READ IN: Monday, June 30, 2014: Obama to tap new VA Secretary, final SCOTUS decisions coming today, Canoodling Congressman likely to run again, Illinois expands early voting, and Dueling Alaska Datelines

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A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.

-- The Obama administration will ask Congress for $2 billion in emergency funds to curb an influx of immigrants from Central America pouring over the border. The White House will ask Congress to tweak existing immigration law to make it easier to return unaccompanied minors to their home countries. More than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been apprehended at the border this year. (Washington Post, New York Times)

-- Obama will nominate former Procter & Gamble CEO Bob McDonald to take over the Department of Veterans Affairs at an event at VA headquarters today. McDoanld became a captain in the 82nd Airborne Division after graduating from West Point. House Speaker John Boehner and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) both praised McDonald as someone capable of turning the VA around. (Washington Post)

-- The Supreme Court is likely to rule on whether the Affordable Care Act can require businesses that object for religious reasons to provide contraception coverage. The case, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, is one of two remaining before the Court this term. Orders are due at 10 a.m. today. (CNN, SCOTUSblog)

-- The Hobby Lobby case is going to get all the attention today, but the other decision the Supreme Court is likely to hand down, Harris v. Quinn, could weaken public employee unions across the country. The case centers on the question of whether compulsory union dues violate free speech rights. The case worries labor groups, while businesses have filed tons of amicus briefs arguing against the so-called "agency shop." (Washington Post, The Nation)

-- A top Blackwater manager in Iraq threatened to kill a State Department investigator looking into the company's operations, and U.S. Embassy officials sided with Blackwater over the investigators, documents show. The investigator wrote a scathing report of "an environment full of liability and negligence," fostered by lax oversight of Blackwater, proving State knew of Blackwater's actions before its guards shot and killed 17 civilians in Baghdad in 2007. (New York Times)

-- Admiral Michael Rogers, the new head of the NSA, said he is trying to ensure the volume of data taken by Edward Snowden cannot be taken again. Rogers said the U.S. has seen terrorist groups respond and adapt to NSA eavesdropping techniques in the wake of Snowden's revelations, but he added: "You have not heard me as the director say, ‘Oh, my God, the sky is falling.’ I am trying to be very specific and very measured in my characterizations." (New York Times)

-- Front Pages: WaPo and USA Today lead with Obama's pick to run the VA. NYT leads with its Blackwater scoop. WSJ spotlights militant gains in Iraq and Syria. The Chicago Tribune gives top billing to Obama's request for additional border money (Story also gets two columns below the fold in the L.A. Times).

National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.

-- WH'16: Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) returns to South Carolina on Tuesday for a barbecue fundraiser for the Dorchester County GOP. Perry will join Gov. Nikki Haley (R) at the event in Summerville. (Charleston Post and Courier) Americans for Prosperity said early Monday that Perry would keynote AFP's Defending the American Dream Summit in late August in Dallas. The New Republic fronts a long look at Hillary Clinton's "invincibility." (TNR, famous last words)

-- Louisiana: Rep. Vance McAllister (R) is expected to recant his pledge to retire from Congress and announce he's seeking a second term in a Monday press conference in Monroe. The canoodling Congressman doesn't have to formally file paperwork until August 22; his two most prominent rivals, former Rep. Rodney Alexander (R) and state Sen. Neil Riser (R), have said they won't run. (Baton Rouge Advocate)

-- New Jersey: Legislative Democrats want to call Gov. Chris Christie's top political advisor, Mike DuHaime, and several senior Port Authority officials to testify over the George Washington Bridge lane closures. A committee investigating the closures will meet July 8, when they could issue subpoenas, though they are waiting to hear whether the U.S. Attorney's office will ask them to hold off on taking testimony. (Bergen Record)

-- Illinois: Gov. Pat Quinn (D) will sign legislation this summer allowing same-day voter registration and expanding the number of days and hours during which early voting locations are open. Students attending Illinois public universities will be allowed to shift residences from their hometowns to their school addresses in order to vote at on-campus locations. (Chicago Tribune) Anybody want to make a Capone joke?

-- Texas: Battleground Texas, run by Obama campaign veterans, has signed up 20,000 volunteers and made 2 million phone calls or house visits in hopes of turning out more Hispanic voters. Just 39 percent of eligible Hispanics turned out to vote in 2012. (Reuters) Reid's Take: The requisite "Texas will be in play" story for the month. But it's numbers like those low-turnout statistics that demonstrate why there's hope for Democrats in the long (long, long) run.

DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.

-- President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet in the Oval Office this morning. This afternoon, Obama will formally nominate Bob McDonald to serve as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Tonight, Obama hosts a reception recognizing Pride Month in the East Room.

-- Vice President Biden will welcome Bachelet to the White House, then he'll take her to the State Department for a formal lunch with Secretary John Kerry.

-- Congress is out this week for the July 4 recess.

