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U.S. spending bill and Nobel Peace Prize — 5 things to watch for this week

December 7, 2014, 10:00 PM UTC
A woman walks past the U.S. Capitol in Washington
A woman checks her smartphone as she walks past the U.S. Capitol in Washington December 4, 2014. (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS SOCIETY) - RTR4GPPO
Photograph by Kevin Lamarque — Reuters

Hello friends and Fortune readers.

It’s a slow week for company earnings as the last of the third quarter reports trickle in. Look out for Costco (COST) and Adobe (ADBE) results when they release on Wednesday morning and Thursday afternoon, respectively. Also reporting this week are Burlington Stores (BURL) and Men’s Wearhouse (MW).

Here’s what you need to know for your week ahead.

1. Congress reviews spending plans.

Lawmakers face a Monday deadline to pass a spending bill that would finance the government, and any delay would risk a partial shutdown. Certain Republicans are trying to attach language to the bill that would halt President Obama’s executive order on immigration. Republicans threatened a similar move last year in an effort to defund Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The failed attempt resulted in a 16-day government shutdown.

On Monday, the Senate is also set to approve a defense bill for next year that would clarify which planes, tanks and ships the Defense Department can buy. It would also establish a spending cap on the agency.

2. Madoff aides to be sentenced in Ponzi scheme.

Four former employees of Bernard Madoff will be sentenced this week for their role in the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history. Madoff, who was sentenced to 150 year prison term in 2009, took in $17.5 billion from thousands of clients.

The four employees will be sentenced separately at a Manhattan federal court, starting Monday morning with Daniel Bonventre who was chief of operations for Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities. Later in the week, Annette Bongiorno will be sentenced. She ran the investment-advisory unit at the firm.

3. Obamacare hearing over transparency failures.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will meet Tuesday to question Marilyn Tavenner over faulty reporting of enrollment numbers in programs created by the Affordable Care Act. Tavenner’s agency misreported the number of enrollees in dental plans this year, which incidentally allowed the Obama administration to surpass its targets.

Tavenner, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will also be joined by Obamacare architect and MIT professor Jonathan Gruber to testify to “repeated transparency failures and outright deceptions surrounding Obamacare,” according to the committee’s statement. The hearing will start at 9:30 a.m. ET.

4. November retail sales: how big was Black Friday?

U.S. Retail sales are expected to rise for November, mostly thanks to a boost in auto purchases. The increase will be a welcome sign as the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear. Consumer spending accounts for 70% of the economy, and the holidays account for about 19% of retailer’s total annual sales.

Analyst’s anticipate a 0.4% month-over-month gain when the Commerce Department reports the numbers Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET.

5. The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded in Oslo.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee will formally award the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai Tuesday in Oslo. The two were commended for their struggle to secure the right to education for children and young people around the world.

Satyarthi is an Indian children’s rights activist who advocates against child labor through peaceful protest. Yousafzay, known more commonly by her first name Malala, is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner ever. She was attacked shot in the head by Taliban in 2012, and has since recovered to continue fighting for worldwide access to education.