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A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.
-- An Australian naval vessel using U.S. equipment has detected sounds that are consistent with an aircraft black box, officials said at a Monday news conference in Perth. It's the most promising lead yet in the hunt for Malaysian Airlines flight 370. But the possible black box is emitting a frequency at 33.3 kilohertz, which means it's nearing the end of its battery life. (Associated Press)
-- The Senate is likely to pass legislation today extending jobless benefits to about 3 million people who lost that aid when it expired in December, after six Republicans joined Democrats to clear a procedural hurdle. At the same time, seven House Republicans are sending a letter to Speaker John Boehner urging him to take up the Senate bill, while others are pushing to attach the Keystone XL pipeline or an anti-Obamacare measure to the House version. (New York Times)
-- A new AP-GfK poll shows 37 percent of Americans want to see Republicans running Congress, while 36 percent want Democrats in charge, a shift that's come mostly among those most interested in politics. Just 39 percent said they wanted to see their own member of Congress re-elected, while 59 percent said it was time to give someone new a chance. (Associated Press) Cillizza's Take: A tied generic ballot is very bad news for Democrats.
-- Potential Republican presidential contenders are beginning to bone up on their policy chops in hopes of boosting their credentials and setting themselves apart from the field. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has met with Stephen Moore and plans to meet Donald Rumsfeld. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) hears from Douglas Holtz-Eakin and AEI scholars. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie sits down with Henry Kissinger, Condoleezza Rice and Richard Haass. And Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker met last year with Hoover Institute experts at Stanford University. (Washington Post)
-- Robert Costa and Phil Rucker add this detail: When Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) was in town for the NGA meetings in February, he met Bill Kristol for lunch at The Hamilton. The governor's staff reserved a "private" booth, but Pence and Kristol were seated right by the front door, where they were constantly interrupted by people stopping by to say hello.
-- President Obama on Tuesday will issue two executive orders aimed at closing the wage gap between men and women. One would prohibit federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss compensation, and the other directs Labor Secretary Tom Perez to draft new rules requiring contractors to report summary pay information, including data on race and gender. The orders will come on Equal Pay Day, while Senate Democrats engineer a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act. (The Hill, Politico)
-- Front Pages: WaPo leads with the Afghan elections. NYT leads with the administration's deportation record. WSJ spotlights Hillary Clinton and the Democratic WH'16 field. USA Today listens to Malaysian Airlines pings.
National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.
-- WH'16: In his most expansive comments yet about a possible presidential bid, former Florida governor Jeb Bush said he would weigh whether he could win with a "hopeful, optimistic message," and what the impact of a presidential run would be on his family. Bush offered praise for Chris Christie and said he would make his own decision by the end of the year. He also approached one guest at a weekend dedicated to his father to ask whether the guest was still working for another potential GOP candidate. (New York Times, Washington Post)
-- More WH'16: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and ex-senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) will address the Iowa Republican Party's annual state convention on June 14. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee speaks tomorrow night at an Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition event in Waukee, while Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) headlines an Iowa GOP fundraiser on Friday in Cedar Rapids. (Des Moines Register)
-- Louisiana: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) leads the field in a new poll, but she falls well short of the majority she would need to avoid a December runoff. Landrieu receives 39 percent of the vote, followed by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) at 26 percent. State Rep. Paul Hollis (R) and businessman Rob Manness (R) score in the low single digits in the Magellan Strategies poll, which surveyed 600 registered voters over three days in late March. The poll was paid for by conservative businessman Lane Grigsby. (Baton Rouge Advocate)
-- Pennsylvania: Trailing in the polls, Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D) has banked on a late ad blitz in her bid for the Democratic nomination for governor. Well, she's out with her first ad, and it's all about her tenure in the state Senate. That's right, no mention of her decade in Congress. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
-- New Jersey: Longtime Chris Christie aide Michael Drewniak on Friday gave testimony to a federal grand jury investigating the traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge. Drewniak is not a target of the investigation, his lawyer told ABC News. Lawyers for former Christie aides Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien said their clients hadn't been called to testify. (Associated Press)
-- North Dakota candidates, get those papers in order: Today's the deadline to file for office.
DC Digest: What's on tap today in D.C.
