We're kicking off a new morning routine in which we'll get the day started on NPR's It's All Politics" blog by sharing a handful of political stories that caught our interest or that we'll be watching.
Here are a few of them for Monday, Sept. 23:
- This week, of course, the Senate is due to take up the GOP House-passed legislation that would continue funding the federal government past Sept. 30 but defund Obamacare. Sarah Binder, a scholar of Congress, explains on the Monkey Cage blog the rococo procedural path the Democratic-controlled Senate is likely to follow to strip out the defunding measure.
- Robert Pear of The New York Times has a piece likely to make life harder for the Obama administration as it tries to sell the public on the virtues of the Affordable Care Act. The lower premiums due to Obamacare, it turns out, result from more limited choices for patients when it comes to the hospitals and doctors they can use.
- The New Republic's Alec MacGillis has a fascinating story about Doug Band, a former Clinton White House aide who has parlayed his continued association with former President Bill Clinton through the Clinton Global Initiative into access to the wealthy, powerful and famous. As with so much linked to the Clintons, however, his relationships and activities are fraught with controversy and could trail Hillary Clinton if the former secretary of state decides to run for president in 2016.
- Journalists have long used Freedom of Information Act requests to get information government agencies don't routinely make public. It goes along with the notion that democracy is improved when voters have more information. But The Wall Street Journal's Brody Mullins and Christopher Weaver report that hedge fund investors have also found the tool quite helpful, and they're making abundant use of them in the hopes of gaining an information edge on other investors.
- Mayors should run the world, according to political theorist Benjamin Barber. In a TED Talk on Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rahm Emanuel, he says their pragmatism and real connection to everyday people make them far better at getting things done than national leaders who are often ideologues. I'm guessing New York's Bloomberg and Chicago's Emanuel might be among the many members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors "favoriting" this video.
- According to a new CNBC survey, a clear majority of Americans oppose defunding Obamacare if it means shutting down the government and defaulting on debt. In the wake of Friday's House vote to pass a short-term government spending bill that would eliminate funding for the new health care law, those numbers are eye-opening. Americans are also opposed to the idea of defunding the Affordable Care Act, in general, by a plurality of 44 percent to 38 percent.