Thursday Morning Political Mix
Good morning, fellow political junkies. It's Day 10 of the federal government's partial shutdown. And while it's a dreary, rainy day in Washington, there did appear to be more glimmers of hope this morning than in recent days.
Today's theme is movement, as in, there seem to be some tentative steps towards resolving the current fiscal impasse as President Obama and House Republicans are scheduled to meet at the White House later Thursday.
With that, here are some of the more interesting items of political interest culled from my morning reading.
- With the day of reckoning of a possible U.S. default on its debts drawing closer, signs emerged that congressional Republican saw a were considering a window out of the corner they seemed to have painted themselves into — a short-term debt-ceiling extension in exchange for negotiations with Democrats over longer term entitlement-spending reforms, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- The possible breakthrough comes as President Obama is due to meet Thursday with a smaller group of congressional House Republicans than he earlier said he wanted at the White House. Speaker John Boehner and his team decided more fruitful talks could happen without bringing along a small army of 232 House Republicans. So only 18 decidedly non-Tea Party House GOP leaders will attend. CQ Roll Call's Matt Fuller reports on why entitlement spending, not Obamacare, could dominate the Republican side of the discussion.
- When he appears before Congress Thursday, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew was unlikely to diverge from his recent dire warnings that his beancounters have exhausted all their tricks for keeping the U.S. from soon defaulting on its obligations. He's also likely to rebut default deniers by saying they shouldn't be so sure holders of U.S. Treasuries would get paid if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling because he isn't, the Washington Post's Zachary Goldfarb and Lori Montgomery reported.
- After President Obama negotiated over a 2011 raise in the debt-ceiling with congressional Republicans, the president vowed to never repeat that experience, according to John Podesta, an informal Obama adviser, write Bloomberg News' Mike Dorning and Margaret Talev.
- Obama's nomination of Janet Yellen to be the new chair of the Federal Reserve was widely hailed as a win for continuity in monetary policy. But as American Banker's Donna Borak noted (registration required), if the Senate confirms her, Yellen is likely to be more involved in bank-regulation matters than her immediate predecessors because of her background as a regulator when she headed the San Francisco Fed.
- The outrage over the stopping of death-benefit payments to the families of U.S. troops killed in action because of the government shutdown will no doubt be fueled by a piece by the Daily Beast's Michael Daly who provides details about some of the soldiers recently killed in Afghanistan whose loved ones are affected.
- Ohio, where Republicans control state government, is trying to persuade women against abortions with a new law requiring clinics to offer women a chance to hear fetal heartbeats. The Democratic-controlled state government in California, however, has moved to expand abortion availability, the New York Times reports in twin stories.
- The Associated Press retracted a potentially politically explosive story that said documents in a federal fraud case referred to Democratic Virginia governor's candidate Terry McAuliffe as having lied to investigators. AP's reversal came after McAuliffe's campaign's vigorous and persuasive denial that the candidate was the "T.M" referred to in the documents and after the erroneous report sparked a Twitter frenzy, writes Politico's Elizabeth Titus.