NEW … JOE and JILL BIDEN, and KAMALA HARRIS and DOUG EMHOFF released their tax returns. The returns

JUDGE AMY CONEY BARRETT entered the second floor of the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol this morning at 10:02 a.m. with VP MIKE PENCE and chief of staff MARK MEADOWS. They were all wearing masks as they walked toward a medium-sized D.C. press corps that awaited them at the end of the Ohio Clock corridor. Also spotted: Pence chief of staff Marc Short and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.

— SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL: “Well, we’re pleased today to welcome Judge Barrett to begin the process of advise and consent in the Senate. As you know, she’ll be visiting with members who are interested in talking to her during the course of the next few days. And we’re glad to have her here and glad to get the process started.”

— PENCE: “We look forward to a vote in the Senate in the near future to fill the seat on the Supreme Court of the United States, because the American people deserve a justice like Judge Amy Coney Barrett and the American people deserve nine justices on the Supreme Court of the United States.”

CBS’ NANCY CORDES asked MCCONNELL if BARRETT should recuse herself in election matters, and whether there would be a vote before Election Day. AND …

… CRICKETS.

COVID RELIEF UPDATE … Speaker NANCY PELOSI and Treasury Secretary STEVEN MNUCHIN spoke for 50 minutes this morning about Covid relief. PELOSI and MNUCHIN resolved to speak again in 24 hours — Wednesday — to see if there was any overlap that could lead to a deal in the next few days.

— PELOSI’S OFFER, generally speaking, is the House Democrats’ new $2.2 TRILLION bill, which the leadership is prepping for a vote at some point this week. Republicans consider the Dem bill closer to $2.5 trillion.

— THE CONVERSATION MONDAY NIGHT between PELOSI and MNUCHIN involved her talking about the Dem bill, and hoping to elicit some reaction from the administration. MNUCHIN had little to say.

— THIS MORNING’S CONVERSATION was far more in depth about the bill. MNUCHIN and PELOSI will speak again Wednesday morning to see if there’s a path to closing the $1 TRILLION gap between the two sides. This is a last-ditch, pre-election attempt.

— EXPECT THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION to come back to PELOSI somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 TRILLION, which is near the Problem Solvers’ offer.

— CNN’s MANU RAJU caught up with PELOSI this morning: He asked the lowest she’s willing to go in stimulus talks with Mnuchin, and she said as she was getting on an elevator: “It’s what meets the needs of the American people.”

— TIME IS RUNNING SHORT: THE HOUSE leadership had signaled they were hoping for a Wednesday or Thursday vote on this Dem bill. PELOSI noted that her lawmakers want to vote on their bill ASAP — hence the planned Wednesday morning chat. The chamber is likely to leave for the month at the end of this week.

— NOTABLE: MEADOWS was not on the call this morning with PELOSI and MNUCHIN. PELOSI has shown little patience for the conservative Republican and former Freedom Caucus member, and seems to prefer MNUCHIN, who she has cut deals with in the past. BUT … There is unlikely to be a deal without MEADOWS, who has TRUMP’S ear on legislative negotiations because of his close ties to Hill conservatives who have tired of MNUCHIN.

SPRINGING ETERNAL … PELOSI told Bloomberg’s ERIK WASSON that she’s “hopeful” for a deal this week.

IF THERE IS A DEAL HERE … PELOSI’S theory of the case — wait, and they’ll come back to the table — will have been proven right.

— BIG MNUCHIN READ … NYT MAGAZINE’S JASON ZENGERLE: “Steven Mnuchin’s Deal Staved Off Catastrophe. Can He Make Another One?”

NEW … REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-Calif.) will lead debate on a resolution tonight on the House floor calling for a peaceful transition of power. It will get a vote tonight. The resolution

NEW … THE AMERICAN EDGE PROJECT — a coalition Facebook is involved in — is running a 60-second spot tonight about American tech leadership featuring JAMES STAVRIDIS and FRAN TOWNSEND. The spot

THIS SEEMS REALLY BAD, via NYT’S DANA RUBENSTEIN and LUIS FERRÉ-SADURNÍ: ”Five weeks ahead of Election Day, New York City has been inundated with widespread reports of invalid absentee ballots being sent to voters, with incorrect names and addresses placed across an untold number of mail-back envelopes.

“So far, the ballot errors appear to be concentrated in Brooklyn, a borough of 2.6 million people whose elections board has a history of mismanaging elections. Michael Ryan, the executive director of the New York City Board of Elections, blamed the problem on the board’s vendor, Phoenix Graphics, a commercial printing company based in Rochester, N.Y., which was hired to mail out ballots in Brooklyn and Queens.”

Good Tuesday afternoon.

SPOTTED: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) walking with her husband and dog on the path from the Lincoln Memorial to the World War II Memorial this morning.

COOK POLITICAL REPORT’S AMY WALTER is moving OHIO and IOWA from lean Republican to toss-up.

