Wonkbook: Obamacare is alive, Ken Cuccinelli’s campaign for governor is dead.

November 6, 2013

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(Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)
(Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)

Obamacare is alive (though it's got a terrible cough) and Ken Cuccinelli's campaign for governor is dead.

The race proved tighter than most expected, but the Democrat no one seemed to like ended up beating the Republican who scared people.

The result will give the White House some satisfaction. Cuccinelli has been one of the Affordable Care Act's most persistent and troublesome opponents. As Virginia's attorney general, he led the suit holding that the individual mandate was unconstitutional. As candidate for governor, he repeatedly called the campaign "a referendum on Obamacare." And he lost.

But the benefits to the law go far beyond the symbolic. Terry McAuliffe's win gives Obamacare a key ally in a state where it needs one. So far, Gov. Bob McDonnell has refused the Medicaid expansion, which would expand Medicaid to cover more than 400,000 Virginians living beneath 133 percent of the poverty line. McAuliffe supports it.

On its own, the Virginia governor's support isn't enough to make the expansion law. It also needs to pass the state legislature, where the House is controlled by Republicans. But there's no doubt that McAuliffe's election makes the Medicaid expansion more likely in Virginia. (Gov. Chris Christie, who won reelection in New Jersey in a landslide, has already accepted the Medicaid expansion.)

Which isn't to say the news was all good for Obamacare. Exit polls showed 45 percent of Virginians approve of the health law and 53 percent oppose it. That's better than the 28 percent who support the Tea Party, but it still puts Obamacare underwater.

Wonkbook's Numbers of the Day: 48.0, 60.5, 73.3. Checking the vote count at 3 a.m., that's yesterday night's election in short form: the percentages of the vote carried by Terry McAuliffe, Chris Christie, and Bill de Blasio as they won, respectively, the governorships of Virginia and New Jersey and the mayoralty of New York City.

Wonkbook's Quotation of the Day: “The bottom line is that the vast majority of O.E.C.D. countries either invest equally into every student or disproportionately more into disadvantaged students," said Andreas Schleicher, the OECD's point man on education, to The New York Times' Eduardo Porter. "The U.S. is one of the few countries doing the opposite.”

Wonkbook's Graph of the Day: How the world is failing at its climate goals, in one giant chart

Wonkbook's Top 5 Stories: 1) Wonkbook's quick recap of the elections; 2) Healthcare.gov data coming next week; 3) what the Fed is thinking; 4) bad NSA, bad; and 5) the looming legislative storms.

1) Top story: What you need to know after the 2013 elections

McAuliffe wins Virginia governor’s race. "Terry McAuliffe, a businessman and former head of the Democratic National Committee, captured the Virginia governor’s seat Tuesday, defeating Republican Ken Cuccinelli II, the state attorney general whose conservative crusades made him an icon of the tea party movement. With 98 percent of the precincts reporting, McAuliffe led Cuccinelli by more than 30,000 votes, or less than 2 percent." Paul Schwartzman and Jeremy Borden in The Washington Post.

Interactive: Check out the Virginia vote mapsThe Washington Post.

Did Obamacare hurt McAuliffe? "The main news stories of the last two weeks of the race were about the botched rollout of the health exchanges and troubling revelations about people getting kicked off their health plans...Cuccinelli might have won if he had more money. Even before Cuccinelli delivered his concession speech, the candidate’s close allies were already beginning to blame outside groups for not helping out more." James Hohmann in Politico.

Conservative-stalwart Virginia is being overrun by liberalish D.C. suburbs. "Mr. McAuliffe benefited from an electorate that was less white and less Republican than it was four years ago. He drew about as large a percentage of African-Americans as Mr. Obama did last year. Blacks accounted for one in five voters...That Mr. McAuliffe was elected in a onetime Republican stronghold while unapologetically supporting gun restrictions, same-sex marriage and abortion rights will no doubt be scrutinized by both parties, particularly by Republicans concerned about the appeal of the Tea Party in swing states and districts ahead of the 2014 midterm elections." Trip Gabriel in The New York Times.

Christie is reelected New Jersey governor. "New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie won a decisive reelection victory on Tuesday, as the Republican known for blunt talk, moderate politics and presidential ambitions won support from a wide swath of voters in his Democratic-leaning state. Christie, running for his second term, was leading state Sen. Barbara Buono (D) by more than 20 percentage points late Tuesday with more than 98 percent of precincts reporting. His victory was a hopeful sign for the GOP’s establishment wing." Sean Sullivan and David A. Fahrenthold in The Washington Post.

