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Senate races the clock

 

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Buzz Cut:
• Senate races the clock
• Boehner’s next move
• Baier tracks: Winning what?
• One bidder, lots of problems
• Goodbye ‘gummy bear king’

SENATE RACES THE CLOCK -With the deadline to raise the country’s borrowing limit set for Thursday (though the moment when Uncle Sam can’t pay all his bills may float for as much as a week) investors are getting very nervous about what will happen to interest rates and the world economy -- and not without good reason. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are trying today to hammer out a compromise to raise the debt ceiling and reopen full federal functions today. The Senate plan was put on hold Tuesday as House Republicans tried and failed several times to produce an alternate deal. The Reid-McConnell proposal would reportedly raise the debt ceiling through Feb. 7, fund the government through Jan. 15, and form a bipartisan committee to hammer out a longer-term budget deal. The only nod to Republican resistance to ObamaCare seems to be a measure designed to combat fraud in the new entitlement program. With time running out and the Senate’s own parliamentary rules working against meeting tomorrow’s deadline, Reid has few options to speed things up. 

[Watch Fox: Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, discusses the partial government shutdown in the 11 a.m. ET hour]

Reid’s options - Reid could go for “unanimous consent” which requires all senators to agree not to block the proposal. All outward indications are that the chief proponents of the movement to “defund” ObamaCare, Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, won’t delay for delay’s sake. Another option for Reid: invoking “bipartisan” cloture, a recent change to filibuster rules. Under new rule, majority and minority leaders and a bipartisan group of 14 senators must sign the cloture petition to move a bill. Still, any compromise must face the final approval of the House. After last night’s dead end, with House Speaker John Boehner unable to convince a majority of his conference to offer an alternate plan, Boehner is in a jam.

[“…We don't have help from any Senate Republicans and they're working together with Harry Reid now to continue with implementation of ObamaCare.”—Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, on “The Kelly File”]

Boehner’s next move - With little maneuvering room, Boehner’s best-case scenario in dealing with a last-minute volley from the Senate is to convince 18 moderate Republicans to join with 200 House Democrats to pass the Senate bill and avert fiscal doom. That would mean Boehner would not be scuttling his speakership since most members of his conference want a way out of this budget mess. The 30 or 40 hardliners who are ready to jump the cliff wouldn’t likely be able to knock him off in a leadership challenge. Option two for Boehner: Send the Senate a clean six-week extension of the borrowing limit, leave the government in partial shutdown, and battle on. Taking such a move would no doubt please Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his admirers in the House.

[WSJ: “The conservatives thus undermined whatever small leverage the House GOP had left. Without a united majority of 218 votes, Republicans might as well hand the Speaker's gavel to Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid.”]

Obama and Lew to discuss debt limit - President Obama meets with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, one day before the debt-ceiling deadline. Lew has previously stated the U.S. will run out of borrowing authority tomorrow.

Credit rating put on watch - Fox Business: Fitch Ratings placed the United States’ ‘AAA’ credit rating on negative watch late Tuesday. In a statement, Fitch said it still believes the nation's debt ceiling will be raised, but the stalemate on Capitol Hill may increase the risk of a default. A watch does not indicate a downgrade but that a potential default could spur one.

House Committee: political agenda in parks closing? - Washington Examiner: The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and House Natural Resources Committee holds a joint hearing to examine the way the Park Service has implemented shutdown cuts, and how shutdown decisions are being made. The hearings are expected to be tense as Republicans accuse the Obama administration of pursuing a political agenda. National Correspondent Steve Centanni considers how the Obama administration may be taking arbitrary action in order to make the shutdown as painful as possible.

Baier tracks… Winning what? -“The president is winning. He knows it and so does everyone else. But what exactly has he won? Yes, Republican poll numbers took a big hit. But, his took a hit as well. Yes, he'll likely get his clean increases, but he'll be right back at the table in a matter of weeks. And yes, he will have come off as the adult in the room in crisis, but he won't get any points for dealing with the country's $17 trillion debt or fixing his floundering health law. All in all, while the media will tout a major White House win, there probably won't be a lot of celebrating.

The White House has said it wanted to “break the fever” of the Tea Party in the Republican Party. By how this was handled, some could argue they just made it hotter.” – Bret Baier.

MoDo disses O with show - NYT’s Maureen Dowd uses the show “Scandal” to criticize President Obama’s handling of the current budget negotiations in Pope Trumps President: “If [Olivia Pope]can trust her president, who killed a Supreme Court justice and sicced a military officer to spy on her, and he can trust her, after she rigged voting machines to get him elected, surely the real players here can summon up some trust.”

WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE...Glenn Harlan Reynolds writes at USA Today on an unintended consequence of the partial government shutdown: The big lesson of the shutdown is that -- in a time when so-called "draconian cuts" usually refer to mere decreases in the rate of growth of spending on programs -- America was able to do without all the "non-essential" government workers just fine.”

ONE BIDDER, LOTS OF PROBLEMS - Buried in the fine print of ObamaCare’s crash-prone Web site is a sentence causing concern: “You have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system.” How did that end up there? Why does the interface for signing up for subsidized insurance work so poorly? Correspondent Peter Doocy looks at CGI, the company that made the lone bid to build the ObamaCare site and how the firm landed the massive contract.

[WaPo: “The number of visitors to the federal government's HealthCare.gov Web site plummeted 88 percent between Oct. 1 and Oct. 13, according to a new analysis of America's online use.”]

Server error - President Obama’s effort for digital medical records is costing taxpayers $30 billion. Fox News reports the long-running project has produced tangibly few results.

[Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a paid speech to a group battling the administration over ObamaCare. More from CNN.]

CEO disputes Obama claims on health law hiring - Andy Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants Inc., the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, told Megyn Kelly on “The Kelly File,” President Obama was “wrong” when he claimed that the costs of ObamaCare are not hurting job creation in the U.S. Puzder pointed out his company and others are choosing to hire part-time employees instead of full-time employees because of increased costs under ObamaCare.

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POLL CHECK - Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 44.1 percent//Disapprove – 50.3 percent
Direction of Country: Right Direction – 18.4 percent//Wrong Track – 73.9 percent 

Election Day in N.J. - Democrat Cory Booker is expected to win today’s special Senate election in New Jersey, but it hasn’t been the cakewalk his supporters originally expected. Booker, the mayor of Newark, saw his lead over Republican Steve Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota, N.J. shrivel in the closing weeks of the race to replace the late Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died in June. The winner of the special election today will serve out the final year of Lautenberg’s term. Booker is also seeking a full term in next year’s midterm election. Lonegan cut Booker’s lead by more than half. Booker’s seeming invincibility melted amid some questionable financial dealings and particularly for tall tales he told about his own life.

HILLARY HITS BIDEN ON BIN LADEN - Atlanta Republican state Rep. Tom Taylor tells the AJC, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent 25 minutes, during a closed media appearance before the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), bashing Vice President Joe Biden’s alleged opposition to the raid that captured Usama Bin Laden. Taylor said, “Without turning the knife too deeply, she put it to [Vice President Joe] Biden.” 

OFF TO THE RACES - Cash is king in Virginia - Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe raised $6.2 million in September compared to $3.4 million raised by Republican opponent Ken Cuccinelli. McAuliffe’s support has largely come from the Democratic Governors Association, environmental groups and labor unions. A large sum of Cuccinelli’s year-to-date funding has come from the Virginia Republican Party and the Republican National Committee, according to the WSJ.

Slate for Markey successor set - Democratic state Sen. Katherine Clark will face off against Republican businessman Frank Addivinola in a Dec.10 special election to succeed former Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass. Markey was elected to the U.S. Senate in June to replace former Sen. John Kerry. The Boston Herald has more.

OCALA REJECTS CREATIVE SOLUTIONS FOR CLOSE ELECTIONS - Voters in Ocala, Florida rejected a measure Tuesday that would have let a coin toss be the deciding factor in close elections. City officials considered a change to the town’s charter after a runoff with a $50,000 price tag. According to the Ocala Star Banner, the council also considered Rock, Paper, Scissors. 

GOODBYE ‘GUMMY BEAR KING’ - Hans Riegel, the German confectioner who originated of the gummy bear in 1922, died this week at age 90. Riegel led confectioner Haribo for 70 years after inheriting the Bonn-based business from his father. The billionaire told Reuters in a 2010 interview why he remained on the job so long: “I work because it makes me happy, and I have no reason to deny myself that happiness.” The much-loved candy was originally called “Dancing Bear Treats.”

A SIGN OF RESPECT - Gannet: “As the Purple Heart presentation began, [Army Ranger Cpl. Josh Hargis] struggled to move his right hand and lift it into a saluting position. Military protocol calls for a soldier to salute when he receives the Purple Heart. A doctor tried to restrain his right arm. It was, alas, a losing battle.” See the photo here.

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…“I don't like being lectured by sportscasters, I don't like the president lecturing me about ethnic etiquette, or implying there is a race card. But what I do believe is the people using ‘Redskins’ are not intending any malice or anything like that. But I do believe that words change, evolve….” – Charles Krauthammer on “The O’Reilly Factor”

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 digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C.  Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First” political news note and hosts “Power Play,” a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.”  He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.