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.
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.
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.
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.
Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 9:12 am
The U.S. desire to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan is the subject of talks today in Kabul, where Secretary of State John Kerry is in prolonged discussions with President Hamid Karzai. Most of the U.S. troops would continue training Afghan forces, while another contingent works against terrorist groups.
As for how many Americans would be posted to Afghanistan, NPR's Sean Carberry says a precise number hasn't emerged, but he adds that "through conversations and comments by military officials, the range is about 5,000 to 10,000."
Polls show the Republican Party is taking the biggest hit politically for the government shutdown, and leaders are wondering how to appeal to more diverse voters nationwide. But Tea Party leaders are holding the line on the shutdown, and have no interest in muting their message. Host Scott Simon talks with political correspondent Don Gonyea about the strategy crisis for Republicans.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Both the Senate and the House are meeting today for the second Saturday in a row. It's Day 12 of the government shutdown and Republican lawmakers are so far getting much of the blame for the lapse in federal funding that caused the shutdown. But they appear to have dropped their central demand of the budget standoff, a dismantling or delay of the Affordable Care Act. NPR's David Welna reports.
Research season was just getting started when the government shutdown put McMurdo Station into "caretaker" mode, halting data collection. Host Scott Simon speaks to Gretchen Hofmann, a professor at University of California, Santa Barbara, about the government shutdown's impact on research in Antarctica.
Will the bottom fall out of the economy on Oct. 17 if Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling? New York Times columnist Joe Nocera talks to Weekend Edition Sunday host Scott Simon about what the extended government shutdown and the debt limit could mean for our economy.
The International Monetary Fund and World Bank are holding their annual meeting this week. That means top finance officials and economists from all over the world are in Washington, D.C., during a display of brinksmanship from members of Congress.
The shutdown of the U.S. government has sparked lots of finger-pointing and name calling in Congress. But our friend A.J. Jacobs says this is hardly the nastiest dispute in the history of our democracy. A.J., an editor-at-large at Esquire Magazine - until they come to their senses - joins us now from New York. A.J., thanks so much for being with us.
Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 6:05 am
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
The government shutdown is now entering its second week. That's left many lawmakers with little to do and many tourists in Washington, D.C. wandering wanly through the streets of the city, wondering how to spend their pre-planned vacations. NPR's Alan Yu checks in with some of them.
Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 9:19 am
When you invite guests over, you probably straighten up the house to make a good impression.
This week, the nation's capital is welcoming guests from all over the world. Thousands of finance ministers, central bankers, scholars and industry leaders are in Washington, D.C., for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.