Udall, Bennet Land Flood Relief Dollars In Shutdown Settlement

UPDATE #2: The over two week-old shutdown of the federal government and accompanying debt ceiling crisis ends, for a couple of months anyway, as FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports:

In the end, all but one member of the Colorado congressional delegation voted in support of the legislation to re-open the government and avoid a potentially catastrophic default on the nation’s debts, which passed both the House and Senate Wednesday night.

Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, voted against the legislation, which passed the House on a vote of 285-144, with nearly all Democrats and roughly half of the House Republicans voting yes.

You'll recall that Lamborn had allegedly given up the fight well over a week ago, but with passage assured, it looks like he took the safe-seat opportunity to cast a protest vote. No doubt the 18,000 federal employees in his district appreciate his conviction. And please try to be understanding next time Lamborn's district catches fire.

Having voted to reopen the shuttered federal government and extend the debt limit, with only the most token of concessions compared to their original strident demands to "delay or defund" the Affordable Care Act, we'll leave our readers to debate the extent of the GOP's failure tonight. We'd say somewhere between epic and total.


UPDATE: Sen. Mark Udall's statement a short while ago:

Mark Udall welcomed the passage today of a bipartisan deal to avert a destructive government default and end the ongoing federal government shutdown, which has hurt Colorado communities, Main Street businesses and middle class families for more than two weeks. The bipartisan agreement includes a Udall-championed provision to help Colorado rebuild flood-ravaged roads, bridges and highways.

"One of Congress's top duties is to support job creation, strengthen our nation's economy and help middle-class families thrive. But for several weeks, an extreme faction of one political party in one house of Congress manufactured a crisis and held our economic recovery hostage," Udall said. "It comes as no surprise that Coloradans overwhelmingly have rejected this extremist brinksmanship and instead implored members of Congress to collaborate on a bipartisan path forward. I’m proud that this bipartisan agreement finally will reopen our federal government, avoid a default on our nation's obligations, and deliver much-needed aid to Colorado's flood-ravaged communities — a provision I fought for."

"In the coming weeks, I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address issues that I've pushed for years: reducing our nation's debt, passing immigration reform and a farm bill, putting in place more sustainable energy policies and making the federal government more accountable to taxpayers. But we must responsibly tackle these issues in inclusive ways that reject brinksmanship and political games."


Image via Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Golden)

Image via Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Golden)

9NEWS' Raju Chebium:

A Senate deal aimed at ending the partial government shutdown and averting a debt default includes a nice chunk of change – $450 million – to help Colorado fully recover from the recent floods.

Aides to Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet say the Democratic lawmakers worked to include language in the deal to lift the $100 million annual limit on emergency highway funds Uncle Sam is allowed to provide to help states recover from natural disasters…

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the deal later today but the House's plans are unclear.

9NEWS omits this detail, but this is the same money that the entire Colorado delegation sought prior to the shutdown in the wake of last month's devastating Front Range floods. You'll recall that officials from both parties, including New Jersey's Republican Gov. Chris Christie, hammered Colorado Republicans for their "hypocrisy" (Christie's term) in seeking these funds after voting against relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy in January. The Washington Post reported that New Jersey Sen. Jeff Chiesa blocked the funds until given assurances that they would not be paid from the Hurricane Sandy relief money Colorado Republicans voted against–which they originally would have been. Local officials will be greatly relieved to see these funds fast-tracked as part of the deal to reopen the government, as opposed to waiting for another vote down the road.

There is still a chance, of course, that some or all of our Colorado House Republicans will vote against the Senate's bill to end the shutdown. The deal isn't expected to garner much conservative support, and will likely pass the House with the support of Democrats.

Given everything that's happened, we would strongly recommend Colorado Republicans swallow their ideological pride (or shame as the case may be) and vote yes. And then apologize to New Jersey.

