THURSDAY'S BIG STORY:
Budget deal teed up: The House-Senate budget compromise is headed for a Thursday vote in the House but the deal could fall apart because of a dispute the Medicare "doc fix" and federal unemployment benefits.
Reps. Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Sandy Levin (Mich.) said a Republican move to attach the "doc fix" while refusing to consider a jobless benefits proposal put a new spin on what had looked earlier in the day like smooth sailing for the budget deal.
It's not clear whether Democrats are willing to torpedo the first bipartisan budget deal in years over the yearlong $25 billion reauthorization of unemployment benefits.
But it might be the only real leverage they have, with the House expected to leave town on Friday for the year.
The situation deteriorated after the House Rules Committee turned down Levin on a three-month continuation of jobless benefits.
“This does now add a new dynamic that could upset the applecart that could put at risk the budget agreement,” Van Hollen said.
House Democrats will chat with their members about how to move forward.
About 1.3 million people will lose benefits after Dec. 28 without congressional action.
Earlier in the day, budget negotiator Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) got good reviews from House Republicans for the budget deal he worked out with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
That seemed to give the deal some early momentum.
House Republican leaders also were expecting significant support from Democrats and weren't worried about conservative defections. But that could change now, with Democrats uncertain about how they want to address the issue.
Democrats and the White House have been pushing for a deal for the past few weeks and have expressed a willingness to work with Republicans on offsets or whatever was needed to ensure that at least a portion of the long-term unemployed could get some help.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he was willing to give it a go as well, and on Wednesday he said he laid out conditions to the White House for extending unemployment benefits but that the administration didn't put forward a plan that met his standards.
Meanwhile, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Wednesday released its analysis of the the plan that spends $1.012 trillion in 2014. That is $45 billion more than the $967 billion under the sequester and about $45 billion less than the $1.058 trillion level before the sequester took place.
We'll see what happens on Thursday with time running out before recess.
WHAT ELSE WE'RE WATCHING
Global finance: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will testify on Thursday before the House Financial Services Committee on Thursday about ways to improve the international finance system. Lew said recently that world's biggest economies need to strengthen their financial rules to prevent another global financial collapse like the financial crisis in 2008 that spread around the globe.
Fed view: The House Financial Services panel will discuss on Thursday a potential overhaul of the Federal Reserve and its dual mandate. House Republicans want to work toward crafting legislation next year, all of which coincides with the central bank's 100th birthday.
Time to vote: The Senate Finance Committee is expected to approve three nominees on Friday.
John Koskinen is expected to cruise through a vote to be commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.
Despite facing a hard line of questioning from panel Republicans, senators from both sides of the aisle said they will support his nomination and expect him to be confirmed.
Also up for a vote is Sarah Bloom Raskin, who would become the first female to hold the No. 2 spot as deputy secretary of the Treasury.
The panel also will push through Rhonda Schnare Schmidtlein to be a member of the U.S. International Trade Commission.
Initial claims: The Labor Department will release its weekly filings for jobless benefits, which have hit pre-recession lows and indicate that businesses are laying off fewer workers.
Retail sales: The Commerce Department will release its November report measuring the total receipts of retail stores. Sales figures are widely followed as the most timely indicator of broad consumer spending patterns, which represent 70 of economic activity.
Export prices-import prices: The Commerce Department releases its November report tracking trends in exports and imports, with the export data worth watching for indications of how the global economy is faring. Imports provide an indication of domestic demand, but given the severe lag of this report relative to other consumption indicators, it is not particularly valuable.
Business inventories: The Commerce Department will release its October report on sales and inventory from all three stages of the manufacturing process, manufacturing, wholesale and retail.
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
— Russia opens door to investment deal with US
— Conservatives: Ryan not tarnished by ‘bad’ deal
— Veterans groups angry over budget deal
— Boehner blasts conservative groups
— Club for Growth pans budget agreement as ‘smoke and mirrors’
— Budget deal to boost economy, says S&P
— Chamber of Commerce backs budget deal
— AFL-CIO critiques deal, but doesn’t urge no vote
— Airlines win concessions in budget deal
— Air tax increased $3.10 in budget deal
— Sen. Paul invokes TSA in budget deal opposition
— Rand Paul rips 'shameful' budget plan
— Rep. Cole predicts the budget will pass
— Coburn 'disappointed' with budget deal
— GAO: Dodd-Frank rules may bypass congressional review
— New GM CEO first female US auto chief
— Obama given little credit for improving economy
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