The Note's Must-Reads for Wednesday October 16, 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, Will Cantine and Amanda VanAllen

DEBT CRISIS ABC News' Abby D. Phillip, Jeff Zeleny and Arlette Saenz: " Senate Takes Reins of Fiscal Deal After House Fails to Take Up Plan" Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have re-opened negotiations on their bipartisan budget deal after House Republican proposals fell through tonight. Aides to both men tell ABC News tonight they are "optimistic" an agreement can be reached. LINK

USA Today's Susan Davis and Gregory Korte: " House GOP Pulls Bill On Shutdown; Senate Talks Resume" A House Republican effort to move a bill to reopen government and avert an impending default collapsed late Tuesday when it became apparent that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, did not have the votes to pass it. The lack of any concrete plan in either chamber, divisions within the GOP, and the complexity of Senate rules pose many complications towards finding a budget compromise that can pass by Oct. 17, the deadline by which the Treasury has said it will no longer be able to meet all of its financial obligations on time. LINK

The Washington Post's Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane: " Senate Leaders Race To Draft Debt-Limit Bill After House Effort Collapses" A campaign to persuade House Republicans to lift the federal debt limit collapsed in humiliating failure Tuesday, leaving Washington careering toward a critical deadline just two days away, with no clear plan for avoiding a government default. Senate leaders quickly moved to pick up the pieces, saying they were "optimistic" that they could reach agreement to advance an alternative proposal that would raise the debt limit through Feb. 7 and end a government shutdown, now in its third week. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Michael Memoli, Lisa Mascaro and Brian Bennett: " Boehner's Push For House Budget Compromise Falters" A frantic day of legislative maneuvering ended in futility for Speaker John A. Boehner on Tuesday, as the most conservative members of the House refused to back his proposed compromise to end the standoff over the federal budget. The failure leaves a bipartisan Senate plan negotiated by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as the sole way out of a stalemate that risks a U.S. default on its bills and huge economic disruptions. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Janet Hook, Carolyn Cui and Kristina Peterson: " House GOP Abandons Its Proposal" Last-minute protests from conservatives in the House created a day of delay and confusion in Congress's efforts to avoid a U.S. debt default, as Republican leaders failed to craft a GOP budget proposal that could muster enough votes to pass. In an embarrassing retreat for House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio), House leaders had to cancel plans to bring a GOP bill to the floor for a vote Tuesday night. LINK

Politico's Jake Sherman and John Breshanan: " Warring GOP factions sink John Boehner plan" In the end, it wasn't only hard-line GOP conservatives that sank Speaker John Boehner's plan to reopen the federal government and lift the $16.7 trillion debt limit. The Ohio Republican, battered from three years of intra-party battles, was caught between at least three different GOP factions as he tried to craft a compromise agreement: Republicans who didn't want to slash government health care contributions for Capitol Hill aides, members who thought repealing the medical device tax was a giveaway to corporate America and conservatives, who thought Republican leaders were too soft on Obamacare. LINK

The New York Times' Jonathan Weisman: " Debt Talks In Disarray As House Balks" With the federal government on the brink of a default, a House Republican effort to end the shutdown and extend the Treasury's borrowing authority collapsed Tuesday night as a major credit agency warned that the United States was on the verge of a costly ratings downgrade. After the failure of the House Republican leadership to find enough support for its latest proposal to end the fiscal crisis, the Senate's Democratic and Republican leaders immediately restarted negotiations to find a bipartisan path forward. A spokesman for Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, said Mr. Reid was "optimistic that an agreement is within reach" with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader. LINK

The Boston Globe's Noah Bierman and Mattias Gugel: " Congress Still Snarled With One Day To Go" With a deadline to avoid a potential default on the nation's debts mere hours away, Congress on Tuesday tumbled back into a state of disarray, risking a historic breach of borrowing limits that could threaten the nation's economy. House Republicans began a closed-door meeting Tuesday by singing "Amazing Grace" together, but their prayer for redemption led only to more discord. LINK

The Washington Times' Christopher Rugaber: " Fitch Puts U.S. Credit Rating On Negative Watch" One of Wall Street's leading credit-rating firms Tuesday afternoon warned that it may downgrade the U.S. credit rating from AAA as a result of the congressional impasse that could force the Treasury Department to hit its borrowing limit on Thursday and could lead to a first-ever default on Treasury securities within days after that. While both the House and the Senate were drafting bills that would extend borrowing authority through February, Democrats and Republicans remain at loggerheads over what other provisions to attach to the measure, with the House GOP continuing to hold out for major alterations in President Obama's signature health care reform program. LINK

The Hill's Peter Schroder, Bernie Becker and Russell Berman: " Fitch Eyes Downgrade Amid Chaos" Congress stumbled closer to the precipice of U.S. default Tuesday as House Republicans withdrew their latest bill to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government, and Fitch, the ratings agency, threatened to downgrade the nation's creditworthiness. Markets will open on Wednesday with no firm plan from Washington on raising the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling less than 24 hours before the Treasury Department's deadline for a possible default. LINK

NEW JERSEY'S SPECIAL U.S. SENATOR ELECTION The New York Daily News' Adam Edelman: " President Obama Encourages New Jersey Residents To Vote For Cory Booker" President Obama is reminding New Jersey voters to vote for Cory Booker in the state's special Senate election Wednesday. Just one day before the election Obama appeared in a video for the Booker campaign encouraging New Jersey residents to support the popular Democratic Newark mayor. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Alana Semuels: " New Jersey Expected To Vote Against Partisanship" Never mind the bitter partisan bickering in Washington. New Jersey resident Peter Cahill will go to the polls twice within the next month and do something unusual: vote for a Republican and a Democrat. On Wednesday, Cahill, 44, will cast a ballot for Cory Booker, the Democratic mayor of Newark, in a special election for U.S. Senate. LINK

Bloomberg's Elise Young and Terrence Dopp: " Booker's Race To U.S. Senate Ending With Eye On 2014 Run" The winner of New Jersey's special U.S. Senate election today faces an almost immediate start to a second campaign to capture a full six-year term, even as he learns his role as Washington's newest lawmaker. If the victor is Democratic Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the frontrunner, he'll have an incumbent's edge for the November 2014 race in a state that hasn't elected a Republican to the Senate since 1972. He'll also be familiar to voters, with about 60 percent of Democrats backing him in a four-way August primary election. He went on to weather racial and homophobic attacks from the campaign of Steve Lonegan, his Republican opponent. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEOS " Obama Visits Soup Kitchen As Debt Ceiling Deadline Nears" LINK " What Is the Exact Default Deadline?" LINK

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