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Bipartisan Agreements In Congress

House passes No Child Left Behind revamp. AP: “The legislation would maintain a key feature of the Bush-era law: annual reading and math testing of children in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school [but] would encourage states to set limits on the total amount of time kids spend taking tests … the bill would return to the states the decision-making power over how to use students’ performance on the tests to assess teachers and schools [and] end federal efforts to encourage academic standards such as Common Core guidelines and the linking of test scores to teacher evaluations.”

Politico adds: “The agreement appears headed for smooth sailing through the Senate. President Barack Obama is all but certain to sign it into law…”

Obama expects to sign $305B transportation bill this week. The Hill: “…Obama proposed a six-year, $478 billion highway bill earlier this year [but] Obama’s preference for a larger highway funding package will not prevent him from accepting the highway bill…”

Partisan Disagreements In Congress

Dems reject GOP offer on bill to keep government funded. Roll Call: “A senior Democratic aide said the GOP’s proposal included more than 30 ‘poison pill’ add-ons dealing with the environment, financial regulations and Syrian refugee legislation — each toxic to Democrats … another short-term continuing resolution is the most likely solution, should a final agreement not be made in time, since both sides want to avoid a shutdown.”

Deficit hawks dislike emerging “tax extenders” compromise. Politico: “Lawmakers’ latest effort to renew a hodgepodge of temporary tax breaks is swelling into a catch-all measure that could cost more than $800 billion over 10 years. The money would go for everything from extending generous write-offs for business investments to renewing tax credits for poor families to repealing or delaying Obamacare’s much-loathed Cadillac tax. All of it would be unpaid for, which is giving budget hawks nightmares.”

Opponents of Obamacare “Cadillac” tax optimistic. The Hill: “Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) and other lawmakers say that because the extenders package is not offset, it’s a more likely vehicle for the tax repeal than a must-pass spending bill that Congress is also tackling in the final weeks of the year.”

GOP relents on Planned Parenthood funding. The Hill: “Republicans have not included any measures related to defunding Planned Parenthood in their most recent offer to Democrats on the spending bill, according to a Democratic aide. A Republican aide noted that a separate bill repealing ObamaCare that the Senate is expected to vote on Thursday would defund Planned Parenthood … That legislation will not become law…”

Left and right oppose Sen. McConnell on campaign finance provision. USA Today: “The McConnell plan would allow party committees, such as the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee, to spend unlimited amounts in coordination with federal candidates … Some liberal groups say the measure would give the wealthy too much say in elections. Conservatives in the House elected with Tea Party support say political parties will use their clout to crush upstarts.”

Ryan To Deliver GOP Vision

Speaker Paul Ryan delivers speech today outlining vision for party. NYT: “Mr. Ryan’s aides described the speech at the Library of Congress as an effort by the speaker to lay out his governing philosophy, discuss the challenges facing the nation and describe the choice that voters will face in the 2016 elections. In his prepared remarks, he indicated that Republicans would use next year to push legislation that illustrates their vision even though President Obama is unlikely to agree.”

Politico adds: “Among the principles that Ryan plans to lay out are consolidating federal programs and sending ‘that money back to the states for better poverty fighting solutions,’ although the Wisconsin Republican will not use the term ‘block grants.'”

W. Post’s Harold Meyerson urges Clinton to embrace higher taxes for Wall Street: “She’d raise the tax on its self-proclaimed wizards to a more appropriate 70 or 80 percent. That would be not only sound economics but also the one way she could definitively yank the Wall Street albatross from around her neck.”

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