ENERGY REVISITED: With votes on action in Syria delayed, the Senate now has the opportunity to discuss another bill. "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, on Wednesday afternoon moved to a bipartisan energy-efficiency bill that the Senate had planned to debate this week before the Syrian debate escalated," writes Amy Harder. The bill has just one requirement: to make the federal government use energy more efficiently. The Wasted Energy, Wasted Dollars Act, part of the Make Government Work! legislative package, offers another complete solution to cut down on energy consumption.
VA BACKLOG: "More than a quarter-million veterans are appealing disability-claim decisions they say are wrong, and in some cases they can wait four years or more for a ruling, figures from the Department of Veterans Affairs show," writes Steve Vogel. That number could double in the next four years. The bill 21st Century Healthcare for Heroes would help reduce the backlog by merging records between the Department of Defense and Veterans' Affairs: Steve Vogel for The Washington Post: Veterans face another backlog as a quarter-million appeal disability claims
DEBT CEILING ISSUES: "Republican leaders scrapped a vote this week on legislation that would keep the federal government financed through mid-December while ending financing for President Obama’s health care law," writes Jonathan Weisman. Leadership says they will bring the bill up for a vote next week, but that leaves only a few days until a government shutdown. Our leaders need to stop playing political games and start working together to find a solution: Jonathan Weisman for The New York Times: House G.O.P. Delays Vote on Stopgap Budget Measure
BACK TO DYSFUNCTION: Kate Nocera takes a look at how members of Congress worked across party lines during the Syria debate, but have quickly returned to the dysfunction that has dominated the institution for the past few years: Kate Nocera for BuzzFeed: We Now Return You To Your Regularly Scheduled Dysfunctional Congress
PICNIC CANCELLED: The White House has cancelled its annual picnic for members of Congress after delaying it earlier this summer. These informal gatherings are a great way for lawmakers to build trust across the aisle. Members are now allowed to bring family members to a White House holiday party instead: Carrie Budoff Brown for POLITICO: W.H. cancels picnic for Congress
PRAISE ACROSS THE AISLE: Sen. Ted Cruz had some words for President Barack Obama — and they were positive. Cruz approve of Obama bringing a potential strike on Syria to Congress. While lawmakers may disagree on the majority of issues, that does not mean they can not work together on what they do agree on:Breanna Edwards for POLITICO: Pigs fly, Ted Cruz full of Obama praise
STAT OF THE DAY: Congress may be getting better, according to the most recent Gallup poll. A total of 19 percent of Americans approve of the work Congress is doing, a five percent jump from last month. This is the highest percentage since October 2012: Tal Kopan for POLITICO: Poll: Congress popularity creeps up