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Congress: McConnell and reconciliation

Mitch McConnell says the GOP only needs 51 votes to repeal the health-care mandate. "Reconciliation is available because the Supreme Court has now declared it a tax," McConnell said on FOX News Sunday, per Roll Call. "They have unearthed the massive deception that was practiced by the president and the Democrats to constantly deny that it was a tax…. And as a tax, it is eligible for reconciliation."

A long way down… “Members of Congress from both parties are increasingly mulling the unthinkable: going home in December without acting to avoid the $4 trillion in tax hikes and deep spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff,” Reuters writes. “Neither Democrats nor Republicans claim this is their preferred option, as it could rattle global financial markets badly and anger their constituents. But as they circle each other in an ever-more partisan atmosphere they see little prospect for a settlement acceptable to both parties in the lame duck session of Congress after the November 6 election.

“A coalition of Hispanic groups wants the feds to oversee vote counting in the electoral squabble between Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel and state Sen. Adriano Espaillat,” the New York Daily News writes. “Rangel was declared the victor in last Tuesday’s Democratic primary, but his Election Night margin of 2,300 votes has dwindled into the triple digits.”

Mike Pence equated “the Supreme Court’s surprise health care ruling to the September 11 terrorist attacks,” the New York Daily News writes. It wasn’t clear what Pence, who’s running for governor of Indiana, actually said, but he apologized. “My remarks at the Republican Conference following the Supreme Court decision were thoughtless,” he said in a statement. “I certainly did not intend to minimize any tragedy our nation has faced, and I apologize.”