Wasting Your Money

sage grouse note from Vernal oil shale mtg

Should Garfield County Commissioners use taxpayer dollars to pay for a partisan study refuting government data on Greater sage-grouse habitat? Should our elected officials be putting a thumb on the scale in favor of industry when they should be working alongside our Western neighbors to find a serious solution to one of our most pressing energy issues?

Those are questions I was left wondering after reading John Stroud’s story in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent yesterday. Stroud revealed that the commissioners had agreed to further pay partisan consulting firm American Stewards of Liberty an additional $15,000 to complete their ‘alternative study’ on Greater sage-grouse habitat in northwestern Colorado. Overall, Garfield County has authorized over $200,000 be spent on outside consultants in preparation to claim federal government data is flawed.

No doubt, there are major potential implications to the Colorado economy should the Greater sage-grouse be listed as an “endangered species.” But rather than working with stakeholders to find real solutions in the face of scientific data, no matter how discouraging, Garfield County Commissioners have chosen to mess with the numbers and shortcut the law rather than finding an effective approach to mitigate the underlying problem.

Just this year, Commissioner Tom Jankovsky told the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee “We simply request the BLM abide by FLPMA and their own statutes and regulations to resolve policy conflicts at the local level. Then, not only would litigation be avoided, but solutions would be put in place that truly benefit the sage-grouse.” Why Garfield County Commissioners believe paying thousands to an out of state consulting firm with a strong history of partisan fights will reduce potential conflict is puzzling.

Last year, a bi-partisan poll found a majority of Garfield County residents opposed the hiring of American Stewards of Liberty. Yet here we are. Garfield County residents should be fuming to see their taxpayer dollars spent for political games, rather than used to bring industry, government and other stakeholders to the table.

Of course, this is just the latest feather in the commissioners’ questionable cap. In 2012, Garfield County Commissioners and colleagues from several other Colorado counties traveled to Vernal, Utah, for a closed-door meeting with oil shale industry lobbyists that violated open meetings law.  That meeting was part of afailed effort to undermine the federal government’s recently approved oil shale plan, which has been hailed by the Rocky Mountain Farmer’s Union, among others, as “balanced” and “smart.” It was at this very meeting that commissioners began hatching their plan on the Greater sage-grouse.

The Greater sage-grouse has become a favorite punching bag for Republicans across the country – including members on the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee. Last month in Montana, U.S. House Natural Resources Committee claimed the Endangered Species Act had become a “sue and settlement” tool for groups opposed to economic development on federal lands. Never mind the science that leads the government to ESA decisions under the law that Congress itself passed.

Oil and gas development is an important piece of the Colorado economy and for Garfield County.  But calling into question the findings of career scientists is only likely to breed conflict.  Should the Greater sage-grouse be listed, Garfield County Commissioners will be partly to blame. Instead of finding solutions and working with all stakeholders on the ground, Garfield County Commissioners have resorted to spending taxpayer dollars on hyper-partisan research while parroting industry rhetoric.  That’s not a solution, that’s adding more fuel to the fire.

This Is What Broken Government Looks Like

UPDATE #2: Washington Post:

"We've been locked into a fight over here, trying to bring government down to size, trying to do our best to stop Obamacare," Boehner said. "We fought the good fight; we just didn't win."

Boehner also said he would "absolutely" allow a vote on the Senate plan even if a majority of House Republicans don't support the bill.


UPDATE: ThinkProgress on the terms of the deal about to be approved by the United States Senate:

After shutting down the government for three weeks, Republicans appear to have secured just one concession from a Senate-crafted deal to raise the debt ceiling and re-open the federal government: an income verification system for individuals who earn above 400 percent of the federal poverty line and qualify for premium and cost-sharing subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.

Under the emerging agreement, when subsidies begin to flow on Jan. 1, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will have to certify that the department has established an income verification system as part of the eligibility process. Six months later, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Inspector General (OIG) will conduct a more comprehensive audit of the program. It was not immediately clear what changes the Department would have to make before certification.

In other words, not very damn much for the GOP to claim victory with.


