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.
Credit Meredith Rizzo / NPR
Kirk Douglas from Martinsburg, W.Va. boards a train at Union Station in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 1, the first day of the government shutdown. "I think it's a sad day for the United States," he said. "People travel from all around the world to come see the Smithsonian, and now they're closed. It kind of makes us look like immature, bickering children to the rest of the world."
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.
Even as the Affordable Care Act's new health exchanges open for business, polls show the public is still pretty confused about how they're supposed to work.
The latest monthly tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, in fact, found that two-thirds of those without insurance said they don't have enough information about the law to know how it will affect them.
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.
A sign warns would-be buyers at the Annapolis Gun Show in Annapolis, Md., in September of the state's pending gun control law. The new law, which took effect Tuesday, bans the purchase of many types of assault rifles.
Credit Andrew Harnik / The Washington Times/Landov
One of the strictest gun laws in the nation went into effect in Maryland on Tuesday. The new law bans assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, and it makes Maryland one of only six states that require handgun purchasers to get fingerprinted and take gun safety courses.
Gun owners in the state aren't happy, and in recent weeks, they've been flocking to snap up firearms. On Monday, outside Fred's Sporting Goods in Waldorf, there was a huge crowd and a countdown sign advertising: "1 day left."
Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 10:49 am
A big survey by the Pew Center is out today on Jewish life in America, and it shows a stark shift away from religious belief and toward cultural identification.
Nine in 10 American Jews born before World War II identify themselves as Jewish by religion, but nearly a third of Jewish millennials — that is, people born after 1980 — identify as having no religion at all.
Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 2:50 pm
If you or your child has a school report due tomorrow, the Census Bureau site will not be available to help. Census.gov and its affiliates, like American FactFinder and online surveys, are offline as part of the federal government's shutdown. The same goes for the Federal Trade Commission's site, the Agriculture Department's USDA.gov and the Library of Congress' site, which can also be a rich resource of reference information.
Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 4:53 pm
If you're wondering how long the shutdown will last, well, don't hold your breath.
As of this writing, there are no indications that talks are underway — or even in the offing.
Indeed, the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected House legislation Tuesday morning calling for a House-Senate conference to try to settle the disagreement behind the first federal government shutdown in 17 years.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. My thanks to Celeste Headlee for sitting in for me on short notice. So today, the country woke up to the shutdown of the federal government. We've been hearing from you about how this is affecting you and your budgets and your families. We'll hear what you've been telling us and we'll hear from two of the business reporters we turn to often to find out what they're hearing about the long and short-term impact on the country. That's in just a few minutes.
New York Post reporter Stephanie Smith sparked a firestorm online when she wrote about her plan to make her boyfriend 300 sandwiches - in exchange for an engagement ring. Host Michel Martin talks to Smith about her project, and the reaction to it.
The Marine Corps has forced two of its top officers to retire. It is rare for commanders to be punished for a failure in combat, but that's the case here. The two commanders - both two-star generals - are being forced out because of an attack that happened on their watch in Afghanistan. It took place a year ago at a sprawling base called Camp Bastion. Two Americans died.
President Obama spoke with NPR in the Oval Office on Monday, as a visiting group of young people in suits got a tour of the Rose Garden outside the windows. The most striking part of our encounter in this moment of crisis was how familiar the atmosphere seemed.
Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 8:04 am
House Republicans and Senate Democrats could not reach agreement by the midnight deadline on a spending bill to keep the government operating, triggering an immediate shutdown of nonessential services and the furlough of nonessential personnel potentially affecting hundreds of thousands of federal workers.
Updated at 1:40 a.m. ET, House Speaker Boehner's Comments:
Only hours before a partial shutdown of the federal government would take effect, House Republicans still hadn't arrived at a temporary spending bill that Senate Democrats were willing to approve to keep government workers on the job. A closure appeared inevitable.
On Monday afternoon, Senate Democrats rejected a stopgap spending bill passed by the House over the weekend because it contained anti-Obamacare measures that Democrats found objectionable.
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 Tue October 1, 2013 3:25 pm
Debate is raging about Obamacare, and not just in Washington. Out here in Oklahoma we're grappling with implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Patients. Employers. Hospitals. Doctors. Insurers. All of us.
Here then are one doctor's predictions about what we will see in the short and medium term for what I see as the unfolding Obamacare era — the biggest domestic health expansion since the enactment of Medicare in 1965.
The Pacific Crest Trail is one of the nation's iconic hiking routes. It stretches more than 2,600 miles between Mexico and Canada and this year a record number of people are hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. In fact, as many as 500 are expected to finish the entire trek. From member station KPLU in Seattle, Bellamy Pailthorp reports on how the experience is changing as more people do it.
<strong>Party On: </strong>Legislation passed last week allows the Federal Helium Reserve to continue selling the stockpiled gas. Above, Jonathan Trappe launches his 370-balloon craft from Caribou, Maine, in an attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean on Sept. 12.
With the government on the brink of a shutdown, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have come together to compromise on helium. Legislation passed late last week will keep the gas used in party balloons flowing from a national reserve.
The helium bill's passage shows that compromise is still possible in the fractious political climate. But finding agreement over this inert gas was tough. The new law came after more than a year of intensive lobbying by some of America's largest businesses and academic institutions.
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: