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- "House and Senate negotiators were putting the finishing touches Sunday on what would be the first successful budget accord since 2011, when the battle over a soaring national debt first paralyzed Washington. ... The deal expected to be sealed this week on Capitol Hill would not significantly reduce the debt, now $17.3 trillion and rising. It would not close corporate tax loopholes or reform expensive health-care and retirement programs. It would not even fully replace sharp spending cuts known as the sequester." (Washington Post)
- In the FL-13 Special, state Rep. Kathleen Peters (R) released a new TV ad on Friday, taking "a jab" at lobbyist David Jolly (R). (Tampa Bay Times)
- Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) "said Friday he will run" for reelection, "ending months of speculation and setting the stage for a competitive" GOP primary against his challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R). (Jackson Clarion-Ledger)
- Former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie (R) "is considering a run against" Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) next year. (Politico)
- In MD GOV, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) "is billed as the 'special guest' at an annual event that" Attorney General Doug Gansler (D) is holding in Bethesda on Tuesday night "that has traditionally yielded the largest outpouring of campaign cash that Gansler gets all year." (Washington Post)
- Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D), "to the surprise of almost no one, apparently plans to announce" a reelection bid "Monday morning at a Portland elementary school." (Portland Oregonian)
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• Gillespie would at least give Republicans in Virginia a recognizable name who has the ability to raise a lot of money, but the idea that his entrance would immediately make the race competitive is off base. There's a reason other Republicans have shied away from running, despite the overall competitive nature of Virginia: Warner is very popular, and he has almost $6 million in his campaign account. It will take a friendly national environment and a strong Republican challenger to knock him off. A career political strategist running for office for the first time doesn't sound like an ideal candidate.
• Rep. Joe Heck's (R-NV) Dream Act-style bill appears to have failed to get off the ground, with his office saying it didn't attract the necessary local or national support. It illustrates the forces binding members like Heck, whose caucus and constituency approach immigration in diametrically opposite ways. What's more, he's having to keep explaining his vote to defund the deferred action program as long as he doesn't get to vote on a legislative fix.
HAIR OF THE DOG
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- President Obama and the first lady are en route to Johannesburg, where they "will attend a ... memorial service" on Tuesday for former South African President Nelson Mandela. (Politico)
- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) will join a 24-member congressional delegation to Johannesburg. (CNN)
- Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's (D) "criminal case will wrap up Monday, as he faces sentencing on sexual harassment charges." (U-T San Diego)
- "I think I just became the first president to ever publicly mention Area 51." -- Obama, honoring actress/UFO believer Shirley MacLaine at the Kennedy Center on Sunday (The Hill)
- "I am not jumping into an empty pool headfirst. ... If the resources are there, then it makes it an easier decision." -- Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino (R), on a possible NY GOV run (Wall Street Journal)
- "John McCain Saves the Day at Harris Teeter" (Roll Call)
- "You should ask Chris Christie if me being in the race disqualifies him." -- Rep. Peter King (R-NY), asked if whether a Christie candidacy "would nullify his own [presidential] aspirations" (City & State)
- "Girl in the Shadows: Dasani's Homeless Life" (New York Times)
PLAY OF THE DAY!
- A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect. (until 10 a.m.)
- Today's weather, from the National Weather Service: Rain and freezing rain this morning, then a chance of rain this afternoon. Ice accumulation around a trace. Highs around 40. Southwest winds around 5 mph.
- The House is back at noon, and the Senate returns at 2 p.m.
- The federal government is opening on a two-hour delay due to inclement weather.
- The Wizards host the Nuggets. (Verizon Center, 7 p.m.)
- Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!
- Haiti was the second European colony in the Western Hemisphere to declare independence.
- The winner is Joe Katz, and here's his Swizzle Challenge: "How many Cabinet secretaries have also served as members of Congress, federal judges and state governors -- and who were they?" The 3rd correct answer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- Guess Who's Funding the Republican Civil War
- Political Pollsters Still Don't Know What They're Doing
- Can Democrats Make 2014 About the Minimum Wage?
- Is the Republican Advantage on Obamacare Eroding?
- The Best Political Books We Read in 2013
"I know my Spanish is going to be better, and my golf swing is going to be better. Hope springs eternal." -- Outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), on his post-City Hall plans (New York Times)
"Oh el weathero outsidero estan frightfulo, pero el Bermuda beachcasa es delightfulo. So since yo tengo someplace to que go, leto it snow!" -- "El Bloombito" (Twitter)
Steven Shepard, Editor-in-Chief