The Note's Must-Reads for Tuesday, February 11, 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

STATE DINNER The Los Angeles Times' Kathleen Hennessey and Lalita Clozel: " State dinner for France's Hollande may get awkward after his breakup" President Obama's first state dinner was memorable for who showed up uninvited. His sixth, a high-glitz affair for the president of France scheduled for Tuesday, may be remembered for who was initially invited but did not attend. Obama opened the White House doors Monday to French President Francois Hollande - but not to his former first lady, journalist Valerie Trierweiler. Hollande's first state visit to the U.S. comes after he announced his breakup with Trierweiler amid a swirl of reports linking him to an actress. LINK

The Washington Times' Ben Wolfgang: " Big-government leaders-Obama, Hollande-meet Jefferson" More than a decade after Congress served up "freedom fries" as a not-so-subtle dig at French unwillingness to fight in Iraq, analysts say there has been a "role reversal" on the global stage as France leads the way in international hot spots while the U.S. sometimes assumes the unusual role of reluctant superpower. As French President Francois Hollande began his three-day stay in the U.S. on Monday, the relationship between the two countries - which dates back to the American Revolution but in 2003 and 2004 was strained to the breaking point - has recovered, and the two traditional allies again enjoy seemingly unbreakable ties. LINK

HEALTH CARE ABC News' Chris Good: " Small Businesses Get One-Year Reprieve From Obamacare 'Employer Mandate'" The Obama administration has once again delayed a major provision of the president's signature health care law. Small businesses will get a one-year break from Obamacare's controversial "employer mandate," the requirement that businesses must provide health care coverage if they employ more than 50 workers at more than 30 hours per week, the U.S. Treasury announced today. "We think the phase-in approach really is a way to administer the law better and enhance overall compliance with the law," an administration official told reporters on a conference call. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Louise Randofsky and Theo Francis: " Health-Law Mandate Put Off Again" Most employers won't face a fine next year if they fail to offer workers health insurance, the Obama administration said Monday, in the latest big delay of the health-law rollout. The Treasury Department, in regulations outlining the Affordable Care Act, said employers with 50 to 99 full-time workers won't have to comply with the law's requirement to provide insurance or pay a fee until 2016. Companies with more workers could avoid some penalties in 2015 if they showed they were offering coverage to at least 70% of full-time workers. LINK

USA Today's Kelly Kennedy: " Another Part Of The Affordable Care Act Delayed For A Year" The Obama administration Monday announced another delay in the implementation of the requirement that employers provide health insurance for their employees. Businesses with more than 50 employees but fewer than 100 will have an extra year to phase in health care coverage of employees who work more than 30 hours a week, Treasury Department officials said. Employers with more than 100 employers will be subject to employee-coverage rules under the Affordable Care Act beginning in January 2015. The mandate to provide insurance had already been delayed one year. LINK

The Hill's Ben Goad: " ObamaCare's employer mandate pushed back for the second time" The Obama administration on Monday announced it is delaying the employer mandate in ObamaCare until 2016 for some businesses. This delay in the mandate - the second so far - would only apply to businesses with between 50 and 99 employees, who would have until January 2016 to decide whether to offer insurance to their employees or pay a penalty. Businesses would also be barred from cutting their workers in order to fall under the threshold. LINK

The New York Times' Robert Pear: " Further Delays for Employers in Health Law" The Obama administration announced on Monday that it would postpone enforcement of a federal requirement for medium-size employers to provide health insurance to employees and allow larger employers more flexibility in how they provide coverage. The delay is the latest in a series of policy changes, extensions and clarifications by the administration, and it drew a new round of criticism from congressional Republicans, whose scorching attacks on the law have become a central theme in many of this year's midterm election campaigns. LINK

DEBT CEILING The Washington Post's Robert Costa and Paul Kane: " House GOP homes in on debt-ceiling plan tied to military pension benefits" House Republican leaders spent Monday trying to finalize a plan to increase the Treasury's borrowing authority and avoid a federal default by urging GOP lawmakers to rally behind a proposal that ties a debt-ceiling increase to a plan to restore full pension benefits for some military veterans. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) called a "special conference meeting" in the Capitol basement, trying to find the right policy mix that would attract enough Republican and Democratic support for the measure to be approved, possibly as soon as Wednesday. LINK

SENATE RACES Politico's Edward-Isaac Dovere, Manu Raju, and Katie Glueck: " White House's Senate strategy: Keep Obama away" The White House and Senate Democrats are preparing an extensive midterm campaign strategy built around one unavoidable fact: Hardly any candidates in the most competitive states want President Barack Obama anywhere near them. POLITICO spoke with nearly every incumbent up for reelection and aspiring Democratic Senate candidates across the country, but only a handful gave an unequivocal "yes" when asked whether they wanted Obama to come campaign with them. LINK

NYC Mayor BILL de BLASIO The New York Daily News' Jennifer Fermino: " In State of the City, Mayor de Blasio vows to attack income inequality, give 'fair shot' to all" Turning his first State of the City speech into a liberal call to arms, Mayor de Blasio on Monday vowed to use government to attack income inequality so all New Yorkers have a "fair shot at a better life." He called for expanding "living wage" laws, providing ID cards to New Yorkers living in the U.S. illegally, improving job training and career-prep programs and raising taxes on the rich to pay for universal prekindergarten. LINK

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