Congress

Government Shutdown
8:44 am
Wed October 16, 2013

When Will The Government Run Out Of Money?

Quoctrung Bui

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 12:19 pm

In the course of any given month, the government collects billions of dollars in taxes, spends billions more, and borrows money to cover the difference between what it collects and what it spends.

If Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling soon, the government won't be able to borrow money to cover the difference anymore and won't be able to pay all of its bills.

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Where We Live
7:50 am
Wed October 16, 2013

The Day Before the Debt Ceiling Deadline

President Barack Obama meets with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other members of the House Democratic leadership in the Oval Office, Oct. 15, 2013.
Credit Pete Souza / White House

This shutdown is getting old. Federal workers aren’t getting paid, and that means lots of people right here in Connecticut are affected directly - and a lot more are having problems, too.

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Day 14
8:12 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Shutdown Continues, Connecticut Delegation Signs "Discharge Petition"

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have shown they can come together...for the State of the Union address.
Credit house.gov

Lawmakers from Connecticut have joined more than 180 members of the U.S. House of Representatives to sign a special petition to reopen the federal government.

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Government Shutdown
12:48 pm
Sat October 12, 2013

Senate Democrats Visit Obama; Boehner Says Talks Are Over

Speaker of the House John Boehner leaves after discussing the government shutdown with his fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill Saturday. Boehner reportedly told his colleagues that talks with the White House had ended without a deal.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

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.

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Passion for Politics
9:52 am
Fri October 11, 2013

William Petit Considers a Run for Office

Dr. William Petit, right, and his sister Johanna Chapman, at the Capitol during the debate over Connecticut's death penalty debate in 2012.
Credit Mark Pazniokas / CT Mirror

Dr. William Petit, the sole survivor of the brutal 2007 home invasion in Cheshire, has spoken with state Republican officials about a run for public office.

An anonymous Republican official told the Associated Press that Petit is considering a run for Congress. He has weighed in on public policy before, campaigning against the repeal of the death penalty in Connecticut.

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National Debt
4:13 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Treasury Secretary: Debt Default Would Have Dire Consequences

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testifies during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Thursday.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 1:49 pm

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew urged lawmakers on Thursday to raise the government's borrowing limit or face the prospect of causing lasting damage to the U.S. economy.

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Government Shutdown
3:46 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

VA Furloughs Thousands of Workers

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.

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Government Shutdown
2:27 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Obama: 'Stop The Excuses. Let's Take A Vote'

President Obama speaks about the government shutdown and debt limit on Tuesday at the White House in Washington.
Charles Dharapak AP

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.

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Government Shutdown
1:53 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Live Coverage: President Obama's Press Conference

President Barack Obama is delivering a statement and taking questions from the press at the White House starting today at 2:00 pm. Watch live below.

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Government Shutdown
8:03 am
Sat October 5, 2013

Morale Plummets For Federal Workers Facing Unending Furlough

John Zangas, a furloughed federal worker, protests the government shutdown outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 3:13 pm

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.

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National Security
2:02 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Officials Detail Shutdown's Chilling Effect On National Security

National Intelligence Director James Clapper waits for a hearing of the Senate Judiciary on Wednesday.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 5:42 pm

James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, told Congress this week that the partial federal government shutdown has forced the furlough of some 70 percent of employees throughout the intelligence community.

"I've never seen anything like this," said Clapper, a 50-year veteran of intelligence work.

So what impact is all this having on the spy world?

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Lockdown During the Shutdown
3:53 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

U.S. Capitol Shooting: Report From the Inside

Credit Matanya / Flickr Creative Commons

Billy House, a Congressional correspondent for National Journal, was in the House chamber at the U.S. Capitol when gunfire was reported outdoors, behind a Senate building nearby. He provided an account of the brief lockdown that occurred in Washington, D.C. on Thursday afternoon.

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Government Shutdown
8:36 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney: Pressure is Mounting to End Government Shutdown

Rep. Joe Courtney

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.

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It Could Be Worse
12:19 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

8 Great 'Shutdown Pickup Lines'

The fun has begun.
Twitter

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 12:32 pm

When a government shutdown loomed in 2011, the Twitterverse had some fun with #govtshutdownpickuplines.

They're back!

Here are some of the better, slightly naughty ones we're seeing (we also also checked #shutdownpicklines):

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Government Shutdown
5:43 am
Tue October 1, 2013

No End In Sight As Government Shutdown Nears First Full Day

Members of the U.S. Park Service place barricades around the Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. A partial shutdown of the federal government has led to the closing of national parks.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

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.

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Government Shutdown
5:03 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Transcript And Audio: NPR Interview With President Obama

President Obama speaks with reporters at the White House on Monday about the threat of a government shutdown.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

NPR's Steve Inskeep interviewed President Obama on Monday about the looming government shutdown, the upcoming debt ceiling fight and more. A full transcript of the interview follows:

STEVE INSKEEP: As you have watched what's happening in Congress, do you feel that House Republicans are coming any closer to anything that you could sign?

