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All Pain, No Gain

Protesters urge Congress to end the federal government shutdown on Oct. 9 on Capitol Hill.
National Journal
Josh Kraushaar
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Josh Kraushaar
Oct. 11, 2013, 7:40 a.m.

The new NBC News/Wall Street Journ­al poll is filled with signs that the gov­ern­ment shut­down dam­aged the GOP’s abil­ity to win back the Sen­ate, while giv­ing Demo­crats an out­side chance at con­test­ing the House.

— The most im­port­ant poll num­bers in the battle for Con­gress are the pres­id­ent’s ap­prov­al rat­ing and the gen­er­ic Con­gres­sion­al bal­lot. Pres­id­ent Obama‘s ap­prov­al num­bers inched up to 47%, Demo­crats now hold an eight-point lead (largest since Oct. 2009) on their ver­sion of the gen­er­ic bal­lot, and Obama­care ap­prov­al got a bounce des­pite its im­ple­ment­a­tion prob­lems. Voters blame Re­pub­lic­ans for the shut­down over Obama by a whop­ping 22-point mar­gin.

— Con­text is im­port­ant. The Demo­crats’ +8 edge, if it holds, prob­ably wouldn’t be enough to re­take the House. Dems held lar­ger ad­vant­age in the wave years of 2008 (D+12) and 2006 (D+15), fa­cing a more fa­vor­able land­scape. In the Sen­ate, nearly every com­pet­it­ive race is tak­ing place in a world apart, in states Mitt Rom­ney com­fort­ably car­ried. Re­gard­less, even in deep-red states, run­ning as a mem­ber of the House won’t be easy. (We’re look­ing at you, Steve Daines, Bill Cas­sidy and Tom Cot­ton.)

— The biggest loss for Re­pub­lic­ans is their op­por­tun­ity cost. The GOP could have used the dis­astrous health care ex­change launch as a les­son to con­vin­cing soft Obama­care sup­port­ers that the law wasn’t work­ing. In the GOP-friendly Sen­ate battle­grounds, the mes­sage would have found a re­cept­ive audi­ence. In­stead, there’s an­ec­dot­al evid­ence voters are now blam­ing the ex­change prob­lems on the shut­down it­self.

If the midterms were held today, it would still be a status quo elec­tion with prob­able Demo­crat­ic House gains and the party hold­ing a slightly-smal­ler ma­jor­ity in the Sen­ate. But all bets are off if there’s a debt de­fault. That’s why Re­pub­lic­ans are scram­bling to make a deal.

What We're Following See More »
ANOTHER NUCLEAR OPTION?
Byrd Rule Could Trip Up Health Legislation
14 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”

Source:
ONE WEEK
Senate Votes To Fund Government
17 hours ago
BREAKING
ON TO SENATE
House Passes Spending Bill
17 hours ago
BREAKING

The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.

PRESIDENT CALLS MEDICAID FUNDS A “BAILOUT”
Puerto Rico Another Sticking Point in Budget Talks
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."

Source:
POTENTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?
Democrats Threaten Spending Bill Over Obamacare
1 days ago
BREAKING

Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.

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