With the threat of defaulting on the nation's obligations now possibly just two days off, the focus shifted back to the House, where Speaker John Boehner called a caucus meeting to sell his plan — and then quickly had to downplay the idea that he even had a plan. The Senate, meanwhile, slowed things down to see if Boehner could pass anything at all.
Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 8:12 am
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
NPR's business news begins with the latest on the deadlock here in Washington.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GREENE: We've been following the story all this hour: House Republicans have been expected to announce their own plan to end the partial government shutdown and avert a default on the national debt. But House Speaker John Boehner came to the microphones a short while ago and kept things very vague.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. You might've been hearing the name Malala Yousafzai. She is the Pakistani teenager who was shot at point-blank range by Taliban extremists a year ago because she dared to speak up about her desire to go to school. She has made a remarkable recovery. She is in the U.S. now. I spoke with her a few days ago and we'll bring you a portion of that conversation a little later in the program.
Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 9:52 am
Good morning from Washington, D.C., your nation's capital, where we are now into Day 15 of your government's shutdown and counting down to your government's looming default on its debt.
Yes, we all wish we were still in bed with the pillow over our head. (Even, we imagine, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who told The Wall Street Journal that military readiness is being damaged by the budget standoff.)
Dire? There is little argument, except from the most ardent default-is-no-big-deal fringe.
Steve Inskeep talks to Jonathan Chait, a commentator for New York magazine about how liberals are viewing the current budget negotiations in Congress, and if they might be willing to compromise on a deal.
With the debt ceiling deadline looming just two days away, Senate leaders say they're close to a deal that would reopen the government and avert default. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have been leading bipartisan talks on a way out of the deadlock. Even if a bipartisan agreement clears the Senate, it will likely be a hard sell to House Republicans.
Crabbing season starts today in Alaska, well, except it doesn't. Crabbers and their boats are stuck in port because they can't get the permits that they need to begin their work. Federal workers who issue those permits are off the job because of the partial government shutdown and this is cutting into the short three month Alaska crab season, which is worth upwards of $200 million for the crabbers alone.
The U.S. Supreme Court takes up the issue of affirmative action again Tuesday, but this time the question is not whether race may be considered as a factor in college admissions. Instead, this case tests whether voters can ban affirmative action programs through a referendum.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
President Obama says he's hoping for a new spirit of cooperation to end the two-week old government shutdown and avoid a crippling default. And there are some encouraging signs this afternoon. Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate say they're optimistic a deal can be reached soon. The President had summoned congressional leaders to the White House this afternoon, but that meeting was postponed to allow more time for talks to continue on Capitol Hill.
I'm joined now by Republican Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma. He's also House deputy whip, one of those who counts and cajoles fellow Republicans ahead of a vote. Congressman Cole, welcome to the program.
REPRESENTATIVE TOM COLE: It's great to be with you.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. Both the House and the Senate were in session today as the country closes in on the debt ceiling deadline. If Congress doesn't raise the debt limit before Thursday, the White House says the country will likely begin defaulting on its obligations. President Obama postponed a meeting with congressional leaders this afternoon.
So what is going on behind closed doors? Just how do these top-level congressional talks work? We're going to get some inside dope now from a former insider, Jim Manley who was a top adviser to Senator majority leader Harry Reid and, before that, press secretary to Senator Ted Kennedy. Jim Manley, welcome.
Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 4:34 pm
This post was last updated at 6:10 p.m. ET.
The House and Senate were in session on Columbus Day, the 14th day of the federal government shutdown. A meeting that had been arranged between President Obama, Vice President Biden and the four main leaders of Congress was postponed, as the White House cited the progress being made in negotiations.
The latest word of a possible deal calls for raising the federal debt limit through Feb. 15 and funding a return to work for the government through Jan. 15. We'll update this post as more news comes in.
Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 2:43 am
Congress and the White House continue to work through the twin fiscal crises of funding for the federal government and the debt ceiling. Steve Inskeep and David Greene explore the dimensions of this massive political drama with Cokie Roberts, who weighs in on political topics most Mondays on Morning Edition, Robert Costa of the National Review, who's been following developments on Capitol Hill, and Terence Samuel of The Washington Post, who has been following public attitudes nationally.
Political battles over the debt limit have been around nearly as long as the law passed by Congress in 1917 that set a statutory limit for how much debt the Treasury could accrue.
Since then, Congress has had to increase that limit on more than 100 occasions — and 40 of those times, lawmakers have tried to tie strings to raising the debt ceiling. In the last few years, though, there's been a marked escalation in those demands.
The scene: Two men in a chilly Soviet apartment converse in whispers, careful to protect their plans from enemy ears. Little do they know, the benign-looking raven outside their window is not merely a city scavenger hunting for food, but a spy for the U.S. government.
Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 4:15 pm
The federal government shutdown is in its 13th day, with little sign of a budget deal that could win the approval of both houses of Congress, as well as the White House. The debate now includes efforts to avoid a default if the government's debt limit isn't raised by Thursday.
Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 1:52 pm
A crowd of demonstrators converged on the World War II Memorial on the National Mall on Sunday morning, protesting the government shutdown that has included blocking full access to monuments in Washington.
The "Million Vet March," protest was organized by groups including the Brats for Veterans Advocacy, which called on military veterans and others to march against the barricading of the memorial, which its website calls "a despicable act of cowardice."
Experts and pundits' predictions of the future aren't particularly accurate, according to University of Pennsylvania professor Philip Tetlock. He tells host Rachel Martin that making accurate predictions might be a trainable skill.
It's easy to tune out when the Senate goes through its morning rituals. The president pro tem calls the chamber to order; there's the Pledge of Allegiance. One morning could sound like any other.
Except for the past two weeks. Barry C. Black, the Senate chaplain, has been using his morning prayers to say exactly what he thinks is wrong with Washington lawmakers: "Remove from them that stubborn pride, which imagines itself to be above and beyond criticism."
Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 4:02 pm
President Obama hosted the Senate's leading Democrats at the White House for more than an hour Saturday afternoon, in a session that came the same day that Majority Leader Harry Reid met with Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell.
No details were available about the Democrats' discussion, which is one of several lines of communication that are aimed at reaching consensus on a budget deal. Earlier Saturday, House Speaker John Boehner said negotiations with the White House were over, after the president rejected the GOP's most recent plan.
Thanks to agreements between the Department of the Interior and several states, a dozen popular national parks are open again, at least temporarily. The parks range from the Statue of Liberty to the Grand Canyon; the states are paying to keep them open for up to 10 days.
State officials say it's particularly important to have the parks open during the Columbus Day holiday weekend. National Park Service employees began opening some facilities Friday; others will reopen today or Monday.