Good morning, fellow political junkies.
It's the last week of October. That means the administration has just a month to meet its self-imposed deadline to have the Affordable Care Act website running as efficiently as it and millions of Americans had originally envisioned.
But the first item in our Monday political mix of some of the more interesting tidbits that caught my eye this morning indicates why setting such a deadline might be easier than meeting it.
- The part of the Affordable Care Act's star-crossed, back-office technology that was thought to be working well experienced problems Sunday reports Reuters' David Morgan and Sharon Begley.
- President Obama apparently didn't know until this summer that the NSA was electronically eavesdropping on leaders of U.S. allies but ordered a halt to that spying once he learned of it, The Wall Street Journal's Siobhan Gorman and Adam Entous report.
- Budget negotiations between the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-led House start this week with low expectations for the sides to reach any significant deficit-reduction agreement since they're so far apart on entitlement cuts and tax increases. The National Journal's Billy House compares the competing budget proposals.
- Who knew? The Pentagon has a 92-year old futurist nicknamed "Yoda" who runs a Defense Department outfit whose value to the nation is hard for outsiders to determine because it's output is so classified. In a delicious Washington irony, it's difficult for budget cutters to assess the Office of Net Assessment. Yoda and his operations also have political support from big-name policymakers past and present, the Washington Post's Craig Whitlock reports.
- More than half the economists surveyed by USA Today said the federal government's partial shutdown hurt economic growth to the point where they are significantly adjusting downward their economic growth forecasts for the next two quarters, report Paul Davidson and Barbara Hansen.
- A year after Superstorm Sandy destroyed and damaged tens of thousands of coastal homes and businesses in New Jersey and New York, rebuilding is uneven, reports NPR's Joel Rose on Morning Edition. Meanwhile, the high costs of insurance and reconstruction have led to wealthier buyers snatching up properties that once belonged to middle class families, reports The Wall Street Journal's Josh Dawsey.
- In polling is accurate, Democrat Bill de Blasio, an unabashed liberal, appears poised to win the New York City mayoral election by the widest margin for a non-incumbent since 1973 the New York Times' David W. Chen and Megan Thee-Brenan report.
- Vice President Biden, political animal that he is, appears to be reveling in his key role in the effort to recruit Democrats to run for Congress, reports Politico's Edward-Isaac Dovere. Not only does Biden help the party in its uphill battle to retake the House but he gets to reenergize connections in states that could be important to him if he decides to run for president.