• “November 15th is the date we should actually be concerned about when it comes to the need to prioritize — not October 17th.” — Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp, a Republican, disputing the administration’s contention that Oct. 17 is when all heck breaks loose on the financial markets if the debt ceiling is not raised.
The western Kansas congressman said he sent a letter to his colleagues challenging what he called an arbitrary deadline set by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. Huelskamp’s letter included lots of financial figures to back his point. The letter, though, doesn’t knock down the idea that Congress still has to do something significant — and soon.
• “The data simply must be pretty awful if the secretary won’t even reveal the numbers — if there even were any — of Obamacare signups in her home state.” — Huelskamp on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ decision to refuse to release numbers of how many Kansans have enrolled in the Affordable Care Act.
Huelskamp may have a point. The early sign-up numbers are not expected to be good, given all the technical glitches surrounding the rollout of the new health care program. HHS will release numbers before too long, but not on Huelskamp’s timetable.
• “The truth of the matter is, there are enough Republican and Democratic votes in the House of Representatives right now to end this shutdown immediately with no partisan strings attached.” — President Obama on Monday.
Obama appears to be right. A new CNN survey out Wednesday shows that all 200 House Democrats and 19 Republicans support passing a continuing resolution with no additional legislative strings attached that would reopen the federal government. Because of vacancies, 217 votes are now needed to pass a bill in the House.
• “I can’t imagine us doing anything this week.” — Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat from Kansas City, on the prospects for a shutdown breakthrough this week on KCUR Public Radio.
All indications are that Cleaver is spot on.
• “What a train wreck. How can we tax people for not buying a product from a website that doesn’t work?” — House Speaker John Boehner on the House floor Wednesday about Obamacare.
Boehner continues to rail against the president’s health care plan in another sign of how little progress leaders have made this week when it comes to ending the shutdown impasse.