Reps. Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Doug Lamborn.

Reps. Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Doug Lamborn.


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.

Boehner was unable to craft a deal that would satisfy all of the groups, forcing him to shelve his plan and show the world — again — just how hard it is for him to rule the raucous House Republican Conference.

Reportedly, GOP House leadership did not even attempt a whip count to gauge support for their latest "offer" to reopen the government, which included nonstarters like the repeal of the Affordable Care Act's medical device tax, and were dismayed to learn they didn't have the votes to pass it. The medical device tax has been floated a few times in negotiations with Democrats, but in each case it has come off the table as too great a concession. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's negotiations with Republican leader Mitch McConnell are once again on the front burner–a deal that will contain far less in the way of concessions to Republicans. It's an unknown whether House Speaker John Boehner will allow that bill a floor vote, though it would likely pass with mostly Democratic support in the form presently described.

Boehner's failure to pass a bill articulating a clear Republican position, with only hours remaining before the ongoing GOP-engineered fiscal crisis dramatically worsens with the expiration of the nation's borrowing authority, lays bare the enormous political disaster this situation has become for the Republican Party. The tactic of shutting down the government and threatening to default on the nation's credit obligations, over a law passed three years ago and upheld by the Supreme Court, was never considered legitimate by the public. As the shutdown wore on, vulnerable Republicans like Colorado's Rep. Mike Coffman tried to publicly back away, but couldn't ultimately do so while simultaneously maintaining the party line in Washington, DC. And now, each successive poll shows the public turning more lopsidedly against Republicans.

Today, Boehner can't even get the House Republicans who brought us to this moment to pass a bill. They can't agree on what they want in order to end the crisis the voting public believes they manufactured, but we now wait with the government shut for over two weeks, and default around the corner, for them to figure it out. Or agree to what grownups in the Senate cobble together to let them save face. Or go home and cry to their local "Tea Party." Or whatever. We're not sure how you describe what's happening, but it's the antonym of the word "leadership."

What they need to do most, either on their own or with voters' help next November, is get out of the way.

Yes, Trolls, The Insurance Exchange is Working

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

AP's Kristen Wyatt reported yesterday:

Officials with Connect For Health Colorado said 226 people have signed up for insurance using the exchange, for a total of 305 people getting coverage. That's the tally from the exchange's first week, Oct 1-7.

It's a smaller number than reported in other states running their own exchanges. Kentucky, for example, had more than 18,000 people signed up by Oct. 9, and tiny Rhode Island had 580 signed up by Oct. 3…

Republicans were predictably quick to jump all over on this "failure."

A Republican critic of the new health care law, U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner of Yuma, said Colorado numbers are an embarrassment given how much the state spent marketing and explaining Connect For Health Colorado. Gardner cited ads at Denver Broncos games and TV campaigns.

"Look, if you spent $21 million on a bake sale and sold 10 dozen muffins, that would be a complete disaster," Gardner said. [Pols emphasis]

Except, as FOX 31 reports, the lowball figure of Coloradans who have actually completed a purchase of health insurance in the first week of operation of the insurance exchange isn't the whole story:

Connect for Health Colorado, the marketplace associated with the federal Affordable Care Act, saw 162,941 unique visitors during the period between Oct. 1 and Oct. 7, operators reported. Of those, 18,174 people created accounts. [Pols emphasis]

The thing to remember is that consumers shopping for health insurance on Colorado's new insurance exchange are shopping for coverage that begins in 2014. The number of people who sign up in the first few days the site is available, particularly as the inevitable startup kinks are worked out, is not really relevant at all. Far more important are the 18,000+ accounts created by consumers now in the process of selecting plans. A more accurate yardstick of the plan's success will be the number of people covered through exchange-purchased insurance policies by January 1st. By that we mean both 2014 and 2015, by which time officials have set a goal of 136,000 getting coverage through the exchange. The only purpose in harping on the numbers from the first week of shaky operations is to misleadingly disparage the system for political motives.

