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Congress: Bye, bye 'grand bargain'

Harry Reid’s skeptical much of anything will get done in budget negotiations. I hope there would be a grand bargain, but I don’t see that happening,” Reid said in a radio interview. Of Republicans, ““They have their mind set on doing nothing, nothing more on revenue, and until they get off that kick, there’s not going to be a grand bargain on — there’s not going to be a small bargain. We’re just going to have to do something to work our way through sequestration.”

And here’s House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan to Politico: “We need to focus on achievable goals. If we spend our time talking about a grand bargain, we will fall far short, because that will require each party to insist on the other compromising its core principles. And in this divided government, we’re not going to do that.”

“A rising tide of Democrats has begun voicing support for easing the deadlines and penalties of the Affordable Care Act, showing the first cracks in party unity against GOP opposition to the health care law,” USA Today writes. “The pressure is acute in the Senate where Democrats in conservative or competitive states are lining up behind proposals to delay Obamacare, citing problems with the administration's glitch-plagued online rollout.” “Federal government officials, clearly stung by the embarrassing rollout of the health insurance websites, finally opened up a little bit about the problems on Thursday, admitting they rushed through testing too fast and tried to do too much, too soon, to make an Oct. 1 launch.”

The New York Times on yesterday's congressional hearing: "Federal officials did not fully test the online health insurance marketplace until two weeks before it opened to the public on Oct. 1, contractors told Congress on Thursday. While individual components of the system were tested earlier, they said, the government did not conduct 'end-to-end-testing' of the system until late September."

MSNBC's Suzy Khimm: "Some questions were serious. Others were pure political theater.  Things even got so heated before the House Energy and Commerce hearing that Rep. Frank Pallone shouted out, 'I will not yield to this monkey court!'"

Meanwhile, the group Americans United for Change has this new video: “After four years fighting tooth and nail to kill it, Republicans, now the Republicans want health-care reform to work?”

National Journal: “Good news for Republicans who want to legalize marijuana: Taxing pot is A-OK with Grover Norquist, the keeper of the anti-tax pledge that hundreds of GOP lawmakers have signed.” Said Norquist: "That's not a tax increase. It's legalizing an activity and having the traditional tax applied to it," he says.

Speaking of things that won’t get done this year… The Hill writes, “For President Obama and advocates hoping for a House vote on immigration reform this year, the reality is simple: Fat chance. … there are no signs that Republicans are feeling any pressure. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has repeatedly ruled out taking up the comprehensive Senate bill, and senior Republicans say it is unlikely that the party, bruised from its internal battle over the government shutdown, will pivot quickly to an issue that has long rankled conservatives.”

Echoing that, Politico writes: “House Republican leadership has no plans to vote on any immigration reform legislation before the end the year.”