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First Read's Morning Clips

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OBAMA AGENDA: The White House’s FY2016 budget

The AP on Obama's budget: "The $4 trillion budget that President Barack Obama sends Congress on Monday proposes higher taxes on wealthier Americans and corporations, and an ambitious $478 billion public works program for highway, bridge and transit upgrades. The grab-bag of proposals, many recycled from past Obama budgets, already is generating fierce objections from Republicans, who control both chambers of Congress for the first time in his presidency. They will move ahead on their own, mindful they eventually must strike a deal with Obama, whose signature is needed for the budget to become law."

More, from the Washington Post: "The document will become, if not law, another defining moment for the president as he tries to carve out priorities for his remaining two years in office. Administration officials have tried to map out potential political trade-offs by offering elements such as a corporate tax revision that could appeal to Republicans, while asking for more spending on infrastructure."

And from the Wall Street Journal: "President Barack Obama is making an opening bid on overhauling corporate taxes and linking it to boosting infrastructure spending, a move that could clear a rare path toward common ground in a deeply divided capital. Mr. Obama wants U.S. companies to pay a 14% tax on the approximately $2 trillion of overseas earnings they have accumulated, a White House official said Sunday. They would face a 19% minimum tax on future foreign profits. Companies could reinvest those funds in the U.S. without paying additional tax."

The New York Times looks at how a coverage gap in the health care law means some recipients have to take on extra work to qualify for federal subsidies.

The White House announced Monday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit the White House next week.

CONGRESS: McConnell’s inside game

POLITICO, on Mitch McConnell: "[A]s McConnell now heads into a tumultuous period atop the Senate, with huge fights looming over immigration, national security, the budget, highway funding and taxes, the Kentucky Republican is playing an inside game to keep his party’s warring factions together and outmaneuver a recalcitrant and robust Democratic minority." MORE: "To overcome the next round of tests, McConnell has set up meetings and briefings to get back-channel intelligence with the blocs of his caucus. He has instituted a weekly Wednesday meeting with committee chairmen in the Strom Thurmond Room just off the floor, where he suggested last week he may hold off on pushing new Iran sanctions until after March, senators said."

The House is likely to vote next week on the Senate's version of the Keystone XL pipeline bill.

Paul Ryan, on Meet the Press, said Sunday that he's open to a tax reform deal. "We want to work with this administration to see if we can find common ground ... and we want to exhaust that possibility and if and when that possibility is exhausted, then we will put out what we think ought to be done."

OFF TO THE RACES: Breaking down the Des Moines Register poll

The big 2016 poll news from the weekend, via the Des Moines Register's poll of likely GOP caucusgoers: Scott Walker with 15%, Rand Paul at 14%, Mike Huckabee at 10%, Ben Carson at 9%, Jeb Bush with 8%.

Also in the DMR poll: "Twenty-five percent of likely Republican caucusgoers see terrorism as the most important issue for America's next president to address, topping a list of nine possibilities, a new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll shows. That's a 9-point spike since the last time likely caucusgoers were polled on top issues, in October."

CHRISTIE: Christie headed across the pond this weekend "to strengthen the business, cultural and diplomatic ties between our state and the United Kingdom."

On vaccines, Christie said the government must “balance” public health interests with parents’ freedom of choice.

CLINTON: The AP: "The challenge ahead for Hillary Rodham Clinton is one faced by few White House hopefuls: running a primary campaign in which she faces little competition, if any at all."

JINDAL: Bobby Jindal writes in POLITICO: "There is a secret that people outside of Washington, D.C., aren’t aware of right now: Some Republicans in Congress are on the verge of proposing an alternative to Obamacare that imposes new tax hikes on the American people."

PAUL: The Hill on Rand Paul's Texas delegate strategy: "The Texas primary, which is scheduled for March 1, 2016, will have a major impact on the delegate count. Paul’s allies think it could be a difference-maker in the race. Only California has more delegates, 172, but its primary isn’t until early June, when the nominee will likely have already been decided."

RUBIO: National Journal looks at how the Florida senator wants to run as an "innovative policy reformer," citing his ties to Paul Ryan.

Rubio will be in Iowa on February 13 to kick off his book tour.

WALKER: Here's Scott Walker on Syria during a Sunday interview with ABC: "I think anywhere and everywhere, we have to be – go beyond just aggressive air strikes. We have to look at other surgical methods. And ultimately, we have to be prepared to put boots on the ground if that’s what it takes.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel visits the Iowa church where Walker's father was a minister.

And around the country…

NEBRASKA: Republicans are looking to change the state's electoral vote rules to winner-take-all.

PROGRAMMING NOTES.

*** Monday’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” line-up: Tamron Hall speaks with Editor of the Nation Dave Zirin about Superbowl 48 XLIX, The Daily Beast’s Allison Samuels about Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina hospitalized, terror expert Michael Kay about ISIS, teen astronaut Alyssa Carson about wanting to be the first astronaut on Mars, and Adweek’s Tony Case about Superbowl Ads.

Breaking News Emails

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