Congress: Budget deal 'closer every hour'

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) on a possible budget deal: “We are closer every hour.”

Roll Call warns: “Budget negotiators are nearing a deal that could ease the way for leaders to avert another government shutdown before the 2014 elections, but only if rank and file — particularly in the House — buy into the agreement.”

And why don’t you hear much about tax reform? The GOP base doesn’t want it.

Do-Nothing Congress? John Boehner says blame the Senate… The Hill: “Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday defended the legislative record of the House, saying it's passed nearly 150 bills aimed at boosting job creation, all of which have been blocked by Senate Democrats.”

“An American-Iranian group that favors talks with Tehran has launched a petition calling on Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) to apologize for suggesting a nuclear strike against Iran should be on the table,” The Hill writes.

Hunter said on CSPAN yesterday: “If you have to hit Iran, you do it with tactical nuclear devices and set them back a decade, or two or three. I think that’s the way to do it, with a massive aerial bombardment campaign.”

Roll Call looks at the “reception exemption” as we head into the Christmas season, allowing members of Congress to party with lobbyists. The House Ethics Committee issued guidance yesterday: “If there’s a reception, and the sponsor sent word/That no meal’s served. Go! That’s a yes you heard.”

Lobbyists are being warned that some tax breaks that are ending this year won’t be renewed.

The Hill: “Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Rep. George Miller (Calif.) recently opened their doors to show the real ‘Alpha’ house on Capitol Hill. … The lawmakers’ home inspired Amazon's TV series ‘Alpha House,’ except its fictional stars are Republicans.”