OVERNIGHT MONEY: House readies debt-limit delay bill

Economists and policy experts argued that rehashing the debate in the summer of 2011 is the wrong approach and that Congress needs to ensure that increasing the limit doesn't caught up in a net of other larger issues such as tax and entitlement reforms that could hamper, at least, an increase. 

Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.) on Tuesday hammered the Republicans' plan, but suggested he'd nonetheless support it to prevent a government default.

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Hoyer said he hasn't decided if Democratic leaders will whip their troops one way or another on the vote.

FreedomWorks announced Tuesday that it will actively oppose a the measure, saying Republican leadership needs to “get serious.”


WHAT ELSE TO WATCH FOR 

Sandy takes top priority: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is aiming for his chamber to swiftly pass the $50 billion Hurricane Sandy aid bill that passed the House last week.

Reid said that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was polling his members in an effort to get unanimous consent to move the bill.

"That is going to be our first item of business. It is long overdue. I am hopeful and cautiously optimistic that we can do some out of here soon," Reid said.

The bill could come up by the end of the week. 


LOOSE CHANGE

No paying bills, no paychecks: Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) introduced a measure on Tuesday that would prevent lawmakers and the president from being paid during a default or shutdown of the federal government.

"This legislation would send a simple message to members of Congress: If you take these actions that will severely harm the American people, you don’t deserve and won’t receive a paycheck," Boxer said. 

The two Democrats introduced the same legislation in the 112th Congress, which passed the Senate in March 2011 by unanimous consent. 

The House never acted on the measure. 


CABINET WATCH

Kirk announces departure: U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said Tuesday that he will leave the Obama administration in late February. 

Kirk, who served through President Obama's first term, has repeatedly said he wouldn't remain for a second term.

High-profile nominations thus far have gone to white men, though Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett and others have said subsequent appointments are likely to include women and members of minority groups. Kirk is African-American.

Lew getting nods: Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the chairman of the tax-writing Finance Committee, joined Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.) in supporting Treasury Secretary nominee Jack Lew after meetings on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. 

Baucus said he is hoping that Lew has "a quick but thorough confirmation process." 

"Jack Lew has all the qualifications to be an outstanding Treasury Secretary," Schumer said in a statement. "He's very smart, facile with the numbers and listens carefully to all sides. If you ask me, he should be a shoo-in for confirmation."


ECONOMIC INDICATORS 

MBA Mortgage Index: The Mortgage Bankers Association releases its weekly report on mortgage application volume. 

FHFA Housing Price Index: The Federal Housing Finance Agency will release its measure of prices for November on single-family homes.  


WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

— Anti-dark-money group calls on Obama to disband OFA
— Reid to Senate Republicans: Filibuster deal in 36 hours or face nuclear option
— Corker presses for synching up mortgage rules
— House conservatives: 'Hell to pay' if leaders don't keep budget promises
— Sales of previously owned homes hit five-year high
— GOP: 179 round-trips to moon since Senate last passed a budget


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