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SOTU Scoop
December 12th, 2013
05:45 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By Tracey Webb

Get your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, December 12, 2013

1. The budget deal.  The bipartisan agreement covering spending over the next two fiscal years looks like it will get approval by the House.  The deal appeared to have enough Republican and Democratic support for passage in advance of a vote Thursday night. The measure still has to clear the Senate.  Republican Senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have already announced their opposition.  And some Senate Democrats have expressed concerns about the legislation as well.

2. If you're out of work, too bad. The budget deal doesn't address the 1.3. million unemployed workers whose benefits will expire on Dec. 28th. President Obama and Democrats have been pushing for an extension of unemployment insurance, but the chances of that are virtually nil, with House lawmakers leaving town for the holidays Friday and the Senate adjourning next week.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he'll seek an extension of unemployment benefits "after the new year."

3.  GOP's family feud.  Conservative advocacy groups that generally hold sway with House Republicans are finding themselves on defense. The Club for Growth, Heritage Action for America, and Americans for Prosperity strongly opposed the bipartisan budget deal passed by the House.  But for a second straight day, House Speaker John Boehner slammed the organizations' response to the deal. "You know, I came here to fight for a smaller, less costly, more accountable federal government and this budget agreement takes giant steps in the right direction. It is not everything I wanted," Boehner said. "But when groups come out and criticize an agreement they have never seen you begin to wonder just how credible those actions are." Our political panel sorts through the potential winners and losers of the GOP's brewing civil war this Sunday on State of the

Union.

4. Mental health gets a push in Congress. Two days before the first anniversary of the Newtown, Connecticut school massacre, a congressman has introduced legislation that attempts to improve the nation's mental health care system.  Rep. Tim Murphy (R) Pennsylvania, who spent 30 years as a psychologist before coming to Congress, said little has been done in the past year in getting mental health services to people who need it, despite the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  "The past few decades, this nation has moved forward in knowledge of what it takes to help, but has moved backwards in getting that help done," said Murphy.  "And when there is no help, there is no hope."  Murphy's legislation includes providing more psychiatric beds and in-patient and out-patient services for those people who are covered by Medicaid and are between the ages of 22 and 64. But mental health reform efforts are still struggling for attention. Only a handful of reporters showed up to cover Murphy's announcement.

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