New York Times: “Back then, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News Channel was a year from its debut, Andrew Breitbart was a lowly assistant at E! Online, and The Drudge Report was an obscure gossip and news digest sent by e-mail — to the lucky few who had e-mail. But today, a fervent group of conservatives — bloggers, pundits, activists and even members of Congress — is harnessing the power of the Internet, determined to tell the story of the current budget showdown on its terms. ”
“Paying America’s bills is not a concession to me. That’s not doing me a favor.”
— President Obama, quoted by the Washington Post, on the GOP attempt to bargain over the nation’s debt limit.
Norm Ornstein: “There is one area where Obama could and should be willing to negotiate with Republicans–to take the default option, the full faith and credit of the United States, off the table permanently. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell provided the vehicle to do this in the eleventh-hour resolution of the debt ceiling crisis in 2011. The ‘McConnell Rule,’ as it was called, allowed the president unilaterally to extend the debt limit, while also providing for a congressional resolution of disapproval. If both houses of Congress disapproved of the president’s action, the resolution would be sent to the president. He could veto it–but it would take two-thirds of both houses of Congress to override his veto.”
“Institutionalizing the McConnell Rule would be valuable enough that it should extract some real concessions from the president to achieve it.”
House Republicans “will meet in a rare Saturday session as they plan their next move to keep the government open past midnight on Monday while extracting major concessions on President Obama’s health care law,” the New York Times reports.
“Any move short of passing the Senate bill is likely to shut down the government, at least briefly, unless it is accompanied by a measure that would finance the government for at least a few days. That would allow the Republican to keep their struggle alive.”
Wall Street Journal: “House leaders face a difficult situation. Mr. Boehner doesn’t want to alienate the dozens of lawmakers who won’t back any spending plan that doesn’t in some way limit the reach of the health law. At the same time, Senate Democrats say they will reject any measure that alters the health law.”
Washington Post: “Boehner’s leadership team offered no public comment and remained out of sight most of Friday, hunkering down for another weekend on the brink.”
Politico: “House and Senate leadership aides in both parties are increasingly convinced the federal government will close for the first time in more than 17 years on Tuesday morning.”
John Dickerson: “In keeping with that sense of civility — in which members refer to each
other as ‘my good friend’ when they mean ‘that craven charlatan’ — I will characterize my reporting on the views of many of Cruz’s Republican colleagues in a similarly circuitous manner: Their affection for him this week became so qualified as to be indistinguishable from hatred.”
“They don’t keep Senate records about this kind of thing, but it’s likely that no senator has created as many enemies in his party in as short a time as the junior senator from Texas.”
Although Karl Rove questioned the network’s declaration that Barack Obama had been re-elected last year, Fox News announced it has signed Rove to a new contract as a contributor through the 2016 election, the AP reports.
“About three-fourths of president’s 1,701-person staff would be sent home. The national security team would be cut back, fewer economists would be tracking the economy and there wouldn’t be as many budget officials to track spending. White House policy decisions on the environment and drug policy might get postponed, as the executive mansion struggles to cope with a shutdown of the government.”
“With Congress locked in near-continuous budget and debt limit battles, one influential lawmaker has been noticeably quiet this year,” Roll Call reports.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), “the House Budget chairman and the GOP’s 2012 vice presidential candidate, has been a trusted, go-to source on budget and fiscal issues in the party for years. Yet the Wisconsin Republican has not, seemingly, been at the forefront of the most recent fight over a stopgap spending bill, nor has he been a loud voice on the debt limit.”
A new Kean University poll in New Jersey finds Cory Booker (D) leading Steve Lonegan (R) in the U.S. Senate race by a wide margin, 52% to 33%.
“Imagine if you had a Republican president and a Democratic speaker, and
the Democratic speaker said, well, we’re not going to pass the debt
ceiling unless we raise corporate taxes by 40% or unless we pass
background checks on guns or whatever other list of agenda items
Democrats were interested in. Does anybody actually think that we would
be hearing from Republicans that that was acceptable behavior?”
— President Obama, quoted by the Washington Post.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said that the Senate “is done acting on legislation to avert a government shutdown, and that House Republicans have no choice but to pass the Senate’s bill if it wants to keep the government open,” The Hill reports.
Said Reid: “I want everyone to listen and to hear: the United States Senate has acted. This is the only legislation that can avert a government shutdown, and that time is ticking as we speak.”
He added: “If Speaker Boehner wants to avoid a government shutdown, he will pass our resolution. Otherwise, it’s a government shutdown.”
Alan Simpson: “First, this is not about Dick Cheney. Dick Cheney and I have known each other for over 45 years. He is a dear and loyal friend who I would protect and be loyal to the end of my days. I have proved that trait many a time for him, and he has done the same for me. We have campaigned for each other each and every time we ran – and neither of us ever lost an election! We have been in the trenches, we’ve been carpet bombed, shot at and missed, shot at and hit, abused, trampled, been both victims and victorious, and I would lay my life down for him. So indeed, it is not about Dick. It is about Lynne and Liz Cheney. So hang on tight because you are going to get some clear and true facts without rumor and innuendo, or any accompanying B.S. and mush.”
President Obama announced he had a phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the first direct communication between leaders of the two nations since 1979, NBC News reports.
Said Obama: “The two of us discussed our ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program. I reiterated what I said in New York. While there will surely be important obstacles to moving forward and success is not guaranteed, I believe we can reach a conference of solution.”
A state judge “ruled to legalize same-sex marriage in New Jersey, saying gay couples would be denied federal benefits if the state kept allowing only civil unions,” the Newark Star Ledger reports.
“Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson granted an emergency request by six gay couples, ordering state officials to begin officiating same-sex marriages on Oct. 21.”
Mitt Romney told CNN that he disagrees with the GOP tactic of trying to defund Obamacare.
Said Romney: “We’re more effective tactically not to use a shutdown of some kind to pursue the anti-Obamacare objective. I don’t think that will be as effective.”
He added: “I think there’s a better way of getting rid of Obamacare — my own view — and that is, one, delaying it by at least a year. That was Senator Manchin’s idea, the Democrats’ idea. The other would be potentially working hard to get Republicans elected to the House and Senate and they’d be able to do in a traditional way.”
Out next week: Blowback, a spy novel by former CIA operative Valerie Plame.
Plame spoke to the New York Times: “I’ve always been really dismayed at how female CIA officers were portrayed in fiction. They’re always these cartoonish, cardboard characters, big on sexuality, big on gunplay. I wanted to depict something more realistic but still entertaining.”
Robert Costa has a fascinating report on how Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is now playing an inside game with House Republicans.
“Leadership sources, for their part, are startled by Cruz’s attempt to shape House strategy and work against the speaker. They knew he’d oppose Boehner’s playbook, but they didn’t expect him to huddle with conservatives and ask them to ignore it. So, Cruz’s meetings have made him a key House player, but they’ve worsened his already-fraught relationship with the leadership.”
The Senate voted “to end debate on a short-term spending measure in an effort to send it back to the House, with just four days to go before a threatened federal government shutdown,” the Washington Post reports.
“The fate of the bill remained in limbo in the House as the Republican Party’s rebellious right wing is blocking a strategy by Speaker John A. Boehner (R-OH) for navigating a series of deadlines to keep the government funded and avoid the nation’s first default.”
Wall Street Journal: “Republican leaders in the House have already said they won’t pass the version that the Senate approves, setting up a weekend of legislative volleying between the Democratic-controlled Senate and GOP-led House.”
National Journal has the Senate roll call.