Quote of the day.
“… none before or since Douglass . . . has so joined his national prominence and philosophy with the aspirations of the people of the District of Columbia. . . . He refused to separate his life in the District with the equality theme of his courageous life.” D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton at the unveiling of a statue in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall of slave turned abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the first statue to represent the District of Columbia.
1. Senators closing in on border security compromise.
White House-backed immigration legislation is gaining momentum in the Senate, where key lawmakers say they are closing in on a bipartisan compromise to spend tens of billions of dollars stiffening the bill's border security requirements without delaying legalization for millions living in the country unlawfully.
2. Farm bill advances in House.
A Democratic amendment to restore $20.5 billion in food stamp cuts was easily defeated 234-188, and the leadership had no trouble winning an earlier procedural vote that had been once feared as a prime opportunity for opponents to bring down the entire bill.
3. Obama readying emissions limits on power plants.
President Obama is preparing regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, senior officials said Wednesday. The move would be the most consequential climate policy step he could take and one likely to provoke legal challenges from Republicans and some industries.
(New York Times)
4. FBI says it uses surveillance drones on U.S. soil.
The United States uses drones for surveillance in some limited law enforcement situations, FBI Director Robert Mueller said on Wednesday, sparking additional debate about President Barack Obama's use of domestic surveillance.
5. $7 billion in gear U.S. sent to war will not return.
Facing a tight withdrawal deadline and tough terrain, the U.S. military has destroyed more than 170 million pounds worth of vehicles and other military equipment as it rushes to wind down its role in the Afghanistan war by the end of 2014.
6. Obama asks Russia to join in reducing nuclear arms.
Fifty years after John F. Kennedy famously assured Europeans that the United States would protect them against a nuclear-armed Soviet Union, President Obama on Wednesday marked the changed times by calling on Russia to join him in cutting the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals to well below the level of the Kennedy era.
(New York Times)
7. U.S. races to mollify Hamid Karzai over plans for peace talks with Taliban.
The U.S. was scrambling to salvage a plan to open peace talks with the Taliban on Wednesday amid a diplomatic row between Washington and the Afghan president Hamid Karzai over how the process was announced.
8. U.S. slow to deliver promised aid to Syrian rebels.
While State Department officials are fond of saying they’re providing hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance to the Syrian opposition, only a fraction of the promised funds has arrived, and none has gone to the political body the U.S. looks to as an alternative to President Bashar Assad’s regime.
9. UN warns of worst refugee crisis in nearly 20 years.
In its global trends report, UNHCR said more than 45.2 million people were displaced last year, the largest number since 1994. This includes 15.4 million refugees, 937,000 asylum seekers, and 28.8 million internally displaced people (IDPs).
10. Myanmar constitution likely to dash Suu Kyi's presidential hopes.
Her adoring compatriots believe democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi is destined to become Myanmar's next president. But don't bet on it.