Sen. Ted Cruz

Morning Action: Did Ted Cruz Win?

OBAMACARE.  In a letter sent yesterday, the Obama administration announced another sweeping change to Obamacare – the law itself is now considered a hardship.  The move prompted MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough to ask whether Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) 97% won:

 DEBT HIKE.  Also yesterday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sent a letter to Congress demanding they once again increase the nation’s debt ceiling.  In the letter, Lew tried to frame the debate by declaring the debt ceiling “is not a bargaining chip to be used for partisan political ends.”  In other words, the administration wants yet another blank check from the American people:

Currently, the Treasury is able to issue debt as needed. Come Feb. 7, it loses that ability, according to a deal brokered in Congress to end the government shutdown this fall. At that point, the Treasury would have to use “extraordinary measures” to free up enough cash to pay the country’s bills. 

Those measures buy only so much time, the Treasury warned Congress again. By early March at the latest, the country would be on the precipice of default. 

TARGET.  Yesterday, mega-retailer Target announced a massive security breach on in-store purchases.  Meanwhile, security risks remain pervasive at HealthCare.gov just days before the sign up deadline:

Nearly three months after its launch and as millions of Americans log on to shop for health plans, HealthCare.gov still has serious security vulnerabilities, according to documents and testimony obtained exclusively by ABC News.

“My recommendation was a denial of an ATO,” she said, referring to an Authority to Operate license necessary for HealthCare.gov to go online for public access. 

The website ultimately went live on Oct. 1 without ever having undergone complete end-to-end security testing. 

YELLEN.   Late last night, Senate leaders struck a deal on nominations that will push the confirmation vote of Janet Yellen into next year:

Senate leaders … agreed to move the final vote on the nomination of Janet Yellen to be Federal Reserve chairwoman to Jan. 6. The Senate was planning to hold the vote Saturday but Senate leaders scrapped that plan late Thursday. 

Under the new agreement … the Senate will hold a cloture vote on Yellen’s nomination [today] during a series of six roll call votes that will begin at 10 a.m. Yellen’s nomination will almost certainly clear that procedural hurdle. Then senators will head home for the holidays and take a final vote on her nomination on Jan. 6. 

Republicans, led by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, said they would not allow a quick vote on Yellen this week unless Democrats allowed a vote on the ‘Audit the Fed’ bill. Democrats would not agree to the plan.

 The timing doesn’t particularly matter at the Fed. The term of Chairman Ben Bernanke goes through Jan. 31 and Yellen’s tenure would not begin until Feb. 1 whether the Senate voted to confirm her Saturday or in January.

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