Driving the conversation: Mitch McConnell says no. Harry Reid says maybe.
At issue is a continuing resolution the House is expected to take up today. It would fund the federal government at current levels, but the $3.65 billion increase in FEMA disaster aid funding would be offset with cuts elsewhere in the budget. Fifty Republicans have expressed doubts about the CR, though, so House leaders may need to secure support from Democrats in order to pass it. Dems, meanwhile, are not happy that the CR would cut $1.5 billion from an Energy Department loan program to partially offset the cost of increased FEMA funding.
A CR in the Senate, meanwhile, would provide nearly double the boost in FEMA disaster aid, but “it’s not clear” that Reid has the seven Republican votes he needs for passage, the Wall Street Journal reports. If the Senate takes up the House measure, Reid is expected to offer an amendment increasing disaster aid, which National Journal expects will voted down.
If Reid decides that he can’t stomach a CR with either less-than-ideal disaster aid or cuts to Democratic sacred cows, we will likely hear similar complaints to the last battle to prevent a government shutdown. Democrats will resist Republican stopgap measures, while insisting that they held the process hostage for ideological reasons.
Averting embarrassment: Obama will speak to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, where he will urge Palestinians to drop their push for a statehood bid, the Associated Press reports.
Recognizing that Abbas seems intent to proceed, Obama is expected to privately ask the Palestinian leader to essentially drop the move for statehood recognition after Abbas delivers a formal letter of intent to the U.N. on Friday.
“The president will say, frankly, the same thing in private that he’ll say in public, which is that we do not believe that this is the best course of action for achieving Palestinian aspirations,” White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said.
Haaretz, meanwhile, says that the measure only needs to more commitments from Security Council members to garner a majority, which would require a veto by the U.S. – a move that President Obama is desperately trying to avoid.
The Buffett Rule in one chart: This from the Atlantic’s Dan Indiviglio:
The chart header says it all.
High stakes: Outside groups spent $44 million on the Wisconsin recall elections, which more than doubled the record for spending in any Wisconsin election cycle in history.
Bad news for Barry: Americans’ pessimism over the economy is growing. To the president’s dismay, he continues to shoulder more of the blame.
Microcosm: The Justice Department has been purchasing muffins for meetings at $16 apiece.
What else is new?: Yet another study confirms that Illinois, with its tax-hiking legislature, is one of the worst states in the country to do business.