Spending Bill Sent To The Senate
By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )
- HOUSE APPROVES $1.1 TRILLION SPENDING BILL: Just hours before a midnight deadline approached, the House of Representatives voted to approve a $1.1 trillion spending package to keep the federal government open - sending the measure over to the Senate for final passage, ABC's JEFF ZELENY and ARLETTE SAENZ report. The House voted 219-206 to approve the measure with 57 Democrats joining 162 Republicans to pass the package. The House and Senate approved a 48-hour continuing resolution to keep the government open so the Senate has time to pass the measure without shutting down the government.
- HAPPENING TODAY: The Senate could vote on the funding measure as soon as this evening. If not, a Senate vote could be pushed into Monday. If approved by the Senate, the spending measure would fund most of the federal government, except for the Department of Homeland Security, through September of next year. The Department of Homeland Security would only be funded through February 27, a move that allows lawmakers to revisit ways to counter President Obama's executive action on immigration. http://abcn.ws/1vIaZKF
ABC's JEFF ZELENY: The only question remaining on the massive spending bill to keep the government running is when - not whether - it passes the Senate. There is still plenty of angst to go around, particularly Sen. Elizabeth Warren's fierce opposition to rolling back Wall Street regulations. She's taken a stand, but she's unlikely to launch a filibuster and stand in the way of the bill's approval. It takes only one senator to hold up the measure, but she could also be rightly accused of trying to shut down the government. After a day of huffing-and-puffing in the House, there's a sense across the Capitol that it's high time to bring the 113th Congress to a close. The measure needs 60 votes to pass, which could happen as soon as tonight. Conservatives are expected to keep their powder dry and wait for the next fight on immigration, which will happen early in the New Year.
ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: Many former President Obama employees have already signed on to help Hillary Clinton in her campaign before the likely campaign and expect many more if or when she decides to run. But, not everyone is ready for Hillary. Today, in an open letter, a group of more than 300 campaign staffers for Obama are calling for Elizabeth Warren to get in the Democratic primary. This is the latest move just this week to try and urge the Massachusetts senator into the race. Warren has said repeatedly she is not running, but always careful to note it in the present tense. In today's letter the group writes, "We believed in an unlikely candidate who no one thought had a chance. We worked for him - and against all odds, we won in Iowa. We organized like no campaign had organized before - and won the Democratic primary. We built a movement - and the country elected the first-ever African American president. We know that the improbable is far from impossible." The letter doesn't mention Clinton at all, but says they are "joining with the thousands of Americans who are calling on Elizabeth Warren to run for president in 2016." http://bit.ly/1yHWopG
ABC's RICK KLEIN: It's all out in the open now. This will be remembered as the week that the left's frustration with the Obama White House bubbled over. Between Democratic senators accusing his CIA director of lying, and an Elizabeth Warren-led rebellion against a government funding bill, the slights and disappointments of six years are all coming out at once. Consider the extraordinary political spectacle that led to this: A funding fight where President Obama, John Boehner, and Harry Reid are on one side, and Nancy Pelosi, Warren, and the tea party are on the other. With Thursday night's vote, the White House is on its way to buying fiscal peace for nine months. That may be worth ancillary costs with only 25 months left in the Obama presidency. But plenty of Obama allies are already looking beyond January 2017. It seemed fitting that by the end of the week, a few hundred former Obama campaign staffers were pronouncing themselves "Ready for Warren."
WHAT WE'RE WATCHING
RETIRING REP. MICHELE BACHMANN: 'I'M NOT GOING TO GO HOME AND PUT A SOCK IN MY MOUTH.' Michele Bachmann may have cast her final vote in Congress on Thursday, but she is already gearing up for her next political venture. In one of her last interviews as a member of Congress, the Minnesota Republican told "The Fine Print" that she plans to be back up on the political stage come 2016. "I will be involved in 2016 one way or another," Bachmann said. "I'm not going to go home and put a sock in my mouth; I'm going to continue to be involved in the national stage." And though Bachmann said she's not running for president "right now," she's leaving the door open. WATCH: http://yhoo.it/1siVZbm
with ABC's KIRSTEN APPLETON
CIA DIRECTOR JOHN BRENNAN DEFENDS AGENCY AFTER SHOCKING TORTURE REPORT. CIA Director John Brennan addressed the revelations contained in a comprehensive report released this week about the agency's use of enhanced interrogation methods, calling some of the techniques "abhorrent" but defending the program overall. ABC's ALI WEINBERG reports that in his opening remarks, Brennan said the United States looked to the CIA to provide guidance on how to deal with al Qaeda in the chaotic days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Brennan said that the agency was ill-prepared for the task it was given, calling the interrogation program "uncharted territory" and adding that the agency had little experience housing and interrogating detainees. "This was a workforce that was trying to do the right thing." http://abcn.ws/1upKB7O
BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE CIA: INSIDE THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS SPY BUILDING. The podium with the blue curtain behind it and rows of chairs for reporters looked pretty standard, but it was the location for the press conference that was a first. CIA Director John Brennan had chosen the lobby of the CIA's Old Headquarters Building in suburban Northern Virginia - "Langley" as it's commonly known - as the place where he would push back on the Senate Intelligence Committee's critical report of the CIA's detention program. And he would do so on live television surrounded by the agency's top officials - some of whose faces could not be shown on television. According to ABC's LUIS MARTINEZ, the news conference was a unique situation for reporters. http://abcn.ws/1qC5JfV
YOUR BIGGEST TORTURE REPORT QUESTIONS ANSWERED. Amid public outrage over the CIA's "brutal" post-9/11 interrogations - which included repeated waterboarding, sexual threats, round-the-clock sleep deprivation, and even rectal feedings - CIA Director John Brennan acknowledged that certain methods detailed in the report were "abhorrent." "We are not a perfect institution. We're made up of individuals, and as human beings, we are imperfect beings," Brennan told reporters at the CIA headquarters. But 13 years later, Congress - and the American public - are demanding an explanation. ABC's ERIN DOOLEY takes a look at Brennan's answers to the seven biggest questions that have been swirling since the report. http://abcn.ws/1uqUcLA
FORCE-FEEDING AT GITMO: OBAMA'S 'TORTURE' DEBATE. The forced feedings of at least five detainees held at CIA black sites after 9/11 were among the most graphic new revelations in a declassified Senate report on the interrogation program released this week. The procedures, described as "rectal hydration" and "rectal feeding," have been criticized by the White House as "torture" and subsequently banned. But according to ABC's DEVIN DWYER, human rights groups have accused the Obama administration of continuing a similar practice at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay. http://abcn.ws/1Bhrbb3
OBAMA BACKS DC VOTE TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA. President Obama supports legalization of the recreational use of marijuana in the nation's capital as approved by D.C. voters in a November referendum. But he also reluctantly supports and would sign a government funding bill that includes a rider blocking the measure, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. Congressional negotiators have quietly tucked into a $1.1 trillion spending deal a provision prohibiting the district from spending money to enact the new policy, ABC's DEVIN DWYER reports. http://abcn.ws/1qBwpNF
IN THE NOTE'S INBOX
A HOLIDAY MUST-READ FROM STEPHEN HESS: 'THE PROFESSOR AND THE PRESIDENT: DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN IN THE NIXON WHITE HOUSE.' Author and long-time Brooking Institution scholar, Stephen Hess, who once served as Daniel Patrick Moynihan's deputy and President Richard Nixon's biographer and speechwriter, shares the inside story of the unlikely pair written from the perspective of his office in the West Wing. According to Brookings, "Hess draws on personal memories, documents from the administration, and diaries of prominent political figures to give readers a provocative look into one of the most interesting working relationships in American political history. Hess considers the oft-forgotten era of this divisive president: Nixon before Watergate. He also touches on the rarely viewed side of Nixon: His requests for Moynihan's book recommendations, conversations with now-historic people over meals in the White House Mess and Cabinet meetings full of battling ideologies. He explains how the relationship between American history's greatest odd couple grew to one of mutual respect and trust." MORE FROM BROOKINGS: http://brook.gs/1Ah1mXi
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED WHEN 100 BLACK STAFFERS, LAWMAKERS STAGED CAPITOL HILL WALK-OUT. Over a hundred black congressional staffers and several black lawmakers staged a walkout at the Capitol Thursday afternoon, leading a silent protest on the steps of the Capitol over the recent police killing involving Ferguson and Eric Garner. ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ reports Reps. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Marc Veasey, D-Texas, were among the lawmakers participating in the walkout. Senate Chaplain Barry Black led the group in prayer, saying they were working as a "voice for the voiceless." After the prayer, the group stood on the steps of the Capitol, raising their hands in a gesture that has become symbolic of the Ferguson refrain - hands up, don't shoot. http://abcn.ws/1smBBAz
ARIZONA RACE STILL TBD. A winner is expected to be named next week in the last midterm election race yet to be called in Arizona's 2nd Congressional district, but that didn't stop Republican Martha McSally from already receiving two impressive committee assignments in the House of Representatives this week, ABC's ALI DUKAKIS reports. Among a handful of new Republicans in the House, the would-be freshman congresswoman, a former Air Force colonel who was the first female to fly in combat, was added to the powerful House Armed Services and House Homeland Security Committees' rosters for the incoming Congress. But she will still have to prevail in her re-match with incumbent Democratic Rep. Ron Barber. The vote count after Election Day showed McSally with a 161-vote edge over the Barber - a lead so slim it mandated an automatic recount, which is set to be completed on Dec. 17.
@thegarance: "O'Malley's political clout was weakened by the midterm loss of his lt. gov …& [he] has pulled staff out of Iowa" http://bloom.bg/1DmB1Nt
@tedcruz: Unfinished biz at Ft. Hood: recognize shooting as terrorist attack it was & award victims Purple Hearts they deserve: http://www.wsj.com/articles/dorothy-rabinowitz-the-unfinished-business-of-fort-hood-1418342456 …
?@markknoller: And this afternoon, Pres Obama is updated on the Ebola situation at home and abroad by his national security and Ebola response teams.