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The Note's Must-Reads for Tuesday, July 16, 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' Carrie Halperin, Jordan Mazza, Amanda VanAllen and Will Cantine

CONGRESS

ABC News' Jeff Zeleny: "Harry Reid Vows to Break Filibuster Rule in This 'New Era'" Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today that he was not being hypocritical by pushing for a change in Senate filibuster rules that he strongly decried eight years ago, declaring, "It's a new era." "It's a totally different world we live in," Reid said, accusing Republicans of being so entrenched in their obstruction to some of President Obama's top nominees that the Senate and other parts of the government have become paralyzed. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Kristina Peterson and Corey Boles: "No Breakthrough on Filibuster" The Senate moved closer Monday night to a clash that could poison relations between the parties and stall a range of legislative business, after an unusual, closed-door meeting of nearly all 100 senators failed to resolve a dispute over President Barack Obama's executive-branch nominees. Senators emerged from the meeting, considered a last-ditch effort to avoid the confrontation, saying they had failed to reach an agreement on how to overhaul the rules for considering nominations to Mr. Obama's cabinet and other executive-branch positions. LINK

USA Today's Susan Davis: " Senate still on path for Tuesday 'nuclear option' vote" The U.S. Senate is going nuclear. Barring a last-minute deal, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., made clear he will move forward Tuesday with a controversial maneuver - known as the "nuclear option" - to change the chamber's rules to make it easier to confirm President Obama's executive branch nominees. LINK

The Hill's Alexander Bolton: " Joint caucus meeting ends with no deal to avoid the nuclear option " Senate Democrats and Republicans left a rare joint caucus meeting Monday evening without a deal to prevent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) from going "nuclear" and changing the chamber's rules. Some lawmakers expressed hope Reid and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would strike a deal by Tuesday morning but no agreement appeared in sight shortly before 10 p.m. Monday. LINK

Bloomberg's Kathleen Hunter and Laura Litvan: " Senate Nears Showdown Nominee Votes as Leaders Seek Deal" The Senate is nearing showdown votes today over seven presidential nominees even as leaders seek a last-minute deal to avoid a change to the chamber's filibuster rules threatened by Democrats. Senators reported no agreement after Democrats and Republicans met privately for three and a half hours last night in Washington on the nominations that include Richard Cordray to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and nominees for the National Labor Relations Board. Republicans have pledged to block them. LINK

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN The Washington Post's Philip Rucker and Sari Horwitz: " Civil Rights Charges Against Zimmerman Would Be Difficult, Justice Officials Say" Current and former Justice Department officials said Monday that bringing civil rights charges against George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17-year-old in Florida, would be extremely difficult and may not be possible. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. vowed to continue a federal investigation of the matter, but other officials said in interviews that the government may not be able to charge Zimmerman with a federal hate crime because it's not clear that he killed Martin because of his race. LINK

The Hill's Jordy Yager and Justin Sink: " Obama won't get into Zimmerman case" The White House said Monday that President Obama will not be a part of the Justice Department's deliberations over whether to pursue federal hate crime charges against George Zimmerman, distancing itself from a decision fraught with the potential for political fallout. Attorney General Eric Holder offered no signal Monday about whether the department was leaning toward pursuing a case against Zimmerman, the Florida man found not guilty over the weekend of murdering Trayvon Martin. LINK

IMMIGRATION REFORM

The Boston Globe's Noah Bierman: " Hope for broad action on immigration dims" Of the issues deemed most likely to break through congressional sclerosis this year, immigration policy overhaul once topped the list. But now a comprehensive Senate plan that passed with bipartisan support is dead in the House, casting serious doubt on further action on one of the nation's most vexing issues. House conservatives have balked, saying the Senate version is too ambitious and too lenient. LINK

SENATE CONTROL The Washington Times' Seth McLaughlin: " Race to take control of Senate in 2014 'pretty close right now'" Republican hopes for retaking the Senate in 2014 improved substantially this weekend when Democrats' best option declined to run for Montana's open seat. Democrats hold a 54 to 46 seat edge in the Senate, but Republicans are now considered the front-runners to capture the seats of retiring Democratic senators in Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia. LINK

POTUS

The New York Times' Peter Baker: " In Second Term, Obama Is Seen As Using 'Hidden Hand' Approach": In the nearly two weeks since Egypt's military seized power, President Obama has promoted a better federal bureaucracy, given a medal to George Lucas of "Star Wars" fame and had former President George Bush to the White House for lunch. What he has not done is publicly address the violent upheaval in Cairo. LINK

MILITARY SEXUAL ASSAULT

Politico's Darren Samuelsohn: " Rand Paul, Ted Cruz Join Kirsten Gillibrand On Military Sexual Assault" Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have joined an upstart effort to remove the chain of command from military sexual assault cases, POLITICO has learned. The tea party favorites give the bill's lead sponsor, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, critical conservative cover as she battles the Pentagon and hawks in both parties on her proposal to create a new prosecution system for major military crimes. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO

"Obama, George H.W. Bush Salute Volunteers Dedicated to Public Service" LINK

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