PUNCHLINES

For now, though, I'm going to try to make the best of things. This year has given me a great appreciation for what matters, and I know I will never again (inject steroids/hike the "Appalachian Trail"/try to sell a Senate seat/promise someone other than my wife a rooftop wedding ceremony with the Dave Matthews Band)."

-- From Slate's mock letter, The Disgraced-Public-Figure Holiday Form Letter.

Slate
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BEYOND THE BELTWAY
Page last updated: 8:20 a.m., December 23, 2009

A publication note: This is the last edition of the Political Browser as a standalone daily feature. Thanks to everyone who has read this page since it first launched 15 months ago, and a special thanks to producer John Amick, whose heroic early-morning efforts and discerning eye for news have (we hope) made this feature worth reading each weekday morning. This column -- The Rundown -- will return in January in its regular slot on the "44" blog. Until then, happy holidays, and thanks again for reading.

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8 a.m. ET: Here's a vivid illustration of how bad things have gotten in the Senate: It took an anticipated act of God to get Democrats and Republicans to agree on something.

With the threat of a snow and ice storm marching across the country Christmas Eve, the majority and minority struck a deal to vote on final passage of the health-care reform bill roughly 24 hours from now. The cliché about Chuck Schumer is that you should never get between him and a camera; this deal proves that you should never get between a senator and the airport, particularly when the legislative outcome is all but assured. "Jubilant Democrats are ready to push President Barack Obama's health care overhaul past one last 60-vote hurdle to final Christmas Eve passage, and Republicans concede they're powerless to stop it," the Associated Press writes, as one more key procedural vote remains Wednesday afternoon before the final tally Thursday. The Senate will also vote on an increase in the debt limit that will put the issue off until February, and the GOP extracted a pledge that they would be allowed to offer amendments then. "Beyond practical concerns, Republicans said the agreement allowed them to use what remaining 'leverage' they had from their ongoing filibuster of the Christmas bill to help set the stage for next year’s political battles, particularly on the national debt," Roll Call reports.

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WHAT'D THEY SAY?

...merged bill may b unrecognizable from what assumed was a done deal:R death panels back in?what's punishment 4not purchasing mandated HC?"

-- Sarah Palin flippantly revives her death panel claim on her Twitter account.

The Hill




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