Morning Must Reads: September 18

In the news: a partial government shutdown, Aaron Alexis, President Obama's troubles, the Fed 'taper,' and Syria's rebels

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Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

  • “Congress returns this week to its long-running civil war over the budget. By Sept. 30, lawmakers must pass a stopgap bill to keep the government funded. And around Oct. 15, Congress faces a deadline to lift the limit on U.S. government borrowing. With just two weeks until a partial government shutdown, and a month until the U.S. loses the ability to pay its bills, Democrats and Republicans seem further apart than ever, and this time their leaders may be powerless to prevent catastrophe.” [TIME]
    • “The House Republican leadership’s decision to try to defund Obamacare this week in its government funding bill, and their promise to wage a a no-holds-barred fight to delay the health care law as part of the debt ceiling fight, is a double-barreled strategy that could set Boehner, Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and the House Republican Conference up for two big defeats.” [Politico]
  • “The revelations about [Aaron] Alexis’s troubled past—and his ability to pass the government’s security-check system—prompted multiple examinations Tuesday into how background checks are conducted and how long a security clearance can last without review. The system was already under scrutiny after leaks of classified documents by fugitive National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.” [WashPost]
    • “Navy officers were aware that in 2004 Aaron Alexis was arrested for shooting out the tires of a car in a black-out fueled by anger, and yet they admitted him into the Navy and granted him security clearance in 2007 anyway, a senior Naval officer told CNN.” [CNN]
    • “Nothing that gun-control advocates are pushing for in Congress would have prevented Monday’s shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard. And unless this country bans all personal ownership of guns, another mass shooting will occur. This is the greatest hurdle for the gun-control movement.” [National Journal]
  • “For four years, President Obama counted on fellow Democrats to rally to his side in a series of epic battles with Republicans over the direction of the country. But now, deep in his fifth year in office, Mr. Obama finds himself frustrated by members of his own party weary of his leadership and increasingly willing to defy him.” [NYT]
    • “A struggling President Obama is calling for help from members of his first-term A-Team, who have left the White House for other jobs.” [Hill]
  • “When Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke talks, everyone around the world listens. That will be more true that usual on Wednesday when Bernanke announces whether the Fed will scale back, or ‘taper,’ its unconventional economic stimulus program known as quantitative easing, or QE for short. The torrent of dollars that bond-buying scheme has pumped out have found their way into every nook and cranny of the planet, influencing currency values, stock markets, investment choices and overall growth from South Africa to Japan to Brazil. Whenever the Fed chooses to taper, the impact will ripple through the entire global economy.” [TIME]
  • Syria’s Rebels Feel Hung Out to Dry by U.S. Russia Deal [TIME]