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Congress: Deep freeze

Reuters: With many lawmakers unable to get to Washington because of record freezing temperatures, the U.S. Senate abruptly postponed until Tuesday a vote on a White House-backed bill to extend jobless benefits for 1.3 million Americans. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid obtained the surprise delay on Monday just as the chamber was expected to begin a roll-call vote on whether to start consideration of the measure.” 

AP: “The new year looks a lot like the old one in the Senate, with Democrats scratching for votes to pass an agenda they share with President Barack Obama, and Republicans decidedly unenthusiastic about supporting legislation without changes." 

Roll Call: “If it weren’t clear already that lawmakers — especially Republicans — want to avoid another government shutdown, the overwhelming optimism Monday that Congress will pass an omnibus spending measure for the first time in two years tips their hand.”

Reuters: “U.S. senators pushing a bill to slap new sanctions on Iran if it goes back on an interim deal under which it agreed to limit its nuclear program have gained support since the legislation was introduced in December, aides said on Monday.” More: The ‘Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act’ had about 48 co-sponsors in the 100-member Senate on Monday, up from 26 when the bill was introduced on December 19, an Senate aide said. ‘Expect that number to keep growing over next couple of days as folks who were out of town and staff get back in,’ the aide said.”

Trey Radel’s returning to Congress today after a stint in rehab after becoming the first member of Congress to plead guilty on cocaine charges. And he’s hired a top ethics lawyer.