12/06/2017 08:00 AM EDT

By Heather Caygle (hcaygle@politico.com or @heatherscope)

ARE YOU THERE CONGRESS? IT'S ME, THE CR... House GOP leaders, for now, are moving ahead with their original plan to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government through Dec. 22. But all of the back-and-forth with the House Freedom Caucus - whose members took an unrelated tax vote hostage on Monday - means a vote on the stopgap is now scheduled for Thursday, not today as it was originally planned. The Freedom Caucus is supposed to meet this morning at 8 a.m. on their funding-talks strategy and the House Rules Committee will meet this afternoon on the bill. Government funding runs out on Friday.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has said he won't grant key concessions to Democrats in the spending talks, an effort to appease GOP hardliners who were pushing for a funding bill through Dec. 30. But "the problem with the House strategy is that Senate Republicans still need the votes of at least eight Senate Democrats to advance spending legislation, likely resulting in deal-making later this month that won't fly with fiscal conservatives in the House," Jen Scholtes and Sarah Ferris report. The latest: http://politi.co/2kq69cN

Coming attractions: Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will meet with President Donald Trump to talk year-end funding tomorrow.

Related: "With shutdown approaching, Democrats also divided on what to push for in spending bill," via the Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe and Mike DeBonis. More: http://wapo.st/2kqW0wv

Mailbag: Nearly three dozen Republicans signed onto a letter to Ryan yesterday calling for a legislative fix for Dreamers by the end of the year. Read it: http://politico.pro/2koteMV

WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO? Senate GOP leaders are dismayed about Trump's endorsement of Roy Moore and the RNC's decision to once again support his campaign. "But there's a clear sense of resignation among GOP senators who have tried to block Moore from winning the race, acknowledging that the explicit seal of approval from Trump has left them no good options in the Dec. 12 contest," Seung Min and Kevin Robillard report.

"I had hoped that Judge Moore would resign - in other words, withdraw from the race," McConnell said Tuesday. "That obviously is not going to happen. If he were to be elected, I think he would immediately have an issue with the Ethics Committee, which they would take up."

Quote du jour: "I can't blame them. Let's face it, they represent the Republican Party," Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said about the RNC. "Frankly, I think if he gets elected, that ought to be - that ought to settle an awful lot of the questions." The latest: http://politi.co/2krJTiD

View from the Hill: "Trump's improvisational, and often impulsive, political decision making has become so routine that Republican leaders now accept that there will be days when he suddenly endorses and telephones candidates, including one accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls," Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman report. The New York Times: http://nyti.ms/2kuMlVO

Live from Fairhope, Ala.: "At a rally here Tuesday in a barn at Oak Hollow Farm, in an affluent suburb on the eastern shore of the Mobile Bay, [Steve] Bannon, Moore and a host of other staunch backers of the president took turns taking shots at the media, the GOP establishment, and Moore's Democratic opponent, former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones," Kevin reports. More: http://politi.co/2ks9Hv6

Jones took the gloves off Tuesday, calling Moore "an embarrassment" and telling voters this election should serve as a referendum on Moore's character and allegations he sexually pursued multiple women when they were teenagers. "We need to look at this as parents, not voters," Jones said in a speech. More from AL.com's Howard Koplowitz: http://bit.ly/2kpZiQB

Related read: "The RNC's silent decision to back Roy Moore - and how it upset everyone," via BuzzFeed's Henry Gomez and Alexis Levinson. Read: http://bzfd.it/2koUz1n

HOUSE VOTES ON GUN BILL TODAY - The House will vote later today on a bill to allow concealed carry permit holders to carry their guns into other states, a top priority for the NRA this year. "The bill would also allow people to carry concealed weapons into national parks and other federally-owned lands," the Atlantic reports. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), the main sponsor of the legislation, "defended the reciprocity act as one that would force states to treat gun permits the same way as driver's or marriage licenses." The bill also includes a proposal to make tweaks to the national background checks system after the mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Russell Berman with more: http://theatln.tc/2ksdFnh

WHOAAA, WE'RE HALFWAY THERE. Welcome to Wednesday, Dec. 6 and thanks for reading Huddle, the play-by-play guide to all things Capitol Hill.

TUESDAY'S MOST CLICKED: It was a tie between the AP story about the former staffer who said Rep. John Conyers groped her at church and Rachael's story about the former staffer who couldn't find work after settling a sexual harassment claim with Rep. Blake Farenthold.

CBC HAS MIXED FEELINGS AFTER CONYERS RESIGNATION - The resignation Tuesday of Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and the sexual harassment allegations that led to his fall "has left confusion, anger, resentment and bewilderment inside the ranks of the CBC, a group that Conyers helped found nearly four decades ago," Bres reports. "They won't say the treatment of Conyers is racist, necessarily - and all express strong support for his alleged victims - but they think white politicians accused of similar misconduct like Blake Farenthold, Al Franken, Roy Moore and Donald Trump get a 'benefit of the doubt' that black politicians don't enjoy."

