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Spending Deal Looms

Congress Needs Another Stopgap Spending Measure To Avoid Shutdown. Huffington Post: “The failure of Congress to strike a budget deal Monday night to avert a government shutdown means House and Senate lawmakers will have to pass another short-term continuing resolution – even though they approved one last week. … If text of the deal is posted on Tuesday, a final House vote couldn’t occur before Thursday, meaning both chambers would have to pass a short-term bill before Wednesday at midnight, when government funding runs out.”

Congress, White House close in on spending bill, tax package. Associated Press: “Congressional negotiators and the White House closed in on a deal late Monday on a $1.1 trillion government-wide spending bill to stave off a shutdown, and a tax package extending dozens of breaks. …Government funding runs out Wednesday at midnight, but Congress will need to pass another short-term extension of a day or two to complete work on the $1.14 trillion government-wide spending bill. Negotiations have dragged on as the legislation has become an increasingly complex grab bag for priorities and trade-offs large and small.”

Paul Ryan tells GOP: Budget deal a partial victory. Politico: “Speaker Paul Ryan told House Republicans on Monday night that the yearlong $1.1 trillion government-funding bill contains policy victories for the GOP, but not as many as lawmakers will want, according to multiple sources on a party conference call. … Ryan declined to get into specifics about the bill on the call, but promised he would go through the details of the legislation in a closed party meeting Tuesday, and would talk to the press about what he considers ”wins“ in the legislation. For example, Republicans have secured the lifting of a decades-old ban on exporting U.S. oil. But, GOP attempts to insert language into the bill to impose tougher controls on Syrian and Iraqi refugees were unsuccessful.”

Obamacare Deadline Nears

As Health Care Act Insurance Deadline Nears, ‘Unprecedented Demand’. The New York Times: “Milwaukee, Detroit and Philadelphia have done the best among 20 cities competing to sign up people for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, while Dallas, Denver and Las Vegas are lagging, the White House said Monday ahead of Tuesday’s deadline to enroll for coverage that takes effect on Jan. 1. … ‘We are seeing unprecedented demand,’ said Lori Lodes, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, which runs the federal insurance marketplace.”

Obamacare Sign-Ups Could Get A Bump As Higher Penalties Kick In. NPR: “Tuesday is the last day to choose a health plan under the Affordable Care Act if you want insurance coverage to begin by Jan. 1. And officials who have spent the last two years using the carrot of persuasion to get people to buy insurance through the state or federal exchanges say the time has come for the stick. That stick is a hefty fine. Penalties for failing to buy insurance will roughly double. A family of four that makes $250,000 a year could face a fine when tax time rolls around in 2017 that approaches $10,000 if they don’t get coverage for 2016.”

Breakfast Sides

Seattle becomes first US city to give Uber, Lyft and other drivers the right to unionize. US News & World Report: “Seattle has been seen as a leader on workers’ rights with moves that include gradually raising the minimum wage and requiring most employers to provide paid sick leave. Now the city has become the first in the nation to allow drivers of ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft to unionize over pay and working conditions. The legislation approved by the City Council Monday is seen as a test case for the changing 21st century workforce.”

House GOP Working on Requiring Social Media Vetting of Visa Applicants. ABC News: “The House Judiciary Committee announced Monday work on legislation that would tighten the screening process for visas, including the K–1 fiancé visa used by San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik to enter the United States. The proposal would require federal officials review ”open source information“ – including social media accounts – of any visa applicants. Work on the legislation was prompted in part by reporting from ABC News on a U.S. policy that blocked review of visa applicants’ social media accounts, a committee aide said Monday.”

Seeking action on guns, White House turns to governors. USA Today: “The White House is in talks with governors and other state and local officials as part of a bottom-up strategy to better enforce gun laws at both the state and local level. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Vice President Biden has been leading the talks, which are focused on ”steps they can take to try to reduce gun violence in their communities.“ The state-and-local approach to guns is another example of a strategy that’s been a unique part of the ”fourth quarter“ of the Obama presidency.”

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