And really, folks, likening the sale of health insurance to muffins is just an insult to your intelligence.

And Now, It Begins To Really Hurt

UPDATE: Rumors of a new deal are, as can be expected, turning markets around–Politico:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has privately offered Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a deal that would reopen the government until mid-to-late December while extending the U.S. debt ceiling until next year, according to several sources familiar with the talks.

The proposal would set up a framework for larger budget negotiations with the House over the automatic sequestration spending cuts and other major deficit issues, the sources said. Moreover, Senate Democrats are open to delaying Obamacare’s medical device tax and a requirement that those receiving Obamacare subsidies be subject to income verification — but they would have to get something from Republicans in return, sources said.


CNN Money:

The Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq declined about 0.5% in early trading Monday. The sell-off erased some of last week's huge gains, when the Dow rallied 460 points over Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

"Just when you thought it was safe to assume progress on the budget impasse, the weekend has proved to be frustratingly slow in terms of positive developments," wrote Deutsche Bank analyst Gael Gunubu, in a client note. "Markets are responding accordingly … as last week's hope that we would see an early-week deal has evaporated."

As The Hill reports, the ongoing dual crises over the shutdown of the federal government and the upcoming expiration of the government's borrowing authority is creating an unlikely alliance between Wall Street and Democrats: 


Like It Or Not, Mike Coffman Owns The Shutdown


Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank began yesterday's column on "the Cruzification of the GOP" thusly:

When a poll came out this week showing that the government shutdown was putting Republican Mike Coffman in danger of losing his Colorado congressional seat, the lawmaker responded with the serenity of martyrs through the ages.

“Whatever the consequences of doing what’s right,” he told a Denver TV station, “I’m willing to take those consequences.”

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.

Rep. Mike Coffman's resolve to stand with his fellow House Republicans and allow the federal government to shut down, as occurred beginning the first of this month, was amply demonstrated. Coffman told reporters that "this is a negotiation," very much in approval of using the shutdown as a negotiating tactic. We also want to note for the record this C-SPAN video clip from debate just before the shutdown. Coffman upbraids Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman for not "reading" the GOP's bill, and reassuring Waxman that "those reforms in place in the provisions of Obamacare prior to 1 October, will remain in place." 

But as our readers know, in the end Rep. Coffman lacked the courage of Sydney Carton before the guillotine in Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. As the shutdown of the federal government entered its second week, Coffman appeared to break with his colleagues by claiming support for a "clean" continuing resolution, reopening the federal government without the demanded delay or "defunding" of the Affordable Care Act. The next day, however, Coffman abandoned that promise, telling the Denver Post he wanted some kind of unspecified bigger bargain that included renewal of the government's borrowing authority. Coffman also said he would not sign on to a Democratic attempt to force the House to vote on a "clean" resolution.

Coffman enjoyed a round of highly favorable press when he announced his support for a "clean" continuing resolution to reopen the government. His abandonment of that promise a day later received much less attention. But the fact is, every day this shutdown drags on, Coffman takes damage simply for being part of the Republican House majority the public holds responsible for the whole mess. Coffman's waffling on the shutdown, then waffling on his waffling, contribute to a growing narrative of untrustworthiness–like paying lip service to DREAMer students before voting against them, or justifying his vote for abortion restrictions by highlighting exemptions he used to oppose. Just because the lede got buried this time doesn't mean Coffman's intransigence and doubletalk won't be used against him in the long election cycle that lies ahead (sorry, Vince Carroll).

Mike Coffman, perhaps more than any politician in America after redistricting in 2010, must juggle his ideological loyalties with the opposed interests of his increasingly outraged constituents. The lesson may be, at least in Coffman's case, that's just impossible.

GOP now the most unpopular party ever measured by Gallup


By Travis Gettys, rawstory

The Republican Party has recorded the lowest favorability rating for a political party ever measured by Gallup.

