The Note's Must-Reads for Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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' Jayce Henderson, Amanda VanAllen and Jordan Mazza

FEDERAL BUDGET ABC News' Jonathan Karl: " Sheriff Joe Biden Avoids Furloughs" The automatic federal spending cuts known as the sequester are forcing thousands of government employees - from air traffic controllers to White House staff - to take unpaid days off. As White House Press Secretary Jay Carney put it, "everyone's affected by this." Well, maybe not everyone. LINK

The Hills' Justin Sink: " Obama, female senators focus on economy, budget" President Obama hosted the 20 female U.S. senators for halibut, peach pie and a two-hour discussion of the economy and the federal budget Tuesday at the White House. "The president enjoyed continuing his discussion with the senators about a wide range of items on the agenda, including working together to find common ground on budget issues and new initiatives to grow our economy, create jobs and strengthen the middle class," a White House official said. LINK

IMMIGRATION The Los Angeles Times' Lisa Mascaro: " Lawmakers cite Boston bombings in questions on immigration bill" On the third day of hearings on a bill to overhaul the immigration system, senators took a break from partisan sniping and grilled Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on whether the Boston bombings had exposed shortcomings in the nation's immigration security apparatus. Conservative Republicans have tried to slow the Senate bill since two brothers, ethnic Chechens granted political asylum from Russia as minors with their family, were identified as the suspects in last week's bombings. LINK

The New York Daily News' Joseph Straw: " Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says her agency knew of Russia trip by alleged Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev" The government knew that alleged Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev traveled to Russia last year, but his return six months later was not flagged because an FBI alert on him had expired, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Tuesday, "The system pinged when he was leaving the United States. By the time he returned all investigations… had been closed," Napolitano told the Senate Judiciary Commitee. LINK

S.E.C. The New York Times' Nicholas Confessore: " S.E.C. Gets Plea: Force Companies to Disclose Donations" A loose coalition of Democratic elected officials, shareholder activists and pension funds has flooded the Securities and Exchange Commission with calls to require publicly traded corporations to disclose to shareholders all of their political donations, a move that could transform the growing world of secret campaign spending. S.E.C. officials have indicated that they could propose a new disclosure rule by the end of April, setting up a major battle with business groups that oppose the proposal and are preparing for a fierce counterattack if the agency's staff moves ahead. Two S.E.C. commissioners have taken the unusual step of weighing in already, with Daniel Gallagher, a Republican, saying in a speech that the commission had been "led astray" by "politically charged issues." LINK

SEN. MAX BAUCUS The Washington Post's Paul Kane and Lori Montgomery: " Baucus retirement opens way for sweeping legislative changes" en. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), one of the most influential congressional figures of his era, announced his intention Tuesday to retire, a move that could produce sweeping changes in the political and legislative landscape over the next two years. The announcement could mark the beginning of one of the most consequential periods in Baucus's long public career, because he pledged to devote the rest of his time in Washington to pursuing a comprehensive rewrite of the federal tax code, a long-shot effort that many see as key to breaking the fiscal gridlock that has paralyzed Washington in recent years. LINK

Politico's Manu Raju and Steven Sloan: " Max Baucus locked in bitter feuds with party" He has long been one of the most influential members of Congress, sitting atop the powerful Senate Finance Committee and occupying a seat critical for the Democratic Senate majority. But for Sen. Max Baucus, power has its limits. The 34-year veteran Montana Democrat - who announced suddenly on Tuesday that he wouldn't seek reelection in 2014 - has been locked in a series of tense feuds with the Senate Democratic Caucus and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). LINK

GUN DEBATE Bloomberg's Heidi Przybyla & Michael McDonald: " Accused Bombers' Firefight With Police Revives Gun Debate" Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev's name on a U.S. government travel-watch list should have kept him from boarding an airplane without some scrutiny, yet he could purchase semi-automatic handguns with none. Local and federal law enforcement officials either don't know or aren't yet saying how Tsarnaev and his brother, accused of bombing the Boston Marathon, obtained the guns they later used to kill a university police officer and critically injure a mass-transit officer. They didn't apply for Massachusetts gun permits, as required by state law. LINK PRESIDENT OBAMA The Wall Street Journal's Peter Nicholas and Kristina Peterson: "President's Party Frets About His Powers of Persuasion" Unnerved by the defeat of the gun bill, some Democrats are growing pessimistic that President Barack Obama can muster the votes needed to pass large parts of his second-term agenda, unless voters change the makeup of Congress in the 2014 election. LINK

BUSH PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY USA Today's Catalina Camina: "Gov. Christie to attend Bush library dedication" New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is heading to Dallas for the dedication of George W. Bush's presidential library. LINK

BOSTON SENATE RACE The Boston Globe's Jim O'Sullivan: "In debate, Lynch hits Markey over national security votes" Representative Stephen F. Lynch on Monday used the first US Senate debate since the Boston Marathon bombings to aggressively challenge Representative Edward J. Markey's vote against forming the joint homeland security task force, which responded to the attacks, and his opposition to other key security measures. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO " Mac Baucus to Retire from Senate" LINK

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