A few items that caught our attention today:

(Harry Hamburg/AP) (Harry Hamburg/AP)

Senate Democrats will try to pass a budget for the first time since 2009, according to incoming Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

The die-hardest of earmarks: Try as they might, lawmakers just can’t kill the nearly half-million dollars that goes to the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation, despite criticism of the funding by the president and both political parties. Republican senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi has quietly worked to keep the expenditure alive every time.

In the Loop’s Emily Heil explained some of the etiquette that applies to anyone gunning for a plum political appointment. Former Democratic congressman Barney Frank broke a cardinal rule by saying he wanted Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to name him as a temporary replacement for Sen. John Kerry, who should cruise to confirmation as the president’s choice for secretary of state.

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