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Paul Ryan may be the new budget guru in the House, but today he seems more interested in basking in GOP victory than talking about the tough legislation ahead.

In a gaggle with reporters just now, Ryan was asked if "in a couple months" he could envision the new majority in the House voting to raise the debt ceiling.

"I'm not talking about that stuff today," Ryan said as he walked out of the Speaker's lobby behind the podium that is now Boehner's to control.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Meet The New House Republican Leadership]

1||January 5, 2011: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announces that he'll step down from his post in February, ending his run as the President's official spokesman. Gibbs has served alongside Obama since April 2004 -- when he worked on the virtually unknown Democrat's bid for the United States Senate -- and says he plans to remain a close adviser to the President despite his departure from the White House.

Here, Gibbs is pictured at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner in May 2010.||Ron Sachs-CNP-PHOTOlink.net/Newscom&&

2||Gibbs and the president's personal secretary, Katie Johnson, at an Oval Office meeting in May 2009.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

3||Gibbs is the latest member of Obama's administration to step down. Here, he's pictured with President Obama, former Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, and Obama's former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

4||Following a town hall meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina, President Obama is presented with a picture of a young Robert Gibbs, who played soccer for North Carolina State.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

5||Gibbs concluded his March 12, 2010 briefing by removing a Canadian hockey jersey to reveal an American team jersey. He'd begun the day wearing the Canadian colors after losing a bet with his Canadian counterpart over an Olympic hockey game.|| Olivier Douliery/ABACAUSA.COM/Newscom&&

6||Gibbs, not fighting Luke Skywalker, but in costume for Halloween at the White House.||Newscom/UPI/Kristoffer Tripplaar&&

7||Gibbs, again dressed as Darth Vader, alongside his son Ethan, who dressed as Boba Fett.||Kristoffer Tripplaar/ABACAUSA.COM/Newscom&&

8||Gibbs with President Obama at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Dinner in Washington in June 2009.||WASHINGTON POOL/SIPA/Newscom&&

9||President Obama speaks to Gibbs and other members of his staff at a NATO summit in Lisbon in November 2010.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

10||Gibbs and President Obama watch First Lady Michelle Obama break ground on the White House garden.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

11||Gibbs and other members of Obama's staff planning a visit to Baghdad in April 2009.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

12||Gibbs with President Obama after a town hall meeting in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, in May 2009.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

13||President Obama, Gibbs, and Rahm Emanuel, following a June 2009 meeting with South Korean Presidnet Lee Myung-bak.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

14||Gibbs and President Obama, with Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), at a Washington Nationals game in April 2010.|| KEVIN DIETSCH/UPI/Newscom&&

15||Gibbs stands with President Obama as he warms up before throwing out the first pitch at the 2010 MLB All Star Game.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

16||Gibbs sits in the dunk tank at the Congressional Luau in June 2009.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

17||President Obama and Gibbs laugh with aide Reggie Love prior to a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reception in October 2009.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

18||Gibbs walks with President Obama, Senior Adviser David Axelrod, and aide Reggie Love after Obama taped an appearance on The Daily Show.||Official White House Photo by Pete Souza&&

19||Gibbs and President Obama with members of his staff in November 2009.||Official White House photo by Pete Souza&&

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs held his regular press briefing today -- the first since he announced that he will be stepping down. And as such, the subjects of his departure and the overall changes in White House staffing were quite prominent among reporters' questions.

"It is -- and you all know this because you do this as well -- it is an honor and a privilege to stand here, to work inside this building, to serve your country, to work for a president that I admire as much as President Barack Obama," said Gibbs. "I have been a member of his staff for almost seven years, and again it's a remarkable privilege. It is in many ways the opportunity of a lifetime, one that I will be forever thankful and grateful for."

"What I am going to do next is step back a bit, recharge some. We've been going at this pace for at least four years. I will have an opportunity to give some speeches, I will continue to provide advice and counsel to this building and this president. And I look forward to continuing to do that."

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Last night, Lawrence O'Donnell challenged Rep. Bob Goodlatte's (R-VA) knowledge of the Constitution, after Goodlatte boasted of his plans to read the document in its entirety on the House floor Thursday.

Goodlatte -- who will become the first congressman to read the Constitution in its entirety on the House floor -- says it will "begin the process of debating" the meaning and role of the Constitution today.

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Gerald Walpin, the former inspector general of the department overseeing AmeriCorps, lost an appeal in his lawsuit claiming that he was wrongfully fired by the Obama administration in June 2009.

A federal appeals court ruled against Walpin yesterday, writing in the panel's unanimous decision that Walpin does not have a "clear and indisputable right" to his old job.

Walpin's accusations of wrongdoing by the Obama administration quickly became a cause on the right. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who's about to become chair of the House Oversight Committee, opened an official Congressional inquiry into the firing with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Their report, however, didn't find any evidence of actual wrongdoing.

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Though today's vote for House Speaker was all but assured to break in Rep. John Boehner's (R-OH) favor after the midterm elections, it nonetheless managed to be dramatic for new Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Freed to cast symbolic votes against the soon-to-be-former Speaker, 19 of her fellow Democrats cast protest votes against her. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), who led a movement to deny Pelosi the leadership slot after the election, didn't vote at all.

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Harvard professor Roy Y.J Chua and London Business School assistant professor Xi Zou found that people who live luxuriously may be psychologically different than everyone else.


More specifically, people who drive around in town cars and zip across the country in private jets make selfish decisions that enable them to do so. They make decisions that best benefit themselves and don't consider others as much. Chua says this could be the reason so many high-paid executives, like those on Wall Street, act irresponsibly.

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Stephen Colbert is worried about the long term value of the American dollar, which is why he's arguing for the return of the gold standard.

"Let's face it," Colbert said last night, "if there was a precious metals Olympics, who would win the gold? Gold would."

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Here are the specific filibuster reforms that Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), will be pushing beginning this afternoon, obtained by TPM. Spoiler: they include at least one little-discussed item meant to appeal to the minority.

As promised, Udall proposes ending secret holds and the right of the minority to filibuster the start of debate, and demanding the "talking" filibuster.

But, according to documents provided by Udall's office in advance of his floor speech, it also includes a proposal that guarantees both parties the right to amend legislation -- limiting the majority leader's power to "fill the amendment tree" and block extended debate.

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