Congress: Clock is ticking

AP: “With a week left to hammer out a deal to avoid a government shutdown, some lawmakers seem resigned - if not rushing - to that end. Most say they don't want the first government shutdown since 1996. But if the government happens to shut down, so be it. Republicans say it is part of their effort to dismantle Democrats' health care overhaul, while Democrats defending the law recall that similar standoffs gave them political gains.”

USA Today: “Congressional Republicans say the two deadlines provide the best opportunity to extract concessions on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment begins Oct. 1 — the same day the federal government would shut down if Congress can't agree to a stopgap spending measure. The second deadline arrives in mid-October when the government hits its borrowing limit.”

Roll Call: "Lawmakers have just a week to find out who will blink in the big shutdown showdown over Obamacare, although that’s not the only issue on the agenda. House Republicans will push through a debt ceiling increase tied to an assortment of GOP wish list items including another attempt to delay Obamacare, approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and spending cuts, while Senate Democrats will again try to pass an energy efficiency bill."

But those are sidelines to the main event: whether the government will shut down come Oct. 1.

Los Angeles Times: "With one week left before a possible government shutdown, congressional debate has exposed deep divisions within the Republican Party, pitting tea-party-backed conservatives against their colleagues."

Politico: “After months of fiery rhetoric, Cruz and his allies are scrambling to salvage their strategy.”

“There are many things House Republicans liked about the government continuing resolution. It defunds Obamacare, locks in the sequester spending cuts and keeps the government running,” Roll Call reports. “But there’s one provision tucked into the CR that may anger constituents back home: Among the various sections of the House-passed CR are 28 words that would pay $174,000 to the widow of the late Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J. … The death gratuity — a long-practiced, little-known, unofficial perk of office — has been a staple of congressional deaths.”