By Dustin Volz (@dnvolz)
TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: John Boehner is still fuming at conservative groups for attempting to tear down the bipartisan budget deal, haranguing groups like FreedomWorks and Club for Growth for attacking the legislation without knowing what was in it. Verbally charged theatrics or not, the show must go on, and the House should be voting on the budget accord later today after approving a rule for debate. The rule also clears legislative debris for votes on a one-month farm bill extension, a three-month "doc fix" and the National Defense Authorization Act. All measures are expected to be approved. Jay Carney explained the history of the Internet to the White House press corps to defend the administration's tight control on media access, but reporters do not appear amused. Fox Host Megyn Kelly draws controversy for talking about Santa's race, a dead poet tweets, and the FCC and Department of Transportation go in opposite directions for allowing in-flight calls.
BOEHNER DOUBLES DOWN ON CRUCIFYING CONSERVATIVE GROUPS: Boehner's mad as hell at hard-right groups, and he--finally--can't take it anymore. The speaker reupped today on his scolding of conservative influencers for "misleading their followers" by deriding the bipartisan budget deal, adding that "they've lost all credibility." The conservative groups quickly shot back. Heritage Action's spox told NJ that Boehner's comments were "bizarre" and that "Everything we warned about...is all true." (Matt Berman, NJ)
BOEHNER ISN'T BACKING DOWN. HERE'S WHY: Shout and stamp their feet as they might, tea-party conservatives calling for Boehner's head are going to be sorely disappointed. There's little they can do to kill his speakership, but there is one person who will suffer from their ire: Paul Ryan. (Alberta/House, NJ)
AMID GOP INFIGHTING FIREWORKS, BUDGET DEAL VOTE STILL ON: A House vote on the budget agreement is still expected to happen later today, after the chamber advanced the bill by approving a rule setting up debate. Republicans, save for one defection by Walter Jones, voted for the rule, while Democrats unanimously opposed it. Despite the flair of partisanship, both parties are expected to vote for the final bill. (Pete Kasperowicz, The Hill)
ADMIN ANNOUNCES NEW IRAN SANCTIONS: Under pressure from Congress to demonstrate that it is not easing up on sanctions on Iran's oil sector or on its nuclear and missile programs, the Obama administration on Thursday announced an expanded list of Iranian companies and individuals that it said it would target to block their trading activities around the world. (Sanger/Gordon, NYT)
TOMORROW IN ONE PARAGRAPH: The Senate is in session, but the House may opt to close business tonight and take off for the rest of the year. Kathleen Sebelius heads down to Florida for an educational event highlighting ways to learn about the state's health insurance marketplace.
MEGYN KELLY: The Fox host and three white guests took issue with Aisha Harris suggesting Santa Claus should no longer be portrayed as a white man. She responds. (Slate)
WHITE HOUSE MEDIA ACCESS: Jay Carney attempts to lecture the press corps about how the Internet has transformed the media and made access more difficult. Journalists respond. (Brian Resnick, NJ)
IN-FLIGHT CALLS: The FCC voted to consider abolishing the decades-old ban, but the DoT announced it will look into crafting its own ban. (Nicas/Nagesh, WSJ)
RELIGION IN AMERICA: Denominations, diversity and fervency displayed in state and county maps. (Niraj Chokshi, WaPo)
MIKE BLOOMBERG: The outgoing mayor isn't about to give up his fight for tighter gun laws: "Nothing in Washington has changed since Newtown." (Marina Koren, NJ)
WALT WHITMAN ON TWITTER: The dead poet is using the handle @TweetsOfGrass to celebrate himself and his seminal work from 1855. The medium works in brilliant tandem with Whitman's line breaks. (Rebecca Rosen, The Atlantic)
GUN CONTROL ADVOCATES LEARN FROM APARTHEID STRUGGLE: Legislation curbing gun rights is going nowhere, but momentum is growing on the divestment track, once used successfully to combat racial injustices in South Africa and the tobacco industry. (Alec MacGillis, TNR)
LAST NIGHT'S LATE-NIGHT FUNNIES IN UNDER 3 MINUTES: Mike Huckabee offers up "12 Days of Obamacare" on his show, but Colbert refuses to be outdone, serving up the holiday classic "Feliz Death Panel" in response. And the late-night hosts can't believe Congress might actually have made a deal without the benefit of witchcraft. (Reena Flores, NJ)
THE YEAR 2013, AS TOLD BY CHARTS: Eyecandy graphs illustrate the most controversial topics on Wikipedia, where spy agencies go to get our data, what industries witnessed the best job growth and the uncomfortable racial preferences of online daters. Here's hoping 2014 is as visually arresting. (Quartz)