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Morning Maddow: December 17

Morning headlines: Looks like budget deal has enough support to pass the Senate, Homeland Security IG steps down, Virginia AG recount underway.

Looks like the Senate will pass the budget deal. (Political Wire)

House Ethics to investigate Rep. Trey Radel. (The Hill)

Homeland Security's inspector general steps down amid allegations he misused his office. (Washington Post)

Cities where disabled veterans have to wait more than a year for their disability claims to be processed. (Washington Post)

On the first day of the VA Attorney General's race recount, the Democrat widens his lead. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Pope Francis removes a conservative U.S. cardinal from an influential Vatican committee. (NY Times)

Tired of the what-color-is-Santa controversy? Why not try Dial-a-Carol instead? (AP)