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January 2, 2013
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National Pulse 
  • Biden shines as lawmakers finally cut a deal
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    Tempers flared as lawmakers sought to thrash out a fiscal compromise, with party leaders screaming obscenities at one another in the corridors of power -- but the House did finally approve the Senate's fiscal plan, with 85 Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner, joining Democrats to push through the deal. That was partly thanks to Vice President Joe Biden's ability to swoop in and win over Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell -- a move seen as almost presidential by some observers. "No doubt about it, this could be very helpful to him if he decides to run in 2016," says former top Democratic aide Jim Manley. National Journal (1/2) , Politico (Washington, D.C.) (1/2) , The Hill (1/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

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Agenda Items 
  • House GOP delays vote on Sandy relief bill
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    House Republicans suddenly nixed a planned vote on key legislation providing emergency relief for northeastern states impacted by Hurricane Sandy, drawing sharp criticism from the region's representatives. Some speculated that GOP leaders wanted to avoid passing a major spending bill so soon after securing a fiscal deal. "I understand the tactics, but there is a real human need here that is being ignored," said Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J. Politico (Washington, D.C.) (1/1) , The Hill/On the Money blog (1/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Data Points 
  • Trade and the China challenge
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    Face the Facts USA
    Although the past 20 years has seen a dramatic rise in trade between the U.S. and other countries, the U.S. continues to import far more than it exports. No gap is greater than the one between the U.S. and China. Our trade deficit with China was $295 billion in 2011. That's nearly triple what it was 10 years ago -- and represents about 40% of the entire U.S. trade deficit. No other country even comes close. The second biggest annual trade deficit is with Mexico -- and it's $64 billion. Face the Facts USA LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

The Conversation 
Daily Chuckle 
  • Best of 2012: The face is familiar and contagious!
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    U.S. gymnast McKayla Maroney was not happy winning a silver medal in London, and she let her expression show it. The 16-year-old athlete now enjoys her celebrity status as fans ask to pose for pictures with her wearing her "not impressed" face. And the famous expression is reaching some high places. The Huffington Post (11/19) , The Washington Post (11/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

Justice in the life and conduct of the state is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens."
--Plato, Greek philosopher
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