By Jack Fitzpatrick (@jackfitzdc)
TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: The Federal Reserve announced it would scale back its bond-buying program by $10 billion next month. Health insurance officials say rates on the Obamacare exchange will rise substantially next year. Russian troops seized Ukraine's naval headquarters in Crimea. The Commerce Department tried to ease concerns over the U.S. giving up control of the technical system behind the Internet. Sen. Rand Paul looks like the Republican front-runner for president and says that makes him a "target" for other candidates. No one likes the microwave anymore, and National Republican Congressional Committee officials are crediting a voter database called "Honeybadger" for David Jolly's win in last week's congressional special election in Florida.
FED CUTS BOND PURCHASES BY $10 BILLION: The Federal Reserve continued to reduce its stimulus, announcing it would add $55 billion to its holdings of securities next month, down from $65 billion in previous months. But it said it will keep short-term interest rates near zero "for a considerable time." Economic forecasts released today estimated the Fed will start raising the rates in 2015. (Binyamin Appelbaum, NYT)
HEALTH INDUSTRY OFFICIALS: OBAMACARE PREMIUMS WILL RISE: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has said rates would increase more slowly in the past, but insurance officials called that prediction "shortsighted." One said his company expects to triple its rates on the Obamacare exchange next year, based largely on the low number of young people who have signed up. (Elise Viebeck, The Hill)
RUSSIANS, MILITIA SEIZE UKRAINIAN NAVY HEADQUARTERS: Vice President Joe Biden promised further isolation "as long as Russia continues on this dark path," after troops took control of Ukraine's naval headquarters in Sevastopol. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday and will go to Kiev on Friday. (Vasovic/Kiselyova, Reuters)
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION DENIES 'ABANDONING THE INTERNET': A Commerce Department announcement last week that the U.S. government would hand control of the Internet's address system over to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers may have caused some "confusion," the department said. The U.S. can still push ICANN to adopt certain policies and will still be "preserving the Internet as an engine for economic growth and innovation." (Brendan Sasso, NJ)
FEDERAL JUDGE SIDES WITH ARIZONA, KANSAS IN VOTER-REGISTRATION SUIT: Both states wanted to require proof of citizenship for those registering to vote, but the federal government had already passed a law setting registration standards that didn't include such proof. U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren in Wichita, Kan., ruled that the Election Assistance Commission must revise the national voter registration form so that it complies with Arizona's and Kansas's requirements. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach called it "a really big victory, not just for Kansas and Arizona but for all 50 states." Opponents say it could suppress Democratic votes. (John Hanna, AP)
TOMORROW IN ONE PARAGRAPH: President Obama will speak at 2:40 p.m. at Valencia College in Orlando, Fla., about women and the economy, and will attend Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee events in Miami. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will speak at 9:45 a.m. in Fort Worth, Texas, with Rep. Marc Veasey and others about enrolling in a health care plan, and at 2:20 p.m. in New Orleans with Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Rep. Elijah Cummings host a rally at 1 p.m. in Catonsville, Md., to support increasing the state minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.
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PAUL: WINNING POLLS MAKE ME 'MORE OF A TARGET': The senator from Kentucky looks like the Republican front-runner for president, which has a downside but is "better than being last." (Shane Goldmacher, NJ)
THE MICROWAVE'S DOWNFALL: Microwave sales are stagnant, and Americans increasingly prefer fresh foods. Does that mean microwaves will go away, or just that their use has peaked? (Roberto Ferdman, Quartz)
CRIMEA IS CONFUSING WIKIPEDIA: Crimea was added and subtracted from Wikipedia's map of Russia four times yesterday as editors debated how to represent the region, before designating it as a claimed territory. (Brian Resnick, NJ)
HONEYBADGER DON'T CARE: National Republicans say a voter database called "Honeybadger" is responsible for David Jolly's win in Florida's special congressional election. (Alex Roarty, NJ)
THE TEA PARTY LEARNS ITS LIMITS: Outside conservative groups are being less aggressive as establishment Republicans find success against primary challengers. (Josh Kraushaar, NJ)
THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE, EXPLAINED IN ONE ANIMATED VIDEO: What exactly is a "death spiral"? And what does Massachusetts' health care law tell us about the Affordable Care Act? (Vox)
LAST NIGHT'S LATE-NIGHT FUNNIES IN UNDER 2 MINUTES: Reince Priebus said, when it comes to winning the White House in 2016, the GOP still isn't in the right place. "Kind of like the letters in Reince Priebus," says Jimmy Fallon. (Mauro Whiteman, NJ)