1) The Shutdown: Day Nine. Among the largely shuttered government's many casualties were death benefits to the families of fallen military troops. But bipartisan outrage led to relatively quick remedy. The Pentagon reached an agreement with the Fisher House Foundation that will allow military families to keep receiving benefits. "I am offended, outraged, and embarrassed that the government shutdown had prevented the Department Of Defense from fulfilling this most sacred responsibility in a timely manner," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a written statement announcing the deal. The House also voted to unanimously to restore the benefits.
2) The Paul Ryan plan. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed today, the Republican congressman outlined a proposal for ending the stalemate over the shutdown and debt ceiling. "To break the deadlock, both sides should agree to common-sense reforms of the country's entitlement programs and tax code," Ryan wrote. His plan made no mention of defunding Obamacare. Ryan faced some conservative criticism for not mentioning the health care law but later defended himself saying he wanted it to be included in negotiations over entitlements.
3) Tapping Yellen, making history. President Obama nominated Janet Yellen to be the next Federal Reserve chief. "She doesn't have a crystal ball, but what she does have is a keen understanding of how markets and the economy work," the president said of Yellen, who is currently vice chairwoman of the the Fed and will replace outgoing chairman Ben Bernanke. She will be the first woman to head the U.S. central bank.
4) Congress' plummeting poll numbers. A new Gallup poll finds the Republican Party with 28% favorable rating, down from 38% in September. The same poll finds the Democratic Party with 43% favorable rating, down from 47% last month.
5) Booker still in the lead. A new poll shows the Newark mayor maintaining a 12-poing lead over his Republican challenger Steve Lonagan one week before votes are cast in the New Jersey senate race. But Booker is under fire from the American Committment Action Fund, a conservative group that is running a new ad across the state accusing him of failing Newark's public schools despite and $100 million donation from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to help improve them.
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