The polling company found the GOP’s favorability rating had dropped 10 percent, from 38 percent last month to 28 percent last week, in the wake of the government shutdown over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The Democratic Party dropped from a 47 percent favorability rating to 43 percent over the same period.

A record-high 62 percent of Americans view the GOP unfavorably, compared to 49 percent who view the Democratic Party negatively.

About 25 percent view both parties unfavorably.

Self-identified Republicans are twice as likely (27 percent) to view their own party unfavorably, compared to 13 percent of Democrats who feel the same way.

About one-third (32 percent) of independents view the Democratic Party favorably, compared to 27 percent who view the Republican Party favorably.


Surprise! Mike Coffman’s Promise Worthless 24 Hours Later

UPDATE: So, um, yes folks, we are talking about the same Denver Post that published this editorial today:

It's not easy in this era of hyperpartisanship in Washington, D.C., for federal lawmakers to reverse course on divisive issues.

But Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, did just that when he said Tuesday he supports a "clean" spending bill to end the political standoff and reopen government.

We assume a new editorial is forthcoming. Then again, maybe they didn't read down to paragraph 19.



Two days ago, local media was full of stories about GOP Rep. Mike Coffman's "change of heart" on the ongoing government shutdown, following the publication of an op-ed where Coffman vowed to support a "clean" continuing resolution to immediately fund and reopen the federal government. This marked a major shift in position for Colorado's (and maybe America's) most vulnerable member of Congress, who voted with his colleagues to shut down the government, and subsequently defended their action as part of "a negotiation." Polls showing Republicans inflicting massive damage on themselves with each day the government shutdown goes on plainly rattled Coffman, prompting his widely-reported "break" with GOP leadership.

Except today, as the Denver Post's Allison Sherry reports, we learn that Coffman was not being honest. Again.

Rep. Mike Coffman told The Denver Post earlier this week he would support a measure funding the federal government that is not tied to dismantling Obamacare — a change in position from last week.

Coffman said Wednesday, however, he would not sign onto a special petition being pushed by Democrats that would force a floor vote on a "clean" continuing resolution.

This procedure is extremely rare — it hasn't happened since 2002 — and would mean that Coffman would have to buck his own GOP leadership to force the vote.

Coffman said Congress failing to raise the debt ceiling is a "greater threat" than funding the federal government, but he believes the two need to be included in one proposal. [Pols emphasis]

To recap, not only is Rep. Coffman refusing to sign on to the most straightforward plan to accomplish his stated goal of a "clean" continuing resolution, he just announced that he doesn't support a "clean" resolution at all–he now wants some other kind of resolution, linked to the upcoming expiration of the debt limit. The President and Senate Democrats have held firm, saying that Republicans must not hold either of these routine fiduciary duties hostage–and the polls incontrovertibly say the public sides with Democrats on this issue.

Reading their Denver Post yesterday, residents of Coffman's district learned on the front page that he was willing to reopen the government without precondition. Today, in the nineteenth paragraph of a story about another member of Congress that's not on the front page, we discover Coffman was not telling the truth–much like when he paid lip service supporting undocumented students right before voting against them. An earlier version of this story actually noted in the headline that Coffman was ditching his day-old pledge to support a "clean" resolution; for whatever reason, the final story's headline does not.

On the one hand, you might say Coffman is becoming a master of saying one thing while doing another–and we suppose that is one way to respond when redistricting suddenly changes your safe seat into a diverse and competitive battleground. But we don't think he is showing mastery of anything. To us, Coffman looks terrified of his own shadow, hopelessly caught between his constituents' essential interests and the reactionary partisan politics he has always been beholden to. Coffman is a walking recipe for political disaster, awaiting only a strong Democratic challenger to put a swift end to his career in Congress. And he just proved exactly why we say so.

At some point, the press will stop burying the lede.

