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Congress: Let's make a deal

NBC’s Kasie Hunt, Luke Russert, and Kelly O’Donnell report: “Two key senators have reached a deal to expand background checks to firearms sales at gun shows and on the Internet, sources close to the negotiations said early Wednesday. Sen. Pat Toomey, a conservative Pennsylvania Republican, plan to announce the deal Wednesday with West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who holds an A rating from the National Rifle Association.”

So what’s in it? “The compromise doesn't go as far as the universal background checks that President Barack Obama first envisioned in the wake of the Newtown shootings. The Manchin-Toomey compromise will include exemptions for some transactions, such as those between family members”

Here’s how the Louisville Courier-Journal frames the McConnell tape: “With U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in the room, his campaign staffers laughed as they discussed ways to exploit Ashley Judd’s mental health battles and to attack his other potential foes, according to an audio recording published by Mother Jones magazine. In response, McConnell accused left-wing groups of ‘Watergate-style’ bugging to obtain the taped conversations, and his campaign said it had reported the incident to the FBI. His campaign did not dispute the recording’s authenticity.”

National Journal notes there are two possibilities in the McConnell tape: Either someone bugged McConnell’s team, as they claim, or a McConnell insider leaked it – something McConnell’s team vehemently denies. “There was scant evidence for either scenario,” National Journal writes. “But if either turned out to be true, it would carry significant consequences for the Senate minority leader’s campaign, a race Democrats already consider their top midterm target. Misconduct by Democrats — or wrongful accusations from McConnell — could shake up an already volatile race.”

Roll Call on immigration: “Members of the bipartisan Senate group working on a sweeping immigration bill said they were rushing to introduce a bill as early as possible, with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., suggesting that the measure could be wrapped up by the end of this week. The newfound bullishness comes as senators and their aides are trying to reach consensus on some sticking points, among them a new visa program for agricultural workers, visas for high-tech workers and family unification visas.”