-- Organizers of a ballot initiative that would legalize possession of marijuana in D.C. will announce this week they've collected nearly 60,000 signatures, more than enough to make the November ballot. But they worry Congress could step in to block the initiative. Congress would have to pass a budget with specific restrictions on D.C.'s own budget by Election Day to block the initiative. (Washington Post)

TV Time Out: Our exclusive look at who's advertising, and where.

-- Kansas: Physician Milton Wolf (R) is starting his last-minute advertising buys a month before his faceoff against Sen. Pat Roberts (R). Wolf has purchased about $80,000 in broadcast ads in the Wichita and Topeka markets between July 2 and August 5. Neither Wolf nor Roberts has been on air since the end of April.

-- New York: Rep. Dan Maffei (D) is starting to plunk down big bucks for last-minute ads in his upstate 24th District. Maffei has bought $522,000 in ads in the Syracuse market between Sept. 9 and Nov. 4, enough to buy about 800 gross ratings points per week. Maffei faces a tough re-elect; House Majority PAC has $175,000 reserved for the final week to protect Maffei.

-- Alabama: The Club for Growth is still playing in primaries. The group just reported spending $254,000 to air ads against state Rep. Paul DeMarco (R) in advance of his July 15 runoff against conservative think tank president Gary Palmer (R). The two candidates are facing off for the right to replace retiring Rep. Spencer Bachus (R) in the heavily GOP 6th District.

-- Alaska: The pro-Mark Begich PAC Put Alaska First is dumping another $500,000 on ads hammering former state Attorney General Dan Sullivan (R). An FEC report filed late last week showed the group has spent a whopping of $2.5 million on Begich's behalf. (FEC)

-- North Carolina: Senate Majority PAC is out with a new ad criticizing state House Speaker and U.S. Senate nominee Thom Tillis (R) for cuts to education budgets. The PAC will spend about $800,000 on the ad over the next two weeks.

The Buried Lede: The nuggets that deserve the spotlight.

-- "I am not running for president. Do you want to put an exclamation point at the end of that?" So says Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), in the middle of a two-day swing through Kentucky with Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes. Warren also has a trip planned to West Virginia in two weeks, and to Michigan shortly thereafter. (Boston Globe)

B1: Business, politics and the business of politics

-- Two years after privatizing liquor sales, the price of alcohol in Washington State has jumped about 11 percent, thanks to fees meant to fill the tax hole left by ending the state monopoly on alcohol sales. Washington residents pay $35.22 per gallon in spirits taxes, by far the highest rate in the country. (Seattle Times)

-- Markets are down a hair in pre-bell trading after adding small gains on Friday. Most world markets are trading a little lower today. (CNN)

C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.

-- Dueling Rural Alaska Datelines, Part I (Napaskiak): Sen. Mark Begich (D) is counting on votes from Native Alaskans to win re-election. Democrats are hiring 130 field workers and opening five offices from the Aleutians to the Arctic Circle to turn out the vote in remote villages on Begich's behalf. (New York Times)

-- Dueling Rural Alaska Datelines, Part II (Hooper Bay): The U.S. Postal Service has lost $2.5 billion since the early 1980s delivering goods to remote Alaska villages under a program known as the Alaska Bypass. The system gives subsidies to small airlines that ferry goods to the villages, where a 12-pack of Coke can cost more than $15. (Washington Post)

-- Bonus: Adam Nagourney's Waianae dateline in this story on the Hawaii Senate race.

C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work

-- Important lesson from the Secretary of the Air Force: Wait to eat lunch until after you fly with an aerial acrobatic team. The new secretary, Deborah Lee James, learned that one the hard way when she participated in a training with the Thunderbirds this week in Nevada; James lost her lunch in the process. (Washington Times)

-- Jurgen Klinsmann sure went from naysayer to true believer in the blink of an eye. The U.S. Men's National Team coach has told players to delay their families' return flights home from Brazil until after the World Cup final. The next match is Tuesday against Belgium. (Reuters)

-- Time wasters today: France vs. Nigeria at noon, Germany vs. Algeria at 4 p.m. Previews and photo galleries here.

Attn Matt Drudge: Things conservatives will get outraged by today.

-- The New York City Council has earmarked $4.9 million to give legal assistance to residents facing deportation, making it the first city in the U.S. to provide lawyers for immigrants detained by the feds. Also last week, the Council voted to create new I.D. cards for undocumented immigrants who want to open a bank account or sign a lease. (Christian Science Monitor)

Attn HuffPo: What outrages liberals today

-- Among the planks in the Texas Republican Party's platform: Homosexuality is a "chosen behavior." They're also a-okay with reparative therapy, even as other states have moved to ban the technique. (Reason)

Reid Wilson covers state politics and policy for the Washington Post's GovBeat blog. He's a former editor in chief of The Hotline, the premier tip sheet on campaigns and elections, and he's a complete political junkie.
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