Today's edition of quick hits:
* A helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan last night killed five American service members. It was the deadliest day for U.S. forces so far this year.
* The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a proposal to expand background checks on firearm purchases. Despite 91% support from Americans, the bill garnered no Republican votes.
* Avoiding a government shutdown: "Senate Democrats and Republicans on the Appropriations Committee late Monday reached a deal on a $984 billion government funding bill to avert a government shutdown after March 27. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) have signed off on the measure which will be debated on the Senate floor on Tuesday."
* The White House supports the bipartisan compromise on the Senate's continuing resolution.
* Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), meanwhile, has already placed a hold on beginning debate on the stopgap spending bill.
* On the first day of the papal conclave at the Vatican, no new pope was selected.
* An appeal worth watching: "The National Labor Relations Board will ask the Supreme Court to review a sweeping lower-court decision which invalidated three of President Obama's recess appointments to the board, according to an announcement Tuesday."
* A review process worth watching: "Following outrage from veterans groups and lawmakers that a new medal could honor UAV operators more highly than combat troops awarded Purple Hearts and Bronze Stars, newly appointed Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a review of the award."
* Bob Woodward really isn't having a good year.
* In Washington, it's always best to know exactly who you're speaking to. For example, it's best not to criticize the solicitor general's work on health care arguments at the Supreme Court when you're speaking to the solicitor general.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.