Ten Things You Need to Know Today

...sequester arrives, Pope goes & more

By
Harold Maass / The Week
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1. SENATE POISED FOR FINAL SEQUESTER VOTES BEFORE DEADLINE
The Senate is scheduled to vote Thursday on dueling proposals to prevent painful across-the-board spending cuts from kicking in on Friday. Democrats are pushing a bill that would replace the automatic cuts, known as the sequester, with a combination of spending cuts and a minimum 30 percent tax on millionaires, while Republicans are proposing the same $85 billion in spending cuts for 2013, but putting the burden on President Obama to decide what gets cut. Neither side, however, is expected to be able to muster the 60 votes they'll need to avoid a filibuster and get a bill passed. With little hope for a bipartisan deal, the Office of Management and Budget is preparing to put the cuts in motion on the March 1 deadline. [USA Today]
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2. WOODWARD FEUDS WITH THE WHITE HOUSE
Bob Woodward, the veteran reporter for The Washington Post, is claiming that the White House threatened him over a recent story in which he questioned President Obama's account of how the sequester came to be. Woodward said the official — identified by BuzzFeed as Gene Sperling, who heads President Obama's White House Economic Council — "yelled at me for about a half hour." The official then followed up with an email apologizing, and saying: "You're focusing on a few specific trees that give a very wrong impression of the forest.... I think you will regret staking out that claim." Woodward said he took that as a threat, although some other veteran reporters said he was making a big deal out of the kind of heated exchange that occurs frequently in Washington. [The Week, Politico]
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3. SENATE CONFIRMS LEW AS TREASURY SECRETARY
The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Jack Lew as Treasury secretary with little fuss, a day after President Obama's pick for Defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, squeaked through in a tight, partisan vote. Obama expressed gratitude after the 71-26 vote to confirm Lew, his former chief of staff and budget adviser. "Jack was by my side as we confronted our nation's toughest challenges," Obama said. His reputation as a master of fiscal issues who can work with leaders on both sides of the aisle has already helped him succeed in some of the toughest jobs in Washington." [New York Times]
 

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Jul
31

1875: Andrew Johnson dies...