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Congress: Same story, different day

How many times can you write the same story? “Republicans aren't budging on tax rates, and Democrats are resisting steps like raising the eligibility age for Medicare. Negotiations on averting a year-end fiscal train wreck combining big automatic tax hikes and sweeping spending cuts again appear stalled,” the AP writes.

House Democrats are resisting calls for raising the Medicare retirement age.

Jim DeMint thinks Republicans will cave and taxes will go up. “The president campaigned on raising taxes and getting rid of the Bush-era tax cuts, and he’s going to get his wish,” DeMint said on CBS. “I believe we’re going to be raising taxes not just on the top earners, everyone is going to be paying more taxes in the country and I believe that’s what the president wants.”

Hillary Clinton will be on Capitol Hill Dec. 20th to testify at a hearing on Benghazi.

Elizabeth Warren got that assignment on the Banking Committee.

Bring back the greatest hits: “Speaker John A. Boehner and GOP leaders are considering throwing some red meat onto the House floor in the coming weeks as frustration mounts from members who are tired of sitting idle while high-level fiscal cliff negotiations continue between the Ohio Republican and the White House,” Roll Call says. “Boehner’s warning Wednesday that members should be ready to stay through Christmas to deal with any fiscal cliff measure has set off a round of griping from Republicans who already think that if they must be on Capitol Hill, they should at least have a proactive agenda. As a result, leadership is considering bringing back to the floor a bill to replace the scheduled 10-year, $1.2 trillion sequestration cuts to defense and social programs — a bill that already passed earlier this year.”

The Boston Globe sees Scott Brown’s farewell speech as something of a preview of his return. Brown said, “As I’ve said many times before, victory and defeat is temporary. Depending on what happens, and where we go, all of us, we may obviously meet again.”

Why is it that everyone urges compromise when they leave the Senate?

Richard Lugar, ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also delivered his farewell speech yesterday after losing a primary to Richard Mourdock (who lost in the general election to Democrat Joe Donnelly): “Republicans must be willing to suspend reflexive opposition that serves no purpose but to limit their own role in strategic questions and render cooperation impossible. All parties should recognize the need for unity in the coming year when events in Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, North Korea and other locations may test American national security in extreme ways."

More: "Governance requires adaptation to shifting circumstances. It often requires finding common ground with Americans who have a different vision than your own. It requires leaders who believe . . . that their first responsibility to their constituents is to apply their best judgment."

Joe Lieberman’s farewell, addressing how you break Washington gridlock: “It requires reaching across the aisle and finding partners from the opposite party. That is what is desperately needed in Washington now.”

“Sen. Robert Menendez employed as an unpaid intern in his Senate office an illegal immigrant who was a registered sex offender, now under arrest by immigration authorities, the Associated Press has learned. The Homeland Security Department instructed federal agents not to arrest him until after Election Day, a U.S. official involved in the case told the AP. A Homeland Security spokesman, Peter Boogaard, said Wednesday that it was ‘categorically false’ that the department delayed the arrest of Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta, 18, until after the election.”

Menendez commented on this story on MSNBC’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall.”

Rep. Jim Moran’s (D-VA) son “pleaded guilty to assaulting his girlfriend, admitting to a role in an alcohol-fueled incident outside a Northwest Washington nightspot this month,” the Washington Post reports. More: According to a police account of the Dec. 1 incident contained in court documents, an officer saw Moran grab a woman by the back of her head and slam it into a trash can about 1:23 a.m. in front of the Getawaynightclub in Columbia Heights.” And, of course, there’s this: Moran resigned from his post as field director for his father’s reelection campaign in October after a conservative activist released an undercover video of Moran discussing potential ways to commit voter fraud.”