With the likelihood of an extended government shutdown increasing, it’s time to take stock of political winners and losers.
— Most at risk is Ken Cuccinelli, campaigning alongside Ted Cruz this weekend. He’s out with a new radio ad, a preemptive strike declaring his opposition to a shutdown and turning the tables on McAuliffe. But that only underscores how vulnerable he is. Mitch McConnell can’t win, facing fire from his right for privately floating a compromise and from Dems for looking helpless as the shutdown goes on. Paul Ryan, the GOP’s Congressional flavor of 2012, has been virtually invisible, eclipsed by a more confrontational cadre of conservatives.
— Dems face problems, too. There’s been a Democratic divide, between those in conservative House seats and those representing Republican states. Maintaining a united front, Senate Dems have stood together. But for the red-state Dems up (Pryor/Landrieu/Begich) in 2014, their votes against short-term funding could backfire, and will be used as fodder in GOP challengers’ campaign ads. There’s a reason swing-district House Dems ““ even Dan Maffei and Steven Horsford — voted with Republicans.
— There’s a bipartisan list of winners. Harry Reid‘s chances of remaining Majority Leader ticked up a bit. Ambitious GOP governors like Christie, Jindal and Snyder can run against Washington dysfunction without costing them conservative bona fides. In the wake of Ted Cruz’s activism, Rand Paul now looks downright pragmatic. Democratic challengers from competitive suburban House seats, like Andrew Romanoff (CO-06) and Kevin Strouse (PA-08), are now looking more credible.
One final winner: Incumbency. Despite the “throw the bums out” sentiment, it’s unlikely 2014 will be a wave election. Cook rates only 67 of 435 House seats (15%) as potentially competitive, a product of the ideological realignment that took place over the last several elections.
What We're Following See More »
"An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agree to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding."
The Michael Flynn story is not going away for the White House as it tries to refocus its attention. The White House has denied requests from the House Oversight Committee for information and documents regarding payments that the former national security adviser received from Russian state television station RT and Russian firms. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Elijah Cummings also said that Flynn failed to report these payments on his security clearance application. White House legislative director Marc Short argued that the documents requested are either not in the possession of the White House or contain sensitive information he believes is not applicable to the committee's stated investigation.
The U.S. deployed "F-35 joint strike fighters" to Estonia on Tuesday. The "jets will stay in Estonia for several weeks and will be a part of training flights with U.S. and other NATO air forces." The move comes at a time of high tension between the U.S. and Estonia's neighbor, Russia. The two nations have been at odds over a number of issues recently, most of all being Vladimir Putin's support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in light of Assad's chemical weapons attack on his own people in the midst of a civil war.