Interactive: And how about vote maps for NJThe New York Times.

Guess who's already thinking about 2016? The big man, for sure. "Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey won re-election by a crushing margin on Tuesday, a victory that vaulted him to the front ranks of Republican presidential contenders and made him his party’s foremost proponent of pragmatism over ideology. Mr. Christie declared that his decisive win should be a lesson for the nation’s broken political system and his feuding party: In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by over 700,000, Mr. Christie won a majority of the votes of women and Hispanics and made impressive inroads among younger voters and blacks — groups that Republicans nationally have struggled to attract." Kate Zernike and Jonathan Martin in The New York Times.

Bill de Blasio elected mayor of New York City. "Bill de Blasio overwhelmingly was elected mayor here Tuesday, becoming the first Democrat to lead New York in 20 years and ushering in an era of activist liberal governance in the nation’s largest city. In early returns Tuesday night, de Blasio was soundly defeating Republican Joe Lhota, a protégé of former mayor Rudy Giuliani...De Blasio’s administration will be a laboratory of sorts for modern progressivism — testing whether an anti-establishment activist can effectively manage a sprawling municipal government and lessen growing inequality between the rich and poor." Philip Rucker in The Washington Post.

Interactive: Vote maps for NYC, tooThe New York Times.

Illinois legislature passes gay marriage bill, paving the way for legalization. "Illinois is set to become the 15th state and largest in the heartland to allow same-sex couples to marry. State senators approved technical changes Tuesday to a measure legalizing gay weddings, shortly after a historic favorable vote in the state House. The bill now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn, who has said he’ll sign it into law...Hawaii is likely to be the next state to legalize same-sex marriage; its state Senate passed such a bill Oct. 30, and the Hawaii state House is expected to vote on the measure in a matter of days." Juliet Eilperin in The Washington Post.

@jbarro: There are zero voters who said "I was going to vote for Christie but then he pulled these special election shenanigans so I'm for Buono"

Poll: Obama’s approval rating dips below 40 percent. "The daily tracking poll shows Obama’s approval rating at 39 percent, compared to 53 percent who disapprove. It comes as questions persist about the administration's handling of the launch of the health insurance exchanges. The last time Obama was in such negative territory was in October 2011, when his approval rating dropped as low as 38 percent and his disapproval peaked at 54 percent. Gallup is the first pollster in months to show Obama's approval in the 30s. Other recent polls have pegged his approval in the low-40s to the mid-40s." Aaron Blake in The Washington Post.

@morningmoneyben: From all the breathlessness over de Blasio, I will be underwhelmed unless the streets of NYC run red with the blood of the plutocrats

Virginia, New Jersey results highlight Republican Party’s divisions, problems. "The outcomes set up a battle for power between competing wings of the Republican Party. Call it the establishment vs. the tea party, or the gubernatorial wing against the congressional wing. This competition is less about ideology or policy — there is no disunity, for example, when it comes to the party’s dislike of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act — than about purity vs. pragmatism, tactics and strategy. Or, as Christie has put it, it is about winning an argument vs. winning elections." Dan Balz in The Washington Post.

@davidfrum: Wow, did Virginia ever not want to vote for Terry McAuliffe, if the GOP had offered any plausible alternative

Economy was top issue for electorate. "While voters in both New York City and New Jersey were concerned above all else about the economy, they appeared poised Tuesday to choose very different types of leaders to face the future, according to early exit polls. In New York City, Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio built a powerful coalition with his call to address the inequalities between they city's rich and poor...During his first term, Mr. Christie cut business taxes and promoted economic-development incentives." Josh Barbanel in The Wall Street Journal.

@daveweigel: Thomas Jefferson. Patrick Henry. James Monroe. Terry McAuliffe.

BARRO: Obamacare wins in Virginia governor race. "In the last days of his campaign for governor, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) ran around the state saying his race was a "referendum on Obamacare." The results are in. Cuccinelli has lost. And Obamacare, therefore, has won." Josh Barro in Business Insider.

GERAGHTY: What losing in Virginia should teach Republicans. "The first and most basic lesson for future Republican candidates: Quit your day jobs. Ten of Virginia’s previous eleven elected attorneys general have run for governor; nine of them resigned upon the launch of their campaigns, usually with about a year left in their term" Jim Geraghty in National Review Online.

