By Dustin Volz (@dnvolz)
TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: Democrats are conceding the fight over Ukraine aid, leaving the push to change the IMF's lending powers for another day. The Supreme Court took up Obamacare's contraception mandate, but we'll still have to wait until June to know what the justices are thinking. Bitcoin is not a currency but property, the IRS has finally decided. The chance to legalize weed is a big incentive to show up at the polls on Election Day for voters. And Sen. Rand Paul believes he is a major reason President Obama is reforming the NSA.
SENATE DEMS CAVE ON UKRAINE AID PACKAGE: Harry Reid conceded defeat this afternoon, announcing that he will not push for a provision that would have strengthened the International Monetary Fund's ability to lend to countries in crisis. The GOP tactic of "don't bend" paid off, as the House Foreign Affairs Committee barreled ahead with their own version of the approximately $1 billion package that lacked IMF tampering, forcing the Senate's hand. Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, in response, quickly gave an impassioned speech from the chamber floor attacking Republicans refusing to "put national security interests above a partisan political interest." (Kaper/Carney, NJ)
SCOTUS SPLIT ON OBAMACARE'S CONTRACEPTION RULE: Justice Anthony Kennedy still appears to hold the decisive vote, as the Supremes heard arguments for whether corporations can refuse to provide insurance for contraception on religious grounds. But in typical fashion, Kennedy asked questions supportive of either side, leaving us with no clear sign of how the ruling will go until the decision is handed down in late June. (Adam Liptak, NYT)
IRS: BITCOIN IS PROPERTY, NOT CURRENCY: The rule-free rush of digital currencies was fun while it lasted. The agency's determination, which wasn't expected this soon, is a possible boost to investors--but also imposes record-keeping and sizable taxes upon bitcoin use. (McKinnon/Tracy, WSJ)
TOMORROW IN ONE PARAGRAPH: The House and Senate are both in session. The Senate Commerce Committee will hear from Target CEO John Mulligan during another review of that company's massive data breach last year. Obama remains overseas on his six-day foreign trip.
WHY ESPN IS STILL KING OF THE TV: Affiliate fees for the sports network have exploded in recent years, and so has ad revenue. There are graphs to prove it. (Matt Phillips, Quartz)
RAND PAUL: NSA REFORM IS BECAUSE OF ME: "I don't want to take all the credit for ending this, but I think our lawsuit had something to do with bringing the president to the table," the tea-party darling told Fox News. (Volz, NJ)
GET HIGH, GO VOTE: A new poll suggests voters are 68 percent more likely to show up at the polls if given the chance to vote on a ballot measure to legalize weed. Liberals, no surprise, are jonesing more for the idea than moderates or conservatives, meaning the issue could prove to be a boon for Democrats. (Alex Seitz-Wald, NJ)
SHELDON ADELSON'S SUPER-RICH PLAN FOR 2016: "This time, the Adelsons are plotting their investments based not on personal loyalty, but on a much more strategic aim: to help select a Republican nominee they believe will have broad appeal to an increasingly diverse national electorate." (Gold/Rucker, WaPo)
LAST NIGHT'S LATE-NIGHT FUNNIES IN UNDER 2 MINUTES: Obama is the kid nobody will sit with during lunch at the Nuclear Security Summit, and Jimmy Carter is afraid of everything but his own typewriter. (Mauro Whiteman, NJ)
WHAT A CYCLONE LOOKS LIKE FROM SPACE: NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement returns its first images. (Brown, NJ)
THE INCREDIBLE SIGNS OUTSIDE SCOTUS TODAY: "Keep Your Hobbies Off My Ovaries" and your requisite bloody fetus (warning: graphic) made the list. (Matt Vasilogambros, NJ)