Quote of the day.
"Congress is a place where good ideas go to die. There is a tremendous amount that his administration can do without Congress. He has the authority; he doesn't have to wait for Congress." Melinda Pierce, legislative director for the Sierra Club, urging the president to focus more on executive orders and regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency than on legislation to address climate change.
1. Congress charts new collision course over deficit.
The nation's sharp disagreements over taxes and spending are on a re-routed collision course, as Senate Democrats launch a plan that includes new taxes and House Republicans vow to speed up their plan to balance the federal budget with spending cuts alone.
2. Pentagon is set to lift combat ban for women.
The groundbreaking decision overturns a 1994 Pentagon rule that restricts women from artillery, armor, infantry, and other such combat roles, even though in reality women have frequently found themselves in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, where more than 20,000 have served.
(New York Times)
3. Clinton, grilled on Benghazi attack, cites spreading regional threat.
Republican lawmakers failed to open new lines of inquiry on the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Libya despite back-to-back grillings Wednesday of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for a fuller explanation of the administration's response to the much-debated terrorist assault.
(Los Angeles Times)
4. Reid, McConnell near filibuster deal.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are closing in on a deal that would avert the “nuclear option” on the filibuster but would pare back its use in several instances, sources said Wednesday.
5. Government cuts, right-to-work laws slash union membership.
Union membership in the U.S. workforce has withered to its smallest share since the 1940s. Just 11.3 percent of wage and salary workers were union members in 2012, down from 11.8 percent in 2011.
(Kansas City Star/McClatchy)
6. U.N. to examine UK and U.S. drone strikes.
A United Nations investigation into targeted killings will examine drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, according to the British lawyer heading the inquiry.
7. N. Korea threatens nuclear test, more rocket launches in wake of new sanctions.
North Korea on Thursday threatened to carry out a nuclear test as part of an “all-out action” against the United States, which it called the “main player” behind recently adopted international sanctions.
8. France continues northern Mali airstrikes.
French warplanes continued to bomb rebel targets in northern Mali on Wednesday, forcing Islamist fighters to cede more ground to advancing French and Malian troops.
9. Will a new, moderate Benjamin Netanyahu emerge from Israeli election?
Netanyahu will need to secure a majority of 61 seats in the 120-seat Parliament to stay on as prime minister. With Israel’s left- and right-wing parties in a dead split of 60-60 seats, analysts say securing a majority might be harder than he expected.
10. Two years since uprising, Egypt divided as ever.
Egypt marks the second anniversary of the uprising that swept Hosni Mubarak from power with little to celebrate. Deeply divided and facing an economic crisis, the nation is bracing for more protests, but this time against a freely elected leader.