The Note's Must-Reads for Friday, July 19, 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' Jordan Mazza, Amanda VanAllen, Will Cantine and J.P. Lawrence


ABC News' Arlette Saenz: " McCain Plans Block on Dempsey Nomination" Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., threatened to place a hold on the re-nomination of Army Gen. Martin Dempsey as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for a second term, a spokesperson to McCain confirmed to ABC News Thursday. "Actually, I'm putting a hold on General Dempsey until General Dempsey responds to the legitimate questions that he committed to do," McCain told reporters after a Senate Armed Services hearing with Dempsey on Thursday. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Michael A. Memoli: "Senate confirms two long-stalled Obama nominees " President Obama's revamped second-term Cabinet is nearly complete after the Senate on Thursday confirmed two of the longest-stalled nominees. Votes to approve Thomas E. Perez as Labor secretary and Gina McCarthy as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency quickly followed a deal to end a showdown over executive branch nominations. LINK


USA Today's Melanie Eversley: " Justice Dept. places hold on Trayvon Martin evidence" The gun used to kill unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin and other evidence in the racially charged murder case will not be released by the Sanford, Fla., Police Department, a police captain confirmed Thursday night. The reason is that the Department of Justice has placed a hold on the evidence, Capt. James McAuliffe said in an e-mail. "Until that hold is lifted the evidence will remain secured," McAuliffe said. LINK

The Washington Times' Dave Boyer: " Obama backs race, gun debate after Zimmerman trial" President Obama believes the nation needs to address issues of race and gun violence because the shooting death of Trayvon Martin is the kind of tragedy that "happens all too often," a White House spokesman said Thursday. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Mr. Obama is "keenly aware" of the racial profiling and gun-control issues raised by the black teen's death at the hands of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who was found not guilty of second-degree murder by a Florida jury on Saturday. LINK


The New York Daily News' Leslie Larson: "Obama noncommittal about planned trip to Russia, saying only he 'intends' to make the journey to the country harboring Snowden" President Obama is thought to be mulling how best to stick it to Russia for buddying up to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. Obama is supposed to meet up with Vladimir Putin in Moscow in September before heading to St. Petersburg for the G-20 meeting, but the elephant in the room is the 30-year-old holed up in the transit zone at the Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport. LINK

Bloomberg's Terry Atlas: " Snowden's NSA Disclosures a Service, ACLU Director Says" Fugitive security contractor Edward Snowden "did this country a service" by igniting a debate about the reach of the U.S. government's electronic surveillance programs, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union said today. Anthony Romero, speaking at a national security conference in Aspen, Colorado, said Snowden's disclosures opened the way to political debate and legal scrutiny that wasn't possible before he released highly classified information about National Security Agency programs that gather information on phone calls and Internet communications. LINK


The Washington Post's Karen Tumulty: " With Legacy On The Line, Obama Touts Health-Care Implementation" Transforming the nation's health-care system stands as Barack Obama's most crucial piece of unfinished business, with much of his presidential legacy riding on whether it is deemed to have succeeded or failed. While other presidents have managed to overcome intense opposition to major new social initiatives, Obama faces a degree of difficulty with health care that has no historic parallel. LINK

Commentary by The Wall Street Journal's David Wessel: " Health Law: Obama's Sales Pitch Has Failed, So Far" More than three years after it managed to get its Affordable Care Act through Congress, the White House seems to have realized that it has done a lousy job selling it. It has hired well-wired health-care expert Chris Jennings, a veteran of the Clinton White House, as a strategist. And today, Mr. Obama is to speak from the White House to defend the law that Republicans in the House have voted 38 times to repeal or scale back, most recently on Wednesday. LINK


The New York Times' Motoko Rich: " Education Proposal In House Could Replace 'No Child' Act" For the first time since No Child Left Behind, President George W. Bush's signature education law, passed with overwhelming bipartisan support a dozen years ago, a bill seeking to rewrite the law came to the floor of the House for debate on Thursday, dividing legislators along party lines. Lawmakers tussled over the role of the federal government in public education, with Republicans calling for a return of control over curriculum standards, testing and spending to states and districts. LINK

Politico's Libby A. Nelson: " House Poised To Leave 'No Child' Behind" Republicans lined up Thursday behind a bill that would roll back the federal government's involvement in education, despite concerns earlier this week that the party's more conservative members weren't on board with the legislation. The Student Success Act already would strike many of the key provisions of No Child Left Behind and kill several signature Obama administration education programs. LINK


The Hill's Mike Lillis: "Pelosi and House Democrats launch economic agenda for women " House Democrats on Thursday launched a new campaign designed to bolster economic opportunities for women. Behind House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the lawmakers are pushing a series of bills to promote pay equity in the workplace, make child care more affordable and encourage a balance between jobs and family for the nation's working women. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO "Gov. Rick Perry Signs Sweeping Abortion Bill" LINK

"President Obama Highlights Money-Saving Benefits of Affordable Care Act" LINK


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