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Reid rigid as deadline looms

Sept. 24, 2013: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pauses as he talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Sept. 24, 2013: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pauses as he talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington.  (AP)

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Buzz Cut:
• Reid rigid as deadline looms
• User’s guide to a shutdown
• Politicians get paid anyway
• Clintons pull out stops for McAuliffe
• Does anybody else hear Bing Crosby?

REID RIGID AS SHUTDOWN LOOMS - It’s been a day and a half since House Republicans passed their latest counteroffer for keeping the government open when the clock hits midnight. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid flatly refused to rush back into session before today’s scheduled 2 p.m. ET start. House Republicans lowered their demand from a full defunding of President Obama’s health law to a one-year delay, citing costs and multiple problems with implementing the law. Reid, like Obama, has refused any negotiations over the health law and Democrats are mostly united in the belief that Republicans will suffer more in the event of a shutdown. This is just a game of chicken, except there are 310 million passengers in the careening cars.

[“You assume they [Senate Democrats] won’t vote for it. Let’s have that debate… we have other options for the Senate to look at.” – House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace]

Clock watchers - Reid said the House compromise puts the process “at square one” and vowed to strike down the bill. And, as Fox News explains, he can deliver. Senate rules allow the House proposal to be killed by 51 Democrats on a party-line vote. Politico reports that Reid privately discouraged the president from holding planned talks with Republicans, with the majority leader saying he would not attend if Obama summoned lawmakers for a sit-down. Reid’s evident decision is to run down the clock, leaving Senate Democrats in place to throw the final pass of this fouled-up football game.

[“Why don’t we have a conference committee on this? You could appoint one today, they could meet tomorrow and hash out the differences.” –Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on CBS “Face the Nation”.]

We can work it out (maybe) - If Reid delivers on his promise of sending a no-compromise, emergency funding bill back to the House today, what then?  The House will still have a chance to volley back with yet another ObamaCare counterproposal or to send back a super-short-term spending package, for maybe as little as a few days. If the House goes that route, keeping the government open as is would require unanimous consent from the Senate, including the junior Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz. But the reality is that both sides have braced themselves for shutdown and with Democrats strongly convinced they can outlast Republicans in the furor that follows, there’s little incentive for Reid to yield.

OPEN OR CLOSED? - Closed -The WSJ provides the guide for what would happen as of 12:01 a.m. ET if Congress can’t agree: All national parks, zoos, monuments and museums would close. The Pentagon would furlough half of its 800,000 civilian employees. In total, some 825,000 of the more than two million federal civilian workers would be furloughed. Cancelled: IRS auditing appointments, Census surveys and the processing of small business loans. It is up to Congress to decide whether furloughed employees would be paid retroactively.

Open - Mail delivery would stay on schedule as would Social Security and other benefits payments. Travelers could still count on air traffic control, passenger screening at airports and aircraft-safety inspections. Amtrak trains would continue to run. Weather forecasting would also continue. Uniformed military personnel would stay at their posts, and a House-passed emergency bill would guarantee military paychecks even in the event of a partial shutdown.

The headlines - WSJ: Government Heads Toward Shutdown//NYT: Senate Action on Health Law Moves to Brink of Shutdown//WaPo: On brink of shutdown, all quiet at Capitol

[USA Today breaks down five things you need to know about a government shutdown and provides an additional 66 questions and answers]

BAIER TRACKS: PAYDAY ANYWAY…“As we continue hurtling towards a government shutdown, there will be all kinds of stories and editorials, pundit soliloquies and talking points about who is REALLY responsible and who is REALLY to blame.  

Most people probably don’t know this little fact if we DO hit the shutdown button: As the Huffington Post notes, ‘The salaries of Congress members, like the president, come from a pool of mandatory funds and aren't subject to the whims of lawmakers. If a shutdown happens, their checks keep coming, no matter what. As a report issued this week by the Congressional Research Service puts it, ‘Due to their constitutional responsibilities and a permanent appropriation for congressional pay, Members of Congress are not subject to furlough.’’

So, the dysfunction that IS Washington on both sides of the aisle DOES not affect the very people causing the dysfunction. No wonder the common sentiment around the country is ‘throw them all out and start over.’” – Bret Baier.

