Opening Act: Filibusted

The only real drama in Washington yesterday occured on the Senate floor, where Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell debated – for longer, it seemed, than either of them planned to – Reid’s modest filibuster reform proposal. Manu Raju previews the Republican fightback.

“I think the backlash will be severe,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), the conservative firebrand, said sternly. “If you take away minority rights, which is what you’re doing because you’re an ineffective leader, you’ll destroy the place. And if you destroy the place, we’ll do what we have to do to fight back.”

“It will shut down the Senate,” the incoming Senate GOP whip, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, told POLITICO. “It’s such an abuse of power.”

Jonathan Bernstein thinks it’s all b.s. anyway.

[A]fter the majority shows they are willing to impose rule change by simple majority, the minority party may have reduced incentives to “shut down” the Senate. After all, what’s been done once could be done again. So if Republicans really did start forcing, for example, a week of floor time to get minor executive branch nominees confirmed, Democrats could threaten to change the rules to eliminate that option.

If the payroll tax cut is not busy livin’, it’s busy dyin’.

Now facing another deadline, the White House has gone almost completely quiet on one of its favorite stimulus policies. In a report released Monday morning, the administration warned that middle-class families will pay thousands more in taxes next year unless Republicans relented on income tax breaks for the rich. But the report didn’t mention the soon-to-expire payroll tax cut.

John Podhoretz is an idealist, not a hack.

The Senate Conservatives Fund rules out an endorsement of Shelley Moore Capito, whose West Virginia Senate bid is becoming a one-stop deja vu shop.

Carrie Johnson reports on the wait for the Bradley Manning court martial.

And Rebecca Kaplan asks where Paul Ryan will go with his newly restored Budget powers. Answer: Extremely unclear.

Ryan has publicly echoed House Speaker John Boehner in signaling openness to revenue increases but not higher tax rates, meaning he might support the closing of tax loopholes or other revenue-raising steps. He was privy to the wording that Boehner used in the public remarks on the fiscal cliff he delivered the day after the election.

“He opposes raising tax rates because doing so would stifle economic growth and cost jobs,” said Conor Sweeney, a Ryan spokesman.