The Note's Must-Reads for Monday, December 9, 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

Compiled by ABC News' Amanda VanAllen, Will Cantine, Jayce Henderson and Jordan Mazza

BUDGET DEAL ABC News' Isobel Markham: " Key Senators 'Hopeful' On Budget Deal By End Of Week" As Congress heads into its final week before it adjourns for the holidays, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said he is "hopeful" a short-term budget deal will be reached to avoid the threat of a potential government shutdown in January."I'm hopeful that even by the end of this week we'll be able to come together and achieve that," Portman told George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" Sunday. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Kristina Peterson: " Lawmakers: Jobless-Benefits Fight Won't Derail Budget Deal" Democrats' push to extend emergency benefits for unemployed workers won't derail bipartisan budget talks that could produce a deal this week, lawmakers said Sunday. Democrats have been pressing to continue benefits for the long-term unemployed beyond the program's Dec. 28 expiration, but won't demand its extension as part of the effort to reach a fiscal agreement, Sen. Richard Durbin (D., Ill.) said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." LINK

The Washington Post's Lori Montgomery: " Budget Deal Expected This Week Amounts To A Cease-Fire As Sides Move To Avert A Standoff" House and Senate negotiators were putting the finishing touches Sunday on what would be the first successful budget accord since 2011, when the battle over a soaring national debt first paralyzed Washington. The deal expected to be sealed this week on Capitol Hill would not significantly reduce the debt, now $17.3 trillion and rising. It would not close corporate tax loopholes or reform expensive health-care and retirement programs. It would not even fully replace sharp spending cuts known as the sequester, the negotiators' primary target. LINK

HEALTH CARE The New York Times' Abby Goodnough, Katie Thomas and Reed Abelson: " Amid The Uproar Over The Health Law, Voices Of Quiet Optimism And Relief" Since his chronic leukemia was diagnosed in 2010, Ray Acosta has paid dearly for health insurance: more than $800 a month in premiums, plus steep co-payments for the drug that helps keep him alive. Mr. Acosta, 57, owns a small moving company in Sierra Vista, Ariz., which he said had barely made it through the recession. LINK

Politico's Seung Min Kim and Jennifer Haberkorn: " Members' Obamacare Sign-Up Headaches" Staring down a deadline to sign up for Obamacare, some lawmakers are getting hit by technical glitches or sticker shock. Others are breezing through the website, elated by lower premiums and better health services. And at least one won't sign up at all - opting to pay a penalty instead. LINK

NSA USA Today's David Jackson: " Obama To Soon Propose NSA Surveillance Changes" President Obama's proposed changes to National Security Agency surveillance rules are likely to come this month. During his recent appearance on MSNBC's Hardball, Obama said that "I'll be proposing some self-restraint on the NSA," and initiating "some reforms that can give people more confidence." LINK

The Hill's Kate Tummarello: " Tech Giants Team Up For NSA Reforms" The giants of the tech industry are uniting to wage a campaign for sweeping reforms to the National Security Agency. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, LinkedIn and AOL are setting aside their business rivalries to demand that Congress and President Obama scale back the government's voracious surveillance. LINK

RAND PAUL The Washington Times' David Sherfinski and Seth McLaughlin: " Sen. Rand Paul: 'I Am Seriously Thinking About' Running For President In 2016" Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, acknowledged Sunday that he's seriously weighing a bid for president, but that he has to balance such ambitions with family considerations. "Just look at what happens daily to any politician in America, and you talk about how uncivil things are - I mean, they really are, and they do take a toll on family, and so it is a big consideration, and I really am not sure what will happen," he said on "Fox News Sunday." LINK

The New York Daily News' Adam Edelman: " Sen Rand Paul Says Extending Unemployment Benefits Is A 'Disservice' To People Who Receive Them" Extending federal unemployment benefits would actually be a "disservice" to the millions of out-of-work Americans who receive them, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday. "I do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks that they're paid for. If you extend it beyond that, you do a disservice to these workers," the popular Tea Party Republican said on "Fox News Sunday." LINK

WIRELESS CARRIERS The Boston Globe's Bryan Bender: " Cell Phone Data Flowing To Law Enforcement" The nation's largest wireless companies regularly give state and local law enforcement authorities thousands of records of cell phone calls and customer locations gleaned from cell phone towers, part of a dramatic expansion of domestic surveillance to investigate crimes, according to new industry statistics provided to Congress. Last year alone, law enforcement agencies nationwide accessed individual cell phone records well over a million times, according to data from the eight largest wireless providers. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO " 56 World Leaders Expected For Mandela Memorial" LINK " Controversial Pentagon Contract For Russian Helicopters Under Scrutiny" LINK " 'This Week': Mandela And America" LINK " Sunday Spotlight: Koppel And Mandela" LINK " 'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable" LINK " 'This Week': Sen. Dick Durbin And Sen. Rob Portman" LINK

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