The deal, with much less drama than past spending votes, is OK'd by a simple majority nearly a week after the House approved the measure.
In a year that featured divisive fights over the budget, health care and presidential nominations, 65 members of the U.S. Senate took a break from partisan bickering Tuesday night to participate in a Secret Santa gift exchange.
A panel appointed by President Obama to review U.S. surveillance activities has recommended that the NSA not be allowed to store Americans' phone records.
Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., says it's a key moment for the international community to "change the calculus" in Central Africa Republic and prevent further atrocities. The U.S. has authorized up to $100 million to support African Union forces and other material aid.
Rudy Kurniawan, once considered one of the world's most formidable wine collectors, was convicted Wednesday of making cheap wine blends in his house and then passing them off as some of the rarest wines in the world, for thousands of dollars each, at auction.