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Budget Deal Foes and Lamar Alexander Lows—THE EDGE Brought to You By America's... Budget Deal Foes and Lamar Alexander Lows—THE EDGE Brought to Y... Budget Deal Foes and Lamar Alexander Lows—THE EDGE Brought to You By... Budget Deal Foes and Lama...

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The Edge

Budget Deal Foes and Lamar Alexander Lows—THE EDGE Brought to You By America's Natural Gas

December 11, 2013

By Dustin Volz (@dnvolz) and Laura Ryan (@NJljryan)

TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: The budget deal is out, but it's under attack from conservatives both in Congress and working nearby. Some liberals are also not fully satisfied, but a vote is still expected in the House as soon as Thursday. New Obamacare enrollment numbers show an improvement in November, as sign-ups nearly tripled from October. Sen. Lamar Alexander suspended his chief of staff due to allegations involving child pornography, and Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise reportedly fired Paul Teller, the group's executive director. The Sriracha saga continues, China's smog can now be seen from space, and your snooze button might just be your worst enemy.


OBSTACLES REMAIN AS HOUSE EYES THURSDAY VOTE ON BUDGET DEAL: House GOP leaders are defending the bipartisan agreement announced Tuesday night by Paul Ryan and Patty Murray, but fissures in both parties are beginning to show. Additionally, some outside conservative groups such as Heritage Action for America are loudly voicing their disdain for the compromise, prompting John Boehner to angrily call their tactics "ridiculous." Ryan added that conservative critics represent "a strange new normal." (WaPo)


McCONNELL MAY VOTE AGAINST DEAL? Sources say Mitch McConnell's opposition is due to the higher discretionary spending levels included in the deal, which doesn't square with his view that spending levels under sequestration are good policy for the GOP. McConnell is up for reelection in 2014 and faces a primary challenge from tea-party golden boy Matt Bevin. (Brett Logiurato, Business Insider)

WHO'S PAYING FOR THE BUDGET DEAL IN ONE CHART: $63 billion in relief from sequestration over two years is made possible due to higher security fees for airline passengers, lower federal pension contributions, and other fees and spending cuts. A visual breakdown of the cost-saving miscellany illustrates just how creative Paul Ryan and Patty Murray got during negotiations. (NJ)

WHAT THE DEAL MEANS FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES: Some can expect to contribute more to their pensions if the deal passes. (Kelly Lunney, GovExec)

WHERE OBAMACARE SIGN UPS ARE WORKING (HINT: VERMONT): New data out from HHS today finds enrollments totaled about 365,000 people in October and November combined, but the numbers range widely throughout the states. Those running their own exchanges, with a few exceptions, are getting the highest signup rates. (Business Insider)

SEN. ALEXANDER SUSPENDS CHIEF OF STAFF: The Tennessee Republican suspended his chief of staff, Ryan Loskarn, indefinitely and without pay due to allegations involving child pornography. Alexander was "stunned, surprised, and disappointed," he said in a statement, which also noted that law enforcement officials were searching Loskarn's home today. (NJ)

RSC HEAD PAUL TELLER FIRED: "The reason for the dismissal, according to sources familiar with the situation, is that Teller allegedly shared sensitive conversations between RSC members with outside advocacy groups, some of whom hold policy positions counter to the RSC." (Tim Alberta, NJ)

TOMORROW IN ONE PARAGRAPH: Biden will deliver remarks at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Annual Tribute Dinner, where he will also be honored. Kerry is on foreign travel to Israel, the West Bank, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The House may vote on the bipartisan budget deal. Lew is expected to testify before the House committee hearing on the state of the international finance system at 9:30 a.m. in Rayburn 2128. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a full committee markup on a bevy of judicial nominations at 10:00 a.m. in Dirksen 226.


TAKIN' CARE OF BUSINESS: Sen. Patty Murray, the woman behind the budget deal, is the ideal ambassador for Democrats. (Sarah Mimms, NJ)

THE SELFIE SEEN AROUND THE WORLD: The verdict is in: Obama's selfie was not inappropriate. Phew, glad we solved that one. (Alexander Abad-Santos, The Wire)

THE GREAT SMOG OF CHINA: Now you can see not only the Great Wall of China, but also China's infamous smog from space. (Christina Larson, Businessweek)

PROBLEM CHILD: It's not just bad stereotyping: Pew confirms that 70 percent of millennial men and 61 percent of millennial women want to be boss one day. (Jordan Weissmann, The Atlantic)

SNOOZE, YOU LOSE: The science by why hitting the snooze button is a bad idea. (Maria Konnikova, New Yorker)


A POPE FOR ALL SEASONS: Time chooses Pope Francis as Person of the Year over other finalist favorites, including Edward Snowden and twerkmaster Miley Cyrus. "The first non-European pope in 1,200 years is poised to transform a place that measures change by the century." (Time)


LAST NIGHT'S LATE-NIGHT FUNNIES IN UNDER 2 MINUTES: If Kanye West wants to be the Obama of clothing, Jay Leno wonders, does that mean designing clothes that nobody wants and selling them on a website that doesn't work? Jon Stewart wonders what the hullabaloo over a "gesture so meaningless that you can train a basset hound to do" is about? (Reena Flores, NJ)

SRIRACHA SAGA, CONT'D: This is a story of an unlikely hero and its loyal followers who are banding to save it from the deathly grasp of the law. (Roberto Ferdman, Quartz)

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