Music recommendations interlude: The election music that CNN has used.

Top opinion

BEUTLER: How the media is blowing the Obamacare rollout. "The Obamacare model effectively enlists for-profit insurers to fulfill the function of state-based single-payer systems. It pools risk in the individual market across states, but allows several carriers to compete for enrollees. For a system like this to work, though, the companies themselves need to operate like public utilities. The Affordable Care Act takes important steps in this direction, but doesn’t eliminate all of the private insurance market’s worst incentives. This automatic retention strategy is just one manifestation. Let this be a reminder to the Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the White House who killed the public option. It could’ve been designed as a default plan for cancelees." Brian Beutler in Salon.

PORTER: In public ed, edge still goes to rich. "If education is a poor child’s best shot at rising up the ladder of prosperity, why do public resources devoted to education lean so decisively in favor of the better off?...The United States is one of few advanced nations where schools serving better-off children usually have more educational resources than those serving poor students, according to research by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Among the 34 O.E.C.D. nations, only in the United States, Israel and Turkey do disadvantaged schools have lower teacher/student ratios than in those serving more privileged students." Eduardo Porter in The New York Times.

REIHARDT: Debt to history. "We examined 26 high-debt episodes between 1800 and 2011, looking both at growth rates and at levels of real interest rates. We found that in 23 of the 26 high-debt cases, growth was low as compared with the relevant country’s performance in periods when debt was less. Table 1 from that paper sets out this result. You’ll notice it makes clear that the U.K.’s high-debt episode of 1830-1868 is one of the three exceptions." Carmen M. Reinhardt in Bloomberg.

FERGUSON AND SCHULARICK: U.S. and China both addicted to ultra-loose financial conditions. "[B]oth countries responded to the shock of the financial crisis with powerful self-medication: ultralow interest rates and quantitative easing here, runaway state-controlled credit creation there...[B]oth countries confront surprisingly similar challenges. Both economies suffer from a severe debt overhang and have become addicted to ultra-loose financial conditions. Both know the medication cannot continue forever. But neither Washington nor Beijing knows how to reduce the dose, much less to quit." Niall Ferguson and Moritz Schularick in The Wall Street Journal. 

RAMPELL: Outsource your way to success. "While it’s now common, especially in cities like New York, for professionals to hire a housekeeper and pay for some degree of child care, outsourcing other activities is quite rare and even stigmatized among noneconomists. Embracing the D.I.Y. ethos is (wrongly) perceived as evidence of thrift or even moral virtue. A personal chef is the sort of luxury people associate with hedge-funders, Europeans with several surnames and oil sheikhs. Still, you need not be an heiress to benefit from paying for a personal assistant or gofer of some kind. From an economist’s perspective, it’s similar to taking out student loans: an investment in your future earning potential. Yet few outside the field see it that way." Catherine Rampell in The New York Times.

SEITZ-WALD: The case for a new Constitution. "[T]he Constitution simply isn't cut out for 21st-century governance. It's full of holes, only some of which have been patched; it guarantees gridlock; and it's virtually impossible to change...Put simply, we've learned a lot since 1787. What was for the Founders a kind of providential revelation—designing, from scratch, a written charter and democratic system at a time when the entire history of life on this planet contained scant examples of either—has been worked into science. More than 700 constitutions have been composed since World War II alone, and other countries have solved the very problems that cripple us today. It seems un-American to look abroad for ways to change our sacred text, but the world's nations copied us, so why not learn from them?" Alex Seitz-Wald in The Atlantic.

MEYERSON: A case against the filibuster. "[T]hey’re using the filibuster to block Obama’s right to appoint judges and the Senate’s right to confirm them. As such, they’re forcing the Senate to choose between its anti-majoritarian rules and the Constitution’s stipulation of presidential and congressional powers. If that’s not a good reason to scrap the filibuster — and there are many others — I don’t know what is." Harold Meyerson in The Washington Post.

GALSTON: In defense of food stamps. "Food stamps reach their intended targets—poor and near-poor Americans. Over the past two decades, the program's overpayment rate has been cut by more than half to 3%, according to the U.S. Food and Nutrition Service. The large increase in the program's cost over the past decade mostly reflects worsening economic conditions rather than looser eligibility standards, increased benefits, or more waste, fraud and abuse. As the economy improves over the next decade, the number of beneficiaries will fall sharply." William A. Galston in The Wall Street Journal.

