Wednesday’s Mini-Report

WEDNESDAY’S MINI-REPORT…. Today’s edition of quick hits:

* The CBO has scored the Senate health care bill at $849 billion over 10 years. It will cut the federal budget deficit by $127 billion over the first decade, and as $650 billion in the second decade. The plan extends coverage to 31 million uninsured Americans, which would bring the overall total to 94% of the population.

* Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a surprise visit to Afghanistan earlier today, on the eve of Hamid Karzai’s inauguration.

* Offered a very good deal, Iran nevertheless continues to be uncooperative.

* It looks like Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) will join his party on the motion to proceed on health care reform.

* HHS pushback: “Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday afternoon issued a strong statement intended to put distance between federal policy and an influential panel’s recommendations that most women should start regular breast cancer screening at age 50, not 40.”

* President Obama expects Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to be convicted and executed.

* Even after the economic crisis, exactly zero Senate Republicans are expected to support re-regulation of the financial industry.

* Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has finally dropped his hold on veterans’ benefits bill.

* Wait, Somali pirates attacked the Maersk Alabama again?

* Democrats want to pass a law mandating paid sick leave for H1N1 sufferers. Business groups and their lobbyists are fighting the proposal.

* On a related note, a majority of Americans claim they don’t want the H1N1 vaccine. I guess that’ll mean more for the rest of us.

* Are there troops available for an escalation in Afghanistan?

* Professional courtesies be damned, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) intends to force the reading of the entire health care bill.

* The stimulus bill has helped millions of Americans avoid falling into poverty.

* Incremental progress on lessening suicides in the U.S. military.

* Zombies as potent metaphors.

* Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) today became the longest-serving member of Congress ever.

* Rep. Donald Manzullo (R-Ill.) on Monday called Islam a “savage religion.” He issued a qualified apology yesterday.

* Conservative lawmakers in Texas may have inadvertently made marriage illegal in the state. Oops.

* Dahlia Lithwick: “Opposition to the Obama administration’s plan to try alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his confederates in a federal court in New York City is hardening into two camps. One is concerned that we may be unwittingly playing into the terrorists’ hands. The other is incensed that we already have. What both camps share, besides a kind of unhinged logic and complete disregard for the legal process, is an obsessive fascination with the accused. The result is a broad willingness to sacrifice our commitment to legal principles in favor of the symbolic satisfaction of crushing the hopes and dreams of a motley group of criminals.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.