-- The Senate advanced a bill Wednesday to fully fund the Department of Homeland Security as the clock ticks toward a possible shutdown, but House Speaker John Boehner has not said whether he'll bring a clean bill up for a vote. Final passage of the Senate bill, which does not have any immigration provisions, is expected as early as this afternoon. Boehner on Wednesday told fellow House Republicans he hadn't spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a couple of weeks. (Washington Post)
-- The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to approve Loretta Lynch's nomination to become the next attorney general today. Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) have indicated they will support Lynch. Lynch's nomination has been pending for 110 days. (New York Times)
-- Two Brooklyn men were arrested and charged with plotting to travel to Syria to fight for the Islamic State, and another was charged with helping to organize and fund their activities. Two of the three men, all immigrants from former Soviet Republics, had threatened to carry out attacks in the U.S. if they didn't make it overseas, though there was no indication that they had actually made plans to attack. FBI director James Comey said Wednesday there were homegrown violent extremist investigations underway in every state in the U.S. (New York Times)
-- The FCC will vote today on net neutrality rules that would regulate the internet like a public utility. The commission is expected to vote along party lines in favor of chairman Tom Wheeler's proposed rules. Wheeler tweaked the draft rules to address some internet companies' concerns over price regulations and tariffs. (Reuters)
-- The Islamic State militant known as "Jihadi John" is actually Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born Briton who grew up in a well-off family in West London and earned a college degree in computer programming. He is believed to have first traveled to Syria in 2012 and joined the Islamic State later. FBI director James Comey said in September that U.S. officials believed they had identified the man. (Washington Post)
-- Front Pages: WaPo leads with growing tensions between the U.S. and Israel (see below). NYT puts Israeli-U.S. ties in the second column, with the Brooklyn arrests in the lead. WSJ leads with Brooklyn and banners the Obama-Netanyahu tiff. USA Today dives deep into the coming battle for Mosul. LA Times takes another look at the prospects of St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke building an NFL stadium in Inglewood.
White House 2016: The long, strange road to Pennsylvania Ave.
-- Clinton: The Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments while Hillary Clinton was serving as Secretary of State, including at least one donation that violated the foundation's ethics agreement with the Obama administration. Foundation officials said they should have sought approval before accepting a $500,000 donation from the Algerian government, given to promote earthquake relief in Haiti. (Washington Post)
-- Christie: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) held a town hall meeting in Moorestown Wednesday, where he insisted he's still focused on being governor. It was his first such event since August. Christie touted pension reform themes from his state budget address on Tuesday. He'll be in D.C. for CPAC today, in California on Friday and Saturday, and in Florida and Iowa next week. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
-- Trump: The Donald met with RNC chairman Reince Priebus on Monday in New York, where he claimed to be actively considering a presidential bid. He's talking to GOP lawyer Don McGahn, a former FEC chairman, and he's hired Corey Lewandowski, a veteran of Americans for Prosperity, as a campaign manager-in-waiting. Trump has also hired Chuck Laudner in Iowa and Ed McMullen in South Carolina. (Washington Post) #HeadDesk.
National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.
-- Common Core: Opponents of Common Core have backed bills to repeal the education standards in more than a dozen states this year, but they're not having a lot of success. Measures have failed in the last few weeks in Arizona, North Dakota and South Dakota, while repeal measures in New Hampshire, Montana and Mississippi look doomed too. Other measures have been heard in committees in Kansas and West Virginia. (Washington Post)
-- Virginia: Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is beginning to plan his 2017 gubernatorial campaign, telling Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and supporters he'll run. Attorney General Mark Herring (D) is also expected to run, though he hasn't made his plans known yet. Democrats fear a bloody and expensive primary campaign that could leave the party divided. State Sen. Mark Obenshain (R), former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie, Rep. Rob Wittman (R) and state Sen. Frank Wagner (R) are mentioned as possible GOP contenders. (Washington Post)
-- New Hampshire: Could this be the very first advertisement in the 2016 battle for the Senate? Crossroads GPS will pay $230,000 for a 60-second radio spot critical of Gov. Maggie Hassan's (D) budget proposal. Hassan isn't expected to say whether she'll run against Sen. Kelly Ayotte (D) until the next two-year budget agreement is reached. (NH1)
-- Oregon: The IRS has joined the FBI's investigation into former Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) and fiancee Cylvia Hayes. Hayes's 2012 tax return did not appear to reflect all income from her consulting business. Department of Administrative Services chief Michael Jordan said state technicians gathered computers and electronics used by Kitzhaber staff after Gov. Kate Brown (D) was sworn in, after discussions with the U.S. Attorney's office. Jordan said he had been interviewed by agents from the IRS and FBI a few weeks ago. (Oregonian)
-- New Mexico: The state House advanced Right to Work legislation by a 37 to 30 margin on Wednesday, sending the bill to the Democratic-controlled state Senate. Just one Democrat broke ranks to join Republicans backing the bill. Right to Work enjoys more Democratic support in the Senate, but Democratic leaders have said they have the votes to kill it. The Right to Work bill includes a minimum wage increase from $7.50 an hour to $8 an hour; Gov. Susana Martinez (R) has indicated she supports both provisions. (Albuquerque Journal)
-- West Virginia: The state Senate passed a measure Wednesday to ban abortions after 20 weeks by a wide 29-5 vote. The bill now goes back to the House, where a previous version passed by a similar margin, for technical corrections. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) vetoed similar legislation in 2014, but supporters have 17 days, and sufficient margins, to override his veto this year. (Charleston Gazette)
DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.
