TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: No progress was made on Washington’s twin crises Monday, as neither Republicans nor Democrats showed signs of budging on a budget deal to reopen the government, and the Hill continued to digest John Boehner’s weekend promise that House Republicans are “not going to pass a clean debt-limit increase.” The House is scheduled to vote this evening on a bill that would reopen parts of the Food and Drug Administration, but Senate Democrats — who are already sitting on a pile of piecemeal budget bills — have said they’ll reject the measures while demanding that the House pass a budget extension for the entire government.
OBAMA OPEN TO SHORT-TERM NUDGE OF DEBT LIMIT: So says National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling, who added that the amount to raise the debt ceiling is a decision for Congress to make, though the White House would prefer a long-term solution. “Longer is better for economic certainty and jobs, but it is ultimately up to (Congress).” The Treasury Department maintains that the limit must be raised by Oct. 17 to avoid risking default. (Kevin Cirilli, Politico)
WHO IS REALLY REFUSING TO NEGOTIATE? Republicans insist that Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have refused to budge one inch on the budget talks, but that’s only true for those who have really short memories. In fact, Democrats have tried 19 times to negotiate, making the GOP’s biggest talking point of the shutdown valid only if everything that happened before last week is ignored. (Alex Seitz-Wald, NJ)
GOP CONTINUES TO SUFFER POLITICALLY AMID SHUTDOWN: A new WaPo-ABC News poll out today finds 70 percent of respondents disapproving of the way Republicans are handling the budget fight. Obama’s approval on the issue has increased slightly to 45 percent from last month’s measure of 41 percent. (Clement/Craighill, Washington Post)
WORRIES MOUNT AS SHUTDOWN TRUDGES INTO WEEK 2: So far, “signs of economic damage are mostly limited to stalled contracts and lost tourism revenue. But the risk of a prolonged closure that morphs into a battle over the nation’s borrowing limit is raising concerns among economists and executives…. Economists say a quick resolution in coming days could spare the economy a serious blow, mimicking prior shutdowns. But the conflict dragging on for a couple more weeks — which some lawmakers have suggested could happen — risks restraining key parts of the economy that had been expected to accelerate in the coming months” (Reddy/Cronin, Wall Street Journal)
CHIEF ENERGY AND CLIMATE ADVISER LEAVING WHITE HOUSE: The White House confirmed this afternoon that Heather Zichal will step down as Obama’s top energy and climate adviser, a job which she has held since 2011. A replacement has not been named, and it is not immediately clear where Zichal, 37, is headed. Zichal played a central role in developing Obama’s plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants. (Rucker/Mason, Reuters)
TOMORROW IN ONE PARAGRAPH: The House will meet at 10 a.m. for morning-hour debate and at noon for legislative business. The Senate is also in session. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Brunei for the U.S.-ASEAN Summit and the East Asia Summit. The Senate Armed Services Committee holds a full hearing discussing the impact of sequestration on national defense.
SYRIA: John Kerry called the Assad government’s quick compliance with a U.N. resolution to eliminate its chemical-weapons stockpile that began over the weekend “extremely significant.” (Dominic Evans, Reuters)
LOCKHEED FURLOUGHS: Only 2,400 staff — not the previously announced 3,000 — are being told to stay home by the defense contractor. (Doug Cameron, WSJ)
BAGHDAD EXPLOSIONS: At least 38 are dead after a series of bombs exploded across the Iraqi capital. Sunni Islamist militants are suspected. (Kareem Raheem, Reuters)
SUPREME COURT: For a third straight term, SCOTUS is set to tackle some extraordinarily important and consequential cases. Expect the justices to ask questions. Lots of questions. (Adam Liptak, NYT)
ANTONIN SCALIA LOVES SEINFELD’S SOUP NAZI, FEARS SATAN: The famously sharp-tongued Supreme Court Justice celebrated his 27th anniversary on the bench by by opening up to New York magazine’s Jennifer Senior to discuss his career, originalist philosophy, and media favorites (hot on Wall Street Journal, cold on New York Times), belief in the devil, love forSeinfeld (who doesn’t?) and how he is “not a hater of homosexuals at all.” (NYMag)
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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."