Coffman Buckles–Now Backs “Clean” Continuing Resolution

UPDATE: FOX 31's Eli Stokols:

Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, reversed course Tuesday and vowed to support a clean continuing resolution to fund the government, breaking ranks with an obstinate House GOP bloc that has insisted on changes to Obamacare in exchange for passing a CR to end the ongoing shutdown…

Last week, Coffman told FOX31 Denver he was adhering to the House GOP position and that he was comfortable with the position even if it eventually hurt his reelection chances.

But Tuesday morning, in an Op-Ed piece published in several community newspapers, Coffman reversed course, revealing yet another crack in the House GOP unity around the unrealistic strategy of holding the government hostage until Democrats agreed to the de-funding of the Affordable Care Act.


Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

As the Denver Post's Allison Sherry reports:

Rep. Mike Coffman said Tuesday he will urge his GOP colleagues to support a “clean” continuing resolution to fund the federal government and end the current standoff in Washington.

Coffman, R-Aurora, is a critical voice in the debate because there is now a critical mass of Republican votes to pass a funding measure that does not dismantle or defund the Affordable Care Act — a proposal rejected by the U.S. Senate that led to the current shutdown…

“I have done my best to delay, defund and dismantle all or parts of Obamacare because I believe that much of it will be harmful to this country in the long run,” Coffman wrote. “However, the debate over attaching Obamacare to a spending bill must end and I will argue before my colleagues in the House that we need to pass a 'clean' spending bill to immediately reopen the government.”

Obviously this marks a major shift from Rep. Mike Coffman's position just a few days ago, when he held firm with the strategy to shut down the government to forestall implementation of the Affordable Care Act, saying "this is a negotiation" and demanding further concessions such as the repeal of the "Obamacare" medical device tax. Since that time, Democrats have singled out Coffman for paid-media pressure, and Coffman's hometown Aurora Sentinel weighed in with a blistering editorial condemning Coffman's "abandonment of good judgment." The latest polling shows Republicans taking heavy damage, to the extent that even safe-seat Rep. Doug Lamborn sees "the writing on the wall." Coffman is broadly considered one of the nation's most vulnerable incumbent Republicans going into 2014, so all sides were watching to see how long he would hold the hard line before cracking.

Answer: eight days.

“I am absolutely against raising the debt limit, period, end of story.”

(You expected something from Ken Buck besides "burn baby burn?" – promoted by Colorado Pols)

2010 GOP Senate nominee Ken Buck.

2010 GOP Senate nominee Ken Buck.

KLZ radio's afternoon drive show, Grassroots Radio Colorado, deserves to be recognized as a regular news breaker. That is, for the five of us who are already following next year's election.

The show broke news again in an Aug. 27 interview with U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck, when Buck said he's "absolutely against raising the debt limit, period, end of story."

Buck reiterated the point later in the interview:

Buck: "I’m not going to vote in any way to allow a[n] increase in the debt ceiling."

Listen to Ken Buck say he's "absolutely" against raising the debt limit

Strangely enough, Buck used a question about the budget bill to state his position on the debt ceiling, but it's hard to believe that Buck confused the debt ceiling with the continuing-resolution budget bill.

In any case, all of Colorado's congressional candidates should be answering questions from real reporters about the debt limit, as we approach next week's Oct. 17 deadline for the U.S. to extend it or begin defaulting on our country's debts.


Lamborn Abandons Obamacare Defunding Demands

Doug Lamborn (R).

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R).

Curiouser and curiouser, as Bloomberg reports:

The first cracks are appearing in the Tea Party’s push to dismantle the nation’s health law as three House lawmakers with ties to the movement said they’d back a U.S. spending bill that doesn’t center on Obamacare.

Republican Representatives Blake Farenthold of Texas, Doug Lamborn of Colorado and Dennis Ross of Florida, all of whom identify with the Tea Party, said they’d back an agreement to end the government shutdown and lift the debt ceiling if it included major revisions to U.S. tax law, significant changes to Medicare and Social Security and other policy shifts…

“We’ve tried a lot of things and used just about every arrow in our quiver against Obamacare,” Lamborn, 59, said yesterday. “It has not been successful, so I think we do have to move on to the larger issues of the debt ceiling and the overall budget.” [Pols emphasis]

Lamborn said he would back a debt-limit increase if the agreement included an equal amount of spending cuts. He said he’s also seeking a deal that includes instructions for major tax-code revisions.

