TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: Ted Cruz is going down, but he's going down swinging. The Texas Republican has taken to the Senate floor this afternoon to attack Obamacare, telling his colleagues he'll "speak in support of defunding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand." It's a take-no-prisoners speech—full of vitriol for Democrats and Republicans alike—but it appears that he'll be unable to keep the defunding language in the Senate bill. Harry Reid this morning said he will not allow Republicans to filibuster an effort to strip the defunding language from a budget extension, and top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell said he wouldn't stand in Reid's way.
REID'S MAGIC NUMBERS: Reid will call for a cloture vote to end debate on the budget extension, where he'll need 60 votes. But given that McConnell has said he won't lead a filibuster, Reid will almost certainly be able to clear the 60-vote hurdle. Later, Reid will hold a vote to strip provisions from the budget extension that the House sent the Senate last week. That effort is likely to meet unanimous opposition from Republicans, but Reid will only need 50 votes to push that one through.
SOMETHING FOR (ALMOST) EVERYONE, BUT MOST OF IT FOR DEMOCRATS: Reid's plan allows Democrats to get a budget extension passed that doesn't defund Obamacare, and it allows Republicans—should they choose to—to cast a symbolic vote against Obamacare without setting the government up for shutdown. But Cruz is promising to make Republicans pay politically if they don't vote for a filibuster, making it clear that he'll use his pulpit to declare that a vote for cloture is a vote for Obamacare.
LIVEBLOGGING CRUZ'S EPIC SPEECH: National Journal is keeping a real-time log of Cruz's speech, which so far has included references to Nazis, Soviets, and a bid to land on the moon. (Berman/Vasilogambros)
WHAT NEXT?: Here's a helpful chart of what has to happen, and by when, to avert a government shutdown Oct. 1. (Karen Yourish, The New York Times)
CRUZ'S VICTORY IN DEFEAT: Cruz's crusade against Obamacare, and his pledge to shut down the government if that's what it takes, has made him the target of much criticism, including from his fellow Republicans. But it's a new Washington now, and blasting the Republican establishment is unlikely to hurt Cruz's down the line. (Michael Hirsh, NJ)
KENYAN PRESIDENT: 'WE HAVE ASHAMED AND DEFEATED OUR ATTACKERS': "The terrorists who took control of a Nairobi mall and held off Kenyan security forces for four days have been defeated after killing at least 67 civilians and government troops, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said." (David Rising, AP)
OBAMA TALKS SYRIA, IRAN AT U.N.: "Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Obama sounded a cautiously optimistic tone about the prospects for diplomacy, saying he had instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to pursue face-to-face negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program … Obama also called on the Security Council to pass a 'strong' resolution that would impose consequences on Syria if it fails to turn over its chemical weapons." (Mark Landler, NYT)
THE OBAMA LINE GETTING PLAY: "I believe America is exceptional." (Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post)
DAVID KOCH SEEDED AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY: "Tax documents obtained exclusively by National Journal confirm that conservative billionaire David Koch, along with a handful of major corporations, provided the seed money a decade ago to start the foundation behind Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group that played a key role in helping to organize the tea-party movement into a potent political force." (Alex Seitz-Wald, NJ)
TRADERS TIPPED OFF TO FED'S TAPER PUNT: "Some traders in Chicago appear to have had access to the Fed's decision before anyone else in the Windy City. According to trading data reviewed by CNBC, they began buying in Chicago-traded assets just before others in that city could possibly have been aware of the Fed's decision. By one estimate, as much as $600 million in assets changed hands in the milliseconds before most other traders in Chicago could learn of the Fed's September surprise—a sharp contrast to the very low volume of trading ahead of the Fed's decision." (Eamon Javers, CNBC)
OBAMA MEETING WITH HILL LEADERSHIP UNLIKELY: An expected meeting this week to discuss the budget standoff ahead next week's potential shutdown is likely being shelved, according to an aide to House Speaker John Boehner. (Justin Sink, The Hill)
OBAMA MEETING WITH BILL DE BLASIO TONIGHT: Before returning to D.C., the president will meet with the New York City mayoral hopeful at the Waldorf Astoria for a "fast conversation." (Dovere/Haberman, Politico)
Housing market: "U.S. home prices rose by their fastest pace in more than seven years during July," per Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index. (Nick Timiraos, The Wall Street Journal)
China to lift ban on foreign sites: Facebook, Twitter, NYT.com and other sites will be accessible—but only within the Shanghai Free-trade Zone. (George Chen, South China Morning Post)
Officials ready for Obamacare glitches: An agency chief expressed confidence with one week to go before insurance exchanges open. (Elise Viebeck, The Hill)
All in on Mitt: "One trader lost at least $4 million betting on former presidential candidate Mitt Romney through Intrade, possibly to make it appear he was faring better against President Obama in the waning days and hours of the 2012 election than he was." (Jacob Fischler, BuzzFeed)
Stormwatch the future: "By 2070, the number of severe thunderstorms, which often spawn deadly tornadoes, could increase by 40 percent in the eastern US, according to the computer model developed by the Stanford scientists." (Todd Woody, Quartz)
LONG READ FOR YOUR COMMUTE: Twenty years ago Myst broke all the rules of video gaming to win a decade-long run as the industry's all-time best-selling title. But successful thought it was, it had almost no lasting impact on the industry. Why? Because it hit the market like the delivery of "a truckload of freshly baked bread to a society that hadn't even figured out how to harvest wheat yet." (Emily Yoshida, Grantland)