THE ATLANTIC’S MCKAY COPPINS: “Trump Secretly Mocks His Christian Supporters”: “The president’s alliance with religious conservatives has long been premised on the contention that he takes them seriously, while Democrats hold them in disdain. … But in private, many of Trump’s comments about religion are marked by cynicism and contempt, according to people who have worked for him. Former aides told me they’ve heard Trump ridicule conservative religious leaders, dismiss various faith groups with cartoonish stereotypes, and deride certain rites and doctrines held sacred by many of the Americans who constitute his base. …

“Trump, [Michael Cohen] said, frequently made fun of [Mitt] Romney’s faith in private—and was especially vicious when he learned about the religious undergarments worn by many Latter-day Saints. ‘Oh my god,’ Cohen said. ‘How many times did he bring up Mitt Romney and the undergarments …’”

THE BARRETT NOMINATION — “Barrett tied to faith group ex-members say subjugates women,” by AP’s Michael Biesecker and Michelle Smith: “President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court has close ties to a charismatic Christian religious group that holds men are divinely ordained as the ‘head’ of the family and faith. Former members of the group, called People of Praise, say it teaches that wives must submit to the will of their husbands.

“Federal appeals judge Amy Coney Barrett has not commented publicly about her own or her family’s involvement, and a People of Praise spokesman declined to say whether she and her husband are current members. But Barrett, 48, grew up in New Orleans in a family deeply connected to the organization and as recently as 2017 she served as a trustee at the People of Praise-affiliated Trinity Schools Inc., according to the nonprofit organization’s tax records and other documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

“Only members of the group serve on the schools’ board, according to the system’s president. The AP also reviewed 15 years of back issues of the organization’s internal magazine, Vine and Branches, which has published birth announcements, photos and other mentions of Barrett and her husband, Jesse, whose family has been active in the group for four decades. On Friday, all editions of the magazine were removed from the group’s website.” AP

“Demand Justice launches seven-figure ad buy for SCOTUS fight,” by Marianne LeVine

THE LATEST RESEARCH — “Nine in ten recovered COVID-19 patients experience side-effects – study,” by Reuters’ Sangmi Cha in Seoul, South Korea: “Nine in ten coronavirus patients reported experiencing side-effects such as fatigue, psychological after-effects and loss of smell and taste after they recovered from the disease, according to a preliminary study by South Korea. …

“In an online survey of 965 recovered COVID-19 patients, 879 people or 91.1% responded they were suffering at least one side-effect from the disease, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) official Kwon Jun-wook told a briefing. Fatigue was the most common side-effect with 26.2% reading, followed by difficulty in concentration which had 24.6%, Kwon said.” Reuters

NYC DISPATCH — “NYC infection rate spikes as students head back to school,” by Erin Durkin: “New York City’s positive coronavirus test rate has topped 3 percent for the first time in months, as the city battles clusters of the virus in nine neighborhoods in Brooklyn and in Queens.

“If the rise continues, it could force the shutdown of the city’s public school system, which just reopened Tuesday for in-person education at the elementary school level. It also comes a day before indoor dining is scheduled to reopen in the city. The city’s daily rate hit 3.25 percent on Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. On a seven-day average, the rate stands at 1.38 percent. The city will close schools if the rate hits 3 percent on a seven-day average.” POLITICO

THE LATEST IN LOUISVILLE — “AG agrees to release grand jury tapes in Breonna Taylor case,” by AP’s Dylan Lovan: “Kentucky’s attorney general has agreed to release the recordings of the secret grand jury proceeding that considered charges against police involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor. Attorney General Daniel Cameron said he would comply with a judge’s order to do so after a member of the grand jury sued to have the record of the proceedings opened to the public.

“Cameron also said in a statement that the only charge he recommended to the grand jury was wanton endangerment. He had previously declined to provide details on what charges prosecutors brought to the grand jury to consider when it met last week. He said a recording of the grand jury proceedings would be released on Wednesday.” AP

INSIDE THE USPS CRISIS — “Postal Service workers quietly resist DeJoy’s changes with eye on election,” by WaPo’s Jacob Bogage: “With the Postal Service expected to play a historic role in this year’s election, some of the agency’s 630,000 workers say they feel a responsibility to counteract cost-cutting changes from their new boss, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, that they blame for the mail slowdowns. They question whether DeJoy — a top Republican fundraiser and booster of President Trump — is politicizing the institution in service to a president who has actively tried to sow distrust of mail-in voting, insisting without evidence that it will lead to massive fraud. …

“In interviews, 15 Postal Service workers and local union leaders in eight states described a deep decline in morale since DeJoy made clear his intent to retool the Postal Service — with little input from the heavily unionized workforce — that have fixed intense public and congressional scrutiny on the agency. They also say they are prepared to defy directives that would limit how they do their jobs.” WaPo

THE MAIL-IN MESS … PROTOCOL’S ISSIE LAPOWSKY: “The mail-in voting tech industry can’t keep up”: “Despite ramping up capacity and working overtime, mail-in ballot vendors like Runbeck have been struggling to meet the needs of every state and county knocking on their doors. Along with COVID-19-related disruption to their supply chains, companies that print and stuff ballots or make ballot inserters, openers, sorters, trackers and scanners have had to grapple with unprecedented demand for postal voting tech, buzzer-beater deadlines and a flurry of court cases deciding who will even be allowed to vote by mail and where and when.

