Politics

Shots - Health News
3:17 am
Thu October 3, 2013

From Therapy Dogs To New Patients, Federal Shutdown Hits NIH

The Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.
National Institutes of Health

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 11:00 am

Abbey Whetzel has a 12-year-old son named Sam who has been at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Maryland for over a month. He has leukemia that is no longer treatable. And in this difficult time, one source of joy has been the therapy dogs that come to visit the sick kids.

"They can only come once a week, but it's the highlight of Sam's week," says Whetzel. But this week, she says, her son got some bad news. "They came and stopped in, and told Sam that the therapy dog wouldn't be coming because of the government shutdown."

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Politics
3:17 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Government Shutdown Will Add To VA's Backlog

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 10:53 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

All right. The partial government shutdown could take an especially painful toll on American veterans. The most serious consequences will not come unless the shutdown continues for weeks. Those consequences would include cutting off disability and education benefits. Politicians on both sides have scrambled to show their support for vets, but as NPR's Quil Lawrence reports, veterans applying for new benefits may already be suffering.

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Politics
3:17 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Why A Handful Of Hard-Liners Has A Hold On Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner speaks to the media after a meeting with President Obama at the White House on Wednesday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 10:53 am

To understand House Speaker John Boehner's role in the government shutdown, you have to understand the 30 or so House Republican hard-liners and his relationship with them.

It's an uneasy one at best.

"Listen, we've got a diverse caucus," was how Boehner put it in mid-September, shortly after the 30 forced him to ditch his original plan for a temporary government funding bill.

"Whenever we're trying to put together a plan, we've got 233 members — all of whom have their own plan," he said. "It's tough to get them on the same track. We got there."

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It's All Politics
1:05 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Reid's Tough Tactics In Shutdown Drama Draw Notice

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pauses outside the West Wing of the White House after meeting Wednesday with President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 10:53 am

As the leader of Senate Democrats, Harry Reid has been in a lot of fights — but this one may be different, in that Reid has drawn a line.

Throughout the weeks leading up to the shutdown, through four votes in the Senate with not a single defection from the Democratic caucus, and once again after the meeting at the White House, Reid has rejected any of the changes in the Affordable Care Act that House Republicans have demanded as a condition for funding the federal government.

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It's All Politics
4:45 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Shutdown Diary: Day 2

Anti-shutdown protesters in Los Angeles may have had enough of the budget crisis, but it appears to be far from over.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 7:12 pm

Wednesday's Highlights:

White House

Day 2 of the federal government shutdown found President Obama summoning congressional leaders to the White House to urge House Republicans to pass legislation to reopen agencies and raise the debt ceiling to avoid a first-ever default by the U.S. (Nothing was resolved; here's the story.)

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It's All Politics
3:36 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

GOP Establishment Grapples With A Tea Party That Won't Budge

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., is among the Republicans who want to pass a spending bill not tied to defunding or delaying the Affordable Care Act.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 5:56 pm

The old line in Washington is that the "establishment" controls everything.

But the fights that have resulted in the government shutdown have turned that cliche upside down.

This time, it's the Tea Party and its allies in Congress calling the shots. The "establishment" — on Capitol Hill and in the business community — has so far been on the outs.

You can hear the frustration in the voice of 11-term Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., as he runs a gantlet of reporters at the Capitol.

"I'm just more concerned about there not being a clean CR," he says amid the hubbub.

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It's All Politics
3:29 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Shutdown Gives Americans New Reason To Hate Washington

Regina Whittington (right) of Little Rock, Ark., and her friend Diana Fuller, of Noble, Okla., walk toward the entrance to the Gateway Arch Wednesday in St. Louis.
Jeff Roberson AP

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 3:59 pm

There's nothing like a government shutdown to make people angry about government, or at least the politicians who are running things.

"The people we have in the Senate and the House of Representatives, I don't know who they're working for, but they're not working for us," says Larry Abernathy, an insurance broker in St. Louis. "I think both parties are useless."

It's a widely shared belief. People in this Midwestern city may be far removed from the back and forth of the budget debate that has paralyzed Washington, but the partial shutdown is very much on their minds.

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Space
2:36 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

The Government Shutdown's Final Frontier: How NASA Is Dealing

While almost all of NASA's employees have been furloughed because of the government shutdown, ground control activities for the International Space Station are still operational. Above, astronaut Chris Cassidy on a spacewalk aboard the ISS on May 11.
AP

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 8:39 am

If ET wants to phone home, this is not the week to do it. NASA's phone lines are down, as are its website and many Twitter feeds. All have been silenced by the government shutdown, whose far-reaching consequences are now stretching into space.

The shutdown began on Tuesday, after Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives failed to come to an agreement over the federal budget. Most of the government's nonessential services have ground to a halt, and among the hardest hit agencies is NASA.

