Congress has left the building. Senate and the House officially left town for the holidays.. after extending tax breaks for teachers, banks, retailers and commuters to keep temporary tax breaks for another year. The package will add $42 billion to the deficit.

President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion spending bill into law.. it funds the government through September. Homeland Security only gets money through February with Congress wanting to weigh in on the President's immigration executive actions.

Interesting piece today in USA Today.. on the President's use of so called executive memoranda. It's a lighter version of executive orders, but still a powerful way for the White House to make policy. We'll ask Karl Rove about it.

New polling from WSJ and NBC suggests Hillary Clinton remains the front runner for 2016, but her poll numbers have fallen. 50% of Americans say they could support her. It comes as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and George Pataki all suggest they are seriously considering running for President. The WSJ/NBC poll shows 31% could see themselves supporting Jeb Bush.

The death toll continues to rise in the horrific terror attack on that school in Peshawar, Pakistan. 148 now dead.. mostly children. Female teachers reportedly burned alive. Pakistan and Afghanistan promising a crackdown on the Taliban infected region of Waziristan that encompasses both countries.

A Taliban attack on a bank in Helmand province has left at least five dead.

New details on that terror attack in Sydney. The man who took hostages and ended up killing two of them was on the country's terror watch list, but somehow dropped off.

The Russian economy continues to teeter. The government's attempts to stabilize the economy have so far failed. A dramatic interest rate hike didn't stop the fall of the Ruble.. in fact it seemed to panic many consumers. There's been a run on big ticket items as Russians rush to buy before prices go up and their currency continues to fall. There's now worries about a full-blown bank run. Yesterday President Obama signed more sanctions against Russia for its military aggression in Ukraine, Crimea, Moldova etc etc.

We get key reads on consumer prices today, and the Fed is meeting. Stocks fell after a volatile session in the U.S. yesterday. Hopefully our friend Lauren Simonetti can explain all this stuff to us today.

Heavy rains again today for drought-stricken California. It's good news, but it's causing flooding and traffic headaches.

The New York premier of the controversial Sony movie "The Interview" was cancelled as a Southern movie theater chain pulled the movie from distribution due on Christmas day. The movie which pokes fun at the North Koreans has led to a huge hack attack on Sony pictures.. leading to embarrassing emails being released, and threats of violence against theaters that show the movie. The North Koreans are suspected of being behind the hack.

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Clint Henderson