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Monday Political Mix: A Congressman Comes Out

Good morning, fellow political junkies.

This week, the political headlines are expected to be dominated by several important off-year elections whose outcomes seem a foregone conclusion, if you believe the polls.

Democrat Terry McAulliffe in Virginia and Republican Chris Christie in New Jersey have significant polling leads in their governor's races. In New York City, Democrat and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio appears poised to win in a blowout.

But that's tomorrow's news. On Monday, a critical procedural vote is scheduled in the Senate on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which would give lesbian, gay, bisesexual and transgender workers similar federal protections against workplace discrimination like those protecting most other workers.

And that's a good place to start with a quick look at some of the more interesting pieces of political news or analysis that caught my eye this morning.

The Senate is thought to be one vote away from the 60 needed to advance the ENDA legislation to a final vote. One of several Republican senators is expected to provide the needed vote on a divisive issue for the GOP, the New York Times' Jeremy Peters reported. The bill's prospects in the GOP-controlled House are less certain.

And in an op-ed whose timing couldn't have been better for the ENDA debate, Maine congressman Michael Michaud, a Democrat running for governor, confirms that he's gay in an op-ed in the Bangor Daily News. "Yes, I am. But why should it matter?"

President Obama's aides have had to remake his schedule for the next few months because of the problems with the Affordable Care Act website. The president won't be spending nearly as much time at events urging people to enroll under Obamacare since the website is under repair. Instead, he will do more immigration and economic events, report Carol E. Lee and Peter Nicholas of the Wall Street Journal.

Mitt Romney made news over the weekend by accusing President Obama of "fundamental dishonesty" in his sales pitches for the Affordable Care Act. Appearing on NBC New's Meet the Press, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee said Obama "has undermined the foundation of his second term. I think it is rotting away."

Obamacare giveth. Under the ACA, millions of low-income people will be eligible for health plans that will cost them nothing because of the government-provided subsidies, report the New York Times' Reed Abelson and Katie Thomas.

Obamacare taketh away. The growing political threat to Democrats can be measured in the anecdotes that keep rolling in of people who have to buy more expensive insurance coverage because their older policies aren't being renewed under the law, report the Washington Posts Ariana Euchung Cha and Lena Sun.

Obama's tech buddy, Google chairman Eric Schmidt, slammed the NSA over allegations that the spy agency monitored traffic between the data centers of several Internet giants. He told the Wall Street Journal's Deborah Kan the NSA practices, if true, were "outrageous."

Former House Speaker Jim Wright, 90, was rebuffed on his first attempt to get a voter ID card in Texas, report the Ft. Worth Star Telegram's Terry Evans and Anna M. Tinsley. "Nobody was ugly to us but they insisted that they wouldn't give me an ID," he was quoted as saying.

Channeling his inner Andrew Jackson, Sen. Rand Paul joked (at least we think he was joking) to ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that if dueling weren't illegal in Kentucky he might challenge one of the "hacks and haters" who have accused him of plagiarizing in his speeches.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Frank James joined NPR News in April 2009 to launch the blog, "The Two-Way," with co-blogger Mark Memmott.