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Around the Nation
2:24 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Want To Raft Through The Grand Canyon? Not During The Shutdown

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 5:56 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Scott Lee can look down the limestone cliffs and see the Colorado River cutting through the Grand Canyon. But what's maddening is he can't get on the river. Today, Lee was planning to get in a raft and launch a 20-day trip down the Colorado. But his group of 16, including his 13-year-old son, whom he pulled out of school in New Hampshire for this trip of a lifetime, can't get started.

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Politics
2:24 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

As Shutdown Drags, Boehner Shifts Focus From Health Law

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 5:56 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Day two of the government shutdown is nearing its finish with no end in sight. President Obama is gathering the four top Congressional leaders to the White House this evening, but it's really just one person he'll need to persuade, House Speaker John Boehner.

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It's All Politics
2:24 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Obama's Shift In Rhetoric Helping Democrats Stick Together

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid celebrate the open enrollment of the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday. During the government shutdown, the Democrats have been more unified than they have been in a long time.
Michael Reynolds EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 5:56 pm

President Obama has been railing against Republicans in Congress nearly every day this week.

"One faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government shut down major parts of the government," he said in the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday. "All because they didn't like one law."

He's expected to take that message on the road on Thursday, visiting a construction company in Maryland to talk about the impact of the shutdown on the economy.

And that finger-pointing at Republicans is sure to be part of his speech again.

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Around the Nation
2:24 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Shutdown Leaves Skeleton Crews At Closed National Parks

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 5:56 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And finally to the national parks. In total, 401 park service sites have been closed due to the government shutdown, ranging from Yellowstone and Yosemite to Civil War battlefields and the Statue of Liberty. And the many memorials along the National Mall here in Washington are barricaded: Lincoln, Jefferson, World War II.

The director of the National Park Service, Jon Jarvis, told me even sites like those that may not seem to require park service supervision do.

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National Security
2:24 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Intelligence Chief: Shutdown Makes America More Vulnerable

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 5:56 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A Senate hearing today focused on the shutdown's impact on national security. Intelligence leaders told lawmakers they could not guarantee the safety of the country because most civilian intelligence workers are furloughed. NPR's Larry Abramson has that story.

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Around the Nation
2:24 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Shutdown Is The Latest Hit To Federal Worker Wallets, Morale

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 5:56 pm

They've been sequestered, furloughed and told to work without pay. Meanwhile, they still have mortgages, bills and kids in college. How is the shutdown affecting hundreds of thousands of federal workers?

Health Care
10:12 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Health Care Act Reminds Young Adults They're Not Invincible

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 10:45 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, you've probably heard a lot about the Stand Your Ground law in the death of Trayvon Martin, but you might not have heard about the woman who said she just fired a warning shot at her abusive husband and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Now her case is getting a second look, and we'll talk about that in just a few minutes.

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The Two-Way
5:25 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Shutdown Solution? None To Be Seen Yet, But Sides Will Talk

The Lincoln Memorial is officially closed. National parks and monuments are among the parts of the federal government affected by the shutdown.
Dennis Brack Landov

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 4:16 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Mara Liasson on the government shutdown

(We most recently updated this post at 8:31 p.m. ET.)

We said it Tuesday: "No end in sight."

The story's the same a day later.

Pardon us for being repetitive, but there's no end in sight to the partial shutdown of the federal government.

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It's All Politics
5:20 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Wednesday Morning Political Mix

A visitor to the federally run Folk Art Center in Asheville, N.C., on Tuesday expressed the dismay many felt because of the government shutdown.
Chuck Burton AP

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 6:30 am

It's Day Two of the Federal Government Shutdown, 2013 edition with no end in sight.

So there's a heavy focus on shutdown-related items or themes today in this morning's political mix of items and themes that caught my eye:

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The Two-Way
4:52 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

The Shutdown's Squeeze On Science And Health

This image was posted by NASA to the agency's official Instagram account.
NASA Getty Images

In addition to shutdowns of national parks (including Alcatraz Island and Yosemite) and the supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children, the mandatory furloughs are affecting a wide range of government science and health agencies. Here's a snapshot:

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It's All Politics
4:20 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Congressional Staff Pay Caught Up In Health Care Fight

Congressional staffers, as well as some in the executive branch, could end up getting hit with a large pay cut if a plan to cut a subsidy related to the Affordable Care Act moves forward.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 6:20 pm

The big fight among members of Congress over the Affordable Care Act could spell big pay cuts — as much as $12,000 — for their employees.

How is this possible? Congressional staffers are most likely wondering the same thing.

Look back to the drafting of the act four years ago. At the time, Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley argued that if the health insurance exchanges were good enough for ordinary Americans, they should be good enough for members of Congress and their staff members. Democrats went along with his argument, and it was included in the law.

