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Congress: Some movement?

Wall Street Journal: "The partisan logjam that has paralyzed the capital showed signs of easing Wednesday, as conservative Republicans warmed to the idea of a short-term increase in the country's borrowing limit and House GOP leaders prepared for their first meeting with President Barack Obama since the government shutdown began."

Washington Post: "Key GOP figures on Wednesday sent their clearest signals that they are abandoning their bid to immediately stop the federal health-care law — the issue that forced the government to shut down — and are scrambling for a fallback strategy....The law has largely disappeared from their calculus as they look for a way out of the impasse over the shutdown and for a way to avoid a possible default on U.S. debt. Instead, they are regrouping for a longer battle over the health-care law."

Washington Examiner: "Republicans do not intend to give any ground on policy. They still refuse to support a debt ceiling increase unless they get concessions from Democrats on spending and entitlement reform. But there appears to be a willingness to consider two short-term bills that would allow the government to reopen and the debt ceiling to rise for six to eight weeks as long as Obama agrees to use that time to negotiate a long-term deal."

Politico: “After taking a back-seat role in this fall’s fiscal battles, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and fellow Republican senators are quietly seeing whether they can break the political impasse between House Republicans and Senate Democrats. Behind the scenes, the Kentucky Republican is gauging support within the Senate GOP Conference to temporarily raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government in return for a handful of policy proposals. Among the ideas under serious consideration are a repeal of medical device tax in the health care law, a plan to verify that those seeking subsidies under Obamacare prove their income level and a proposal to grant additional flexibility to federal agencies to implement sequestration cuts.”

By the way, anyone else noticing this? “A fight over Obamacare? That’s so last week,” Politico notes. About that plan McConnell was talking about with Senate Republicans – Susan Collins’ idea.

Ted Cruz has his own poll! David Drucker reports: “Sen. Ted Cruz during a closed-door lunch on Wednesday argued to his Republican colleagues that the campaign he led to defund Obamacare has bolstered the GOP’s political position in dealing with the government shutdown. Republicans who attended the weekly lunch hosted by Senate conservatives confirmed that Cruz presented a poll that the Texan paid for. Cruz’ pollster, Chris Perkins, was there for a portion of the discussion to help walk members through the poll and discuss the party's messaging strategy. Perkins is a partner with Wilson Perkins Allen, a GOP polling firm with dozens of Republican clients. The survey’s findings mirrored other national polls: More voters blame the Republicans for the government shutdown than blame President Obama or the Democrats. But Cruz argued, based on the poll, that Republicans are in a much better position than they were during the 1995 shutdown because this impasse is defined by a disagreement over funding for the Affordable Care Act as opposed to a general disagreement over government spending.”

National Journal’s mocking headline: “Ted Cruz Unskews the Polls.”

Norm Ornstein says Republicans need to stop using the debt ceiling and default as a weapon and says, “I have had some sympathy for Boehner, who is being buffeted by forces in his party beyond his control, with any attempt at leadership thwarted by a lack of followership. But my sympathy for him disappeared after his utterly disingenuous press conference Tuesday. The speaker talked about how all he wanted was to have a conversation and negotiation over spending issues, and that the failure to do so was un-American—this from the same speaker who, since the Senate adopted a budget several months ago, has steadfastly refused to appoint conferees to negotiate over the budget, after years of insisting that was all he wanted. The speaker suggested in his press conference that a clean CR, as proposed by President Obama, would mean total capitulation by Republicans—capitulation to the numbers he demanded! Boehner also suggested that threats over the debt ceiling were routine. False.”

More: "Enough venting. The bottom line here is that we need some kind of agreement that will reopen the government and stop a downward spiral that uses default as a genuine and frightening political weapon. Realistically, qua Negotiation 101, it must provide the president, the speaker, and the Senate majority leader with the ability to declare victory or at least to avoid the perception of utter defeat. The two houses, two parties, and the president will still have to deal with one another on a myriad of issues for the next 40 months."

Roll Call looks at "who in the polarized chamber might be able to craft a plausible agreement."

The Daily Rundown’s Jessica Taylor looks at how Rep. Mike Coffman is straddling the shutdown, facing one of the toughest re-election races in the country next year. “The Colorado Republican is a rare breed in his conference, a moderate who represents a district that swung for Barack Obama in 2012 and barely sent him back to Congress, where he’s served since 2008. So unlike many of his Republican colleagues, Coffman’s big concern isn’t proving his conservative bonafides as the fight over the debt ceiling and the shutdown fights intensify, but showing he’s strongly in the center.”