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HOME STRETCH: Two major legislative items are expected to pass the Senate this week: the two-year budget deal and the Defense authorization bill. The Ryan-Murray budget deal, which passed the House 332-94 last week, is projected to pass the Senate today with bipartisan support. There have been disagreements from both sides of the aisle, but there are now enough votes to get the deal through. The Defense authorization bill is also poised to pass the Senate on Thursday. The legislation faced some objections from Republicans who were angry with Majority Leader Harry Reid for blocking amendment votes, but as Sen. Jim Inhofe stated, “Do they really want to be the first time in 51 years we don’t have a bill? The answer is no.”
TAX REFORM LEADER: Right off the heels of the bipartisan budget deal that he helped broker with Sen. Patty Murray, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan now wants to take on tax reform by becoming the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee in 2015. “Mr. Ryan, 43 years old, now heads the House Budget Committee. He said he aims to succeed Mr. Camp, whose tenure on the Ways and Means panel will end after 2014 under the Republicans' term limits on chairmen. ‘That is my plan,' said Mr. Ryan. He said the next Ways and Means chairman likely will have to focus on the knotty political problems of trying to revamp entitlement programs and replace President Barack Obama's health-care law,” write John McKinnon and Patrick O’Connor: John McKinnon and Patrick O’Connor for The Wall Street Journal: Ryan Seeks to Head Ways and Means in 2015
THE DECLINING AMERICAN DREAM: In his most recent column for The Wall Street Journal, No Labels Co-Founder Bill Galston writes about the decline of the American Dream over the past decade and why recent polls show that a majority of Americans believe our country is on the wrong track. “A survey by the bipartisan group No Labels (full disclosure: I am a co-founder) finds that only 38% of people think America's best days are ahead of us, versus 48% who think that time is behind us.” Galston goes on to say, “We can expect a similar period of volatility until the emergence of leaders who are able not just to articulate a vision of a better future, but also to offer a credible strategy for reaching it in this era of polarized politics.” Bill Galston for The Wall Street Journal: A Decade of Decline in the American Dream
LEAVING CONGRESS: Yesterday, Problem Solvers Jim Matheson and Frank Wolf announced their retirement from Congress in 2014. We thank them for their service and willingness to work across the aisle to get things done.
ACTION OF THE DAY: Roll Call’s new Editor-in-Chief Christina Bellantoni discussed the budget deal passing the Senate and media in politics on SiriusXM’s No Labels Radio this past Saturday. Listen to her interview here.
STAT OF THE DAY: According to a new report, job satisfaction among federal workers has dropped to an all-time low. “The report, produced by the Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte, marked the lowest score in employee satisfaction and commitment since the rankings were first published in 2003. On a scale of 100, the overall satisfaction score among those surveyed in 2013 was 57.8. The score continues the downward trend of employee satisfaction among federal workers, with 2013 marking the third straight year the score has dropped,” writes Mackenzie Weinger: Mackenzie Weinger for POLITICO: Federal job satisfaction at an all-time low

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