Legislative Hot Potato: Washington Post: "The Senate passed a short-term spending bill Friday after voting to restore funding for President Obama’s health-care law, sending the measure back to a fractured House just four days before a threatened federal government shutdown. The vote on final passage was 54 to 44. ... The fate of the bill remained uncertain in the House, where the Republican Party’s rebellious right wing is blocking a strategy by Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) for navigating a series of deadlines to keep the government funded and avoid the nation’s first default. ... House Republicans are vowing to reject the restoration of funding for the law commonly known as Obamacare, and may opt to send the bill back to the Senate again with more changes. But with the government shutdown hanging in the balance, House leaders had not yet signaled early Friday how they will proceed."
From the Bully Pulpit: Politico: "Obama on Friday called on the House to approve the government funding bill passed earlier in the day by the Senate, warning that failure to do so would force a government shutdown but would not stop the implementation of his health care law. 'If Congress chooses not to pass a budget by Monday, the end of the fiscal year, they will shut down the government along with many vital services that the American people depend on,' he said from the White House briefing room. ... He asked Republicans 'to think about who you're hurting' by letting the government shut down, and said 'it would throw a wrench into the gears of our economy at a time when those gears have gained some traction.' Even 'many Republican senators and many Republican governors have urged Republicans to knock it off, pass a budget and move on. Let's get this done,' Obama said."
Your Move, Boehner: New York Times: "Now Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio faces a defining choice: accept the Senate bill, which funds the government through Nov. 15 without Republican policy prescriptions, or listen to his conservatives, who will accept a government shutdown unless serious damage is done to the health care law. House Republicans will meet at noon Saturday to hash out their options. Mr. Boehner has signaled that he will again attach language to chip away at the Affordable Care Act, but as the deadline approaches, fissures are appearing in the Republican ranks. ... The Senate legislation would almost certainly win approval in the House, largely with Democratic votes, but conservatives warned it could hurt the beleaguered speaker dearly."
An Historic Phone Call: ABC News: "President Obama said today he had a telephone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the first time the heads of these two countries have had direct communications since 1979. Obama told a news conference after the call, 'I believe we can reach a comprehensive solution' on Iran's nuclear program. The call about the Iran's nuclear program came days after Iran's president avoided a face-to-face meeting with Obama. U.S. officials said at the time that it was 'too complicated' for the Iranian president to meet Obama and shake hands."
Syria Breakthrough: Associated Press: "President Barack Obama says a deal reached on a United Nations resolution to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons is 'potentially a huge victory for the international community.' The draft resolution's demands that Syria abandon its chemical stockpile and allow unfettered access to chemical weapons experts are legally binding. But if Syria fails to comply, the council will need to adopt a second resolution to impose consequences. Obama said during an Oval Office meeting with India's prime minister that he is 'very hopeful for the prospects of what can be accomplished.'"
Garden State Wedding Bells: Star-Ledger: "A state judge today ruled to legalize same-sex marriage in New Jersey, saying gay couples would be denied federal benefits if the state kept allowing only civil unions. Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson granted an emergency request by six gay couples, ordering state officials to begin officiating same-sex marriages on Oct. 21. Gov. Chris Christie's administration had argued that the matter was out of New Jersey's hands since the only pressing questions were over federal, not state, benefits. Jacobson's ruling represents a victory for gay-rights advocates, although the decision is expected to be appealed: first to an intermediate court, and then to the state Supreme Court."
Mid-Air Scare: ABC News: "A United Airlines flight from Houston to Seattle was diverted after its captain reportedly suffered a fatal heart attack during the flight. The flight was rerouted to the Boise Airport in Idaho and landed there at 8 p.m. Thursday. Patti Miller, Boise Airport spokeswoman, confirmed to ABC News United Airlines Flight 1603 made an emergency landing at the airport Thursday evening. Miller says the captain of the flight experienced a medical emergency, which was an apparent heart attack. Seattle ABC affiliate KOMO reported that a passenger on the flight said a crew member made an in-flight announcement on the loudspeaker asking if anyone on board was a physician."
Rambo: CBS/AP: "Two former American soldiers—one nicknamed 'Rambo'—and a German ex-soldier were charged Friday with plotting to kill a U.S. drug enforcement agent and an informant after a law enforcement sting interrupted their plans to use five ex-military snipers to protect illegal drug shipments, authorities said. The charges were announced by prosecutors in Manhattan, where an indictment unsealed in federal court portrayed a trio of ex-soldiers eager to kill for money. ... The documents described numerous conversations at meetings outside the United States that were recorded by Drug Enforcement Administration agents building their case with help from confidential sources posing as drug traffickers."
A Few More Quick Hits From Slate—
- Future Tense: How NSA Spies Abused Their Powers to Snoop on Girlfriends, Lovers, and First Dates
- Moneybox: Kentucky's Governor Brilliantly Makes The Case For Obamacare
- The World: A Chilling al-Qaida Plan for an Attack on Britain
- The Vault: Eight Types of 18th-Century Lady Drunks (Some NSFW)
- Weigel: The CR/Debt Limit Fight Will Be Brutal for Ken Cuccinelli
That's all for today. See you back here Monday. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.