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Congress

Afternoon Round Up: Gridlock in Congress, Good News for Your iPad

Plus: Pen pals that aren't friends, a White House summit, and a look at what Harry Reid and Grover Norquist have in common.

A plane flies past the Lincoln Memorial, October 1, 2013 in Washington, DC. The National Mall and all monuments and large sections of the government will close due to government shut down after Congress failed to agree on spending.(Mark Wilson)

October 2, 2013

TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: The fundamentals of the shutdown stand-off are largely unchanged. Harry Reid is still demanding House Republicans pass Democrats "clean" continuing resolution to reopen government, but John Boehner is standing his ground. Instead, House Republicans—with the help of a handful of defecting House Democrats—are sending the Senate piecemeal bills that would fund parts of the government, including the Veterans Affairs Department and the National Park Service. Off the Hill, President Obama is calling congressional leaders to the White House, where he hopes to broker a compromise, but Mitch McConnell is already expressing skepticism that the meeting will produce a breakthrough. All is not so dark and dismal, however: the FAA came one step closer today to ending the ban on using electronic devices during flight touchdowns and takeoffs.

TOP NEWS

HAPPENING NOW IN THE HOUSE: Members are debating the shutdown on the House floor as they prepare to vote on bills that would re-open certain parts of the government. Votes are tentatively scheduled for between 5:30 and 6 p.m.

ALL THE SHUTDOWN THAT'S FIT TO PRINT: The shutdown's second day has produced congressional chaos, with proposals floating from all corners. Get the latest from National Journal's live blog, featuring Republicans at the WWII Memorial, a small, brief insurrection among House Democrats, Sen. Joe Manchin's stints as his own secretary, and lots of accusatory Twitter hashtags.

 

PEN PALS BUT NOT FRIENDS: Harry Reid sent John Boehner a letter explaining his hatred for the Iraq War was similar to Boehner's current distaste for Obamacare. "I could have taken the steps that you are taking now to block government funding in order to gain the leverage to end the war," Reid wrote. "I faced a lot of pressure from my own base to take that action. But I did not do that." Boehner's response indicated he still isn't about to budge.

OBAMA BECKONS TOP LAWMAKERS TO WHITE HOUSE: Congressional leaders are heading to the White House later this afternoon to attempt to hash out a way to end the funding impasse in what will be the first such meeting since the federal government shutdown. Obama also said today he was cancelling part of his planned Asia trip, but he still might make it to Indonesia and Brunei next week. (Calmes/Weisman, NYT)

A SILVER LINING OR A PIPEDREAM? Could plans for a "grand bargain" be emerging elsewhere? "There's a discussion about a grand bargain, that the talks are about some deal that will tie in the debt ceiling and a [continuing resolution]," said one conservative after leaving an afternoon Republican Study Committee meeting.

NSA CHIEF ALEXANDER ADMITS TO TESTING CELL-PHONE TRACKING: Gen. Keith Alexander told the Senate Judiciary Committee his agency attempted to learn whether it could track cell locations of Americans. (Dozier/Braun, AP)

AS IT TURNS OUT, YOU CAN'T CRASH AN AIRPLANE WITH A KINDLE: An FAA advisory committee has deemed hand-held electronic devices OK to use during the entirety of flights for most U.S. airliners. (Jon Brodkin, Arstechnica via WSJ)

TOMORROW IN ONE PARAGRAPH: With the shutdown still on, don't expect monthly job numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel attend the second day of meetings at the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee summit in Tokyo. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Rand Beers is scheduled to testify at 10 a.m. about threats to homeland security before the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

TOP LINES

JOBS: With the shutdown, we likely won't have our monthly report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics tomorrow, but a hiring report from Automatic Data Processing estimates 166,000 jobs were added by U.S. businesses in September. (Madigan/Mantell, WSJ)

SYRIA: Putin said world powers are "on the right track" with plans moving forward to remove Syria's chemical-weapons arsenal. (Steve Gutterman, Reuters)

HEALTH EXCHANGES: The more demand, the more glitches. Customers logging on to healthcare.gov are still encountering some problems, which the administration says is due to high traffic levels. (Carla Johnson, AP)

D.C. METRO: Fewer passengers because of the shutdown means shorter trains. Yesterday's morning commute saw a 22 percent drop in ridership. (Hedgpeth/Shaver, WaPo)

TWITTER: Once referred to as a "blogging-like tool for quick updates" in 2006 by The New York Times, the "leading social network" has had a tortured history of descriptions during its seven-year infancy. (Matt Phillips, Quartz)

TOM CLANCY: The best-selling novelist who penned high-stakes military yarns like The Hunt for Red October died in a Baltimore hospital at 66. (Julie Bosman, NYT)

FURLOUGH PARTIES: They're a thing, and they come with themes mocking the suddenly unemployed nature of the attendees. (Alyson Krueger, NYT)

TOP READ

WHO BROKE WASHINGTON?: More from NJ's ongoing look at the people most deserving of blame for the mess we're in today. Today's lineup: Harry Reid, who started the filibuster fire, and Grover Norquist, father of the first blood oath. (Cooper/Goldmacher, NJ)

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