S.V. Date

As Republican leaders in the House and Senate unveil their proposed budgets this week, here is the most important thing to remember about the federal budget: It isn't really a budget.

Jeb Bush walked into the lion's den of the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday, and walked out smiling — thanks to a few busloads of his supporters who proved louder and more persistent than his hecklers.

Bush, a likely 2016 presidential candidate, started out unevenly in his interview-style appearance, rushing through his answers to Fox News host Sean Hannity, using clunky phrases from his stump speech, and at times almost shouting to overcome boos and taunts.

For close to a decade, Jeb Bush's audiences have almost exclusively been people who have paid good money to hear him speak.

That changes today, when he appears at the Conservative Political Action Conference — where potential 2016 presidential rivals are already taking shots at him and some activists are organizing a walkout.

The son and brother of the last two Republican presidents vowed to be his "own man" in a foreign policy speech Wednesday. But he failed to outline a plan to deal with a major focus of those previous two Bush foreign policies: Iraq.

Likely presidential candidate Jeb Bush spoke and took questions for more than an hour at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He addressed trade deals with Asia and Latin America, support for Ukraine, pushing democracy in Cuba, stopping nuclear proliferation, fighting the so-called Islamic State — even the revolution in Tunisia.

Not-quite-yet presidential candidate Jeb Bush posted the first chapter of an e-book about his two terms as Florida governor online Monday, along with six massive files containing a quarter-million of his official emails.

What do you have when the State of the Union response is assigned to an English-only advocate — but then is reprised in Spanish by someone who supports a pathway to citizenship for immigrants here unlawfully?

You have some explaining to do, that's what.

With the Louisiana Senate runoff driving votes in both chambers of Congress on the Keystone XL pipeline, here's a question: How many of those jobs will actually be in Louisiana?

The answer: zero.

The 10 biggest breaks, deductions and credits in the U.S. income tax code are costing the Treasury $900 billion this year, with more than half of that total benefiting the wealthiest 20 percent of taxpayers.

When the House held its much-anticipated hearing on Benghazi Wednesday, one major figure not at the witness table was Thomas Pickering, the former ambassador and co-chair of the Accountability Review Board that reported on last September's attacks.

Why wasn't he there?

That's somewhat in dispute. California Republican Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, put the blame squarely on the shoulders of Pickering and report co-author Adm. Mike Mullen.

In the U.S. Senate, it's down to the Final Four versus the Dynamic Duo.

Only four Democratic senators remain who do not support same-sex marriage. Across the aisle, there are now two Republicans who have announced their support.

The new alignments mean that a majority — 53 senators — now support a concept that 85 senators voted to ban in 1996 with the Defense of Marriage Act.