Originally published on Sat October 12, 2013 6:02 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.
The severely backlogged benefits office of the federal VA is about to slow down again. That's because the VA announced its furloughing nearly 10,000 VBA workers including its IT department. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal issued a statement today in response to the news. He said many of the employees are veterans themselves.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 6:45 pm
In a press conference that lasted more than an hour, President Obama said he was willing to talk about anything, as long as Republicans reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling, even if its for a short period of time.
"Let's stop the excuses. Let's take a vote in the House. Let's end this shutdown, right now; let's put people back to work" Obama said.
Wednesdays are usually reserved for our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse. Just like last week, the big story is the federal government shutdown. From outside Washington, it doesn't look like Congress and President Obama is any closer to reaching a deal. We talk with political observers about the shutdown and what needs to be done (or will be done) to resolve this.
Who do you think needs to budge to reach a deal? House Republicans? Or President Obama and Senate Democrats?
Connecticut’s federal public defender, Terence Ward, said money to fund his office may run out early next week if the government shutdown continues. "The shutdown, it’s a nightmare," he said. During the first ten business days of the shutdown, his office of 17 employees is operating on funds money from court fees.
The work that Shaun O'Connell does is required by law, yet now he's sidelined by the government shutdown.
O'Connell reviews disability claims for the Social Security Administration in New York, checking that no one's gaming the system, while ensuring people with legitimate medical problems are compensated properly.
Billions of dollars are at stake with this kind of work, yet O'Connell is considered a nonessential employee for purposes of the partial government shutdown.
It's day three of the federal government shutdown. While lack of funding is having a major impact across the country and here in Connecticut, it's not the only financial reality getting new attention. UConn's affordability is under scrutiny today, and one school system in the state is struggling to stay open after suffering a massive theft under investigation. This is The Wheelhouse Digest.
The government shutdown has caused the furlough of 750 civilian workers from the Naval Submarine Base New London. Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney, whose district includes the sub base, said these workers don't deserve to be caught in the crossfire of national politics.
From Acadia in Maine to Zion in Utah to the North Cascades in Washington, America's 401 national park areas have gates blocking entrance roads.
The last remaining campers and hotel guests in the parks must leave Thursday, and park rangers will patrol to keep others out.
The national parks "belong to the American people, and the American people should have the right to come in," says National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. "But the only way I can protect these places during this period is to shut them down."
On today's episode of The Wheelhouse we're covering the hot political topics of the day, crunched together here in a quick-to-skim format, including how Access Health CT did on its unveiling: despite technical glitches, more enrollments came through than expected. This is The Wheelhouse Digest.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 2:08 pm
Update at 8:18 p.m. ET. Impasse:
As first day of a federal government shutdown came to a close, Congress was not any closer to a resolution.
Case in point: Republicans in the House proposed three bills that would have reopened national parks, the Department of Veteran's Affairs and kept the D.C. government afloat. But all three bills didn't even make it out of the House.
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.
Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 11:56 pm
Not even an hour after the House voted in favor of a bill that would avert a shutdown of the federal government, but also delay a key part of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, the Senate rejected it with a vote of 54-46.
With less than an hour before the government runs out of authority to spend money, the ball is now back in the court of Speaker John Boehner in the House.
Connecticut's budget office is working with state agencies to prepare for a possible shutdown of the federal government. In a letter last week to agency heads, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes said if Congress fails to reach a budget deal, there could be "significant impact" on staff and programs that rely on federal funding.
Originally published on Sun September 29, 2013 12:10 pm
The federal government has moved closer to the brink of a shutdown, as the House of Representatives approved a temporary funding bill Saturday night that the Senate and White House say has no chance of becoming law.
The House bill would avert the budget deadline at midnight Monday by funding the U.S. government into December. But it also includes a one-year delay of Obamacare — a provision that Democrats and some Republicans say has no place in a stopgap funding bill.
Originally published on Sun September 29, 2013 8:52 am
Updated at 12:24 a.m. ET Sunday
The House voted early Sunday to tie government funding to a one-year delay in implementing Obamacare, sending the dispute back to the Senate, where it is certain to get a frosty reception. The House measure also repeals the Affordable Care Act's tax on medical devices.
In a rare weekend session, Congress will continue to debate how to avoid a government shutdown. The Senate voted along party lines for a temporary spending bill that would keep the government from shutting down next week. But Senate Democrats stripped a provision that would defund Obamacare, something House Republicans insist upon.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 6:32 pm
Update At 3:50 p.m. EDT.
President Obama on Friday praised the Senate for passing a spending bill to keep the federal government operating and called House GOP efforts to tie approving the measure to defunding the Affordable Care Act "political grandstanding."
He said that despite Republican hopes that Obamacare will be repealed, "That's not going to happen," accusing Republicans of threatening to "blow up the entire economy."
No one has the right to precipitate such a crisis, he said, "just because there are a couple of laws you don't like."
Connecticut is doing a little bit better getting ready for rainy days, we learned from Kevin Lembo this week, but when there's fair weather, the state legislature made sure we won't be generating energy from wind turbines anytime soon. Read about that and more in today's Wheelhouse Digest... where UConn has us thinking about the legality of digesting hemp brownies.
Today at The Wheelhouse Digest, there's a lot of talk of shutting down and tightening up. Maybe it's the cooler weather, or maybe it's a new mentality pushing us to block things from happening. In that vein, there's an effort at hand to consider the Associated Press's request to release 911 recordings in the wake of the Newtown shooting last year. Read about that and more in today's digest.
Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 9:29 pm
There's a showdown underway in Congress.
The Republican-controlled House has voted to keep the government running only if the Affordable Care Act is defunded, and the Democratic-controlled Senate isn't likely to go along with that plan. If the two sides can't resolve their differences by Oct. 1, the U.S. government will shut down.
We asked you what you wanted to know about the potential government shutdown, and journalists from NPR's Washington Desk tracked down the answers: