(Gerald Herbert/AP)

A few items that caught our attention today: 

• President Obama took the unusual step of signing the hard-fought fiscal-cliff legislation by “autopen” Wednesday night while vacationing in Hawaii

Obama became the first president to sign a bill by autopen in 2011 when he remotely put his electronic John Hancock on an extension of the Patriot Act. Previously, White House aides would travel overseas to hand-deliver recently passed legislation to the president, as Zachary A. Goldfarb and Debbi Wilgoren reported.

• Federal agencies are bracing for cuts after the fiscal-cliff deal that largely dealt with taxes and delayed sequestration for two months. 

• OMB Watch has change its name to Center for Effective Government, according to Government Executive. The organization made the switch to communicate the staff’s broader focus beyond the Office of Management and Budget to issues such as government transparency, agency performance, and health and safety, according to spokesman Brian Gumm.  

Also from Government Executive, President Obama signed into law a defense-authorization bill that includes a 1.7 percent pay raise for service members. 

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