Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 3:18 am
It's Day 2 of the partial shutdown of the federal government. Republicans do not seem ready to compromise on defunding the Affordable Care Act. There are no negotiations between the White House and Congress.
Some federal employees have to work despite the closure, while others have been told not to report to work. On Morning Edition, we hear some voices of folks who have already felt the impact of the shutdown. They say they feel "frustrated," and think the partial shutdown is "ridiculous."
In Washington, D.C., dozens of businesses are running shutdown specials for government employees. Furloughed workers can head to several local eateries for a cup of coffee, cupcakes and even pizza — all free when they show a government ID.
Many Americans got "please wait" messages Tuesday when they tried to start shopping for health coverage on the federal government's new health insurance website, healthcare.gov. A series of technological glitches, delays and crashes kept people from getting to several of the 16 state exchanges, too.
The number of people who leave their countries to work abroad is soaring, according to the United Nations. More than 200 million people now live outside their country of origin, up from 150 million a decade ago.
And migration isn't just from poor countries to rich countries anymore. There also is significant migration from rich country to rich country — and even from poor country to poor.
Beginning Thursday, the U.N. will hold a high-level meeting on the subject in New York.
And next, let's talk with Representative David Schweikert. He's in the studio with us. He's an Arizona Republican lawmaker, a member of the House majority that has insisted they will not approve a short-term government funding measure unless it also takes a bite from Obamacare.
After weeks of wondering what would happen, Americans now know:
1. Congress missed the midnight funding deadline for the new fiscal year, triggering disruptions in government operations.
2. That will slow economic growth, at least in the short term.
But just how far the damage will go is far from clear. Economists say they can't refine their predictions because they have no idea how long the shutdown might last or how many federal workers may be furloughed.
Financial markets across the world took a hit on Monday. They closed lower — waiting to see if there was a partial government shutdown in the U.S. Shortly before midnight, the White House ordered agencies to begin shutting down.
Amazon has announced that it's looking to hire 70,000 full-time temporary employees for the holiday season. That's a 40 percent increase in hires from last year. The world's largest online retailer says it hopes to convert thousands of these seasonal jobs into permanent positions after the holiday rush.
In our talk yesterday with President Obama, he said he will not make concessions to Republicans who quote, "threatened to burn down the house." We are hearing parts of the interview throughout today's program.
Amid the latest political crisis, our economy keeps evolving. And so we used part of our conversation in the Oval Office to ask the president about the longer term trends.
In the three years since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, it has survived more than 50 votes in Congress to defund or repeal it, a Supreme Court challenge, a presidential election and, as of Tuesday morning, a government shutdown. Much of the spending for the law is mandatory and won't be cut off.
But now, it must survive its own implementation.
Tuesday is the day that Obamacare goes operational. Americans can begin signing up for health insurance on online marketplaces known as exchanges.
Now, even as a partial shutdown begins, a bigger fight looms. A default on federal debt obligations could have global effects. Federal borrowing authority expires in the middle of this month. House Republicans have said they will not extend the debt ceiling unless President Obama accepts a long list of their agenda items. And that was on the president's mind when we sat by the Oval Office fireplace yesterday.
The Sweden-based company plans to roll out solar panels in 17 British stores over the next 10 months. The company does say the solar panels will look like flat screen televisions on your roof. Basic solar packages will be sold for more than $9,000.
It's news many airline passengers have waited to hear: The Federal Aviation Administration may allow smartphones, tablets and other personal electronic devices to be used throughout an entire flight — including takeoff and landing.
Frequent flier Barbara Reilly, a health care consultant from Atlanta, is like many airline passengers: She boards her flights with a laptop, an iPad and a cellphone, and "I used them all ... continuously, until the very moment I had to turn them off. And the second I could turn them back on, they were all back on," she says.
Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 4:20 pm
Months after federal agents raided its Knoxville, Tenn., headquarters over charges that it withheld millions in diesel fuel rebates from customers at its truck stops, Pilot Flying J says it is paying the companies that were cheated.
From Nashville, Blake Farmer of member station WPLN filed this report for our Newscast unit:
Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 1:44 pm
Ikea Corp., the Swedish housewares giant, says it will begin selling solar panels to its customers in Britain as it aims to tap into a growing market for renewable energy fueled partly by the U.K.'s solar subsidies.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
The brinksmanship is familiar, but nobody quite knows how the fight over a government shutdown will end.
GREENE: Congress has to pass a bill by midnight to keep the government in full operation. House Republicans demanded that all funds be denied to Obamacare in exchange for keeping the government running 45 days. The Senate overwhelmingly said no.
And our last word in business today is the last word in "Breaking Bad."
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
That's right. Millions of viewers tuned in last night to the dramatic series finale on AMC. No spoilers here, for the record.
GREENE: The numbers are not out yet, but viewership for the very last episode of "Breaking Bad" was expected to top eight million last night. Thirty-second ad slots reportedly sold for $250,000, and a promise to buy more ads on other shows.
The satellite TV operator has signed a $40 million deal with independent film studio A24 Inc. to help finance new movies. In return, DirecTV gets exclusive rights to air the indie films on-demand for 30 days before they hit theaters.
Tuesday is a big day for Obamacare. The online marketplaces where people can shop for health insurance are supposed to open for business.
No one really knows who is going to sign up — not the Obama administration, not the insurance industry, not the president's critics. Yet the success of the law hangs on this question: Will the right mix of people sign up? In particular, will healthy people buy health insurance?
The General Motors Building in Manhattan is a majestic 50-story, white marble structure that takes up one full city block. This is prime New York City real estate. A flagship Apple store sits on the ground floor, across the street is the Plaza Hotel, and on another corner is an entrance to Central Park.
The GM building is considered one of the most valuable office towers in the U.S. In May, a large piece of it was purchased by a Chinese real estate developer.