Congress

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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Food Stamps
6:47 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Fight Over Food Stamps Reveals Sharp Differences in Congress

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro opposes shrinking the federal food stamp program.
Credit Ana Radelat / The Connecticut Mirror

Congress is heading into a major fight over food stamps. The battle highlights sharp ideological differences over a program that helps to feed about 220,000 people in Connecticut.

Conservative House Republicans, especially members of the Tea Party, say the food stamp program has become bloated and discourages people from finding jobs. They propose cutting $40 billion over the next decade from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the official name for food stamps.

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Nonreligion
5:13 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Atheists Start PAC To Elect Nonreligious Candidates

Bishop McNeil, who isn't a cleric despite his name, speaks to reporters Wednesday at a news conference to introduce the Freethought Equality Fund PAC.
Frank James NPR

Americans who count themselves among the "nones" — as in atheists, agnostics or those of no definite religious affiliation — have launched a new political action committee.

The goal? To support the election of like-minded lawmakers or, at a minimum, candidates committed to upholding the constitutional separation between church and state.

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New Haven
1:01 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

New Haven Native Nominated for Posthumous Congressional Gold Medal

Constance Baker Motley in 1988.
Credit Columbia Law School

Constance Baker Motley, a New Haven native, has been nominated for a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal. Motley was born in 1921 to a family that emigrated to New Haven from the West Indies. She was a pioneer as a civil rights lawyer, lawmaker and judge.

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Politics
6:33 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Congress Searches For A Shutdown-Free Future

House Speaker John Boehner tried to sound optimistic Thursday that his Republican conference would find a way to avoid a government shutdown.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

There's a lot of searching on Capitol Hill but no discovery yet of a way to avoid a federal government shutdown at the start of next month.

Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor are searching for enough House GOP votes for a spending bill that could pass in the Democratic-controlled Senate and keep the government open past Sept. 30.

Tea Party-affiliated lawmakers are searching for a way to repeal the Affordable Care Act with the help of the Democratic-controlled Senate and President Obama.

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Budget
12:37 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Maybe 'Muddling Through' Isn't That Bad For The Economy

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:15 pm

When the global financial system started to collapse five years ago, leaders from the Treasury Department, Congress and the Federal Reserve jumped up and started running.

Like men on a burning wooden bridge, they raced along, making crazy-fast decisions. They seized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, bailed out big banks, saved automakers, slashed interest rates and funded a massive infrastructure-building project to stimulate growth.

But that was then.

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Syria
10:19 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Obama's Toughest Audience: His Die-Hard Supporters

President Obama returns to the White House on Friday after the G-20 summit in Russia.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 12:37 pm

Brent Rosenberg was an early and enthusiastic Barack Obama supporter at a place and time when it mattered most: Iowa 2008, in the run-up to the first-in-the-nation presidential-nominating contest.

"I worked hard during the caucuses," said Rosenberg, a Des Moines lawyer and lifelong Democrat. "I led all my friends and relatives to him."

So it's with evident pain that he now speaks about the president, on the eve of Obama's speech on military action against Syria, with disappointment, if not regret.

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Kentucky Ringer
4:57 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Bevin: Connecticut "Wanted to Help Out" My Company

Matt Bevin on MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown" with Luke Russert.
Credit MSNBC

A Connecticut businessman running for the Republican Senate nomination in Kentucky is taking on charges that he's not conservative enough.

Matt Bevin owns the Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Company in East Hampton, Connecticut. After the factory was destroyed in a fire last year, he received $100,000 in state grants to help him rebuild.

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World
10:17 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Congressional Delegates Weigh a Military Strike on Syria

Senator Richard Blumenthal
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

President Obama is winning some Republican support for military action against Syria. But judging by response from Connecticut's congressional delegation, he won't have an easy time with members of his own party.

"The authorization document that the President has submitted to Congress is insufficiently limited in defining our objectives and strategy," Senator Richard Blumenthal told WNPR's Where We Live. He said the authorization the President is asking congress for is far too broad in its scope, and he wants more information on the long-term objectives.

"Our national security has to be one of the predominant factors that we consider," he said.  

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News
10:33 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Syria Resolution Will Hit Mark, Obama Predicts

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 11:25 am

The White House is working with congressional leaders to shape a resolution that authorizes the type of military action that would send a "clear message" to President Bashar Assad and cripple the Syrian leader's "capability to use chemical weapons not just now but in the future," President Obama said Tuesday.

Sitting with leaders from both major parties, the president also said he is confident lawmakers are "going to be able to come up with something that hits that mark."

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9:18 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Connecticut Dairy Farmers Lose Federal Aid

The Connecticut Mirror reports that because Congress failed to act on a farm bill before its summer recess, Connecticut's dairy farmers lost their federal assistance this past weekend.
Washington - Because Congress failed to act on a farm bill before its summer recess, Connecticut's dairy farmers lost their federal assistance over the weekend. Connecticut farmers received about $1.2 million last year in payments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Milk Income Loss Program, or MILC, and much, much more during years when milk prices were lower.
News
12:36 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Senator Chris Murphy Opposes Military Action Against Syria

Credit Travel Aficionado / Creative Commons

The Obama Administration is considering military strikes on Syria in response to the Assad regime's deadly poison gas attacks in Damascus last week.

While there is growing support for military intervention in Syria by members of Congress, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy says he's against it. Rather, Murphy says the president should focus on a diplomatic way to deter the Assad regime from further attacks. 

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News
6:03 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Government Shutdown? Odds Are Uncomfortably High

Protesters urging a government shutdown and spending cuts demonstrate in front of the U.S. Capitol in 2011.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

It's going to be another ugly fall in Washington.

The federal government runs out of money on Oct. 1, unless spending authority is granted to agencies for the new fiscal year. If Congress can't pass its spending bills by then, most of the government will shut down.

It's no empty threat. Many who watch the budget process closely think there's a very good chance that's exactly what's going to happen.

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