Washington (CNN) - Roughly six weeks ago, Rep. John Boehner was reelected unanimously by his colleagues as speaker of the House of Representatives. They cheered and applauded him in an ornate hearing room on Capitol Hill.
But on Thursday, many of those same Republicans abandoned Boehner in droves, rejecting his Plan B to avert the fiscal cliff and raising questions about his future.
Washington (CNN) - Calls of concern and support over President Obama's possible pick to be the next secretary of defense are piling up as former colleagues and special interest organizations take aim at and defend the independent-thinking former senator.
Chuck Hagel is believed to be the president's preferred candidate to run the Pentagon, but an announcement has yet to be made by the White House.
(CNN) - Sen. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, is expected to become the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee if and when the current chairman, Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, is confirmed as secretary of state, two Senate Democratic aides told CNN.
Menendez is in line to get the high-profile assignment because Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, who is the most senior Democrat on the committee behind Kerry, wants to remain chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, according to a top Boxer aide.
(CNN) - Senators showed broad support Friday for $60.4 billion in emergency funding for victims of Superstorm Sandy, voting overwhelmingly to bring it up for final passage next week.
The motion passed 91-1.
(CNN) - President Barack Obama chastised lawmakers for failing so far to reach a solution to the fiscal cliff, urging them to return to Washington next week after reflecting over the Christmas holiday.
"This is not simply a contest between parties as to who looks good and who doesn't," he said. "As we leave town for a few days, I hope it gives everyone perspective."
New York (CNNMoney) - Yes, Virginia, there still could be a fiscal cliff deal by the end of this year. But given how things unraveled in Washington this week, there's also a good chance the country could go over the cliff for a time.
The good news: It won't be the end of the world.
CNN's GUT CHECK | for December 21, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
DEVELOPING: OBAMA NOMINATES JOHN KERRY TO BE SECRETARY OF STATE… “Over these many years, John's earned the respect and confidence of leaders around the world,” Obama said at the White House announcement. “He has earned the respect and trust of his Senate colleagues, Democrats and Republicans. I think it's fair to say few individuals know as many Presidents and Prime Ministers or grasp our foreign policies as firmly as John Kerry and this makes him a perfect choice to guide American diplomacy in the years ahead.” – Jessica Yellin and Joe Sterling
PAGING SCOTT BROWN: Poll: Brown in good position to win ticket back to Senate… A WBUR survey released Thursday indicates that Brown, who was defeated in last month's election by Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, grabs the support of 47% of registered voters compared to 39% who say they would vote for a generic Democratic candidate in a hypothetical 2013 special election contest. According to the poll, Brown also has double digit leads against possible Democratic candidates such as Representatives Ed Markey, Michael Capuano, and Stephen Lynch, who have all expressed interest in possibly making Senate bids. – Paul Steinhauser
(CNN) - Despite the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on political ads this past election, many Americans say they're skeptical of some or all of the spots meant to sway their votes, according to a new poll.
Nearly half of independent voters and 37% of voters overall said they are unlikely to believe any political ads, whether the spot is produced by campaigns or the super PACs who spent heavily for and against the candidates.
(CNN) – U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, once a top contender for the office of secretary of state, said "America is fortunate" with Sen. John Kerry as the president's pick to be the country's top diplomat.
"For over four decades, Senator Kerry has served extremely ably and demonstrated selfless commitment to our country," Rice said in a statement.