Washington (CNN) – 2013 ended with Congress reaching a deal on funding the government without all the end-of-the-year drama that we've come to expect. Democrats and Republicans defied the recent all-or-nothing gamesmanship and brokered a budget deal before its deadline, prompting speculation that maybe, just maybe, dogs and cats can live together.
Here are five things on both President Barack Obama's and Congress' agendas that will show pretty quickly whether breaking the partisan logjam in the capital is possible or just a fantasy.
Washington (CNN) - While Sen. Rand Paul thinks Edward Snowden shouldn't escape prosecution, the Kentucky lawmaker said Sunday the NSA leaker should receive some leniency.
"I don't think Edward Snowden deserves the death penalty or life in prison," Paul told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "I think that's inappropriate."
Washington (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Sunday that, while he's hopeful an extension of unemployment benefits will pass the Senate, he railed against Republicans for refusing to pass the measure without offsets, lambasting the GOP for isolating Americans "desperate" and out of work.
"We have never offset emergency spending. That's foolishness," Reid told CNN's Alison Harding.
Washington (CNN) - Mitt Romney said Sunday he believes President Barack Obama obscured the truth when he pledged citizens could keep their insurance plans if they liked it under his new health care law.
"He told people, 'You can keep the insurance you have, if you like it,'” Romney told Fox News' Chris Wallace. "That was not honest. That was deceptive."
Washington (CNN) – The President’s top economic adviser warned Republicans that threatening default on the debt limit was risking political peril.
The White House's Director of the National Economic Council told CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday morning that Republicans not only risk doing irreparable damage to the economy if they were to risk the full faith and credit of the United States in another political showdown with the Obama administration, but they could also destroy their chances at the polls in November.
Washington (CNN) - Count Janet Napolitano among the Washington luminaries dismissing the possibility of clemency for NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
In an interview with NBC's David Gregory that aired Sunday on "Meet the Press," the former Homeland Security secretary rejected any possibility of excusing the contractor-turned-whistleblower, saying Snowden significantly damaged the United States' intelligence infrastructure.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama is planning to nominate Sen. Max Baucus as U.S. ambassador to China, a Democratic official told CNN.
The Montana Democrat is retiring from Congress.
A longtime Baucus friend and confidante speaking on condition of anonymity told CNN's John King the Senator informed him directly that the China appointment was true. A spokesman for Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican and a close friend of Baucus, confirmed to CNN's Paul Steinhauser that Hatch told the Washington Post that Baucus is the ambassadorial pick.
Washington (CNN) – Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Tuesday evening he was taken aback when his daughter Mary and her wife took to social media to rail against his other daughter Liz's stance on same-sex marriage.
"We were surprised when there was an attack launched against Liz on Facebook and wished it hadn't happened," Cheney told the audience at a National Press Club event.
Washington (CNN) - Charlie Crist's new campaign for governor of Florida, this time as a Democrat, is already at a fork in the road.
After touting his hiring of New York politico Bill Hyers, Crist - who introduced the 38-year-old operative at a Miami Beach fundraiser last month as "my campaign manager" – e-mailed reporters Tuesday to announce that Hyers had left the campaign.
Washington (CNN) - In an interview Sunday, Tom Donilon, former national security adviser to the Obama White House, traced a clear path between President Barack Obama's decision to implement sanctions against Iran and the deal brokered with Tehran last week.
"There is a direct line here between the sanctions, Rouhani's election, and their coming to the table," Donilon told George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week."