-- President Obama meets with African American community leaders on civil rights in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building this morning. This afternoon, he'll tape a series of interviews with local television anchors from Fargo, Kansas City, Portland and Seattle to highlight the importance of exports and trade. Later, the Obamas host a reception celebrating African American History Month in the East Room.
-- Vice President Biden delivers remarks to the National Opportunity Summit at the Omni Shoreham this afternoon.
-- The House will continue debating Rep. John Kline's (R-Minn.) Student Success Act when it meets for legislative business at noon today. They'll consider a total of 44 amendments to the bill. First votes expected between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., last votes between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m.
-- The Senate meets at 11:00 a.m. to resume consideration of the clean DHS funding bill. Senators voted to invoke cloture on Wednesday by a 98-2 margin. A vote on final passage is expected this afternoon.
-- House Speaker John Boehner took a moment to remind members of the dress code and decorum rules during the final round of votes on Wednesday. "You know who you are," Boehner said, as members chuckled. (The Hill)
B1: Business, politics and the business of politics
-- Federal dollars accounted for 30 percent of state revenue in Fiscal Year 2013, down from the recession-era high of 35.5 percent in Fiscal Year 2010 but still above the 28.5 percent average over the pre-recession decade. The federal government accounted for just over $500 billion of the $1.7 trillion collected by state governments in 2013.
-- Red states get more federal money than blue states: 15 of the 20 states most reliant on the feds voted for Mitt Romney in 2012, while 16 of the 20 least-reliant states voted for President Obama. Mississippi and Louisiana relied on federal funds for more than 40 percent of their total revenue. North Dakota, the least-reliant, got just 19 percent of its money from the feds. (Washington Post)
-- The average price of a gallon of gasoline has risen for the fourth week in a row, to $2.332. The price bottomed out the week of Jan. 26, when it hit $2.044. Helpful graph from the St. Louis Fed.
-- Stock futures are slightly higher this morning after a mixed day on Wall Street on Wednesday. Asian markets closed higher today, while European markets are mixed. (CNN)
C1: Take time to digest the long reads
-- More evidence of a crucial relationship fraying: National Security Advisor Susan Rice castigated her Israeli counterpart, Yossi Cohen, over leaks of details about the nuclear negotiations with Iran in a private meeting at the White House last week. The liberal group J Street is running full page ads in newspapers criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's scheduled speech to Congress, and the administration still hasn't said who it's sending to AIPAC, whose meeting starts Sunday. (New York Times)
-- Sandia National Laboratories, which handles non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons, says it experiences 1.5 billion "cyber events" during a typical 24-hour period. That includes everything from mis-typed passwords to clumsy phishing emails to more serious assaults on the lab's computer networks. John Zepper, the head of Sandia's computer and network services, says his specialists are seeing 10 to 20 new types of cyber aggression every day. (Albuquerque Journal) So, you're saying "password" isn't a good password?
C4: Fun things to read when you're bored at work
-- Just when you thought KFC couldn't get any weirder: The company is testing a new edible coffee cup, made out of a cookie, to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The cup, wrapped in sugar paper, will be available at some restaurants in the United Kingdom. The cup will be infused with scents like coconut sun cream and fresh-cut grass, too. (Austin American-Statesman) Because the only thing better than a cookie is a cookie that smells like grass.
Attn Matt Drudge: What outrages conservatives today
-- The Internal Revenue Service gave former official Lois Lerner $129,300 in bonuses between 2010 and 2013, an average of $43,000 a year in retention bonuses aimed at keeping her out of retirement. She didn't receive a year-end bonus in 2013 because she earned too much money -- about $230,000. (American Spectator)
Attn HuffPo: What outrages liberals today
-- South Dakota Republicans who oppose Common Core standards said the reading and math benchmarks have contributed to the deaths of eight students on a Native American reservation. Others say the standards will turn kids gay, or that they contain anti-American propaganda, or that they were developed in part by the Muslim Brotherhood. (ThinkProgress) And then South Dakota's Republican-led legislature voted down efforts to repeal the standards.