-- President Obama heads to Bladensburg High School, just outside D.C., to announce the winners of a competition to design real-world curriculum plans for high school students. Later, he meets with the Commander in Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and attends the swearing-in of Small Business Administration head Maria Contreras-Sweet. Vice President Biden addresses the American Association of Community Colleges convention at the Wardman Park Marriott, then attends the SBA event.
-- The House and Senate meet at noon today. The House will take up the Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act, a measure that helps states deal with backlogs in testing rape kits. It's likely to pass with bipartisan support in the House, though its fate in the Senate is unclear. The Senate will pass the unemployment insurance measure tonight.
-- Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and FEMA administrator Craig Fugate visited Oso, Wash., over the weekend, the site of the devastating mudslide that claimed at least 30 lives.
-- White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler has told President Obama she's leaving in mid-May, the fourth time she's tried to quit. Obama convinced her to stay three previous times, but now she's got a foot out the door, and the White House has identified a possible successor. Ruemmler's biggest legacy may be her role in convincing Senate Democrats to overturn filibuster rules: It was her idea to send three D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to the Senate to be blocked, which eventually led to the rules change. (New York Times) She also once suggested to yours truly, jokingly of course, that psychotropic drugs would be necessary to make Gridiron sketches bearable.
The Buried Lede: The nuggets that deserve the spotlight.
-- "As immigrant groups grew increasingly frustrated [with the number of deportations happening during the Obama administration], the president held a succession of tense private meetings at the White House where he warned advocates that their public protests were weakening his hand, making it harder for him to cut a deal. At the same, his opponents in Congress insisted his enforcement efforts had not gone far enough." A New York Times analysis found two-thirds of all deportations since Obama took office involved people who committed only minor infractions, including traffic violations. (New York Times) More than two million people have been deported under Obama's watch, more in five years than were deported in eight years under George W. Bush. (Arizona Republic)
-- Favorable/unfavorable ratings in that AP/GfK poll: Hillary Clinton, 46/39. Joe Biden, 34/43. Jeb Bush, 27/31. Paul Ryan, 27/29. Chris Christie, 26/38. Mike Huckabee, 26/30. Rand Paul, 25/28. Marco Rubio, 23/27. Ted Cruz, 18/30. (Associated Press)
B1: Business, politics and the business of politics
-- A Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index shows the percentage of Americans without health insurance shrank from 17.1 percent at the end of 2013 to 15.6 percent for the first three months of 2014. That translates into roughly 3.5 million people who gained coverage over the first quarter of the year. (Associated Press)
-- Columbus, Ohio, one of two cities cut from contention for hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention, spent more than $250,000 trying to win over delegates, according to the local convention bureau. That included $30,000 on a reception at a January RNC meeting, $70,000 on a reception at the DNC the following month, and $1,236 on Sugardaddy's Sumptuous Sweeties. Columbus still has a shot: The DNC hasn't made any decisions yet. (Columbus Dispatch)
C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.
-- Catch up on presidential preparations with the AP, which has handy cheat sheets out including every candidate's non-denial denials, the status of their book projects, their early-state travels and their connections to the donors necessary to funding a campaign. (Associated Press)
-- Republicans running for Senate in Mississippi, Georgia and Kentucky are walking the tightrope between bringing home federal money and conservative primary voters who want spending cuts. Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), all veteran appropriators, aren't trumpeting their success as much as they once would have. (Associated Press) Reid's Take: Here's a manifestation of the Appropriations Committees' long-term decline. It just doesn't mean what it used to, especially now that tea party activists hold so much sway within the GOP. And/but: Watch Cochran brag about his efforts to help Mississippi recover from Hurricane Katrina.
C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work
-- We can't tell what's more bizarre, that Kentucky Senate candidate Matt Bevin (R) attended a rally meant to build support for legal cockfighting or that the Lexington Herald Leader put the story in their "More Sports" section. (Associated Press)
Attn Matt Drudge: Things conservatives will get outraged by today.
-- Ever wonder where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid came up with his "Koch addiction" line? He credits his wife, Landra. Reid's anger at the Koch brothers is relatively recent, stemming from his 2010 re-elect bid when Americans for Prosperity funded ads against him. (Las Vegas Sun) Then again, he's never been shy about holding a grudge.
Attn HuffPo: Things liberals will be outraged by today.
-- The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that 69 percent of the cuts in Paul Ryan's proposed budget hit low-income programs like Medicaid, Pell Grants and SNAP. Defense funding, on the other hand, gets a $500 million boost. (Daily Kos)