A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.
-- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius submitted her resignation to President Obama this week after 5 years pushing the Affordable Care Act. Sebelius approached Obama in March to begin discussions about her future, and aides insisted the decision to resign was her own. But it didn't go unnoticed that when Obama appeared in the Rose Garden to announce health care enrollment numbers last week, Sebelius wasn't with him. (New York Times, Washington Post) Congressional leaders weren't given a heads-up before the New York Times broke the story.
-- Obama will announce Sebelius's replacement, Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell, later today. Burwell has run OMB for about a year. Before that, she headed the Walmart Foundation and worked for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (New York Times) RT @SenJohnMcCain: Sylvia Burwell is an excellent choice to be the next #HHS Secretary. (Twitter)
-- Senators leading negotiations over a transportation bill that must pass before funding expires on Oct. 1 said Thursday they had agreed on principles that would guide their negotiations, though that agreement didn't include how to pay for the billions an eventual bill will cost. The agreement between Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), David Vitter (R-La.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) calls for a long-term bill, rather than a short-term patch. House Transportation Committee chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) has already held several hearings. (Washington Post)
-- The House of Thursday approved Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal by a 219-205 margin, with 12 Republicans joining every Democrat to vote no. Among those voting against: All three Georgia Republicans running for Senate and Reps. Ralph Hall (R-Texas) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.), who face primary challengers. Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) was also a no. Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) voted in favor. Ryan will headline the Iowa Republican Party's Lincoln Day dinner in Cedar Rapids tomorrow night. (USA Today, Clerk of the House)
-- With immigration reform looking less likely, the Obama administration is hinting it will take steps to ease the pace of deportations for some undocumented immigrants, according to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who sat in on a briefing with DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. Johnson told the group he would address several short-term goals in the coming weeks, and long-term goals afterwards, that could reduce deportations. (Washington Post)
-- Democrats in tough races this year have decided it's best to reserve their ad dollars until voters tune in this fall, rather than trying to compete with Americans for Prosperity and other outside conservative groups that have already spent more than $40 million on TV ads blasting the Affordable Care Act. Only Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) has begun advertising early on television. (Politico)
-- Front Pages: WaPo, NYT and the L.A. Times lead with Sebelius's exit. WSJ and USA Today highlight yesterday's Nasdaq selloff. Four Louisiana papers -- the Opelousas Daily World, the Monroe News-Star, the Baton Rouge Advocate and the Alexandria Town Talk -- all highlight Gov. Bobby Jindal's call for Rep. Vance McAllister to step down.
National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.
-- WH'16: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says he's hearing from prominent conservatives who want him to run for president. "We've had people talking about that with us," he told Indiana political guru Brian Howey this week. Pence's chief of staff, Bill Smith, just quit to form a consulting firm, which will include handling the governor's political work. Pence told Howey he'll make a decision on whether to run for re-election (or, presumably, run for president) in the next calendar year. (Howey Politics Indiana, Indianapolis Star)
-- North Carolina: House Speaker Thom Tillis leads the GOP primary field in a new survey conducted by Republican pollster Jan van Lohuizen for American Crossroads. Tillis takes 27 percent, Greg Brannon clocks in at 16 percent and 10 percent go for Mark Harris. Crossroads spokespeople wouldn't comment on the poll, which was obtained from an outside source. The poll shows Tillis will benefit from an endorsement from the Chamber of Commerce, which sources say will come April 21.
-- Arkansas: Sen. Mark Pryor (D) leads Rep. Tom Cotton (R) by a 48 percent to 38 percent margin, according to Little Rock-based Opinion Research Associates. The live-caller poll of 400 registered voters came with a 5 percent margin of error. (CNN) Reid's Take: Neither Republicans nor Democrats believe Pryor is ahead by 10 points. Blame the registered voter screen, which doesn't factor out voters unlikely to cast midterm ballots. Still, the poll challenges the conventional wisdom that Pryor is toast.
-- New Hampshire: Former Sen. Scott Brown (R) will launch the first ad of his nascent comeback bid on Monday, a positive spot introducing his GMC pickup truck with 300,000 miles on it to voters. (Boston Globe) Just a reminder, Brown uses the truck to haul his daughter's horse around.
-- Missouri: Legislators could vote as early as Monday on a measure that would put a Right to Work proposal on the ballot this November. The measure fell four votes short in a test vote earlier this week, with 30 Republicans either voting against or not taking a position. Outside groups including Americans for Tax Reform and Americans for Prosperity are pushing hard for the bill, while labor unions stage last-minute rallies against it. (Washington Post)
-- Oklahoma candidates, don't forget to get your paperwork in order. Today's the filing deadline for the June 24 primary.
DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.
-- President Obama will thank Sebelius and introduce Burwell in a Rose Garden ceremony at 11 a.m. This afternoon, he travels to New York City, where he will address Al Sharpton's 16th annual National Action Network convention. Obama and the First Lady will spend the evening in New York and return to D.C. late tonight. Vice President Biden will attend the Rose Garden ceremony, then he's in meetings in the White House for the rest of the day.
-- The House and Senate are out on Spring Break. Welcome to casual Friday.
-- It's peak cherry blossom viewing season, in case you hadn't noticed the several million tourists jamming up traffic around the Tidal Basin. Check out The Washington Post's walking guide to the National Cherry Blossom Festival here.
-- "Is that part of Cirque du Soleil?" -- Hillary Clinton, after dodging a shoe thrown at her during a speech in Las Vegas. The woman who threw the shoe was taken into federal custody. "A black and orange athletic shoe was recovered from the stage." (Associated Press)
The Buried Lede: The nuggets that deserve the spotlight.
-- "Congress and its roughly 30,000 employees operate under different rules than the rest of the federal government when it comes to sexual harassment and other employment laws. Unlike federal agencies and most of the private sector, there is no blanket policy requiring sexual harassment training for new House and Senate employees." (Washington Post)
-- "For the remainder of the year, no political issue stands out more prominently for Democrats than their ability to motivate voters to turn out at the polls in November. Control of the Senate, now in the hands of Democrats, is at stake." Obama will use his National Action Network speech today to warn against the erosion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act while trying to motivate minorities to head to the polls this fall. (Associated Press)
B1: Business, politics and the business of politics
-- Women make up just 22 percent of the 644 CEOs who run nonprofit organizations with a footprint in D.C., and they are paid about 15 percent less than male CEOs. No women were among the 25 highest-paid executives in National Journal's biennial salary survey, and only 5 were among the top 50. (National Journal)
-- RIM, maker of BlackBerry, is pushing back against reports that it would consider leaving the smartphone business that has become so unprofitable for the company. In a blog post, CEO John Chen said the company would continue to produce smartphones, though the company is still trying to return to profitability. Its last earnings report showed losses of $423 million -- and that was good news. (Washington Post)
-- The Pentagon's proposal to retire the military's fleet of 283 A-10 Thunderbolts, also known as the Warthog, has run into opposition from members of Congress, soldiers and pilots who say the close-air-support aircraft is the best use of military money. Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) joined A-10 pilots at a news conference Thursday on Capitol Hill. (Washington Post)
-- Wall Street took a beating yesterday, and all three indices are down big in premarket trading today. The Nikkei lost 2.4 percent today, while the FTSE in London and the German DAX are both down more than 1 percent. (CNN)
C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.
-- John Dickerson: "A presidential campaign finds its shape in the deficiencies of the current administration. Candidates in both parties will present themselves as leaders who can get something done when nothing is getting done in Washington. They will suggest they have the LBJ skills Obama lacks. That is the message coming from Republican governors such as New Jersey’s Chris Christie and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, and it’s the implicit message from Bill and Hillary Clinton when they talk about the culture of partisanship in Washington. If only there were someone in town who could get the two sides to agree."
-- "It’s no wonder Obama doesn’t have a long list of friends on the Hill and doesn’t like spending his afternoons massaging congressional egos. He was elected on the promise that he wouldn’t be good at those things. And he kept his promise! ... Johnson had once-in-a-lifetime skills given a boost by big congressional majorities in his party and the momentum of a national tragedy. Proof of how hard it is to move Congress comes not from a comparison to Obama but to John F. Kennedy. Though Kennedy operated in the same political era as LBJ—when it was easier to make deals and presidential threats were more powerful—he didn’t achieve as much domestically as Obama did during the same period in his first term." (Slate)
C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work
-- Read the hidden story behind McDonald's wildly successful Monopoly promotion, and the man who scammed the corporation for years before being caught. (Priceonomics)
Attn Matt Drudge: Things conservatives will get outraged by today.
-- After six years of slowing immigration from Mexico, illegal border crossings are spiking this winter as the economy improves. Border Patrol agents have made more than 90,000 arrests in the Rio Grande Valley alone, up 69 percent from a year before. (New York Times)
Attn HuffPo: Things liberals will be outraged by today.
-- Eleven Democratic senators are urging President Obama to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline by May 31. In a letter to the White House, the senators say the decision should come after the current period for public comments runs out. (Roll Call)