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

-- The House Appropriations Committee is planning to post the text of the "cromnibus" online by Monday, chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said Thursday. He and Senate Appropriations Committee chair Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) agreed to finish work on the final text of the bill by 6 p.m. today. Rogers hinted that the expiration of the continuing resolution funding the Department of Homeland Security could come in February, earlier than he initially proposed. (The Hill)

-- House Republicans voted to block President Obama's executive action on immigration Thursday in a party-line 219-197 vote. The win gives House Speaker John Boehner the room to advance the cromnibus next week; some conservatives wanted Boehner to tie the immigration defunding measure to the larger spending bill. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she's open to backing the cromnibus. (Washington Post) House Republicans are planning border security legislation in 2015, an effort likely led by Homeland Security Committee chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas). (Reuters)

-- President Obama will announce Ashton Carter as his nominee to become Defense Secretary at an event this morning at the White House. Carter, the former deputy secretary, is likely to sail through confirmation hearings. Carter is being advised by Jeremy Bash, the chief of staff to then-Secretary Leon Panetta. (New York Times) Here's something interesting: Carter reviewed chapters of Robert Gates' book "Duty," which was openly critical of the Obama White House.

-- Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday unveiled a Justice Department report that accused the Cleveland police department of routinely using excessive and deadly force against citizens in violation of their constitutional rights. DoJ accused the department of engaging in a "pattern or practice" of unnecessary force. Justice and the city agreed to establish an independent monitor to oversee the department. (Washington Post)

-- Premiums on silver health care plans available under the Affordable Care Act will rise an average of 5 percent in the 35 states relying on the federal health care exchange, HHS said Thursday. HHS said 91 percent of consumers will have a choice between three or more insurers this year, higher than the 74 percent who had similar options last year. (Associated Press)

-- Front Pages: WaPo and NYT lead with DoJ's report on the Cleveland police department. LA Times leads with the declining rate of deportations (see below). WSJ reports on a failed U.S. hostage rescue mission in Yemen. USA Today leads with a look at the Iraqi military's battle against the Islamic State.

Facebook Friday: The buzziest stories online this week.

-- If it's Friday, it's time to check in with our friends from Facebook, who give us a peek behind the curtain at the political stories that generated the most buzz online in the last week. This week's top stories, in descending order (Note: These include all stories on a certain topic, not just one specific article):

-- 10. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio addresses the grand jury decision in Eric Garner case. 9. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) sworn in, becoming the first African American senator to be elected in the South since Reconstruction. 8. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson faces questions on Capitol Hill about administration's executive action on immigration. 7. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announces re-election bid, but leaves door open for presidential run. 6. Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer not afraid of ISIS 'cowards' targeting him.

-- 5. Colleen Bell confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary (Paging Josh Earnest). 4. Five St. Louis Rams players protest grand jury decision in Ferguson case by putting their hands up during pre-game introduction. 3. Charles Barkley speaks out on Eric Garner case and Ferguson. 2. Grand jury decides not to indict NYPD officer in Eric Garner case. 1. Aide to Rep. Steven Fincher (R-Tenn.) quits following her comments about President Obama's daughters.

National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.

-- WH'16: A top advisor to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) has begun contacting GOP strategists in New Hampshire ahead of a possible presidential bid. Both strategists were asked if they would be interested in speaking to Bush himself. (Real Clear Politics) Smart point from Scott Conroy: "This new outreach to top strategists there signals that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ... may not be able to wait much longer before soliciting top Granite State talent for his own expected campaign." Here's how Townhall covered Conroy's scoop: "Report: Prominent Ex-Governor Making Inquiries Into NH."

-- Louisiana: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) is barnstorming across the state in advance of Saturday's runoff election, making stops this week in Gretna, Hammond, Baton Rouge, New Roads, Vidalia, Monroe, Grambling, Minden, Shreveport and Lake Charles. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R), who leads by a wide margin, has been in Washington for votes this week. He returns to the campaign trail today. (Baton Rouge Advocate) Sorta tells you all you need to know about where the race stands. Polls close tomorrow at 8 p.m. Central, 9 p.m. Eastern.

-- Arizona: Officials will begin recounting ballots today in the race between Rep. Ron Barber (D) and retired Air Force officer Martha McSally (R). McSally leads by 161 votes out of 219,000 cast; state law requires both a machine count of all the results and a hand count of a few sample precincts to double-check the results. Barber's team still holds out hope for counting 133 rejected ballots that a federal judge ruled last week would be kept out of the count. If the recount nets Barber at least 29 votes, his side may appeal that ruling. (Arizona Republic) McSally, Barber and the outside players spent a combined $20 million on the race.