“I recognize the writing on the wall,” he said. [Pols emphasis]

It certainly is refreshing to hear one of our state's most obstinate conservatives "recognizing the writing on the wall," which we take to mean the growing anger directed at more vulnerable Republicans over the ongoing shutdown of the federal government. We can't say that "moving on" to gutting Social Security and Medicare is a better option for Republicans to continue either the shutdown or to fight the next battle over raising the so-called debt ceiling. But a willingness to give up what the same Rep. Doug Lamborn previously described as the "holy grail" of defunding the Affordable Care Act, to the extent that is a representative opinion on the hard right most responsible for the mess to begin with, could signal the terminal phase of this battle.

The only caveat we can add at this point is that Lamborn is, well, not smart. So maybe he's just off the reservation.

CBS News: Furloughed Colorado workers frustrated

Furloughed Colorado workers frustrated over shutdown (via CBS News)




With three military bases, as well as the Air Force Academy located nearby, members of Colorado's 5th congressional district sit on the front lines of the government shutdown. Now with a chunk of its population suddenly out of work, some are wondering…




With three military bases, as well as the Air Force Academy located nearby, members of Colorado's 5th congressional district sit on the front lines of the government shutdown. Now with a chunk of its population suddenly out of work, some are wondering what their congressman, Doug Lamborn, plans to do about it. Anna Werner reports.

Making Mike Coffman The Face Of The Shutdown

The Hill's Alexandra Jaffe reports on a hard-hitting new shutdown-themed ad campaign from the Democratic aligned House Majority PAC. The goal of this campaign is straightforward: attach embattled Colorado GOP incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman's face and name indelibly to the enormously unpopular shutdown of the federal government presently dominating the headlines.

House Majority PAC, the super-PAC focused on electing Democrats to the House, is launching a wide-ranging multimedia ad campaign hitting all of its top nine Republican targets on the government shutdown…

The super-PAC is targeting Reps. Coffman, Heck, Joyce and Southerland with individually tailored television and Web ads accusing them each of playing "games" with Americans for their role in the shutdown.

…Democrats believe the shutdown will ultimately be a political winner for them, bolstered by polls that show Americans largely blame Republicans. House Majority PAC joins the two central party committees in attacking Republicans for it and labeling it as the "GOP shutdown."

"This harmful and unnecessary government shutdown is a result of House Republicans’ complete embrace of the extremist, Tea Party mentality and their abject failure to pursue a reasonable course that would have prevented a shutdown and the economic damage it’s wreaking all across the country,” said Andy Stone, communications director for House Majority PAC.

That Coffman is getting an even higher degree of attention than most of the nine Republicans on House Majority PAC's list is another indicator of the marquee national importance of the CD-6 race going into 2014. In a district remade out from under the formerly safe-seat Coffman into a culturally and economically diverse battleground, and this time with a strong Democrat opponent to challenge him, the stage is set for the grandest congressional fight in Colorado since Bob Beauprez battled it out with Mike Feeley to win the closest race in the nation in 2002.

The latest press reports have Coffman still rejecting a "clean" continuing resolution to resume funding government operations without the added demands from Republicans to gut the 2010 Affordable Care Act health care reforms. However, that increasingly appears to be the only way out of a standoff that the GOP apparently initiated without a viable exit strategy.

The lopsided polling showing major political damage ahead for whoever the public ends up blaming for the shutdown reveals a wide open opportunity for Democrats to deal a severe blow to Republican credibility ahead of the next election. Those same polls show that, despite a full-court press campaign to shift the blame away from Republicans for the shutdown which has admittedly softened numbers by a few points, voters are still set to blame them by a large plurality. For every bad thing they read about the shutdown, every personal inconvenience they suffer or hear about from friends and neighbors. If, in CD-6, voters come to associate Coffman's face with all of the negative consequences of the shutdown–especially as it persists and the effects worsen–this could be a lasting, even decisive, gift to Democrats in this race.

