TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: The House is back with a vengeance today, with Speaker John Boehner warning that Republicans won’t simply go along with the Senate’s bill to extend the federal budget but leave Obamacare untouched, and promised the GOP will continue to demand policy concessions in exchange for signing off on a budget deal. House Republicans also mapped out their strategy on the upcoming debt-ceiling debate, where they’re promising to take another crack at defunding Obamacare, forcing approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, and scoring other policy objectives. Elsewhere, the administration announced another delay to implementing Obamacare — moving the enrollment date in most small-business exchanges to November — while Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis signaled her plans to run for governor.
HAPPENING RIGHT NOW: Harry Reid is asking for the Senate to accelerate the timetable for a cloture vote on the budget resolution, hoping to move votes to Wednesday and Thursday rather than the previously expected schedule of votes Friday and Saturday. Utah Republican Mike Lee is objecting. (Watch on C-SPAN)
HOUSE GOP DOUBLES DOWN ON SHUTDOWN: “Top House Republican leaders Thursday rejected the short-term spending plan expected to be passed by the Senate in coming days, increasing the possibility of a government shutdown next week.” Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, when asked if the House could pass the Senate version of the bill unchanged, offered simply: “I do not see that happening.” (O’Keefe/Helderman/Montgomery, WaPo)
OBAMACARE DELAYED FOR SMALL BUSINESSES: Enrollment for most small-business exchanges, originally set to open Tuesday, has been delayed until November. While the exchanges are still opening for individuals on time, the announcement is “yet another PR headache for the White House as it ramps up a major Obamacare sales pitch.” (Millman/Haberkorn, Politico)
OBAMA: GOP WANTS TO ‘BLACKMAIL A PRESIDENT’: Speaking passionately about Obamacare to a crowd in Maryland,”the president abandoned the professorial tone he sometimes takes while describing the program and departed from his text to fire up supporters. He portrayed critics as billionaires who would deny help for the sick, and politicians who have become hostage to tea-party ideologues.” (Peter Baker, NYT)
HOW OBAMACARE WILL CHANGE 8 LIVES: The Washington Post profiles how eight diverse people are likely to be affected by the rollout of the new health law. (Kliff/Somashekhar/Sun/Tumulty, WaPo)
KERRY’S U.N. MEETING WITH IRAN’S ZARIF IS ALMOST HERE: “The meeting in New York involves a very rare encounter between top officials of the United States and Iran. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will meet with Kerry as well as diplomats from Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany at a session aimed at jump-starting efforts to resolve a decade-long standoff over Iran’s nuclear program.” (Mohammed/Spetalnick, Reuters)
WENDY DAVIS SIGNALS A RUN TO DEMS: The filibuster-famous Texas state senator has “begun informing influential Democrats that she intends to run for governor in 2014.” (Alexander Burns, Politico)
TOMORROW IN ONE PARAGRAPH: Assuming Reid is unable to get the timetable accelerated to this evening, the action heads back in the Senate on Friday morning, when the chamber is scheduled to undertake a pivotal cloture vote on an extension of the soon-to-expire federal budget. If Harry Reid can clear the 60-vote hurdle for cloture, he’ll have a clear path to passing a budget extension that does not affect funding for Obamacare. Mitch McConnell and other Republican senators have said they won’t stand in Reid’s way on cloture, but Sen. Ted Cruz is demanding his fellow Republicans do everything they can to keep Obamacare from being funded — and promising to make them pay politically if they don’t. The cloture vote is set for the morning, while final passage of the bill is likely to come Saturday.
KENYA: “Only days after heavily-armed assailants stormed a crowded mall and killed scores of people in the capital, militants killed three people near the border with Somalia.” (Gettleman/Kulish, NYT)
HOLDER, DIMON MEET: The JPMorgan CEO met with the attorney general “amid intensifying talks of a possible $11 billion settlement to avoid potential criminal and civil charges against the bank.” (Barrett/Crittenden, WSJ)
SYRIA: “The five most powerful members of the United Nations Security Council are close to agreement on a resolution to implement a deal to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons without the immediate threat of sanctions or military action to enforce it.” (Joe Lauria, WSJ)
FED TAPERING: Two senior officials admit the central bank confused financial markets with its decisions on drawing back bond purchases. (Suoninen/Scrutton, Reuters)
SAT SCORES: Just 43 percent of some 1.66 million Class of 2013 high school students who took the SAT are ready for college-level work, says the College Board. (Julia Ryan, The Atlantic)
MICROSOFT’S ‘MISTAKE’: Bill Gates reveals that “Control-Alt-Delete” was never meant to be an escape hatch to closing programs if not for a screw up by an IBM keyboard designer. (Will Oremus, Slate)
THE FUKUSHIMA MYTHS “The true story of what happened at Fukushima is not exactly suitable for a horror movie, but it is mind-boggling in its own way” (Blustein, Slate).
‘THIS OTHER TOWN’: Also, John Feehery’s essay on the victims of the Navy Yard shooting is a week old, but it deserves a second look for its insight into an all-too-often ignored segment of Washington (Feehery Theory).
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The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House this morning by a 375-34 vote. The bill, which heads to the Senate next week for final consideration, would fund the military to the tune of $618.7 billion, "about $3.2 billion more than the president requested for fiscal 2017. ... The White House has issued a veto threat on both the House and Senate-passed versions of the bill, but has not yet said if it will sign the compromise bill released by the conference committee this week."
"Republicans have elected Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) the next chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Walden defeated Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Joe Barton (R-TX), the former committee chairman, in the race for the gavel" to succeed Michgan's Fred Upton.
"Democratic and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are working on legislation that would limit deportations" under President-elect Donald Trump. Leading the effort are Judiciary Committee members Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is also expected to sign on.
Donald Trump has selected retired Marine Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis as his secretary of defense, according to The Washington Post. Mattis retired from active duty just four years ago, so Congress will have "to pass new legislation to bypass a federal law that states secretaries of defense must not have been on active duty in the previous seven years." The official announcement is likely to come next week.