ACTION NEEDED: A significant recession will occur if Congress does not act on the approaching fiscal cliff, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The potential tax increases and spending cuts are projected to create a recession in the first half of 2013 and raise unemployment to 9.1 percent. Congress needs to act to avoid this potential setback: Lori Montgomery for The Washington Post: Significant recession imminent if Congress doesn’t act on fiscal cliff: CBO report

NOT THE PROBLEM: As people focus on Rep. Todd Akin's recent comments, Matthew Dowd believes the real issue that should be discussed is each party's quest for political power. "Winning and holding power becomes the primary reason for many of the decisions that political leaders make. As I have mentioned before, this country has become nearly paralyzed with polarization and divisiveness. This win-at-all-costs attitude has created an environment in which both sides make patently false statements to gain advantage," he says: Matthew Dowd for the National Journal: Let’s Not Block Akin’s Bid, Let’s Fix the System

IGNORING LABELS: Sen. Scott Brown is running for re-election in one of the most competitive races in the country. While Brown has the backing of the Republican party,  he is doing all he can to erase the notion of party politics. “Regardless of who is pushing it, a good idea is a good idea,” said Brown. More members of Congress need to have a similar idea of governing if we want to get the country back on track again: Katharine Q. Seelye for The New York Times: Brown Plays Down Republican Label in Massachusetts

MOVING TO THE EXTREMES: According to Thomas Friedman, the federal debt, immigration reform, energy and climate regulations and education policy are some of the major issues facing our country today. These issues are impotrant to both parties and Friedman examines how across-the-aisle solutions can be created if parties take a less polarizing stance: Thomas Friedman for The New York Times: We Need a 'Conservative' Party

LOW MARK: Congress has an approval rating of 12 percent, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. The approval rating is tied for the lowest mark since 1990, when the poll was created. This poll comes on the heels of a Gallup poll which has Congress' approval rating at 10 percent. Elected officials need to remember that they took an oath to serve their constituents: Wall Street Journal: Approval of Congress Matches All-Time Low

CALL FOR AGREEMENT: President Barack Obama believes that Congress can reach an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff, which will occur in January. "The numbers work as long as each side recognizes they’ve both got to give. Democrats have to understand we’re going to need some additional spending cuts, and Republicans have to understand we’re going to need some additional revenues," Obama said: Jeremy Herb for The Hill: Obama says compromise can be found on sequester

ENDING POLITICAL GRIDLOCK: That's what No Labels supporter Sen. Joe Manchin is calling for. Manchin recently attended a discussion with some of his constituents, understanding that he was elected to serve them. "It has been very informative, listening to people's real problems, real conditions and real concerns. There is something you learn at every meeting," Manchin said: Brett Dunlap for News and Sentinel: Manchin wants end to political gridlock

BIPARTISAN RECORD: Former Governor Tim Kaine is proving that running a campaign based on solving problems is a viable option for candidates. Check out his latest televised ad here: Cameron Joseph for The Hill: Tim Kaine touts bipartisanship in first ad

THE DAILY BREAK: In August 1962, the world was introduced to Spider-Man. Click here to see how the character has evolved over the last 50 years.

ACTION OF THE DAY: Call your member of Congress today asking them to co-sponsor the No Budget, No Pay Act. If your member is already a co-sponsor, thank him or her for their support.

STAT OF THE DAY: President Obama is suggesting increasing compensation for federal employees who have been under a pay freeze for two years by 0.5 percent, but there's a catch. He wants Congress to pass a budget and spending bills first. During the time that the federal government is under a continuing resolution – at least until April, when the current one expires, federal employees will continue operating under a pay freeze: Kellie Lunney for Government Executive: Obama extends pay freeze until Congress passes a budget

Written & edited by Kelsey McLaughlinCollin BerglundLauren Gilbert and Jack McCullough

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