Ronald Reagan, Tip O'Neill and others at past St. Patrick's Day events. @SpeakerBoehner will give a rare inside look at Friday's luncheon on Instagram &Twitter using the hashtag #FriendsOfIreland. http://youtu.be/7mZSCP4sljQ


@EJDionne: Pope Francis was elected a year ago today. He's changed the Catholic Church and how people view it. My column http://wapo.st/1glXXPt

@DLeonhardt: What is The Upshot - our new NYT venture? I've posted something of a mission statement on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/UpshotNYT

@rollcall: Rep. @john_dingell in Hospital for 'Minimally Invasive' Heart Procedure http://blogs.rollcall.com/218/dingell-in-hospital-for-heart-procedure/ … #alert

@bterris: he's helped clinton deal with scandal, gotten judith miller out of jail, but can Bob Bennett save Mayor Vincent Gray? http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/bob-bennett-the-dc-lawyer-who-makes-it-his-business-to-know-everyone/2014/03/12/f0be54b8-aa09-11e3-b61e-8051b8b52d06_story.html?tid=hpModule_d39b60e8-8691-11e2-9d71-f0feafdd1394&hpid=z12 …

@AmericanU: The Eagles are headed to the big dance! Congratulations @AU_MBasketball on being Patriot League champions! #LetsGoAU

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