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Government Shutdown
7:30 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Countdown To Shutdown: A Closure Appears Inevitable

As the sun started its descent behind the U.S. Capitol building on Monday, it seemed virtually certain to rise on a partially shuttered federal government.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Monday's Highlights:

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.

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Government Shutdown
5:26 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Obama On The GOP: 'I Shouldn't Have To Offer Anything'

President Barack Obama talks about the government shutdown during a media availability following Obama's meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Monday.
Kevin Dietsch UPI/Landov

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 10:09 pm

With just hours to go before a potential government shutdown, President Obama said there is still a window to avert it.

"There's still an opportunity, during the course of this day to avert a shutdown and make sure that we are paying our bills," Obama said in an interview with NPR.

But when asked if any proposal from the House is closer to something he would approve, Obama said flatly, "No."

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Government Shutdown
3:24 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

The Looming Shutdown: Senate Rejects Second House Measure

Speaker of the House John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, arrives for a Republican Conference meeting at the U.S. Capitol on Friday in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

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.

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Congress
8:52 am
Sun September 29, 2013

Shutdown Standoff: 'How Dare You,' And Other Views From Congress

The federal government remains on track to miss a midnight Monday deadline to fund its operations. Chambers of Congress sharply disagree over a temporary funding bill. Here, the Capitol is seen Saturday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

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.

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Health Care
5:35 am
Sun September 29, 2013

Insurance Exchanges Will Open To Scrutiny, Curiosity, Confusion

Workers at a Minnesota health care exchange prepare for opening day on Tuesday.
Jim Mone AP

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 11:51 am

Tuesday is a big day for the White House. That's when new health insurance exchanges open in every state, where people can buy the insurance the Affordable Care Act requires next year. They will also see if they qualify for new subsidies to help them afford it.

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Congress
4:07 am
Sun September 29, 2013

House Ties Government Funding To One-Year Obamacare Delay

Speaker of the House John Boehner arrives at the Capitol on Saturday.
Alex Wong Getty Images

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.

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Congress
6:37 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Government Shutdown Looms

The U.S. Capitol.
Credit Diliff / Wikimedia Commons

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.

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Congress
11:42 am
Fri September 27, 2013

President To GOP: Don't 'Burn Down The House' Over Obamacare

House Republicans have insisted that a spending bill contain language defunding Obamacare.
Win McNamee Getty Images

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."

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Congress
1:45 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Senate Takes Next Step Toward Shutdown Showdown

After a dramatic 21-plus hours in which Republican Sen. Ted Cruz stood to express his opposition to President Obama's health care programs, the Senate early Wednesday afternoon voted 100-0 to move ahead and take up legislation that would avert a government shutdown next Tuesday.

As expected, the move by the Democratic-led Senate sets up what promises to be another showdown with the Republican-controlled House.

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Government Shutdown
6:03 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Your Government Shutdown Questions, Answered

If Congress can't come to an agreement to fund the government, there will be a shutdown on Oct. 1.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

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:

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Billy's Law
2:49 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Legislation For Families of Missing Persons

Billy Smolinski went missing in 2004.
NamUs.gov

Cold cases are frustrating to police and to family members whose loved ones disappear. Jan and William Smolinski of Cheshire have been looking for their son, Billy, for nine years. He disappeared in 2004.

Speaking on WNPRs Where We Live, Jan Smolinski says while there are missing person cases that do not involve a homicide, they suspected foul play when he disappeared. She says the night he went missing, her son called another man who was dating Billy's girlfriend. 

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Health Care
11:51 am
Fri September 20, 2013

House GOP Votes To Fund Government, Kill Obamacare

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) talks to reporters Thursday about the deadline to fund the government while simultaneously eliminating President Obama's health care law.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 5:37 pm

The Republican-controlled House has voted to keep the government funded but its "continuing resolution" comes with a poison pill to defund the Affordable Care Act that Democrats have vowed is dead on arrival in the Senate.

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Food Stamps
7:12 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

House Votes To Slash $40 Billion From Food Stamp Program

A woman and her daughter shop for groceries in New York City's Union Square using electronic benefits transfer (EBT), more commonly known as food stamps, on Wednesday.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 8:51 pm

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted Thursday to slash $40 billion from the federal food stamp program.

GOP lawmakers cited what they said was widespread abuse of the program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which is intended to help poor individuals and families buy groceries.

The vote to cut food stamps came on a party line vote of 217-200.

"It's wrong for working, middle-class people to pay" for abuse of the program, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said.

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Gun Policy
8:26 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Newtown Families Return to Washington, D.C. to Advocate for Gun Control

Po Murray speaks on behalf of the Newtown Action Alliance at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
Credit Ana Radelat / The Connecticut Mirror

Newtown families and activists are in Washington again to try to prod lawmakers on gun control. A bill that would expand FBI background checks of gun buyers stalled in the Senate in April, and there has been no movement on gun control in Congress.

Carlos Soto’s sister Vicky died in the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. He said even if it's hard to change minds in the Senate, he’ll continue to lobby lawmakers. "Most of the senators that we haven't met with," he said, "refuse to meet with us. They refuse because they know that their conscience will take over."

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