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Congress: 'Shameful'

Norm Ornstein: “As readers of my past columns know, I was not exactly optimistic as we approached crunch time over the debt limit in 2011. But I am far more pessimistic now. At a dinner I attended Monday night with a host of those individuals deeply involved in fiscal matters, it became clear that there are no talks going on now—neither formal nor back channel—to avoid a series of crises over spending and the debt ceiling. The House majority is in profound disarray, unable to muster majorities for anything on the spending front as the new fiscal year approaches.” He calls the John Boehner going ahead with a CR that would defund Obamacare “a misguided attempt to mollify his radicals.” And he makes the point that there won’t be any McConnell-Biden solution this time because McConnell is “so cowed” by his primary challenge.

He concludes: “We are careening toward economic disruption triggered by outrageous demands that jeopardize the economy and endanger the most vulnerable among us. Shameful is the only way to describe it.”

But David Hawkings maps the messy way out. Follow the bouncing ball…

In the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove writes that "any strategy to repeal, delay or replace the law must have a credible chance of succeeding or affecting broad public opinion positively. The defunding strategy doesn't. Going down that road would strengthen the president while alienating independents. It is an ill-conceived tactic, and Republicans should reject it."

How’s this for your party’s image… David Rogers: “House Republicans pushed toward a showdown vote on food stamp cuts Thursday despite growing concern about the level of the reductions and their impact on already ongoing state and city efforts to improve employment training for the poor. The 10-year savings of $39 billion would hit hardest in the next 24 months. An estimated 3.8 million people could be dropped from the rolls in 2014, and another 850,000 see a reduction in benefits. Together with already scheduled cuts in November, this will translate into a 12 percent reduction in federal spending for food stamp benefits by 2015.”

As House GOPers are set to try to cut food stamps, USA Today reports that more people are using and need food stamps, according to Census numbers out yesterday: “13.6% of U.S. households received federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits last year, up from 13% in 2011 and only 8.6% in 2008 at the height of the recession.”

Just how bad is the dialogue between the White House and House Republicans? Speaker John Boehner’s office was out with a video yesterday that had this message in it: “Why is the Obama administration willing to negotiate with Putin on Syria… but not with Congress to address Washington’s spending problem?”

The Hill reports that Boehner told a closed-door meeting of the House GOP conference: “People say a lot of things about me. People outside this room. People inside this room. I just let that s--t roll off my back.”

House Republicans were trolling Senate Republicans on Twitter yesterday accusing them of having no courage and “waving the white flag” on Obamacare.

Speaking of ineptitude…  “Forget the high-stakes showdown over a spending bill to keep the federal government from shutting down,” USA Today reports. “When it comes to political dysfunction of this Congress, Exhibit A is unfolding in the Senate over a modest, bipartisan energy-efficiency bill. Sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, the legislation has become entangled in a nasty debate over completely unrelated issues -- including ‘Obamacare’ and prostitution allegations. The spat has even sparked an ethics complaint raising allegations of bribery and intimidation.”

National Journal: “Woe is Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia, who bemoaned in a closed-door meeting this morning that he's ‘stuck’ making a paltry $172,000 a year in Congress. Never mind that this is more than three times the national average income, or that Gingrey is worth $3 million. Meanwhile, he's running for Senate, where can only expect a $2,000 raise. Capitol Hill aides can go work for a lobby shop and make $500,000, the congressman said, according to National Review's Jonathan Strong. ‘Meanwhile I'm stuck here making $172,000 a year.’”

Oh, and, what about Benghazi? Politico: “Darrell Issa resumes Benghazi crusade.” National Journal: “Why Darrell Issa Might Want to Cancel His Latest Benghazi Hearing: Newly released transcripts suggest he won't find what he's looking for.”

And it’s not just Benghazi. The IRS was back in focus yesterday for the House GOP.

Just asking, but where are the jobs?

Whoops, John McCain published an op-ed criticizing Vladimir Putin in the wrong Russian publication by the same name.