Alexander is willing to restart the bipartisan talks. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Senate HELP Committee chairman Lamar Alexander says he's willing to restart the bipartisan talks with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray over how to stabilize the Affordable Care Act. "I will consult with Senator Murray and with other senators, both Republicans and Democrats, to see if senators can find consensus on a limited bipartisan plan" to lower premiums and make sure everyone has health insurance options, he said in a statement.

Reality check: There's still no guarantee that they can get a deal — Alexander wants to give states more freedom from ACA rules than Murray does. But the fact that Alexander is willing to restart the talks, after walking away from them last week during the Graham-Cassidy effort, could be a sign that the repeal bill's failure is reviving the prospects for “fixing" the ACA.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Ex-FDA chief: Pence campaigning after COVID exposure puts others at risk — Mark Meadows: "We are not going to control the pandemic"— COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations.
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear themU.S. reports over 80,000 new cases for second consecutive day.
  3. World: Italy tightens restrictions Spain declares new state of emergency.

Amy Coney Barrett's immediate impact

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

In her first week on the job, Amy Coney Barrett may be deciding which votes to count in the presidential election. By her third week, she’ll be deciding the fate of the Affordable Care Act.

Where it stands: The Senate votes on Barrett’s nomination tomorrow. If she’s confirmed, Chief Justice John Roberts is expected to swear her in at the Supreme Court within hours, an administration official tells Axios.

Texas Democrats beg Biden to spend now

Photo: Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

The Biden campaign is rebuffing persistent pleas from Texas Democrats to spend at least $10 million in the Lone Star state, several people familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: If Texas — which has 38 electoral votes and is steadily getting more blue, but hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1976 — flipped to the Biden column, it would be game over. But the RealClearPolitics polling average stubbornly hovers at +2.6 for Trump — and Team Biden appears more focused on closer targets.