TAKING SHAPE: While many lawmakers spent their recesses in their home districts, a handful of lawmakers and aides have been working almost daily to piece together the one trillion dollar omnibus spending package. The group working on the bill says their progress has been better than they expected and hope the bill can be voted on by both chambers before the January 16 deadline. The omnibus package, which includes 12 parts to it, must use $1.012 trillion as the top-level spending figure, which was agreed upon by the budget conference committee, led by Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Paul Ryan: Erik Wasson for The Hill: $1T spending bill nears unveiling
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: As we look ahead to 2014, James Hohmann of POLITICO takes a look at 14 key dates in Washington. The list includes the State of the Union, Janet Yellen's first press conference and key unemployment numbers. See the full list here: James Hohmann for POLITICO: As D.C. turns: 14 dates to watch in 2014
NUMBER ONE STORY: What was the number one story in Washington this year? Legislative gridlock, according to Mary Silver. “America has been polarized enough to shut down its government before, but this time the disagreements are deeper and the stakes are higher, according to John Cioffi, associate professor of political science at The University of California–Riverside,” she writes. With a new year starting, it is time for Washington to put the work of the country ahead of hyper-partisan fighting: Mary Silver for the Epoch Times: Top 20 Stories of 2013 — No. 1: Legislative Gridlock
NEEDS WORK: Just 1 in 20 of American believe our government works well, according to a recent poll done by theAssociated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Additionally, 70 percent lack confidence in the government's ability “to make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014.” One place Washington can start to improve performance is our Make Government Work! legislative package, which features bills that would make the government more efficient and effective: Charles Babington and Jennifer Agiesta for the Associated Press: Poll: Americans have Little Faith in Government
THE NO LABELS MOVEMENT: Renee Gravelle writes in The Observer that elected officials would benefit from joining the No Labels movement. “There are currently 85 Congresspeople in this group, including our own Rep. Tom Reed. They are a self-proclaimed ‘community of proud liberals, proud conservatives and everything in between.' They represent a movement away from the ‘warring clans' mentality that seeks annihilation of the opposition. Their goal is to loosen the destructive warmongering that grips Congress and replace it with bi-weekly or monthly meetings that bring the parties together to define legislative problems rather than partisan wishes. No Labels operates as a culture of exploration rather than a committee of agendas. Its ultimate goal is to break down points of gridlock so nominations, bills, debate and governing can move forward,” she writes: Renee Gravelle for The Observer: What resolutions has the new county legislature made?
THE DAILY BREAK: Can you match the senator with their New Year's Resolution?
ACTION OF THE DAY: POLITICO‘s Mike Allen was on No Labels Radio with Gov. Jon Huntsman. Listen to the discussion now.
STAT OF THE DAY: A total of 2.1 million Americans signed up for plans on the federal and state health insurance exchanges: Juliet Eilperin for The Washington Post: 2.1 million Americans signed up for coverage under new health law