Opening Act: Cloture Club

Members of the House of Representatives, including Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), leave after voting for legislation to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff’ during a rare New Year’s Day session January 1, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

At noon today, the U.S. Senate will hold another cloture vote on Chuck Hagel’s nomination for SecDef. Unless a number of Republicans—Richard Shelby, Bob Corker—are fibbing, cloture will succeed.

Daniel D’Addario asks why Lincoln lost the Oscar.

Robert Draper gets to know Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the youngest member of the Democrats’ leadership, and therefore a possible future Speaker.

One week after the election, the Maryland congressman showed up alone at the vice president’s house for a private dinner. The two men sat in front of the fireplace alongside Champ, Biden’s German shepherd, and reminisced about the campaign—the veep noting with relish that President Obama had taken Ryan’s home city of Janesville, Wisconsin—before settling into the jittery business of how to keep the country from sliding off the fiscal cliff and into a recession.

“The main thing is,” Van Hollen told Biden that night, “we’ve got to be prepared to go over the cliff if it comes to that. Not just in terms of public posturing, but also internally. We need to figure out under what circumstances we’re willing to go over.”

Adam Serwer is all over the watering-down and watering-up of VAWA.

Sahil Kapur keeps working the Voting Rights Act beat; my colleague Emily Bazelon will be at SCOTUS tomorrow covering the case.

Am I the only person sort of thrilled at how Hillary Clinton’s clout and popularity are freezing up the Democrats’$2 2016 contest? It’s February 2013. We can wait for this. We can spend our precious time on other topics.

The residents of Illinois’s second district vote today to replace Jesse Jackson, Jr., probably going for Cook County pol Rob Kelly over a former congresswoman who was ethered by Michael Bloomberg’s gun control PAC.

I’m no fan of the “some jackass on Twitter said a thing, and we’re on it” style of reporting, but it’s interesting to see that none of the critics of Michelle Obama’s Oscar stand-up had a problem with her post-politics endorsement of a CIA/foreign service rah-rah movie.