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It's All Politics
4:18 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Shutdown Diary: War Of Words, And A Victory For Some WWII Vets

Veterans who came to Washington Tuesday to see the World War II memorial on the National Mall were able to complete their visit, although the memorial — like other federal museums and memorials — was officially closed to the public.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 6:33 pm

Day 1 of the federal government shutdown, 2013 edition, was business as usual, at least when it came to each side trying to win the message war and keep the pressure on the political opposition in the hope of getting them to blink first.

President Obama had a White House Rose Garden event to mark what also was the first day individuals were able to enroll in the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges. With real people who would benefit from the law arrayed behind him in a photo op, he used the moment to blast Republicans.

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The Two-Way
4:13 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Shutdown And Out: Waiting For The Train Home

Pat Barnes of Hanover, Md. waits for her train at Union Station in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 1, the first day of the government shutdown. Barnes is a federal employee and was sent home early in response to the shutdown.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 11:07 am

Two extra midday commuter trains left D.C.'s Union Station this afternoon, shuttling federal employees deemed "nonessential" home to Virginia and Maryland.

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The Two-Way
4:08 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Scenes Of A Shutdown: A Synagogue Hosts Furloughed Workers

To lighten the mood, organizers provided Ping-Pong paddles decorated with head-shots of party leaders in Congress.
Christina Cauterucci NPR

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 4:51 pm

As more than 800,000 government employees were sent home this morning, the staff at Washington, D.C.'s Sixth & I Historic Synagogue opened "Shutdown Central," a gathering space for furloughed locals to work and play.

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Around the Nation
3:21 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Head Start Shut Down By Government Shutdown

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 4:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. It hasn't even been a day since lawmakers failed to come to an agreement over a spending bill to keep the government open, but in less than 24 hours, the impact of the shutdown is already evident around the country and we're not just talking about government workers. Children are affected, too. About 19,000 kids won't be able to attend Head Start, a federal education program for preschoolers.

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Health Care
3:21 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Ill. Governor Touts Health Exchange Legislature Rejected

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 4:38 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Amidst all this talk of a government shutdown, another big story has gotten less attention today. It's the first day people can sign up for health coverage on the new insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act. To get a sense of how things are going, we'll hear several reports throughout the program. In a moment, we'll take you to Florida, where Governor Rick Scott has fought hard against the law.

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The Government Shutdown
3:21 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Beyond The Shutdown, There's A Bigger Battle Brewing

The Capitol is mirrored in its reflecting pool early Tuesday, as the partial federal shutdown began. But there's a battle still to come in which the stakes are even higher.
J. David Ake AP

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 4:38 pm

This week's government shutdown could be just a warmup for an even bigger budget battle in a couple of weeks.

Congress has to raise the limit on the amount of money the federal government is allowed to borrow by Oct. 17. If the debt ceiling is not raised on time, President Obama warns that Washington won't be able to keep paying its bills.

"It'd be far more dangerous than a government shutdown, as bad as a shutdown is," Obama said Tuesday. "It would be an economic shutdown."

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Politics
3:21 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Rep. Dent: Congress Has An Obligation To Fund Government

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 4:38 pm

Melissa Block speaks with Republican Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania on ways to resolve the government shutdown.

Politics
3:21 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Send Us Your Government Shutdown Questions

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 4:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

As the shutdown continues, we're sure you'll have specific questions about how the government is working or not.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Perhaps you're a federal worker, maybe you rely on a government service. We want to know how the shutdown is affecting you and what you're worried about.

BLOCK: Or if you've been affected by past shutdowns and have wisdom to share, feel free.

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Politics
3:21 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Hill Workers' Health Perk A Sticking Point In Spending Fight

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 4:38 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Among the things House Republicans are asking for in the ongoing spending battle is an elimination of health benefits for members of Congress and their staff. As the law now stands, congressional staff are required to buy their health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchanges and the federal government will help pay for their plans.

House Republicans say that kind of assistance amounts to a special subsidy. But as NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, taking away the health benefit would amount to a large pay cut.

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Around the Nation
3:21 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Government Shutdown Takes A Toll Across D.C.

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 4:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Of the hundreds of thousands of federal workers not working because of the shutdown, many are, of course, here in Washington, D.C. The region is home to dozens of federal agencies, from Homeland Security to the Environmental Protection Agency. NPR's Allison Keyes spoke with some of those affected.

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Politics
3:21 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

More Political Blame Game As Shutdown Continues

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 4:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

For the first time in 17 years, the U.S. government has shut down, at least in part. Some 800,000 federal workers are being furloughed. Over a million other essential civilian employees remain on the job, but it's unclear when they'll be paid. Speaking in the White House Rose Garden today, President Obama said he blames Republicans.

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