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Congress: It takes a rocket scientist...

“Senate Democrats appear poised to swallow the House GOP’s $4 billion spending cut package to avert a government shutdown this week but are trying to figure out how to avoid getting squeezed again in two weeks,” Roll Call writes.

Democrats are highlighting this Wall Street Journal story. “Federal spending cuts passed recently by the House would slash grants for antiterrorism work at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey by two-thirds, or some $22 million. A preliminary breakdown of the budget bill passed by the House earlier this month would lower the Port Authority's share to $11.2 million from $33.8 million, part of an overall move to shrink the port security grant program to $95.5 million from $288 million.”

Not that a minority leader can do much of anything in the House, but “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is showing no enthusiasm for the new proposal from Republicans to avoid a government shutdown, putting her at odds with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). … ‘Republicans want to cut an additional $4 billion, which includes stripping support for some pressing educational challenges without redirecting these critical resources to meet the educational needs of our children,’ Pelosi said in a statement. ‘This is not a good place to start.’”

Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), who is a nuclear physicist and five-time Jeopardy champion, beat Jeopardy computer “Watson” in a round on Capitol Hill organized by IBM, which makes the computer. “At the end of his round, Holt (right) had 8,600 points to Watson's 6,200. Holt's fellow Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) (left) also competed in the round and scored 1,000 points,” The Hill reports, adding, “Cassidy and Holt were among the five members of Congress taking part in Monday's bipartisan ‘Watson vs. Members’ tournament. They were joined by Reps. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.). Holt may be the only member to have beaten Watson, but Himes, a former Rhodes Scholar, became the crowd favorite when he bet all his points on a double jeopardy question about a chicken recipe, and won (the answer was ‘coq au vin’). Himes was the only lawmaker to play in two rounds, besting Polis and Hayworth, but not Watson.”