Speaker of the House John Boehner(Getty)

• In its last act before the new term begins, the House of Representatives passed a deal that avoids sharp tax increases on many Americans, prevents drastic spending cuts, and ensures that unemployment benefits continue. [NYT]

• Over at the Atlantic, Dashiell Bennett writes on what the deal did not accomplish…which appears to be a lot. [Atlantic]

• Ellis Island, the entry point for 12 million European immigrants, remains closed after suffering $59 million worth of damage during Hurricane Sandy in late October. [Forward]

• According to reports, a Syrian air strike on a gas station killed as many as 30 civilians earlier today in a suburb of Damascus. [JPost]

• Tunisia’s state secretary for immigration kindly wished the Jews of Tunisia “Merry Christmas” on a television program that aired on December 31st. [JTA]