TRUMP AGENDA: House passes budget. Now comes the hard part
The Washington Post: "Republicans set an aggressive timeline for passing legislation to overhaul the nation's tax code, putting pressure on senior lawmakers and the White House to resolve major disagreements about the effort before a Wednesday deadline to introduce a bill. In a sign of the challenge to come, House Republicans narrowly passed a budget measure on Thursday allowing the tax overhaul to increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion over a decade. The effort succeeded with support from only two lawmakers to spare, as a group of northeastern Republicans opposed the budget resolution because of concerns that the tax rewrite could hurt their constituents."
And from the New York Times: "The Republican race to overhaul the tax code broke into a sprint on Thursday, with House members narrowly clearing a budget blueprint that would allow a tax bill to pass Congress without any Democratic votes, and Senate leaders signaling that the bill could be introduced, debated and approved in both chambers by the end of November. Those ambitions are already complicated by difficult math, both in terms of tax revenues and vote counts. The budget vote put those competing factors on display, with 20 Republicans defecting and the resolution narrowly passing, 216 to 212, in part over concerns about the possible elimination of a tax break that disproportionately benefits residents of high-tax states. A potential reduction in contribution limits for 401(k) retirement accounts also appears to be stoking an intraparty fight."
The big picture on spending, from POLITICO: "During the Barack Obama presidency, congressional Republicans constantly denounced out-of-control spending; in 2011, they almost forced the government into default to extract significant spending cuts from the White House. Now they're reverting to their habits during the George W. Bush era, when Republicans oversaw a major spending spree on the military, homeland security and even prescription drug coverage."
NBC's Vivian Salama: "President Donald Trump's announcement of an unprecedented public health emergency Thursday to combat opioid and drug abuse drew both praise and concern from public health advocates. Many said the move, while a positive first step, risked undercutting the enormous financial requirement to launch an effective response."
The Wall Street Journal: "Insurers selling Affordable Care Act plans have a compelling new pitch: free health insurance. When sales of plans on the law's exchanges begin Nov. 1, a growing number of consumers around the country will be able to get coverage for 2018 without paying any monthly premium, according to health insurers and an analysis of newly available federal data… The growing availability of no-premium plans is a side effect of a decision by President Donald Trump's administration to end federal payments that are used to reduce out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles, for low-income enrollees. The administration didn't halt—and indirectly bolstered—the federal subsidies that help consumers with their insurance premiums."
The New York Times looks at Betsy DeVos's schedule. "For years, Betsy DeVos traveled the country — and opened her checkbook — as she worked as a conservative advocate to promote the expansion of voucher programs that allow parents to use taxpayer funds to send their children to private and religious schools. A detailed look at the first six months of Ms. DeVos's tenure as the secretary of education — based on a 326-page calendar tracking her daily meetings — demonstrates that she continues to focus on those programs as well as on charter schools."
GAO will investigate the voter fraud commission.
How do sexual harassment claims work on Capitol Hill? It can be a confusing and circuitous process in which lawmakers play by their own set of rules, writes the Washington Post.
The New York Times reports on Trump's latest spectacle: Choosing a Fed chair.
So what happened with the Kennedy files last night? NBC's team reports: "The National Archives published nearly 3,000 previously sealed or censored documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Thursday, but the White House said it was delaying the release of others….In the end, the president allowed the release of 2,891 of at least 3,140 documents, with the rest subject to a 180-day review of redactions from objecting agencies. The White House said later that the remaining records would be released "on a rolling basis in the coming weeks."
From the Kennedy files: "J. Edgar Hoover Said Public Must Believe Lee Harvey Oswald Acted Alone."
OFF TO THE RACES: Trump again weighs in on Virginia race
AL-SEN: "Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill says crossover voters -- those who voted in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and then later the Republican runoff -- should be prosecuted, possibly facing five years in prison and a $15,000 fine," writes AL.com. "Merrill said his office had identified 674 people who had voted in the Democratic primary who also voted in the Republican runoff between Luther Strange and Roy Moore the following month."
Jeff Flake won't endorse Roy Moore.
AZ-SEN: Will Martha McSally challenge Kelli Ward?
NJ-GOV: A new poll shows a bit of momentum for Kim Guadagno… but is it too little and too late?
NJ-SEN: The New York Times sums up what Lindsey Graham and Cory Booker said on behalf of Bob Menendez.
VA-GOV: From NBC's Alex Seitz-Wald: "A Democratic group led by former Attorney General Eric Holder is pumping another $250,000 into the Virginia governor's race, which, with two weeks left, is widely seen as the most important election of the year. The funds bring total spending in the race to $1 million by the group, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which was established this year when former President Barack Obama tapped Holder to coordinate Democrats' redistricting efforts ahead of the 2020 Census."
The Richmond Times-Dispatch weighs in on Trump's second endorsement of Gillespie on Twitter.