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GOP Skeptical of Combining Debt Limit and CR Fights

House Republicans head into their Tuesday conference meeting divided over whether their leaders should attempt to keep the question of reopening the government and raising the debt limit separate.

While next week’s deadline to increase the debt ceiling would seem to force the two issues together, many Republicans say they fail to see how Republicans gain greater negotiating leverage by lumping the two issues together — and that could mean the government shutdown could stretch past the debt limit deadline of Oct. 17, regardless of whether Congress resolves the debt issue.

Others say the timeline has forced the House Republicans hand on both.

“Time has collided them,” said one GOP lawmaker who spoke on background.

Read More: GOP Skeptical of Combining Debt Limit and CR Fights

Will a Sidecar Help Avert Debt Limit Disaster?

With both Speaker John A. Boehner and President Barack Obama stuck in their corners on reopening the government, the dispute over the debt ceiling has taken center stage.

As it becomes increasingly clear that the two issues will be intertwined, the question turns to how long Obama can maintain a no-negotiation stance and whether Boehner can ultimately convince his restive caucus to vote for anything the president might sign that would avoid a default.

The White House opened the door to signing a short-term debt limit hike Monday — and didn’t immediately dismiss the idea of allowing legislative sidecars provided they aren’t a “concession” to the GOP.

Read More: Will a Sidecar Help Avert Debt Limit Disaster?

House Special Election Next Week Likely to Diversify Mass. Delegation

A special primary in Massachusetts next week will likely add diversity to the state’s congressional delegation — part of a larger shift in Bay State politics over the past few years.

On Oct. 15, a handful of top Democratic candidates will run in the definitive special primary for the open 5th District. The suburban Boston district is a strong Democratic seat and the nominee will likely take the House seat that Sen. Edward J. Markey held for decades.

Two of the top candidates are women, one is of Armenian descent, and another is openly gay. The winner could continue an evolution for the Bay State — historically one of the least diverse congressional delegations, especially for a traditionally liberal state. Since 1789, the state has only elected five women to Congress — two in the past five years — and has only had two black members, according to the House historian.

Local Democratic operatives characterized two female candidates — state Sens. Katherine Clark and Karen Spilka — as part of a trio of front-runners. But any one of the five candidates could win the low-turnout contest.

Read More: House Special Election Next Week Likely to Diversify Mass. Delegation

Boehner, Reid Staffers Spar Over Debt Limit and Shutdown

If the rhetoric coming from House and Senate staffers is any indication, the government shutdown isn’t ending soon — and Republicans and Democrats are miles apart on raising the debt limit.

On Monday a top aide for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent around a statement questioning Speaker John A. Boehner’s candor, particularly his claim over the weekend that a “clean” continuing resolution could not pass the House.

“Speaker Boehner has a credibility problem,” said Adam Jentleson, the Nevada Democrat’s communications director. “From refusing to let the House vote on a bill that was his idea in the first place, to decrying health-care subsidies for members of Congress and staff that he worked for months to preserve, to stating that the House doesn’t have the votes to pass a clean CR at current spending levels, there is now a consistent pattern of Speaker Boehner saying things that fly in the face of the facts or stand at odds with his past actions.”

Read More on Roll Call: Boehner, Reid Staffers Spar Over Debt Limit and Shutdown

Race Ratings Change: GOP Chances Improve in California’s 52nd

There aren’t many congressional races where a challenger is running ahead of an incumbent in the polls more than a year and a half before Election Day, but that’s the situation in California’s 52nd District.

Two polls (one GOP survey in the spring and a media survey in June) show former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, a Republican, running ahead of Democratic Rep. Scott Peters.

Read More on Roll Call: Race Ratings Change: GOP Chances Improve in California’s 52nd