This is just amazing interlude: Jake Foushee doing voice impressions.

2) Our first data report from Healthcare.gov 

Obamacare enrollment numbers coming next week. "[T]he federal agency implementing the law, said that the government would release enrollment numbers for October some time next week. Administration officials previously had said more vaguely that the numbers would come in mid-November. The much-awaited numbers are likely to be exceedingly low, because many people were stymied by technical difficulties that have prevented them from accessing the site since it was launched Oct. 1. Tavenner tried to tamp down expectations further on Tuesday." Sandhya Somashekhar in The Washington Post.

In wake of botched rollout, Obama to seek IT procurement reforms. "President Obama said Monday he would seek reforms to the federal IT procurement process following the botched rollout of the ObamaCare website...“There are a whole range of things we're going to need to do once we get this fixed, to talk about federal procurement when it comes to IT and how that's organized,” Obama told a group of top donors and supporters at an Organizing for Action dinner in Washington." Justin Sink in The Hill.

Health insurers urged to extend policies beyond year-end. "Federal lawmakers and state officials are stepping up pressure on insurers to allow consumers whose coverage has been canceled in response to the health overhaul to keep their policies beyond the end of the year...While these individuals would have to buy new policies, regulators and lawmakers say the extensions would give them more time to shop for an affordable new plan—particularly because continuing problems with insurance exchange websites are preventing many of these consumers from finding new coverage." Timothy W. Martin and Louise Radnofsky in The Wall Street Journal.

The fog of health reform: Why there’s so much bad information about Obamacare. "People are getting cancellation notices from insurers, many of which include misleading quotes for how much replacement insurance will cost...HealthCare.gov still isn't working that well, so people can't see their options under the new law...The problems with the law's digital architecture have biased the media towards believing bad news about other parts of Obamacare." Ezra Klein in The Washington Post.

COHN: Why men should pay for maternity care. "Healthy mothers and babies are good for you. Society has a legitimate, and very clear, financial stake in the health of pregnant women and young children...We don’t think of health insurance as an intergenerational transfer, but in some respects it is. In this case, men who help pay for pre-natal and maternity costs are helping to shoulder the burden for costs that their parents bore, many years before...Allowing insurers to discriminate based on gender means penalizing half the population, just because those folks ended up with one type of chromosome instead of another." Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic.

BARRO: Why Obamacare is changing your insurance premium. "Premiums will rise because plans will have to be more comprehensive than they used to be...Premium costs will be shifted away from the old and sick and toward the young and healthy...Premiums will rise overall because the average individual market participant will be sicker than before...About half of people (48%) who currently buy insurance in the individual market will be eligible for subsidies that cut their net premiums." Josh Barro in Business Insider.

Watch: Cancellation notices and Obamacare, explained in two minutesSarah Kliff in The Washington Post.

Notes reveal chaos within White House as Healthcare.gov launched. "More than 100 pages of “war room notes” released by congressional investigators on Tuesday offer a window into the chaos that overwhelmed the Obama administration as the federal health insurance marketplace started up last month and officials realized that its problems could not be fixed quickly...Users were blocked at the first step, creating accounts, because their identities could not be verified. The “fix is taking longer than expected and the website is shut down to carry it out,” the notes for Oct. 8 say..A day later, about 30 percent of applicants could not enter crucial information about income, address and citizenship...On Oct. 11, it was noted that the website was inaccurately calculating premium subsidies for low-and middle-income people. On Oct. 15, it was noted that some consumers had been pushed into subsidized private health insurance plans “when they should be in Medicaid.”" Robert Pear in The New York Times.

What Tavenner said yesterday. "At a Senate hearing Tuesday morning, Marilyn Tavenner, administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said programmers are on track to make sure the “experience on the site will be smooth for the vast majority of users” by the end of November. “We are now able to process nearly 17,000 registrants per hour, or five per second, with almost no errors,” she said about HealthCare.gov, the federal health insurance Web site, before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions." Ariana Cha in The Washington Post.

White House needs some more help from insurers. "The White House on Tuesday asked health insurers for help in quelling the growing furor over the cancellation of insurance plans under ObamaCare. In a meeting at the White House, Obama's chief of staff Denis McDonough asked insurance executives to explain to customers who are losing their plans what new options are available under ObamaCare and what new subsidies they might qualify for." Justin Sink in The Hill.

