* The House will soon vote on measures that would send federal aid to communities hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) enraged New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and lawmakers from their states after he decided not to hold a vote on an aid package Tuesday night. Now, the House will vote Friday on a measure providing $9 billion worth of flood assistance, with a vote on an additional $51 billion in aid slated for Jan. 15.

* Reps. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) and Peter King (R-N.Y.), two lawmakers displeased with the lack of a Tuesday vote on the Sandy aid package, each raised the possibility of abstaining from Thursday's vote to re-elect Boehner speaker of the House. By Wednesday afternoon, though, both said they would vote for Boehner for speaker.

* Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) saw three angels at the foot of his bed before awakening in a hospital after suffering a stroke nearly a year ago, the senator said in an in-depth interview.  Kirk, who plans to return to the Senate on Thursday, said the stroke was a defining moment that made him more religious.

* Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) is already dishing out some smack talk against Rep. Ed Markey (D), who will run for Democratic Sen. John Kerry's seat in a special election if Kerry is confirmed as secretary of state. “I’ll tell you what; they’re making it awfully tempting. You got Ed Markey: Does he even live here any more?” Brown said about a potential matchup with the DSCC-backed Democrat. Markey owns homes in Malden, Mass., and Chevy Chase, Md.


* It's barely 2013, and already, embattled Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) has drawn his first 2014 primary challenger: State Sen. Jim Tracy (R), who finished third in a GOP primary in a different House district in 2008. The congressman has been forced to confront recent news stories about relationships with former patients and his effort to try to convince his ex-wife to get an abortion.

* The head of the anti-tax Club For Growth says the group won't look for primary challengers for the 85 House Republicans who supported the deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" based solely off that vote. "We do 25 or so key votes per session and this will be one of those," Club President Chris Chocola said.

* South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has set special election dates for the 1st District seat soon to be vacated by Sen.-designate Tim Scott (R). The party primaries will be held March 19, with a runoff to follow on April 2, if needed. The special general election will be May 7. Given the GOP tilt of the district, the seat is widely expected to remain in Republican hands. Thus, the most interesting action will be on the GOP side.


When escalators set records.

With Aaron Blake