DAYBREAK DAILY: Va. GOP again addresses Medicaid expansion

ABC7 TRAFFIC: Good Morning Washington has updates every 10 minutes beginning at 4:30 a.m.

ABC7 WEATHER: Mostly sunny with highs in the 50s.

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the stories being covered – Breaking details of a deadly fire and shooting inside a house near the University of Maryland; fallout from North Korea’s nuclear detonation test; today’s Clarendon Alliance Mardi Gras Parade, with street closings; and much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: Chicago police spokeswoman Melissa Stratton said Monday that two young men are charged with first-degree murder in connection to the Jan. 29 death of Hadiya Pendleton. Pendleton, a 15-year-old honor student who was shot last month, had recently returned from Washington, where she'd performed during inauguration festivities with her high school band.

VIRGINIA MOVES ON MEDICAID: But with stipulations, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “House Republicans on Monday maintained that their openness toward Medicaid expansion is contingent on fixes to the current system. “It is universal that we do reforms first. That’s the way to get to expansion, because the program as it is today is broken,” said Del. S. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, at a GOP news conference.”

NEW POPE?: Speculation varies widely, per the New York Times, “Pope Benedict XVI’s surprise decision to resign on Monday immediately set off a flurry of speculation about his replacement, who will be called upon to guide the Roman Catholic Church through an increasingly secular era in which the church has lost the certainty it claimed for centuries.”

NAVY SEALS: One in particular, per the Center for Investigative Reporting, “The Navy SEAL who says he killed Osama bin Laden is unemployed and waiting for disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. In an exclusive story for Esquire by Phil Bronstein of the Center for Investigative Reporting, the SEAL adds many details to what already is known about the death of the al-Qaida leader. His name is withheld to protect his identity.”

NO SURPRISE HERE: Buddy, can you spare a dime?, per the Washington Post, “High-income households account for one in every seven in the Washington region, according to new census figures that underscore how the nation’s corporate, financial and government capitals thrived during the recession. Nationally, Washington ranked third among all metro areas with high concentrations of households in the top 5 percent, a group that begins at $191,500.”

WE DON’T LIKE YOUR KIND: So, you know, go away, per the Virginian-Pilot, “Supporters say it would preserve the constitutional right of free association on college campuses. Critics say its purpose is more nefarious: to undermine a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision and permit otherwise improper discrimination by college clubs supported with public dollars. The pro-side won out Monday when the Virginia Senate voted 22-18 to approve legislation that would allow student groups to restrict membership to those committed to their missions.”

COMPLICATED DEAL: Just the facts, per ABC7 – WJLA, “Seventeen-year-old Clint Amaya was working with an auger at the Eagle Hill Horse Rescue Farm in Culpeper last month building fences when his glove got caught in the machinery. It was his fourth day of court ordered community service as part of a juvenile conviction for possessing stolen goods. He'd spent all his time at the farm working on fences. “It happened so fast my arm got stuck there and it got ripped,” explained Clint Amaya. “It was gone.”

POLITICO PLAY: “Washington’s latest budget rumpus is perhaps best understood as a Western in which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plays a Nevada buckaroo ranch foreman charged with driving the House Republicans back to the Oval Office corral for deficit talks with President Barack Obama. Speaker John Boehner bolted before Christmas and is now threatening to let across-the-board spending cuts go into effect March 1. Reid must cut Boehner off at the pass and steer him back to the president, who left $600 billion in entitlement savings on the table in December.”

INSIDE THE BELTWAY: Specifically, its fast lanes, per the Washington Examiner, “The new Beltway Express Lanes lost $11.3 million in their first six weeks of operation, new documents shown to investors from operator Transurban show. The lanes raked in $800,000 in tolls and $200,000 in fees and other revenue but had $3.2 million in operating costs, as well as depreciation of $2.1 million and financing costs of $7 million, according to documents the Australian company showed investors and that were first reported by TollRoadsNews.”

HEY, NO FAIR: Ruffled feathers in Maryland, per the Washington Times, “Maryland Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot says a bill that would remove some of his tax-collecting duties is political payback from Democratic leaders for his opposition to gambling. Mr. Franchot, a Democrat, is irate over legislation that would reassign the tasks of regulating and collecting taxes on alcohol, tobacco and motor fuel from his office to the state’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR).”

PREBBLE OUT AT O’CONNELL: There also is a back story, per ARLnow, “On Twitter, Bishop O’Connell students seemed pleased with Prebble’s resignation. One called it “a graduation present to the Class of 2013.” Another said the resignation was “better late than never,” while referencing a controversial decision last year to fire John Harrison, a beloved social studies teacher.”

OF WHEATON: As well as a makeover, per Greater Greater Washington, “Downtown Silver Spring is anchored by the Civic Building. Rockville Town Center has its library. Wheaton, meanwhile, will have the Montgomery County Planning Department. If the revitalization of Wheaton is going to succeed, it'll need much more than a government office building.”

FAT TUESDAY: And a great read about Mardi Gras, per the Times-Picayune, “The post-Hurricane Katrina flowering of entrepreneurship in New Orleans has attracted widespread recognition in recent years. The Washington-based Brookings Institution found 450 of every 100,000 adults in the city starting businesses, beating the national average by 130. National publications took notice. Long before those plaudits starting rolling in, however, New Orleans already had an incubator of creativity, innovation and enterprise ingrained in its culture, also called Mardi Gras.”

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Wizards beat Milwaukee 102-90.

HIGHER EDUCATION: Quality at a cost, per DCist, “Students entering George Washington University next year will pay $58,488 per year for their education and housing, reports the Hatchet. The tuition rate is 3.3 percent higher than last year's freshman class, and almost double the $29,350 that incoming students paid a decade ago.”

NEWSTALK: Among today’s topics (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) will be a preview of President Obama's State of the Union address.

--Skip Wood

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