More concerns raised over Healthcare.gov's security. "The Obama administration official overseeing the troubled federal health-insurance website acknowledged Tuesday that a North Carolina man accidentally received another applicant's personal information, raising concerns among lawmakers about the site's security...Several senators in both parties raised concerns about the federal government's ability to keep secure the private information consumers are required to provide when applying for health insurance, including Social Security numbers and birth dates." Amy Schatz in The Wall Street Journal.

And you thought you had seen it all interlude: Norway's "slow TV revolution."

3) What the Fed is thinking

Key Fed economist recommends change in forward guidance. "The research paper—written by William English, the head of the Fed's monetary-affairs division and two other authors—argues the Fed's unemployment threshold for rate increases would be more effective if it were lower than 6.5%, possibly as low as 5.5%. In effect that would mean waiting until the job market got much better before raising rates...The paper lays out a range of scenarios that show short-term rates not rising until late 2015 but suggests an "optimal" policy might keep rates near zero as late as 2017...Fed officials have been looking at whether they can put more emphasis on their short-term rate guidance than on controversial bond-buying programs in their efforts to boost the economy." Jon Hilsenrath in The Wall Street Journal.

The Great Recession may have crushed America's economic potential. "The paper offers a depressing portrait of where the economy stands nearly six years after the onset of recession, and amounts to a damning indictment of U.S. policymakers. Their upshot: The United States's long-term economic potential has been diminished by the fact that policymakers have not done more to put people back to work quickly. Our national economic potential is now a whopping 7 percent below where it was heading at the pre-2007 trajectory, the authors find...What seems to be happening, they argue, is that people who lost their jobs in the recession have now been out of work for years, leading their skills to atrophy and them to become less attached to the workforce. As those workers’ productive capacity diminishes, so does the total potential of the U.S. economy." Neil Irwin in The Washington Post.

Emerging markets think the Fed is causing bubbles. The Fed disagrees! "Go to the finance ministry or central bank of any number of emerging economies -- think Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa -- and you'll hear a common refrain: The Federal Reserve is making our jobs really hard. But what is the view inside the Fed of this theory? We have the most thorough take on it to date Monday, via a new speech by Governor Jerome Powell at the San Francisco Fed's Asia Economic Policy Conference. In short, it boils down to this: Yeah, we know that our actions create some challenges for you guys. But mostly you need to look in the mirror, Mr. and Ms. Emerging Markets...Powell is arguing that while the Fed's interventionism does have an impact on the emerging economies, broader factors of market psychology and the real economy are driving the train." Neil Irwin in The Washington Post.

Meanwhile, in financial regulation, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission moved to rein in market speculation... "The Commodity Futures Trading Commission  (CFTC) voted Tuesday to propose regulations meant to cap speculation on a broad array of commodities, including crude oil; natural gas; and gasoline. The commission’s members voted 3-1 to approve a revamped rule that would impose position limits capping the number of futures contracts for the commodities that a company may hold. Spikes in prices for the commodities in recent years have been blamed on rampant speculation. The 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law required the CFTC to implement a new set of standards. " Ben Goad in The Hill.

...Just as Bart Chilton announced plans to leave. "The liberal firebrand of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced Tuesday that he plans to leave the agency soon, an unexpected move that further drains the commission’s leadership as its regulatory responsibilities swell. Bart Chilton, who has served on the five-member commission since 2007, announced his departure at a meeting on a proposal to limit excessive speculative trading of commodities...Chilton is bowing out at a time when the smallish CFTC is struggling to tackle big responsibilities mandated by the 2010 Dodd-Frank law." Dina ElBoghdady in The Washington Post.

SEC issues first-ever fine for muni bond issuer. "The SEC charged the Greater Wenatchee Regional Events Center Public Facilities District with allegedly failing to disclose certain financial projections for a new regional ice rink and events center...In some municipal cases, the SEC has been reluctant to fine a government issuer because the penalties would ultimately be borne by taxpayers who are already paying the price of a shoddy bond deal. But in the case of the Wenatchee facility, the costs of the penalty will effectively be borne by users of the ice rink and events center, who chose to pay to attend hockey games and other events there." Michael Corkery in The Wall Street Journal.