"Certainly it seems as if there is indeed a double standard," said Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio). Much more: http://politi.co/2kskm8R

In announcing his resignation, Conyers endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to succeed him. But his great-nephew, state Sen. Ian Conyers, also plans to run. The Detroit News with more: http://detne.ws/2krMskL

You've got mail: Just hours after Conyers announced his resignation, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) sent his official letter announcing he's running to be the House Judiciary ranking member. See Conyers' resignation letter: http://politi.co/2BNzBNZ and Nadler's Judiciary letter: http://politi.co/2iXxGBM

KIHUEN BUCKS CALLS TO RESIGN - Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-Nev.) said he has no plans to resign Tuesday amid sexual harassment allegations, despite calls from Democratic leaders to do so. And Kihuen even went a step further, saying House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), chairman of House Democrats' campaign arm, knew about the claims last year and still supported Kihuen in the election. Pelosi and Lujan's offices denied they were aware last year of the accusations by Kihuen's former campaign staffer, who told BuzzFeed Kihuen made repeated, unwanted sexual advances. John Parkinson and Mary Bruce for ABC News: http://abcn.ws/2kqL3Lp

Meanwhile, Kihuen's chief of staff circulated an email Tuesday morning trying to find jobs for his D.C. office. "I'm hoping to place them all here pretty quickly in other offices," Kihuen's Chief of Staff Peter Koltak wrote in the email, obtained by Huddle. Resumes for most of Kihuen's D.C. staff were attached to the email. More: http://politi.co/2koN1Mi

MOVE IT ALONG FOLKS - Trump is anxious to get a completed tax code rewrite to his desk, urging GOP leaders to finish it even faster than the Dec. 22 deadline they've set, Nancy Cook and Aaron Lorenzo report . "We want it to proceed as quickly as possible, and we've communicated that to the Hill in a lot of ways," said Marc Short, White House director of legislative affairs. The accelerated push comes as experts say the current House and Senate tax bills are "riddled with bugs, loopholes and other potential problems that could plague lawmakers long after their legislation is signed into law," Brian Faler reports. More: http://politi.co/2kqZT4i

SHOW ME THE MONEY - Sen. Jeff Flake is taking his role as the GOP's moral conscience seriously. On Tuesday, he wrote a $100 check to Alabama Democratic candidate Doug Jones with "country over party" scribbled on the memo line. Flake has repeatedly denounced Roy Moore, saying he has no place in the Republican Party. See the check: http://bit.ly/2AVw8zk

WHAT CAPITOL HILL IS READING: "President Donald Trump will announce Wednesday that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will eventually relocate its embassy there - a declaration that could spur violent protests in the Middle East and undermine the White House's effort to strike a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians." More from Nahal Toosi and Andrew Restuccia: http://politi.co/2koUfzU

GREEN TO FORCE IMPEACHMENT VOTE TODAY - Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) says he intends to force a vote today to impeach Trump, a move that Democratic leaders have tried to stifle despite increasing agitation from a small faction of liberal members, Kyle reports. "I love my country," Green wrote in a letter to colleagues on Tuesday announcing his plans. But in reality, the vote would be on a "motion to table" or set aside Green's resolution, not a vote on the actual resolution itself. Much more: http://politi.co/2iXMK2D

** A message from RetireSafe: When Medicare patients pickup their medicines at the pharmacy, the cost at the register is often higher than the drug's actual price. That's because deep manufacturer-negotiated discounts and rebates end up in the pockets of the middlemen instead of patients. Help fix this problem. Support CMS' new proposed rule. http://politi.co/2AsitPv **

TODAY IN CONGRESS - The Senate meets at 10 a.m. and is expected to vote on the motion to go to conference on the tax bill sometime later today. The House meets at 10 a.m. with first votes at 1:45 p.m. and last votes at 4:15 p.m.

AROUND THE HILL - Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) hold a press conference to demand an FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton at 9 a.m. in the House triangle.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and MomsRising hold a press conference on the GOP tax bill's potential impact on children at 10:30 a.m. in H-207. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) hold a press conference on appropriations at 11:30 a.m. in the Senate radio/TV gallery.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) hold a press conference with former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson to introduce bipartisan anti-sexual harassment legislation at 11:30 a.m. in SVC-203.

Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) hold a press availability on workplace leave policies at 12 p.m. in 2174 Rayburn. More than a dozen House and Senate Democrats hold a 1 p.m. press conference in the House triangle in opposition to the "concealed carry" gun bill being considered on the House floor today.

Pelosi and Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) will hold a press conference on the GOP tax bill's potential impact on seniors at 2 p.m. in the House triangle. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) hold a 2 p.m. press call on net neutrality and the FCC. RSVP: Emma.Crisci@mail.house.gov

Reps. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) and Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) hold a roundtable discussion on improving America's water infrastructure following the Flint water crisis at 3 p.m. in 334 Cannon. The Congressional Black Caucus holds a roundtable discussion on "black entrepreneurs in the green economy" at 3 p.m. in 1539 Longworth.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) participates in the lighting of the Capitol Christmas tree at 5 p.m. on the West Front. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) will be honored by the Jack Kemp Foundation as its annual leadership award dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), who has worked with Scott on racial reconciliation initiatives, will introduce him and Vice President Mike Pence will deliver keynote remarks.

TUESDAY'S TRIVIA WINNER - Richard McGreal was first to guess that Rep. James Curley was the Boston-area lawmaker who served in prison for fraud before and after being elected to Congress. Curley also served as mayor of Boston and governor of Massachusetts.

TODAY'S TRIVIA - John Conyers' resignation makes Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) the "dean of the House," the title given to the chamber's longest serving member. Before Young, when was the last time a Republican served as dean and who was it? The first person to correctly answer gets a mention in the next edition of Huddle. Send your best guess my way: hcaygle@politico.com.

Also, let us all take a moment and remember the greatest Don Young gif of all time: http://bit.ly/2kpBhcn

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** A message from RetireSafe: When Medicare patients pickup their medicines at the pharmacy, the cost at the register is often higher than the drug's actual price. That's because deep manufacturer-negotiated discounts and rebates end up in the pockets of the middlemen and not the patients. CMS' new proposed rule for Medicare Part D is trying to fix this problem. Help Medicare patients pay less for their medicines and support the proposed rule. http://politi.co/2AsitPv **

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