SENATE TO VOTE ON OBAMACARE REPEAL. Senate leaders began setting up the rules and timing for a vote later this week on a budget reconciliation bill that would defund Planned Parenthood and repeal large portions of Obamacare. The bill needs just 51 votes to pass and could allow Republicans to finally force a veto fight with President Obama. It could also allow conservatives to let off some steam. Power Post has more:

The strategy for leaders in both the House and the Senate has been to allow conservatives to vent their frustration with Obama through the reconciliation bill, which cannot be filibustered and requires only 51 votes for passage.
The hope is that members will be satisfied with the vote and abandon any plans to try to defund Planned Parenthood or target Obamacare in the omnibus spending bill that must pass by Dec. 11.

TAX BREAK DEAL COMING TOGETHER. A bipartisan group of negotiators in the House and Senate worked through the holiday break in hopes of reaching a deal to revive and extend dozens of expired tax breaks. Power Post has more.

The talks started before the holiday in hopes of finding a middle ground between a two-year extension of the nearly 50 breaks approved earlier this year by the Senate Finance Committee and calls by House Republicans to make about a dozen breaks permanent. The discussions are now focused on permanently extending the research and experimentation credit, small business provisions and breaks for charitable donations.
Several aides said the goal was originally to work out a deal in time to include the package in the upcoming highway funding bill that is due by Dec. 4 or the omnibus spending bill that must be completed by Dec. 11. But the legislation could also move as a separate stand-alone package to avoid complicating either must-pass bill.

SYRIAN REFUGEES AND THE BUDGET BILL. Republican leaders are looking to include a House-passed measure to increase screening for Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the spending bill, The Hill Reports. The legislation sponsored by Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Tex.) passed the House with a huge vote and has strong support in the Senate as well.

The refugee legislation is a response to last month’s deadly attacks in Paris, where an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terrorist is believed to have posed as a Syrian refugee to gain entry to Europe. McCaul and other lawmakers have warned that terrorists could try to infiltrate refugee populations being allowed in the U.S.
The bill, authored by both McCaul and Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), temporarily halts Obama’s plan to allow thousands of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S. until authorities can verify that none of them pose a security threat. Specifically, it would require the Homeland Security secretary, FBI director, and Director of National Intelligence to sign off on any refugees admitted to the U.S., holding them personally accountable.