The Note's Must-Reads for Monday, October 21, 2013

The Note's Must-Reads are a round-up of today's political headlines and stories from ABC News and the top U.S. newspapers. Posted Monday through Friday right here at

Compiled by ABC News' Jayce Henderson, Amanda VanAllen and Will Cantine

BUDGET / TAX REFORM The Wall Street Journal's Peter Nicholas and Colleen McCain Nelson: " Budget Discord Simmers Among Democrats" Cracks are showing in the Democratic coalition as the next round of budget talks gets under way, hurting the chances for progress toward a broad deal that changes the tax code and significantly narrows future deficits. While Republicans are still smarting over nasty infighting they engaged in during the debt-ceiling fight and 16-day government shutdown, Democrats have stayed united. This helped them beat back Republican demands to undo or scale back President Barack Obama's 2010 health law as a condition for ending the showdown. LINK

The Hill's Bernie Becker: " Budget talks complicate tax reform" The top congressional tax writers are now facing just the latest wrinkle in their efforts to rewrite the code: a budget conference. Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) both have said they plan to put pen to paper on tax reform plans within the next several months. But in the meantime, a slew of budget conferees will be sitting down to try to reconcile the radically different House and Senate budgets by Dec. 13, as part of a deal struck to end the recent fiscal standstill. LINK

HEALTH CARE ABC News' Matthew Larotonda: " Sees 'Nearly Half a Million' Applications" Almost three weeks after launch the online health insurance marketplace created by the president's signature healthcare legislation continues to be plagued by technical problems. Despite the setback, however, the Department of Health and Human Services announced this weekend that "nearly half a million" Americans have already applied for coverage through the website. LINK

Politico's Joanne Kenen: " HHS Makes Changes To Obamacare Home Page" Health and Human Services officials announced Sunday that consumer-friendly changes have been made to the homepage of the troubled Obamacare enrollment website. The changes to the homepage aim to relieve some user frustration - but it isn't a wider fix to the buggy and crash-plagued signup system. HHS officials earlier in the day announced separately that they were drawing on the "best and the brightest" tech experts inside and outside of government to try to repair's flaws. LINK

The Washington Post's Amy Goldstein: "'s Glitches Prompt Obama To Call In More Computer Experts" The Obama administration said Sunday that it has enlisted additional computer experts from across the government and from private companies to help rewrite computer code and make other improvements to the online health insurance marketplace, which has been plagued by technical defects that have stymied many consumers since it opened nearly three weeks ago. This expanded team has come up with new ways of monitoring which parts of the federal Web site,, are having problems and has been taking the site offline for rigorous overnight tests, according to a Department of Health and Human Services spokesman. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Neela Banerjee: " Post-shutdown, Republicans remain divided on tactics over healthcare" Republican members of Congress offered glimpses of rifts within their party in the wake of the government shutdown Sunday, suggesting that raw feelings might hobble progress on other pressing issues. The leader of the conservative Republican opposition to President Obama's healthcare overhaul, which triggered the government shutdown, freshman Texas Sen. Ted Cruz remained defiant. Cruz said he would keep focusing on Obamacare in the coming months, despite calls from the White House and members of both parties of Congress to take up issues such as immigration reform. LINK

GOP The Washington Times' Tim Devaney: " After failure in debt showdown, Republicans take aim at one another" Senate Republicans took to the airwaves Sunday morning to criticize their party for the recent government shutdown. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, criticized fellow GOP lawmakers for shutting down the government in an effort to defund the controversial Affordable Care Act. LINK

USA Today's Richard Wolf: " Republicans blame each other after shutdown fiasco" Republicans began a new week pointing fingers at each other Sunday following a 16-day government shutdown and near-default that left the nation worse off and the GOP taking most of the blame. If there was a theme to the round of Sunday morning talk shows looking back at the fiasco, it was the determination of most Republicans - from Senate leaders to past and potential future presidential candidates - to move on rather than focus on this month's failed battles. LINK

The New York Daily News' Adam Edelman: " Republican leaders say 'no' to more shutdowns - but Sen. Ted Cruz begs to differ" The U.S. Senate's minority leader vowed Sunday there won't be another government shutdown, but his firebrand colleague Sen. Ted Cruz would have none of it. Within moments of the airing of Mitch McConnell's taped comments, the Tea Party hero at the heart of the 16-day shutdown was already gearing up for another round of brinkmanship. "I would do anything, and I will continue to do anything I can to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare," Cruz, a Texas Republican, said on ABC's "This Week." LINK

JP MORGAN The New York Times' Ben Protess and Jessica Silver-Greenberg: " U.S. Deal With JPMorgan Followed A Crucial Call" At a museum on Fifth Avenue, in a sparkling reception hall overlooking Central Park, Jamie Dimon convened his top executives and their spouses last month for the Wall Street equivalent of a pep rally. "I'm proud of the company," Mr. Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, said at the event, held at the Museum of the City of New York, a mansion with a marble staircase and French doors. According to people who attended, Mr. Dimon said, "We will get through all of this," referring to the legal and regulatory woes dogging the nation's biggest bank. LINK

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