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Congress: Pelosi's decision day

The San Francisco Chronicle: “House minority leader Nancy Pelosi will announce on Wednesday morning in Washington whether she will run again to lead Democrats in the minority, after failing to win the net 25 seats she needed to regain the Speaker’s gavel that she lost in 2010 after four years as the highest ranking female politician in U.S. history.” The Chronicle posits that “Pelosi may want to have a hand” in the fiscal cliff negotiations. 

Also noteworthy yesterday, DNC Chairwoman and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz said she’d be “shocked” if Pelosi didn’t run again. And Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen said his bet is that she’d run again.

Roll Call reports that Pelosi has been huddling with her inner circle and leadership. Among those – Steny Hoyer – “was left with the impression that she was staying, although the call was not definitive.”

“Independent Sen.-elect Angus King (Maine) said he will tell reporters on Wednesday whether he will caucus with Democrats or Republicans in the 113th Congress,” The Hill writes. “‘I’ll be discussing that with the press tomorrow,’ he said Tuesday.”

And Politico reports he may get a seat on the Finance Committee: Angus King is gunning for a seat on the powerful Senate Finance Committee, using his leverage as the potential 55th vote for Democrats in a bid to win a spot that would otherwise be off-limits for a newly elected freshman. A source directly familiar with King’s thinking said the Maine Independent is making a play for a seat on the panel as part of his talks with Majority Leader Harry Reid about joining the Democratic caucus." 

He met yesterday with Susan Collins (R-ME), who lobbied him to caucus with the GOP. But: “King said Tuesday night that while he's spoken at length with Reid, he has only said ‘hello’ to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.”

Meanwhile… “With President Obama winning reelection handily, Republican lawmakers are viewing the coming negotiations on the fiscal cliff with anxiety, unsure how much party leaders will ask them to give up to strike an agreement,” The Hill writes. “A Wednesday meeting of the conference will be a pivotal time for them to show solidarity.”

They should be concerned. Let this be a warning… Pew: “About half (51%) say the two sides will not reach an agreement, while just 38% say they will. If no deal is reached, more say that congressional Republicans would be more to blame than President Obama (53% vs. 29%).” 

The AP: “Questions about Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s health and political future swirled again Tuesday as the Chicago congressman left the Mayo Clinic for the second time but didn't disclose where he was going, even as Congress returned from a seven-week election break.” 

Roll Call looks at Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) vs. Tom Price (R-GA) for GOP Conference chairman. The election “might serve as the first indication of who has the heart and soul of the conference.” Why? Because even though John Boehner hasn’t endorsed publicly, “it has been no secret that leaders” prefer McMorris Rodgers. “If Boehner’s preferred candidate cannot hold the line, the prospect that the speaker can sway his conference into accepting a bargain in the upcoming leadership elections might also dim.”

And get this: Paul Ryan “broke with Boehner on Tuesday and wrote a letter to colleagues offering his support for Price.”