Today’s edition of quick hits:
* The budget passed: “In the waning days of a year marked by the 16-day government shutdown, the Senate has voted to send a modest budget agreement to President Barack Obama’s desk. The vote on the measure, known as the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, was 64-36.”
* White House panel calls for new NSA limits: “A panel of presidential advisers who reviewed the National Security Agency’s surveillance practices urged President Obama on Wednesday to end the government’s systematic collection of logs of all Americans’ phone calls, and to keep those in private hands, ‘for queries and data mining’ only by court order.”
* The Review Group’s full report is available online here (pdf).
* I guess we knew tapering was coming: “The Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that it would reduce its monthly bond-buying campaign to $75 billion in January, beginning a retreat from its stimulus campaign, because it no longer saw the need for the full force of those efforts.”
* Wall Street certainly seemed pleased.
* Overdue: “The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the C.I.A. for an internal study done by the agency that lawmakers believe is broadly critical of the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program but was withheld from congressional oversight committees.”
* Strained ties that must be repaired: “Secretary of State John Kerry called India’s national security adviser on Wednesday to express his regret after one of India’s top diplomats was arrested on fraud charges and strip-searched in New York City, creating a rift between the two countries.”
* Syria: “Helped by a flurry of offers from Russia and China as well as the United States and European countries, the international watchdog agency overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons unveiled details Wednesday of a multinational effort to get toxic agents out of the country but warned that the program faced delays.”
* More ACA flexibility: “Health insurance companies are giving ObamaCare policyholders more time to pay their first premiums after the Obama administration urged the move as a way to mitigate problems and confusion with the new exchanges. Consumers who select their health plans by Dec. 23 will now have coverage effective Jan. 1 as long as they pay their premiums by Jan. 10.”
* And one of the stars of the Duck Dynasty reality show apparently went on a bizarre tirade, condemning gay people and Muslims, among others. One wonders what that will do to the show’s ratings.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.