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DAYBREAK DAILY: Senate Democrats grope for Medicaid compromise

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ABC7 WEATHER: Mostly sunny with highs in the upper 20s. http://wj.la/72e8x6

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – Two-alarm fire at Springfield Apartment complex; Teen male fatally shot in Southeast; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

LET’S MAKE A DEAL: Or not, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Senate Democrats have offered a four-year audit of Virginia’s Medicaid program as a compromise to extend health insurance coverage to hundreds of thousands of uninsured Virginians. However, they also drew a line in the sand by insisting on a commercial insurance marketplace in the two-year state budget as an alternative to straight expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

“. . .Legislators are scheduled to adjourn March 8. The Democrats’ audit proposal mirrors one of the principles the Virginia Chamber of Commerce laid out early this week in its endorsement of the private marketplace the Senate proposed. The Chamber said it wanted a four-year review of the Marketplace Virginia program after an audit. House Republicans have proposed a two-year Medicaid audit overseen by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission. Democrats decry the audit as a stalling tactic to delay expansion at the cost of billions of dollars in federal aid.” http://bit.ly/1mK2WPd

WAR ON DRUGS: One person’s opinion, per the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Rodricks, “Have you heard why the war on drugs will never end? It's because of the enormous number of people involved in it: police officers, federal agents, defense attorneys, judges, prosecutors, wardens, prison guards, parole and probation officers. The nation has made such a huge investment in the war on drugs that politicians will keep it going forever, the theory goes. Disrupt it, and we would lose four decades of sunk costs and a significant part of the public-sector economy.

"I used to hear this all the time and dismiss it as libertarian hyperbole, or what Joe Cassilly, the Harford County state's attorney, might call the irrational ravings of "a bunch of potheads." But when you see chiefs of police, sheriffs and prosecutors show up in force to keep marijuana laws in place, as they did Tuesday at the General Assembly, you've got to wonder. Their pushback against efforts to either decriminalize small amounts of weed or legalize its recreational use looked like a circling of the wagons.” http://bsun.md/1etQ3Di

CECIL MILLS: New details, per the Washington Post, “The fire cadet who did not help a dying man on Jan. 25 said he did not know how to respond if someone approached a firehouse and asked for help, according to an internal affairs report. The revelation comes more than a month after 77-year-old Medric “Cecil” Mills Jr. collapsed of a heart attack across the street from Engine 26 in Northeast Washington and later died. Onlookers ran to seek help at the firehouse, but none of the five firefighters on duty there, assigned to Truck 15, responded to their pleas.

“A public report issued last week by Deputy Mayor of Public Safety Paul Quander did not include cadet Remy Jones’s statement that he was unprepared to provide support and worried about losing his job if he ran across the street to help. Quander’s spokesman said city officials are aware of the report. “An internal affairs report is just that: internal. Some of the details in a lengthy agency report were not included by Deputy Mayor Quander in his public report of his investigation into Medric Mills’ death,” said Keith St. Clair, spokesman for the deputy mayor.” http://wapo.st/1jETMim

BIG SHIP: And a critical job – for now, per the Virginian-Pilot, “Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s warning this week that the planned refueling of the Japan-based carrier George Washington could be in danger got the attention of employees at Newport News Shipbuilding, where the work would be done. But Mike Petters, the CEO of the shipyard’s parent company, said Thursday that Newport News Shipbuilding would get a substantial amount of work on the George Washington, even if it was inactivated rather than refueled.

“Petters said a refueling and complex overhaul, or RCOH – for which the George Washington is scheduled in 2016 – “is probably the most complex work that we do, because you’re doing the de¬fueling of the ship, you’re doing the refueling and startup of the ship, you’re repairing the ship after 25 years at sea, and you’re doing modernization work.” But, he said, if the Navy opted instead to inactivate the nuclear-powered carrier – which Hagel said could occur if Congress doesn’t head off planned sequestration-related cuts – the shipyard would handle that work, too.” http://bit.ly/1etSvtu

UKRAINE: The latest, per the New York Times, “SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine — Amid fears of a Kremlin-backed separatist rebellion here against Ukraine’s fledgling government, armed men in military uniforms took up positions at two Crimean airports here as Ukraine’s interior minister warned of “a direct provocation” but there was no sign of any violence.

“In Simerferopol, the regional capital of Crimea, a large number of masked armed men were stationed at the international airport Friday morning. They were dressed in camouflage and carrying assault rifles but their military uniforms bore no insignia. It was not clear who they were and they declined to answer questions.” http://nyti.ms/1d00dKT

ONE LUMP: Or two?, per The Hill, “As the Tea Party turns five years old, some of its stars gathered Thursday to argue the movement is still growing and not on the wane. Hundreds of activists met in Washington, D.C., to mark the cause’s advent, acutely aware their nascent movement faces challenges. But together, they sought to reassure themselves they’re as vibrant as ever even in the face of building criticism.

“The event was hosted by Tea Party Patriots to mark the fifth the anniversary of CNBC contributor Rick Santelli's on-camera rant against the federal government's "promoting bad behavior" with its housing market bailouts and calls for a new "tea party" protest against President Obama, comments that many credit with sparking the movement. Favorites like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) discussed their own upset victories and promised great things for the future.” http://bit.ly/1o9VGrg

POLITICO PLAY: “The Clinton Presidential Library will make its first release on Friday of records that were previously withheld from the public under legal provisions that expired early last year, a spokeswoman for the National Archives said. About 4,000 to 5,000 pages will be put online at 1 P.M. Friday, with paper copies becoming simultaneously available at the library in Little Rock, the spokeswoman said. More releases are expected in the next couple of weeks.” http://politi.co/1hH9Wpx

DISTRICT DOINGS: Of ads, per City Paper, “If you're a Verizon FiOs or Comcast cable subscriber, you might see some Tommy Wells with your news programming soon. The campaign has bought ad time to run two ads as commercials around news shows. Both of the ads focus on alleged Vince Gray shadow campaign financier Jeff Thompson. The first, with a jazzy elevator music soundtrack, asks in a quiz-style format whether Gray or leading challenger Muriel Bowser took campaign contributions from alleged members of Thompson's donation network (The answer, of course, is that they both did).” http://bit.ly/1mLu7pb

OMINOUS: So goes the narrative, per Gazette.Net, “The Obama administration’s proposal to cut military spending outlined this week by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has some giving dire predictions for Maryland, which is ranked as the seventh most dependent state on military spending in a Bloomberg Government study.

“The handwriting is on the wall,” said Bob Stewart, executive director of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1994, Municipal and County Government Employees Organization. The union represents about 10,000 county government employees in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.” http://bit.ly/1crsy9v

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Wizards beat Toronto 134-129; Caps beat Florida 5-4.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “There is a growing national trend of people stealing women's identities and then posing as them online. Now, Prince George’s County prosecutors and sexual assault advocates are urging delegates to follow the Senate’s lead and pass a law making what they call "rape by proxy" a felony, punishable by up to 20 years behind bars.” http://wj.la/1fN9cQH

NEWSTALK: Among today’s topics (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) -- The president makes unusually personal remarks about race and growing up without a father. Georgetown's Christopher Metzler has analysis.

--Skip Wood

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