• “How do you not know how many people are enrolled?” — House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp, a Republican, to Marilyn Tavenner who runs the Medicare agency that’s implementing Obamacare. The questions came during a three-hour committee hearing Tuesday.
Tavenner didn’t have any answers for Camp beyond repeating this line: “We’ll have those numbers available in mid-November.” Meantime, Republicans focused not so much on all the technical problems plaguing the website, but also on policy cancellations and price hikes. The GOP is now taking a mulch-faceted approach to criticizing the new program.
• “Ike Skelton represented the very best of Missouri.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill on the death of the 17-term congressman on Monday.
All day Tuesday the tributes to Skelton continued to roll in. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver called him a “gentleman” and the last of a more civil brand of politician in the nation’s Capitol.
• “A statewide poll suggests Sam Brownback may be a one-term governor.” — the opening line of an editorial in the Winfield Daily Courier.
The newspaper cites a new SurveyUSA poll that puts likely Democratic nominee Paul Davis ahead of Brownback by 43-39 percent in the first public head-to-head check of next year’s race. The paper is jumping the gun by putting too much stock in a single poll. Davis begins the race as a decided underdog. He’ll be vastly outspent. But the conventional wisdom has morphed from Brownback can’t lose to, well, he could if Davis catches a bunch of breaks.
• “Our plea is to act now, do it now, lead.” — Stan Lockhart, a former chairman of the Utah Republican Party, on the need for immigration reformin an interview with The New York Times.
The Times’ story chronicled the existence of an unlikely coalition of business executives, evangelical groups and prominent conservatives that has joined forces to urge House Republicans to pass a sweeping immigration reform bill. The group wants the House to sign off on a measure this year. That’s too ambitious, and so is immigration reform anytime soon. But a big push is underway.