Congress: Short-term deal in the works?

Politico: “Senate Democratic leaders may only keep the government open for less than two months as part of a deal to end the latest fiscal crisis now consuming Washington, sources said Monday. Monday began a week of high-level maneuvering on Capitol Hill, with each of the four leaders beginning to weigh how to proceed on what could become a defining moment for the 113th Congress and Barack Obama’s presidency.”

National Journal poll finds that 63% oppose shutting down the government to defund Obamacare and believe it should be dealt with separately. Just 27% want to shut down the government, including a minority of Republicans – 49% would shut it down, 51% would not.

But there would also be almost equal blame for President Obama as Republicans if the government shuts down – 39% would blame Republicans, 36% would blame Obama. Interestingly, on the question, there’s a stark divide between blue-collar and white-collar whites. Blue collar would blame Obama 45-29% over Republicans. White collar blame Republicans 43-36%.

AP: “In a break with tea party-aligned Senate conservatives, Republican leader Mitch McConnell announced Monday he will not vote to block legislation aimed at preventing a partial government shutdown, even though Democrats intend to rewrite it to restore funds needed to keep the nation's three-year-old health care law in existence.”

Roll Call: “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and many of his rank and file are poised to cast votes this week that will effectively rebuke Sen. Ted Cruz’s effort to filibuster a stopgap spending bill that would keep the government funded past Sept. 30.”

New York Times: "The Senate’s Democratic majority leader, Harry Reid, delivered a broadside this week to advocates of the House plan to tie future government financing to the gutting of President Obama’s health care law, starting the clock on a showdown that could be decided on the eve of the potential government shutdown next Tuesday. Facing opposition from the Senate’s most conservative hard-liners, Mr. Reid has set up a series of procedural tallies, starting on Wednesday, that should culminate on Sunday in votes to remove language from the House spending bill that would strip funding from the Affordable Care Act and then to pass a spending measure to keep the government operating through mid-December. It would be up to House Republican leaders to accept that Senate bill or precipitate a shutdown."

Washington Post: "Ted Cruz began a frantic effort Monday to bend the Senate to his will by employing tactics that have earned him mostly enemies in his less than nine months in the chamber.....His burgeoning fame among the grass roots of his party has not translated into anything resembling success inside the tradition-bound and clubby Senate, where even in today’s highly partisan atmosphere lawmakers usually begin their rejoinders by referring to a political enemy as the 'distinguished gentleman.'"

The conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board again takes on Cruz: "The Lee-Cruz strategy, to the extent it's about more than fund-raising lists or getting face time on cable TV, seems to be that if the House holds "firm" amid a shutdown, then the public will eventually blame Mr. Obama and the Democrats, who will then fold and defund ObamaCare. Or, short of that, Democrats might agree to delay the health-care law for another year past its launch date on October 1....If they do succeed and defund ObamaCare, we'll gladly give them due credit. But if things don't go well, let's not hear any excuses about "the surrender caucus" or claims that it would all have worked out if only everyone were as brave and principled as the generals up at HQ."

And Roll Call notes that Cruz "has not been engaged in his role as vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, according to multiple sources familiar with GOP politics, and a growing number of Republicans are frustrated that the freshman senator has aligned himself with a group actively attacking their incumbent colleagues. Cruz’s profile has elevated in recent weeks with his aggressive campaign against the president’s health care law...But his position with the NRSC as vice chairman for grass-roots outreach — which these sources said never was clearly defined in the first place — seems in tension with his work with the SCF. And his lack of involvement at the NRSC raises the question of why he would want to be affiliated with the group at all."

NBC News: "The Senate's top Republican won't oppose moving forward with the House-passed legislation to fund the government, breaking with Ted Cruz and conservatives on a key procedural issue. A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that McConnell would not vote to block legislation passed last week by the House that would both fund the government past Sept. 30, but also strip funding for 'Obamacare'....McConnell's deputy, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, joined with the Kentucky senator."

The New York Times: “The nomination of a gay black Miami judge to the federal bench will not move forward after Senator Marco Rubio announced he was withdrawing his support over concerns about the judge’s actions in two criminal cases. Without Mr. Rubio’s approval, Judge William Thomas’s nomination to the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, in Miami, is effectively blocked. Judge Thomas, who serves on the Miami-Dade Circuit, was nominated by President Obama, with Mr. Rubio’s backing, more than 10 months ago... Had he been confirmed by the United States Senate, Judge Thomas would have become the first black openly gay man on the federal bench.”