POLITICO

With Nicholas Wu.

PATH FORWARD STILL FOGGY — What came out of the series of meetings yesterday between Congressional leaders, warring factions of the Democratic caucus and President Joe Biden? Hope for a path forward, but not an actual path forward on Biden’s two main priorities: a $3.5 trillion partisan social spending plan and a separate, narrower infrastructure bill.

Biden asked Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to get specific. The president asked the key centrist to make clear what kind of topline price tag he could support, given his vocal opposition to the $3.5 trillion and fluctuating references to lower pricetags.

“‘Please, just work on it. Give me a number, and tell me what you can live with and what you can’t,’” Manchin said Biden told him.

But there is still little clarity on the critical deadlines ahead. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made a commitment to a group of moderate Democrats that the House would take up the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill by Monday. Progressice House Democrats say they will vote down the measure until their priority legislation, the massive social spending bill that is not yet ready, first clears both the House and Senate.

“It’s hard to build a ship the day before you set sail,” Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) said. “It’s a lot of last-minute wheeling and dealing, which is how it works here, but it’s hard to build trust.”

Sarah Ferris, Marianne LeVine, Heather Caygle and Laura Barrón-López did the legwork chasing lawmakers after the White House meetings and paint a full picture: https://politi.co/2XGGVue

FISCAL CLIFF, FUNDING CLIFF — Senate Democrats are walking a fine line between wanting to hammer Republicans for intransigence on the debt ceiling, but without triggering a government shutdown next week.

Democrats said that they need to avoid a shutdown at all costs, which has them looking for a plan B as the debt limit stalemate continues. They’d almost certainly need to drop the debt limit issue from the must-pass stopgap spending package and would likely have to launch negotiations with Republicans who’ve made clear they won’t budge on blocking any borrowing limit increases.

“We always do this fucking dance,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.). “I don’t know if people are going to put their sane minds on and do what needs to be done, or shut it down. This is just a ridiculous exercise … I can’t even compare it to anything I do on the farm that’s this stupid.”

The timeline is tight. The Senate could consider the House-passed government funding bill, which lasts through Dec. 3 and suspends the debt ceiling for a year, as soon as this weekend, although Democratic sources said a vote is most likely to occur on Monday. The government is set to shut down just four days later, on Oct. 1. Burgess and Marianne have the latest dynamics on the tandem fiscal calamities and lay out Democrats’ options: https://politi.co/3Aw0NyK

Meanwhile on the floor, the Senate has at least 15 (yes, fifteen) roll call votes scheduled for today on nominations. Buckle up, you were forewarned of nomineepalooza.

HEADS UP — The House votes today on legislation to authorize the transfer of $1 billion to Israel to resupply its Iron Dome missile defense system, after a group of progressive Democrats pressured House leadership on Tuesday to remove the funding from the stopgap funding bill.

INTO THE THICK OF IT — The Jan. 6 select committee is shifting in a sprint. Its members are prepared to fly past resistance as they probe the Capitol riot, and the calendar makes their job tougher: Panel members know they need to show results quickly as the midterms bear down, given Democrats’ thin majority.

“The schedule has always been a challenge to accomplish what we need to accomplish in the timeframe,” said Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) “We’re committed to do it and we’ll use every available tool to get there.”

But they’re already getting results. Kyle and Nick report the panel has received responses to its first, sweeping set of Trump administration document requests from seven executive-branch agencies. And a committee aide speaking on condition of anonymity told them that the that the National Archives and Records Administration, which vets the release of such material, has identified two separate tranches of Trump White House documents that it has forwarded to the former president for review, a legally required step before the committee can obtain them — or fight any objections from Trump.

Read the full story from Kyle and Nick: https://politi.co/2W63kAT

NDAA ACTION — While there are more than 400 amendments left to the National Defense Authorization Act for the House to consider, just a tiny sliver of those will be debated on the floor and most will be considered in en-bloc packages. Timing for final passage for the annual defense policy bill is still up in the air, but Friday (possibly late) is a good bet.

FIRST IN HUDDLE: RADIO SILENCE? — Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), the ranking member on the House Administration Committee, sent a letter to the Capitol Police Board calling on the troubled organization to respond to the Government Accountability Office’s Homeland Security and Justice Division regarding outstanding security and operational recommendations.

The letter, obtained by POLITICO, calls out the Capitol Police Board and says the “lack of action exemplifies my concerns that the Board does not see the value in accountability and transparency.” The board, made up of Architect of the Capitol J. Brett Blanton, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Karen Gibson and House Sergeant-at-Arms William J. Walker, has not responded to the GAO’s May 2021 request for a progress update on recommendations the government watchdog made in 2017. (The entire USCP Board has turned over since 2017.) Read the letter: https://politi.co/3o4AiwX

“I am deeply concerned with the Board’s continued disregard over the past four years for GAO’s recommendations, particularly in the wake of the many tragic events impacting Capitol security of this past year,” wrote Davis. He wrote that he expects the board to respond to the GAO with updates by the end of September and that all remaining recommendations from the 2017 be implemented the end of 2021.

FIRST IN HUDDLE: THEY’RE GOOD DOGS, BRENT — A bipartisan duo on House Financial Services are introducing a bill that would instruct the U.S. Mint to develop a three-coin commemorative series honoring working dogs and sale of the coins would provide financial support to America’s VetDogs to help train and raise service dogs for veterans. The Working Dog Commemorative Coin Act is sponsored by Reps. Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.) and Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.).

“Service dogs support homeland and national security across a range of missions, some of them highly dangerous. This bipartisan legislation will offer the recognition our service dogs deserve, while providing needed resources to train service dogs to support our veterans,” Auchincloss told Huddle in a statement.

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME — The Congressional Women’s Softball Game is back in action this year on Oct. 27 after a covid hiatus last year. While both the Congress and Press teams have been practicing for weeks, a launch event Thursday night kicked off the nontraditional season (usually the game is played in June, not October.) The game benefits Young Survival Coalition, a breast cancer non-profit focused on supporting young women diagnosed with the disease.

Around 100 people gathered at the Anheuser-Busch Bar, where there was trash talk, emphatic pleas to raise awareness of young women’s breast health and toasts to a slate of new sponsors putting CWSG on track to break its fundraising record after a financial hit last year.

Sen. Kyrsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) gave a shout out to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who she called “our newest survivor” following the announcement last month that she was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer earlier this year.

Lawmakers on the roster showed up: Gillibrand, Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), Sarah Jacobs (D-Calif.), Theresa Leger Fernandez (D-N.M.) and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) plus coach Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.)

TODAY IN CONGRESS

The House convenes at 10 a.m. for morning hour and noon for legislative business.

The Senate convenes at 9 a.m.

AROUND THE HILL

8:45 a.m. Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and Reps. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.) hold a press conference on Medicaid and the reconciliation package

10:15 a.m. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Frank Pallone (D-N.J), Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and others hold a press conference to unveil a new report on Medicare negotiation.

10:45 a.m. Pelosi holds her weekly press conference

11 a.m. Reps. Andy Levin (D-Mich.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) and others hold a press conference to introduce the Two-State Solution Act. (Our friends at NatSec Daily has lots of details yesterday: https://politi.co/39w1xYM)

11:30 a.m. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) holds his weekly press conference