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In this Sept. 16, 2013, photo, President Barack Obama speaks in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington. Obama and Democrats frequently criticize Republicans for focusing so much attention on repeal efforts of Obamacare without coming up with an alternative. A large group of House conservatives intends to unveil legislation providing an expanded tax break for consumers who purchase their own health coverage and increasing the government funding for high-risk pools, according to lawmakers who said the plan marked the Republicans’ first comprehensive alternative to Obamacare. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
News roundup: Obama, Dems sit back as GOP fights itself

Obama sits back as GOP fights itself. After DOJ ruling, Swallow probe cools down. Lee: GOP has my back on Obamacare fight.

Happy Friday. President Barack Obama and Democrats have been focusing their efforts in talking about the budget and the debt ceiling because they know the GOP is fractured over the issues and taking swings at each other. The Republican infighting might be a welcome break after the White House has seen bad news after bad news so far this year. [Politico]

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Topping the news: The move by the Justice Department to decline prosecution of AG John Swallow has cooled the interest among the Utah House to pursue its own action. [Trib]

-> Sen. Mike Lee predicts that Republicans will stand with him if given the chance to vote on a budget that doesn't include funding for the Affordable Care Act. [Trib]

-> Rep. Rob Bishop reams the Interior Department for trying to protect the wetlands of the Great Salt Lake by opposing the West Davis Corridor, calling the department callous and distasteful. Critics wonder why Bishop is so opposed since he the corridor is out of his district. [Trib]

Tweet of the day: From @StephenAtHome: "From Day 1, I've vowed to stop Obamacare or die trying. Knowing my luck, I'll almost die and get nursed back to life by Obamacare!"

Happy birthday: On Saturday to state Rep. Kay McIff and on Sunday to The Tribune's Tommy Burr.

Happy anniversary: On Saturday to avid Tribune reader and supporter David Hultgren and his wife Judy, who will celebrate in Ogden's Union Station.

In other news: Rep. Jason Chaffetz is being praised for his investigation into Benghazi and a man of impeccable credibility by the father of a Navy SEAL who was killed in the attacks. [NationalReview]

-> Eight Utah university presidents sent a joint letter to state's House members urging them to compromise on immigration reform. In 2009, nearly 30 percent of students receiving a graduate or professional degree in science, technology, engineering and math were not citizens. [Trib]

-> Pat Bagley blasts Sen. Lee over his efforts to halt funding for Obamacare. [Trib]

-> Utah ranks as the fourth worst state in the nation in the wage gap between male and female employees. Economist say that many Utah women's attitudes leads them to lesser-paid employment. [Trib]

-> Bob Bernick notes the Count My Vote folks decided against a two-tier track effort, opting instead just to pursue a way around the caucus-convention system. [UtahPolicy]

-> Bernick and Bryan Schott talk about that effort, the state's budget surplus and Lt. Gov. Greg Bell's resignation. [UtahPolicy]

-> Census data shows that Utah still ranks No. 1 in marriages, family size and birth rate. Utah, however, ranks fourth in divorce rates. [Trib]

-> Paul Rolly discusses the Utah bureaucrats that have too much time on their hands and the DMV using cheap products. [Trib]

Nationally: Republicans have scaled back some of their demands for raising the federal debt limit, but so far, none of them have anything to do with reducing the debt. [WaPost]

-> The GOP is becoming a house divided over the Affordable Care Act debates as congressional Republicans are openly bickering about competing strategies of how to avoid a shutdown. [WaPost]

-> House Republicans passed a bill that will cut billions of dollars out of the food stamp program; President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the bill. The bill also allows food stamp recipients to be tested for drugs. [NYTimes]

-> Obama is trying to set up a meeting between top Democratic and Republican leaders over budget issues but it's still unclear when or where the meeting will be held. [Politico]

Where are they?

  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz meets with Majority Leader Eric Cantor and returns to Utah after voting.
  • Rep. Chris Stewart attends a Space Subcommittee hearing.
  • Gov. Gary Herbert hosts his annual black tie gala.
  • SL Co. Mayor Ben McAdams attends the Uinta Basin Energy Tour.
  • SLC Mayor Ralph Becker meets with Salt Lake City Council Chair Kyle LaMalfa and Vice Chair Jill Remington Love and sits down with his office's Diversity and Human Rights Coordinator.
  • WVC Mayor Mike Winder goes to the Chelsie Hill 5K race.
  • President Barack Obama travels to Kansas City, Missouri and tours automotive plants there.

Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at cornflakes@sltrib.com. If you haven't already, sign up for our weekday email and get this sent directly to your inbox. [Trib]

-- Thomas Burr and Jordan Bailey

Twitter.com/thomaswburr Twitter.com/thejordanbailey

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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