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Congress: Boehner's master plan?

“House Republicans have orchestrated a master plan to avoid a government shutdown, delay the implementation of Obamacare, and maintain the current, post-sequester spending levels,” Tim Alberta writes. “But first, they need the Senate to shred the very proposal that House conservatives have spent all week celebrating. According to several Republican lawmakers and senior aides who spoke on condition of anonymity, a strategy is coming into focus that, if properly executed, would accomplish multiple GOP policy objectives in one maneuver. With the deadline for a new continuing resolution looming on Oct. 1, and the House poised to pass a CR that will be dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate, sources are confident the strategy can work -- but only if the dominoes fall in precise fashion.”

“The House on Friday is poised to approve a stopgap spending bill that strips out funding for President Obama’s signature healthcare law,” The Hill writes. 

Per NBC’s Luke Russert, a vote is likely around 11:00 am ET.

Politico sat down with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who "ridicule[d] the GOP as obsessed with its loathing of President Obama and hell-bent on hurting him politically, regardless the cost. She assigns little to no blame to the president (even though Democrats privately say that’s laughable) and instead portrays him as saintly, above reproach and the victim of jealousy or something worse."

USA Today’s editorial page blasts House Republicans for playing games: “Republicans' obsession with overturning ObamaCare is getting sillier and more dangerous at the same time. Now that they've failed to kill the law every way the rules allow — in Congress, the Supreme Court and in a presidential election — the opponents are taking hostages and, in effect, threatening to shoot them if they don't get their way. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the hostages are the federal government and the U.S. economy.” More: “Boehner and other House leaders who have indulged conservative tantrums know both the nation and their party would be hurt by an unnecessary government shutdown, and grievously damaged by a failure to raise the debt ceiling. At some point, they need to tell their nominal followers the truth about health reform: This is a democracy. You lost on one issue. Move on.”

USA Today: “The House approved a Republican plan Thursday to cut food stamps by $39 billion during the next decade, setting up a showdown with Democrats over the program used by nearly 48 million low-income Americans. The House voted 217-210 for the bill that cuts nearly twice as much from food stamps as a bill the House rejected in June. It is also far more than a Senate measure passed earlier this year that would trim about $4.5 billion in spending. The bill failed to draw the support of a single Democrat, many of whom have said the steep cuts would erode a key safety net depended upon by families with children, seniors, veterans and people looking for work. Fifteen Republicans also voted against the bill.”

Peter King and John McCain are speaking out against the plans to defund Obamacare: “We are going to lose this,” King said. “It’s a wing within our party led by people like Ted Cruz who have been, as far as I’m concerned, carrying out a fraud with the people…They know it’s not going to win.” King went on to call it “crazy” and added, ““We as House Republicans should stop letting Ted Cruz set our agenda for us. If he can deliver on this, fine. If he can’t, he should keep quiet from now on and we shouldn’t listen to him.”

McCain called the effort not “rational.” “In the United States Senate, we will not repeal, or defund, Obamacare,” he said. “We will not. And to think we can is not rational.” He added, ““I think Sen. Cruz is free to do whatever he wants to with the rules of the Senate,” McCain said. “I will again state unequivocally that this is not something that we can succeed in, and that’s defunding Obamacare, because we don’t have 67 Republican votes in the Senate, which would be required to override a presidential veto.”

And Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) tweeted yesterday: “I didn’t go to Harvard or Princeton, but I can count -- the defunding box canyon is a tactic that will fail and weaken our position.”

More Corker, per Roll Call: “It just seems to me that what’s happened unfortunately is that American expectations on Republicans and what they can do have been raised to a level that’s beyond delivery.”

Yet, Rand Paul yesterday said Republicans were “winning.” Per NBC’s Andrew Rafferty, Paul said yesterday at a Liberty PAC event in Virginia: “Does anybody remember Charlie Sheen when he was kind of going crazy…And he was going around, jumping around saying ‘Winning, winning, we’re winning.’ Well I kind of feel like that, we are winning. And I’m not on any drugs.”

(Just asking, but doesn’t Paul realize that when Sheen was going around saying he was “winning,” he wasn’t actually “winning” at all?)

Republicans Scott Faulkner and Jonathan Riehl: “In the classic 1956 sci-fi film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, an alien race comes to Earth and begins turning humans into “pod people.” Their bodies are left intact, but their minds are regrown, rending them humanoid robots under the aliens’ command. Unrecognizable to neighbors, the pod people take over until nothing is left of human society. At the time of its release, the film was seen as a metaphor either for communist takeover (according to conservatives) or an ironic criticism of the irrational fears of communist takeover (according to liberals). Today, we think the body snatchers conceit perfectly fits another trend: the takeover of the responsible conservative movement — or least what is left of it. A small faction-within-a-faction — government-decrying, religious-fanatic, anti-science — have turned thinking Republicans into pod people.” (Politico’s description of the duo: “Faulkner was chief administrative officer of the U.S. House of Representatives and director of personnel to President Ronald Reagan. Jonathan Riehl is a communications consultant for political campaigns and national nonprofit organizations, a former speechwriter for Luntz Research.”)

Some bit of an immigration breakthrough? House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte  said at a House Republican Conference event marking Hispanic Heritage month that he supports a path to citizenship for DREAMers: “I wouldn’t give them what I would call a special pathway to citizenship. I would give them an earned pathway to citizenship.”

Politico: “Goodlatte also repeated his openness to a citizenship path for the broader undocumented population. Those currently living in the United States without authorization should be allowed to become legalized, he said, and then use existing channels – such as marriage to a U.S. citizen or sponsorship by an employer – if they want to pursue citizenship. While he acknowledged that his proposal wouldn’t cover every undocumented immigrant, Goodlatte said he feels ‘very strongly in my conversations with people it would be a major solution to the problem.’”

NBC’s Tom Curry: “The stock market may be posting record gains, but Washington could be mere days away from a government shutdown – and a few weeks out from a catastrophic default on the national debt. But the reality of this looming fiscal crisis has many Americans wondering how we ever got ourselves into this mess. And, more importantly, what Congress can do over the coming days to avoid it. We take a look at some of the questions that lawmakers dealing with – and the possible answers.”

James Oliphant goes to North Carolina to look at “where the GOP’s wonderland is real.” Republicans “essentially govern unchecked and unopposed, exerting their will on everything from taxes to abortion to voting rights to the social safety net to more arcane matters like denying the city of Raleigh the use of state land for a public park.” More: “Conservatives nationwide have watched the state with envy—and liberals with horror—as their bedrock ideological principles have alchemized from shopworn cable-news talking points to tangible policy. It's as if the House of Representatives were allowed to run the country, a prospect that must make Eric Cantor gaze at the moon like a dreamy child.”

Tom DeFrank: “Freshman Sen. Ted Cruz may be the darling of the tea party and the bane of Washington's mainstream political establishment, but he's beginning to draw fire from some Texas Republicans who worry that he's more interested in fueling his 2016 presidential ambitions than in tending to Lone Star State business in Washington. ‘He's our Cruz-missile,’ a major Texas GOP fundraiser told National Journal. ‘The wingers love him, and establishment Republicans tolerate him because they're scared of him. But he's not taking care of business at home, and he's already the most hated Texan in Washington.’”