Congressmen Ami Bera, David Cicilline, Rodney Davis and Adam Kinzinger talk problem solving.
BIG FIGHTS OVER LITTLE BITS: The House Armed Services Committee is marking up the defense authorization bill -- and it sets the base defense budget at $554 billion. This bill is consistent with Rep. Paul Ryan's budget (R-WI) that favors defense spending over entitlements, but $4 billion more than the president's budget and $8 billion more than the caps from the summer's Budget Control Act. As a percentage of the total defense budget, the difference between the two sides comes down to less than two percent. But will lawmakers actually show up at the negotiating table to reach a deal? Austin Wright for POLITICO: Panel gears up for defense spending bill
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION UPDATE: As the general election approaches, Mitt Romney is tiptoeing away from the GOP base he courted during the primaries -- and back toward the middle to attract voters in Ohio, women, Hispanics and college students, Alexander Bolton writes in The Hill. At the same time, Republicans are trying to paint President Obama as America's "divider-in-chief," Amie Parnes writes. This election will come down to the voter who wants to solve problems, not engage in continued finger-pointing -- and the campaigns are tailoring their messages to appeal to these problem-solvers.
A NEW ERA FOR SENATE COMMITTEE: Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) is retiring at the end of this year -- and her tenure as ranking member on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has been marked by cooperation with the chairman, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). But with her retirement looming -- and the retirement of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), the next in line for the position, that era of across-the-aisle cooperation could be at risk: Tony Romm and Eliza Krigman for POLITICO: On Senate Commerce, the 'bipartisan party is over'
WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR: Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) is looking for a certain type of person to run for Senate. "We want people with convictions and backbone, not a bunch of pushovers who agree on everything because they believe in nothing. But unfortunately, too many people in Washington would rather have a good brawl than pass a good bill." Agreed! Bob Salsberg for The Boston Globe: US Sen. Brown calls for bipartisanship, civility
STAT OF THE DAY: The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was up to 8.6 percent in April, from 8.1 percent in March. Dennis Jacobe for Gallup: Gallup Seasonally Adjusted U.S. Unemployment Rate Up in April
ACTION OF THE DAY: $300 million. That’s about how much the Romney and Obama campaigns have raised so far -- and most if will be used for negative mudslinging. Meanwhile, the crippling political gridlock will only continue. Click here to join the fight with No Labels by chipping in $3 right now.