There was backwards progress over the weekend with the Senate now at an impasse over how long sequestration cuts should last in a deal to reopen the government as the debt default deadline looms this Thursday.
New York Times: “ With a possible default on government obligations just days away, Senate Democratic leaders — believing they have a political advantage in the continuing fiscal impasse — refused Sunday to sign on to any deal that reopens the government but locks in budget cuts for next year….The core of the dispute is about spending, and how long a stopgap measure that would reopen the government should last. Democrats want the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration to last only through mid-November; Republicans want them to last as long as possible.”
Washington Post’s Paul Kane: “ When Washington is in crisis and every other option has fallen to pieces — whether on rescuing Wall Street, rewriting national security rules or agreeing on a budget — Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are usually the ones who put it all back together. But if the two wily 70-somethings who are trying to resolve the current crisis make a deal once again, they will do so despite an increasingly bitter and distant relationship that some say is so fraught with animosity that it endangers their talks.”
Politico: “Sen. John McCain said Sunday he’s disappointed the White House hasn’t played a larger role in negotiating an end to the government shutdown. “‘I hope the president will become engaged. Maybe we need to get Joe Biden out of the witness protection program,’ the Arizona Republican quipped on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation,’ noting the vice president’s absence during shutdown talks. For instance, Biden’s schedule notes he’s at Camp David this weekend.”
Roll Call: “In a Saturday night statement, Sen. Ted Cruz once again called on the House GOP to stand against Obamacare despite the government shutdown and looming default, contending they can still “win this debate. ‘House Republicans have heroically led this fight, and they should stand firm. Patience and courage and persistence is required, and will not come from the permanent beltway class,’ the Texas Republican said. ‘So-called grand bargains historically have been neither grand nor a bargain — typically resulting in more debt, more spending, and more government.’”
Roll Call: “A Democratic effort to stall floor action and highlight the shutdown turned into a shouting match between a member of Democratic leadership and a Republican floor staffer. What is undisputed: Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., the vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus, had an altercation with a Republican staffer, Chris Vieson, the floor director for Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. What is in question is what Vieson and Crowley said to each other, and whether Crowley touched Vieson.”
COLORADO: Denver Post: “In her seven years at the state Capitol, Rep. Amy Stephens’ résumé includes a stint as House majority leader and the champion of a host of legislation that most recently includes her working across the aisle with Democrats to better protect the state’s elderly from abuse. And now, the Republican lawmaker from Monument has a new goal: become Colorado’s next U.S. senator. Stephens will formally announce her candidacy Saturday to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall in 2014 — a move that increases the GOP primary field to four candidates vying to unseat an incumbent who, for now, many political observers view as relatively safe.”
FLORIDA: Tampa Bay Times: “Weeks after deciding not to mount another campaign for Florida governor, former state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink is poised to run for the Pinellas County congressional seat now held by U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young.”
NEW JERSEY: Newark Star-Ledger: “With two days to go before voters elect New Jersey’s next U.S. senator, a new poll shows Republican Steve Lonegan continues to gain ground on Democrat Cory Booker — but not much. Booker leads Lonegan by 10 percentage points, according to the latest Monmouth University poll. About 52 percent of likely voters support Booker, the mayor of Newark, while about 42 percent support Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota in Bergen County.”
NBC’s Jessica Taylor: “Newark Mayor Cory Booker was supposed to stroll to an easy victory in next week’s New Jersey’s Senate election but the popular Democrat has seen his campaign stumble along the way, leading to a closer-than-expected final stretch….Booker remains a heavy favorite over Lonegan in next Wednesday’s election, though the Tea Party candidate has managed to take some of the shine off the Newark mayor’s luster, not afraid to take shots at his record in Newark and his celebrity status.”
Bergen County Record: “The rest of America is watching New Jersey this week, said former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin before an enthusiastic crowd of about a thousand, flag-waving supporters at the New Egypt Speedway on Saturday evening” to campaign for Lonegan. “‘So New Jersey, just know that the eyes of America are on you right now, truly,’ Palin told the crowd. She said that Wednesday’s election was an opportunity to stop the United States from being fundamentally transformed under a socialist agenda. ‘You have the momentum with Steve’s campaign. The rest of the country knows it, the media even knows it, and that’s why they’re getting all wee, wee’d up against Steve!’”
OREGON: Portland Oregonian: “State Rep. Jason Conger, R-Bend, has scheduled appearances next Tuesday in Oregon City and Bend to disclose his plans regarding a run for the U.S. Senate held by Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley.”
VIRGINIA: Washington Post: “With just three weeks remaining before the election, Republican leaders in Virginia fear that their nominee, Ken Cuccinelli II, is on his way to losing the governor’s race and that the party will squander command of a state that is key to their quest to dominate next year’s midterm elections and the 2016 presidential race. Distressed over a flurry of recent polls showing Democrat Terry McAuliffe with a solid lead, Virginia Republicans are talking about rebuilding their organization, which is suffering from deep internal rifts similar to those roiling the national party.”
The Post editorial board weighed in for McAuliffe over the weekend, in a less than ringing endorsement. “There is no disguising that Mr. McAuliffe, a self-described wheeler-dealer who burst on to the national stage as a prodigious fundraiser for Bill Clinton in the 1990s, lacks the close engagement with policy possessed by Virginia’s recent governors. The ultimate political insider, his stock in trade has been playing the angles where access and profit intersect. Nonetheless, as a candidate for governor Mr. McAuliffe has taken sensible stands on key issues, and he has had the political savvy to stay mostly on message.