1. Here’s some late-breaking news: the Rhode Island Senate has just voted for marriage equality, the last major hurdle in that state. Final passage and an expected signature from Governor Lincoln Chafee could come in a matter of days, extending the victory of gay marriage throughout all of New England.
2. Really good background piece by Abby Rapoport on how marriage equality is coming to Rhode Island.
3. How dead is the gun bill? I’m not sure that Ben Smith’s speculation about the possibility of a now-retiring Max Baucus flipping, but the general rundown and reporting of possible votes is interesting. No predictions, but there’s a lot of time remaining in the 113th Congress.
4. Interesting development in Affordable Care Act implementation: Tom Harkin has put a hold on the nomination for the new director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services over administration choices on how to pay for the law.
6. Ayotte isn’t up for re-election yet, but something (could it be the gun vote?) has dragged down her approval ratings, according to a new PPP poll in New Hampshire. This is a robopoll, so discount it as you see fit, but it’s consistent with polling Greg looked at earlier today.
7. In the special Senate election in Massachusetts, two Members of the House continue to fight it out before the primary next week. Ed Markey has led public polls. Now underdog Stephen Lynch — disliked by many liberals for several votes in which he broke with mainstream Democrats in the House — has released an internal poll showing him losing by only 6 percentage points, although by a much wider number among Democrats.Translation? Markey is the odds-on favorite still. David S. Bernstein reports.
8. The deficit keeps falling, spending cuts continue, and Republican rhetoric? It’s as if none of it ever happened. Jared Bernstein tries to set the facts straight.
9. On the immigration bill: Jonathan Chait detects signs that conservatives are getting used to the idea that something will really pass.
10. Did Senate reform help? Sarah Binder isn’t impressed.
11. Good Steve Benen item on the post-policy Republican Party, and the House of Republicans, which can’t be bothered to do anything.
12. Kevin Drum on presidential persuasion, the Affordable Care Act, and Olympia Snowe.
13. It’s nice that we’re back to slower news days, so that we can debate whether George W. Bush is actually highly intelligent. Bush administration official Keith Hennessey argues for Bush.
14. I agree with Ezra Klein: Bush is probably a smart man, but he was terrible at presidenting.
15. And Jamelle Bouie on why Republicans would be nuts to decide to battle over Bush.