Airtight Shutdown Denial From Coffman, Tipton

Rep. Scott Tipton (R).

Rep. Scott Tipton (R).

In the Craig Daily Press, a statement from GOP Rep. Scott Tipton on how he really tried, tried mind you, along with his fellow House Republicans, to avoid shutting down the government Tuesday:

As I’ve said throughout this process, my constituents have sent a strong message that they do not want Obamacare because it’s raising health care costs, restricting access to care and costing jobs in our communities.

The House is listening to the concerns of our constituents and has done everything possible to effectively address Obamacare and keep the government open. It’s unfortunate that the Senate and president would rather force a government shutdown than listen to Americans or even have a conversation about possible alternatives to Obamacare to create a truly affordable and accessible health care system.

On Monday night, we voted once more to heed the call of the American people by sending legislation for the third time to the Senate to keep the government open, as well as to go to conference with the Senate. We fought to require equal treatment for all Americans under Obamacare by delaying the individual mandate and repealing the unfair subsidies that the president issued for Congress. There should be no special treatment in Obamacare for Congress or anybody else, and since the president already has exempted businesses and other special interests from the Obamacare train wreck, he needs to do the same for hard-working American families and individuals.

Despite this, the Senate voted down the continuing resolution that would have treated all Americans fairly under Obamacare and even went as far as to refuse to go to conference with the House to work out a solution to keep the government open. It’s deeply troubling that the Senate and president are willing to shut down government in order to protect special treatment for some, including Obamacare carve-outs for Congress, while hard-working Americans are forced to bear the burden of this bad law.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

For a thorough debunking of Tipton's "Obamacare carve-outs for Congress" falsehood, see this FactCheck.org entry. We haven't checked to see if this statement is actually verbatim duplicated talking points, but it's pretty close. And as the Denver Post's Allison Sherry reports, the other "competitive" Republican representative from Colorado, Rep. Mike Coffman, says he too is not yet ready to endorse a "clean" continuing resolution to reopen the government:

“This is a negotiation,” Coffman said. “I think there’s a belief that compromise is wrong but I believe that to govern, particularly in divided government, you have to compromise.”

He said he was considering supporting a continuing resolution to fund the government that also repealed the unpopular medical device tax — something both Democrats and Republicans have said they’d like to reform.

Sherry's report on Coffman was in the context of word that a growing number of Republicans would be willing to support a "clean" continuing resolution, meaning a bill to fund the government without undoing the Affordable Care Act. But no Colorado Republican members of Congress as of this writing are willing to join them. To the extent that the shutdown of the federal government is highly unpopular, we would have recommended that the swing-district embattled Rep. Coffman in particular have joined Republicans seeking a quick resolution.

As of this writing, no such wisdom has prevailed.

Doug Lamborn Joins “Barrycade” WWII Memorial Grandstand

Photo by Colorado Pols

Photo by Colorado Pols

As the Wall Street Journal's Allison Prang reports:

Veterans again visited the closed World War II Memorial, this time joined by lawmakers, at a site that is becoming one of the central symbols of the government shutdown.

The closure of the memorial — thanks to the images of elderly veterans disregarding the shutdown to enter the memorial on Tuesday — has captured the attention of Congress. Many lawmakers have publicly backed the veterans, and made trips to the memorial Wednesday.

“I’m here to support the veterans,” said Rep. Doug Lamborn (R., Colo.), calling the yellow caution tape and barricades at the memorial “truly over the top.”

Hearing about Rep. Doug Lamborn's visit yesterday to the site of the World War II Memorial on the National Mall (which has since sort of re-opened) to "support the veterans" visiting the monument during the government shutdown, Colorado Democratic Party chairman Rick Palacio felt obliged to respond.