By Jack Fitzpatrick (@jackfitzdc)
TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: The Ukrainian government and opposition leaders have signed a deal laying out political reforms and an early election in December, but many protesters want President Viktor Yanukovych ousted sooner. House Republicans are introducing several bills focusing on reforming the IRS following the agency's admission that it targeted conservative groups. President Obama met with the Dalai Lama despite objections from the Chinese government. A federal judge ruled that same-sex couples can get married in Chicago immediately, rather than waiting for a state law that goes into effect in June. Transcripts released today show that Federal Reserve officials thought the economy would continue growing in September 2008. And lawmakers on both sides of the aisle—as well as the general public—have largely ignored the deficit lately.
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT, OPPOSITION SIGN POLITICAL DEAL: The pact would return the country to its 2004 constitution, giving Parliament more political power. Following the agreement, the parliament voted to remove the country's interior minister, who was blamed for much of the violence, and took a step toward releasing opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko from prison. The one major hitch is that Yanukovych will stay in power until early elections are called in December, which some protesters have said is unacceptable. (Englund/Booth, WaPo)
HOUSE REPUBLICANS GO AFTER IRS: Republicans are pushing several bills reforming the IRS after the agency admitted some of its employees had subjected conservative groups to extra scrutiny. Rep. Peter Roskam of Illinois—who said the Obama administration is "incapable of getting the IRS under control"—has introduced two bills that would require the IRS to tell taxpayers when it shares their information with other agencies, put a one-year time limit on IRA audits and ban the agency from asking people about their political or religious beliefs. (Pete Kasperowicz, The Hill)
OBAMA MEETS WITH DALAI LAMA DESPITE CHINA'S WARNINGS: The president expressed concern over China's human-rights practices in an hour-long meeting with the exiled Dalai Lama, despite warnings from Chinese leaders that it would "seriously damage" the countries' relationship. Obama did not support Tibetan independence from China. (Rampton/Wee, Reuters)
GAYS CAN WED IN CHICAGO IMMEDIATELY: A federal judge ruled that same-sex couples in Cook County can get married now, rather than waiting for a state law to take effect on June 1. U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman asked in her opinion, "Why should we wait?" (Miranda Leitsinger, NBC News)
FCC DENIES REPUBLICANS' 'FAIRNESS DOCTRINE' ACCUSATIONS: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wrote a letter to senior House Republicans insisting the agency has no plans to regulate political journalism. Republicans have criticized a study that they said seemed to regulate newsroom decisions. (Laura Ryan, NJ)
TOMORROW IN ONE PARAGRAPH: The National Governors Association will continue its annual winter meeting through Monday. On CBS's Meet the Press, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will talk about 2016 presidential prospects, the "Bridgegate" scandal in New Jersey and other issues. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin will discuss several issues affecting their states, and Sens. Dick Durbin and Kelly Ayotte will discuss the protests in Ukraine on Fox News Sunday. President George W. Bush will talk about the Bush Institute's Military Service Initiative helping veterans on ABC's This Week.
THE 15 GOVERNORSHIPS THAT COULD SWITCH PARTIES: Starting with the least popular governor in the country, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett. (Shepard/Bruggeman, NJ)
TURNS OUT, UKRAINIAN BONDS WERE CHEAP FOR A REASON: Just a couple months ago, high-profile investors were talking up Ukrainian bonds after Russia pledged to support the country. Now, Standard & Poor's says the country will likely default on its debts. (Matt Phillips, Quartz)
DEFICIT REDUCTION? WHATEVER… Even Republicans have become less concerned about the federal deficit, and it matches a trend among the general population. (Alex Seitz-Wald, NJ)
NEW YORK COULD BE THE FIRST TO REGULATE BITCOIN: New York Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky said the currency "holds a lot of promise" if money-laundering issues are addressed. (Catherine Hollander, NJ)
THE GOP'S TALENT GAP: Republican campaigns often either lack talented employees or have put them in the wrong position. (Alex Roarty, NJ)
THE FED'S LATE REACTION: Transcripts released today show Federal Reserve officials were not particularly worried about the economy in September 2008. (Binyamin Appelbaum, NYT)
LAST NIGHT'S LATE-NIGHT FUNNIES IN UNDER 3 MINUTES: Jon Stewart makes a compelling advertisement for a Kansas bill allowing parents to hit their kids harder. (Reena Flores, NJ)HOW WRONG IS YOUR TIME ZONE? A map comparing solar and standard times shows how far behind western China is, and how far ahead eastern India is. (Joshua Keating, Slate)