Debt collectors face new rules under proposal from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "The bureau is asking Americans whether creditors and collection agencies are providing accurate information about their outstanding debts. It also wants to know whether people are receiving threatening calls at all hours of the night or being dragged into court for money they do not owe...Cordray noted that since the bureau began accepting debt collection complaints in July, it has received about 5,000 consumer grievances. The most-common complaints involve harassing phone calls, lack of verification of the debt and people becoming aware of a collection account only through their credit report." Danielle Douglas in The Washington Post.

Balthazar bathroom attendants, Downton Abbey and the nature of human progress. "When you see the world of early 20th century Britain portrayed on Downton Abbey, it is the opposite extreme. For the ultra-wealthy, there were servants everywhere, helping with the most menial tasks, like getting dressed...But in the last century, per-capita incomes have risen dramatically, making the cost of hiring a servant higher...At the same time, we’ve gotten more egalitarian as a society...This is probably a case where preferences have evolved with practicality." Neil Irwin in The Washington Post.

Wonkbook has read (or survived) 5 of these interlude: 50 "incredibly tough" reads.

4) Bad NSA, bad

NSA chief likely to lose cyber war powers. "Senior military officials are leaning toward removing the National Security Agency director’s authority over U.S. Cyber Command, according to a former high-ranking administration official familiar with internal discussions...No formal decision has been made yet, but the Pentagon has already drawn up a list of possible civilian candidates for the next NSA director, the former official told The Hill. A separate military officer would head up Cyber Command, a team of military hackers that trains for offensive cyberattacks and protects U.S. computer systems. The administration might also decide to have two military officers lead the two agencies. The fact that the administration is considering whether to split the commands isn’t a direct response to the revelations about the NSA’s surveillance operations, but it does reflect growing concern over the power of the NSA director and a shortage of oversight of the position" Brendan Sasso in The Hill.

Apple pushes to disclose more about government data requests. "Apple has thrown its weight behind Silicon Valley’s legal challenge to restrictions that the US government places on reporting its requests for customer information, publishing new data about thousands of such demands from authorities around the world....In Apple’s first full account of its interactions with law enforcement, it said it received 12,442 requests from 41 countries in the first half of 2013 for information about its devices, such as when, where or by whom an iPhone or iPad was first activated. It complied with almost three quarters of those demands, including 3,110 in the US, 429 in China, 1,856 in Germany and 689 in the UK, the “vast majority” of which related to lost or stolen devices and “never” included national security-related requests, Apple said." Tim Bradshaw in The Financial Times.

NYC interlude: 100 ways to improve the subway, on a Tumblr blog.

5) The brewing fights in Congress

Reid setting up votes on two more judicial nominees. "Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) plans to begin the process of considering two more nominees to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit this week, just days after Senate Republicans blocked another nominee to serve on the court. Reid told reporters Tuesday afternoon that he plans to set up procedural votes tonight on the nominations of attorney Cornelia “Nina” Pillard and U.S. District Judge Robert Wilkins to serve on the court. But aides later clarified that Reid will most likely begin the process Wednesday or Thursday." Ed O'Keefe in The Washington Post.

Mikulski asks budget conferees to report deal by Thanksgiving. "Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) warned that her committee would have only eight days to create an omnibus appropriations bill if the budget conference committee uses all of its negotiating time. The budget conference committee has to report a deal by Dec. 13, but Mikulski said she’d prefer they finish work early." Ramsey Cox in The Hill.

Reading material interlude: The best sentences Wonkblog read today.

Wonkblog Roundup

Everything you need to know about the Employment Non-Discrimination ActLydia DePillis.

Goldman Sachs thinks it can make money by being a do-gooderLydia DePillis.

The Great Recession may have crushed America’s economic potentialNeil Irwin.

A hunger expert explains what happens now that food stamps are cutLydia DePillis.

The fog of health reform: Why there’s so much bad information about Obamacare. Ezra Klein.

Balthazar bathroom attendants, Downton Abbey and the nature of human progressNeil Irwin.

Emerging markets think the Fed is causing bubbles. The Fed disagreesNeil Irwin.

Et Cetera

The policy story you wouldn't have noticed this morning: Liberal senators push to expand Social SecurityAaron Blake in The Washington Post.

White House revisits ‘social cost of carbon.’ Ben German in The Hill.

Got tips, additions, or comments? E-mail me.

Wonkbook is produced with help from Michelle Williams.

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Lydia DePillis · November 5, 2013