-- Indiana: U.S. District Court Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson ruled this week that an Indiana law requiring abortion clinics to meet strict medical guidelines violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. The law, which also applies to facilities that can prescribe the birth control pill, treats those facilities differently from a physician's office. Magnus-Stinson has not issued a final ruling; a June 2015 trial is expected. (Indianapolis Star)

-- Michigan: A proposal to award the state's 16 electoral votes proportionally based on the percentage a presidential candidate receives appears close to stalling in the waning days of the legislative session. The House Elections and Ethics Committee has held two hearings on the bill without an actual vote. There's a week left before the legislature recesses. (MLive) Under the proposal, President Obama would have won 12 electoral votes in 2012; Mitt Romney would have won the other 4.

-- Wisconsin: More momentum for right to work: Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) said Thursday he wants to bring legislation to the floor soon after the legislature comes back into session in January. "I don't know how we get through the session without having this debate," Fitzgerald said. Fitzgerald raised the prospect of exempting operating engineers, pipe fitters and other trade unions from a right to work bill. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

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

-- President Obama introduces Ash Carter as his new Defense chief this morning in the Roosevelt Room. Later, he meets King Abdullah of Jordan in the Oval Office, then he'll sit down with new governors of Alaska, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas. Next week, Obama heads to Nashville to speak on his executive actions on immigration. He'll be at Casa Azafran, an immigrant community center in Davidson County. (Tennessean)

-- Vice President Biden hosts King Abdullah at the Naval Observatory this morning before heading in to work. He'll have lunch with the new governors in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building before heading out early to travel to New York City, where he's spending the night.

-- The House and Senate are gone. They're back Monday.

-- The summary of a Senate investigation into the CIA's use of torture during the Bush administration will be released next week after Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) reached an agreement with the Obama administration. Feinstein finalized the deal late Wednesday with White House chief of staff Denis McDonough at the Capitol. (Roll Call)

B1: Business, politics and the business of politics

-- The number of immigrants deported from the U.S. fell 14 percent for the year ending Sept. 30, even as the number of people caught crossing the border grew. A draft ICE report shows immigration officials deported 315,943 people over the preceding year, the lowest one-year total since President Obama took office. About 102,000 immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for at least a few years were deported, mostly after being caught up in the criminal justice system. The so-called interior removals were down 23 percent from the year before. (Los Angeles Times)

-- Analysts expect nonfarm payrolls grew by 230,000 jobs last month and that the unemployment rate will hold steady at 5.8 percent ahead of this morning's BLS report. The economy has added more than 200,000 jobs for 10 straight months, the longest such streak since 1994. (Reuters)

-- The general public may not think the economy is headed in the right direction, but private equity professionals say the economy is headed in the right direction by a 75 percent to 25 percent margin, according to a new poll from the Private Equity Growth Capital Council. The biggest threats to the U.S. economy: Financial conditions in Europe, heightened volatility, rising interest rates and more political discord in D.C. Private equity pros see the most opportunity in Asia, and in the technology and the oil and gas industry. (PEGCC, pdf)

-- Stock futures are higher this morning after a down day on Wall Street on Thursday. International markets are up across the globe today. (CNN)

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

-- How long does it take for your Uber to arrive? An average of 3 minutes, 8 seconds in the outer boroughs of New York. Just 2 minutes 25 seconds in Manhattan. And 3 minutes 30 seconds in Washington, D.C., according to data the company released this week. (Newsweek)

-- Jonathan Chait on upheaval at The New Republic: "Frank Foer isn’t leaving TNR because he wasn’t a good enough editor. He’s leaving because Chris Hughes is not a good enough owner. ... [T]he conflict between Hughes and most of the staff of The New Republic is not about technology. ... The problem, rather, is that Hughes and [CEO Guy] Vidra are afflicted with the belief that they can copy the formula that transformed the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed into economic successes, which is probably wrong, and that this formula can be applied to The New Republic, which is certainly wrong." (New York Magazine)

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

-- Shot: "Romney's Inner Circle Is Convinced He's Running." (Business Insider) Chaser: "Mitt Romney held meetings with donors in New York this week that left one attendee convinced he is running for president again in 2016." (same article) Well, good to know one anonymous source who attended "one of the meetings" is speaking for the entire inner circle these days.

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

-- President Obama is setting a modern record for the number of political appointees he nominates to serve as U.S. ambassadors. Forty-one percent of Obama's ambassadorial nominees during his second term have been political, according to the American Foreign Service Association, eclipsing Ronald Reagan's 38 percent. Eight of the 12 nominees waiting for confirmation are political. (Roll Call) This is great: Mark Gilbert, the nominee to serve as envoy to New Zealand, would be the first U.S. Ambassador to have played Major League Baseball. Now an investment banker, Gilbert played seven games with the Chicago White Sox in 1985.

Attn HuffPo: What outrages liberals today

-- Sixteen major cruise lines dumped a combined one billion gallons of sewage into the ocean in 2014, according to a new Friends of the Earth report. Over 40 percent of the 167 ships in operation use water treatment technology that's more than 35 years old, which virtually guarantees waste and bacterial contamination. (ThinkProgress)