“Already, Runbeck has printed more ballots in the last two months than it did in all of 2016. In some cases, it’s been forced to turn business away. [COO Jeff] Ellington said Runbeck, which stuffs ballots for the entire state of Georgia as well as counties in seven other states, had to pull out of a bid to work with the state of Maryland and didn’t even bother bidding on contracts for New Jersey and South Carolina, which have both faced federal lawsuits over mail-in ballots. ‘The lawsuits and delays handcuff the counties from making a plan,’ Ellington said. In fact, nearly every vendor Protocol spoke with reported having to turn business down because of demand and delays.” Protocol

YIKES — “Cyberattack hobbles major hospital chain’s U.S. facilities,” by AP’s Frank Bajak and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar: “Universal Health Services Inc., which operates more than 250 hospitals and other clinical facilities in the U.S., blamed the outage on an unspecified IT ‘security issue’ in a statement posted to its website Monday but provided no details about the incident, such as how many facilities were affected and whether patients had to be diverted to other hospitals.

“UHS workers reached by The Associated Press at company facilities in Texas and Washington, D.C. described mad scrambles after the outage began overnight Sunday to render care, including longer emergency room waits and anxiety over determining which patients might be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.” AP

AD WARS — “Biden and Trump offer Latino voters different visions of America — and of each other,” by L.A. Times’ Melissa Gomez, Vanessa Martínez and Rahul Mukherjee: “With just weeks before election day, both campaigns are spending millions on Spanish-language ads in battleground states like Arizona and Florida, where turnout among Latinos could decide the outcome. In September alone, both campaigns have channeled hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Spanish-language TV market in Florida, a state Trump needs to win.

“So far, the Biden campaign has put out more unique ads than Trump’s and in nearly twice as many Spanish-language media markets. Biden has spent nearly $6.7 million running Spanish-language TV ads, compared with Trump’s approximate $4.9 million from June to mid-September, and both have targeted cities like Miami, Orlando and Phoenix, according to the ad-tracking firm Advertising Analytics. The Biden campaign has also outspent Trump on Spanish-language radio, with about $885,000 in ad buys to the Trump campaign’s $32,500, according to the firm’s tracker.” LAT

— “‘Last Man Standing’ for GOP, late-night talk for Dems: Where TV ads can reach voters for cheap,” by Scott Bland: “Using data from the 2018 midterm elections, [Advertising Analytics and Nielsen] found that late-night TV shows were among the top-10 advertising opportunities for reaching Democrats in Minneapolis, Phoenix, Orlando and Tampa, Fla. CBS’ ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,’ for example, cost just $22 per thousand Democratic views in Minneapolis, and $24 in Tampa. To reach Republican voters, Tim Allen’s Fox sitcom ‘Last Man Standing’ scored as a top-10 efficient advertising destination in all four markets, though it didn’t register on the Democratic top-10 list in any of those places.” POLITICO

HEADS UP — “Firefighter Union Leader Won’t Seek Re-Election,” by WSJ’s Brody Mullins and Ted Mann: “Harold Schaitberger, the longtime president of the nation’s largest firefighters union, has decided not to seek reelection amid a federal probe into pension payments to himself and a former union official. … Federal law-enforcement authorities recently opened a probe into Mr. Schaitberger to determine if he improperly received more than $1 million in retirement payments from one of the union’s pension funds, even though he still worked at the union.” WSJ

MEDIAWATCH — Ben Ginsburg, the dean of GOP election lawyers, is joining CNN as a contributor. He is co-chair of the bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration, a fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics and an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown. … Barnini Chakraborty is joining the Washington Examiner as a senior investigations reporter. She previously was a senior features reporter for Fox News.

IN MEMORIAM — “Kuwait’s Ruler, a Giant of Arab Diplomacy, Dies,” by WSJ’s Stephen Kalin: “Kuwait’s ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, a veteran diplomat who positioned the small Arab Gulf state as a regional peacemaker and forged a U.S. alliance that deepened after the country was invaded by Iraq in 1990, has died. He was 91.

“Sheikh Sabah, who suffered a debilitating stroke in 2019, had traveled to the U.S. for medical care following complications from bladder surgery in July. State news agency KUNA reported his death. He is succeeded by his half-brother Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, who is 83 and also in poor health. Sheikh Nawaf isn’t expected to make dramatic changes to Kuwaiti policies, but the battle to succeed him as crown prince could prove divisive and drawn out.” WSJ

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