* The House passed $9 billion in Sandy aid today, but it was opposed by 67 Republicans and the Club for Growth, which means John Boehner may have a heck of a time passing the $51 billion in Sandy aid that gets a vote on January 15th. Should get interesting.
* The White House and Congressional Democrats are gearing up with gun reform plans designed to overwhelm the NRA’s opposition, and while that will be easier said than done, it’s good to see they grasp the scale of the coming challenge.
* Good point from Andrew Rosenthal: If the White House is serious about not negotiating over the debt limit, it really needs to work hard to counter GOP propaganda about what raising it really means.
* Steve Benen doesn’t mince words: Much GOP rhetoric on the debt ceiling is really nothing but pure gibberish. That may seem impolite, but it’s true, and it would be nice if more news orgs said so.
* Relatedly, Matt Yglesias’s takedown of John Cornyn’s op ed suggesting we just might have to partly shut down the government to resolve the country’s fiscal problems. Obviously, default would be far worse than just that.
* Kevin Drum on the weak, horcerace-y, business-as-usual press coverage of GOP debt limit hostage taking:
I know there’s a limit to how much reporters can call out this stuff in straight news accounts, but somehow they need to figure out a way. This isn’t just business as usual. It’s a willful band of radical Republicans refusing to pay bills they’ve already run up. It’s really inexcusable.
* Relatedly, David Atkins does a uncovers more layers of fiscal fraudulece and irresponsibility underlying the current GOP debt ceiling stance.
* Henry Blodget: While the “mint the coin” idea may be absurd, it is no less absurd an approach to policy-making than the GOP’s threat to tank the economy via default in order to get its way, so let’s give it a look.
* Good question from Fareed Zakaria: Why aren’t the fiscal talks focused at all on how to grow the economy?
* Good question from Jill Lawrence: What does it even mean to be a Republican these days?
* And the fun fact of the day, courtesy of Floyd Norris: The last four years saw the biggest drop in government jobs since the one caused by the end of World War II. Time for more austerity!