[Watch Fox: Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, appears in the 9 a.m. ET Hour]

OBAMACARE ROLLS ON - WSJ: “Obama administration officials scrambling to get the health law's insurance marketplaces ready to open on Tuesday keep hitting technical problems, while government-funded field workers across the country say they aren't fully prepared to help Americans enroll in the program.”

“I think the exchanges are being held together right now with duct tape and chicken wire”-- Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., on CNN’s “State of the Union

[Daily Caller considers ten states where ObamaCare wipes out existing health care plans]

PEACOCK PLUMPS FOR OBAMACARE - NBC has announced that the network will help get ObamaCare on its feet. The network launches a week-long “multi-screen experience” today, called “Ready or Not, the New Healthcare Law.” Howard Kurtz, the maestro of “#mediabuzz,” will be looking at how the network may be blurring line the line between public service and White House campaigning.

YOU HAVE A SEAT ON THE SPECIAL REPORT PANEL - As measured by Bing Pulse, even Democrats agreed with National Review’s Jonah Goldberg that President Obama has a “one-sided way to look at politics.” That was the takeaway from Friday’s All-Star Panel on “Special Report with Bret Baier.” Do you agree or disagree? We want to hear from you tonight. Charles Krauthammer drew the Friday’s biggest response - a whopping 23,000 votes per minute - with this observation on a winning GOP strategy:“If you attach something that 80 percent of Americans want to see, that you don't exempt the members of Congress, I bet you the Democrats in the Senate will approve.” And Democrats showed strong disagreement with columnist Kirsten Powers in her call for continued negotiations with Iran. But, the opinion that matters most is yours. Weigh in tonight at 6 p.m.

NETANYAHU: DON’T BE FOOLED BY IRAN ‘SWEET TALK’ - Fox News: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is taking a likely unwelcome message to the White House today: Don't be fooled by Tehran's “sweet talk.” Netanyahu told reporters before boarding his flight to the U.S. on Sunday, “I will tell the truth in the face of … the onslaught of smiles.” The Israeli prime minister contends Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's outreach is a ploy to ease international sanctions and buy time as the Islamic regime seeks to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif shot back in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday saying, “a smile attack is much better than a lie attack…”

[“If it is a peaceful program, and we can all see that, the whole world sees that, the relationship with Iran can change dramatically for the better and it can change fast –Secretary of State John Kerry to CBS News Sunday]

Bibi’s schedule - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  meets today with  President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House. Secretary of State John Kerry will also meet with Netanyahu this afternoon at the State Department. Netanyahu heads to the U.N. on Tuesday.

[JERUSALEM POST: “Daylight exists between them [Obama and Netanyahu], obviously. But unlike the nine other meetings that took place before Obama’s visit [to Jerusalem] in March, this daylight will likely not filter out from behind the closed White House doors.”]

Biden and U.S. Middle East Envoy to address liberal Israel lobby - Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Middle East Envoy Martin Indyk address the annual conference of the liberal, pro-Israel lobby group, J Street today.

[Watch Fox: Jordan Sekulow, Director of Policy and International Operations for the American Center for Law and Justice, discusses President Obama’s calls for Iran to release American Pastor Saeed Abedini, in the 10 a.m. ET Hour]

FALLACIOUS FATWA? - Breitbart:  During his address last week at the U.N., President Obama stated, “…that a ‘fatwa’, or religious ruling, by [Iran’s] Ayatollah Ali Khamenei … banned nuclear weapons and provided a basis for future peace… However, as the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports, that fatwa ‘was never issued by Supreme Leader Khamenei and does not exist; neither the Iranian regime nor anybody else can present it.’’’

[More Fox News Sunday:  Watch Senior Political Analyst Brit Hume, Juan Williams, Former Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., and WSJ’s Kimberly Strassel tackle Americans’ tolerance for war.]

#BIGBROTHER - According to documents provided by former National Security Administration contractor and leaker, Edward Snowden, to the NYT, the NSA has been compiling social media profiles of American citizens. Correspondent Shannon Bream is looking into the documents, and what they reveal about the NSA's efforts to monitor American citizens.

WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...WaPo’s Chris Cilliza considers how the GOP should leverage the gains they are making among independent voters ahead of the 2014 midterms in Republicans may have an edge with independent voters. Can they use it?: “Republicans are well positioned among electorally critical independent voters heading into the 2014 election if – and this is a major if – the party can keep the focus on Obama and off its internal rifts, which have been on full display over the past week. Independent voters want to vote for Republicans – if only the GOP could get out of its own way.”

[New Today on Fox News Opinion: Juan WilliamsRepublicans miss major opportunity in fight over food stamps]

Got a TIP from the RIGHT or LEFT? Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM

POLL CHECK -Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 44.0  percent//Disapprove – 51.0 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 27.3 percent//Wrong Track – 64.0 percent 

CLINTONS PULL OUT STOPS FOR MCAULIFFE - Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton host a fundraiser this evening for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, the family’s former top fundraiser and fixer, at their Georgetown home this evening. Meanwhile, in DuPont Circle, former Clinton Press Secretary Joe Lockhart hosts another fundraiser along with several other former Clinton aides including: Paul Begala, James Carville, Cheryl Mills, John Podesta, Melanne Verveer and Mack McLarty, according to NYT.

Shutdown shadows - Democrat Terry McAuliffe called on Republican Ken Cuccinelli to “to condemn tea party Republicans for holding the federal budget hostage.” Cuccinelli’s campaign responded by releasing a Web video claiming McAuliffe would shut down Virginia’s government if the Republican-controlled legislature refused to expand Medicaid.

[The LAT is tracking how the threat of a federal government shutdown is affecting fundraising efforts for Senate candidates on the right and left.]

Children’s Defense Fund to Honor Hillary  - The liberal advocacy group will honor former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this evening at the Kennedy Center for her 40 years of support, starting as young staff attorney.

BROWN MOVING TOWARD N.H. RUN? - Boston Herald: “The Wrentham [Massachusetts] home of former [Republican] U.S. Sen. Scott Brown is up for sale, at a time many are speculating he is planning another bid for office in New Hampshire, where he has a vacation home.” Brown will appear at another GOP function in the Granite State this evening. Politico reports Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., has been using a possible Brown challenge as fundraising fodder.  

HOLDER TO SUE N.C. OVER VOTER RULES - Fox News: The Justice Department will file a lawsuit against North Carolina today for alleged racial discrimination over tough new voting rules. Fox News has learned the suit will claim that the state’s statute violates the Voting Rights Act and will seek to have the state subject to federal pre-clearance before making “future voting-related changes.”

GET THE ‘REAL STORY’ - “The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson” debuts on the Fox News Channel today at 2 p.m. ET, focusing on current events from news and crime to politics and investigative reports. “From in-depth interviews to social media interaction live during the show, I look forward to joining viewers in the afternoon for smart and straight-forward talk,” Carlson said. “Plus, I now get to have breakfast with my kids and maybe even drive them to school! How great is that?”

[Watch Fox: Sen. John Thune, R-S.D, discusses the looming government shutdown in the 2 p.m. ET hour]

I’M DREAMING OF SOME BLACK JAVA… We knew about the insomnia, irritability, withdrawal headaches and higher blood pressure, but hearing voices? Business Insider looks at 10 dangers of excessive coffee consumption.
[Ed. note: The article says caffeine junkies heard “White Christmas” playing. Which version are we talking about? I mean, not that I’m worried…]

BROTHERS (AND SISTERS) IN ARMS  - San Diego Union-Tribune: “After three decades of no contact, [U.S. Navy Cmdr. Cindy Murray] spoke to her father in July. Murray's dad delivered a bombshell: You know, your brother is in the Navy, too…She never forgot the little boy she last saw when he was six and she was 14. The Navy nurse quickly turned to the chief petty officer in her office. Find this sailor, [a chief petty officer] named Robert Williamson, she ordered. It took only 20 minutes. …Moments later, the siblings were connected over the phone line. But on Friday – finally – the brother and sister got to embrace.” 

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here. To catch Chris live online daily at 11:30 a.m. ET, click here.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.