New York Times: "Senate Republicans on Monday blocked President Obama’s third consecutive nominee to the country’s most powerful and prestigious appeals court and insisted they would not back down, inflaming a bitter debate over a president’s right to shape the judiciary. By a vote of 53 to 38, the Senate failed to break a filibuster of Robert L. Wilkins, a federal judge who was nominated to fill one of three vacancies on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, falling seven votes short of the 60 needed. Two Republicans — Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine — voted with the Democrats."
The AP adds: “Blocking Wilkins nomination prompted immediate calls from some Democrats to change Senate rules to make it harder for the minority party to block nominations. Several said they had grown frustrated by GOP efforts to stop Obama's nominees. On the Senate floor, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said blocking nominees like Wilkins could inspire Democrats to consider limiting debate on Obama's nominations. … And after the vote, two Democratic senators, Ben Cardin of Maryland and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, joined House members of the Congressional Black Caucus and said they would support changes to Senate rules.”
National Journal’s Sarah Mimms: “When budget negotiations began last month, Democrats felt confident that public opinion surrounding the government shutdown would force Republicans to the table, eager to prove their party could compromise. But today, there’s little sense of urgency on a budget deal. With less than four weeks to go before the conference committee’s deadline, the public focus has shifted to the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act and pressure on Republicans has subsided. ‘The shutdown is history. We are moving forward to try to get the next thing done,’ William Allison, a spokesman for House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, said last week. Asked whether Ryan and others feel pressure to get something done because of the shutdown, Allison was blunt: ‘Nah,’ he said."
The Hill: "The administration is risking rebellion from some Democrats in Congress if it fails to deliver on its promise to fix HealthCare.gov by the Nov. 30 deadline set by President Obama. By and large, Democratic lawmakers have held their fire to give Obama’s team space to fix the technical problems that have stalled the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. If the president’s team fails to deliver, Democrats will embrace legislation extending the law’s enrollment period or forcing insurance companies to continue offering plans that do not meet ObamaCare’s standards, according to Democratic aides."
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed entitled “No Bailouts for Obamacare,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) writes: “On Tuesday I am introducing legislation that would eliminate the risk corridor provision, ensuring that no taxpayer-funded bailout of the health insurance industry will ever occur under ObamaCare. If this disaster of a law cannot survive without a bailout rescue valve, it is yet another reason why it should be repealed.”
First published November 19 2013, 6:16 AM