Conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats (R) will consider a Senate run, per spokesperson Dave Barnett. Barnett: “He would consider looking at it in the middle of October, and decide by the end of the year.” Vander Plaats “has sought statewide office before.” He ran in the GOP gubernatorial primaries in 2002, 2006 and 2010. “Vander Plaats emerged as an important statewide figure in part for his role in Mike Huckabee’s 2008 victory in the state, and then led a successful recall of judges who had backed marriage equality in Iowa.” (BuzzFeed)
IN BRALEY’S CORNER. Vice President Biden “called on Democrats to support” Rep. Bruce Braley’s (D) candidacy, “warning of threats to the party’s achievements if Republicans gain control of the chamber.” Biden made his remarks at a fundraising reception prior to Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D) annual Steam Fry. Biden: “Unless we can maintain this seat, unless we can begin to break down the majority in the House of Representatives, everything you have fought for for the last six years and beyond is in jeopardy. … This is now a party where the tail is wagging the dog, where Ted Cruz is running the show, a freshman, in terms of the ideas of the party.” (Des Moines Register)
GIFFORDS COMING. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) “will headline a fundraiser” for Braley’s campaign. She and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, will talk at Braley’s annual “Bruce, Blues, and BBQ” fundraiser on Oct. 27 in Des Moines. Since the attack that badly wounded her, “Giffords has advocated for gun control legislation. Over the summer, Giffords and Kelly toured seven states seeking support for federal legislation that would expand background checks on gun purchases. Braley and Giffords both were elected to Congress in 2006 and became friends. Earlier this year, Braley gave Giffords his guest ticket for the State of the Union Address so she could bring more family members to the event.” (AP)
— Julie Sobel
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"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.'”
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 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."
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.