Thursday’s Mini-Report


Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was on Capitol Hill today, making the case to lawmakers that the U.S. military is “capable of dealing with any threat” from North Korea.

* Still, tensions remain high: “President Barack Obama on Thursday urged North Korea to end its brazen nuclear threats against the U.S. and its allies, warning the unpredictable communist regime that his administration would ‘take all necessary steps’ to protect American citizens.”

* Deal? “A bipartisan group of senators has largely agreed on a broad immigration bill that would require tough border measures to be in place before illegal immigrants could take the first steps to become American citizens, according to several people familiar with drafts of the legislation.”

* I’m not sure this is smart: “The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), has joined the growing chorus of lawmakers calling on the Obama administration to arm the rebels in Syria.”

* How did last night’s dinner go with Republican senators at the White House? President Obama reportedly “enjoyed a constructive and wide-ranging discussion.”

* Quiet progress: “Buried deep inside President Obama’s 2014 budget released on Wednesday is a new proposal to expand federal health insurance benefits to same-sex domestic partners.”

Father Emil Kapaun: “In a moment laced with modern irony and timeless glory, President Barack Obama awarded Thursday the Medal of Honor – the nation’s highest military decoration – to an Army chaplain and sainthood candidate who died 62 years ago in a North Korean prison camp.”

* It was confirmation-hearing day for Gina McCarthy, Obama’s nominee to run the Environmental Protection Agency, who will probably end up facing a Republican filibuster.

* Speaking of the president’s team, new Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s confirmation vote was so easy, only a fourth of Senate Republicans opposed her for no apparent reason.

* Ben Carson is now officially out as the graduation speaker at John Hopkins’ medical school commencement, following his recent anti-gay remarks.

* And Michigan Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema’s preoccupation with hating gay people continues to be kind of creepy.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Thursday's Mini-Report