The partial government shutdown has a silver lining for some inmates being housed in Connecticut. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has temporarily suspended its plan to move over 1,100 women from the low-security Danbury Correctional Institute until they an pay the $1.1 million dollar cost for the transfer.
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?
Along the lines of Project Longevity, a violence-prevention initiative that launched in New Haven in the past year, Chicago is trying something different to identify trouble and maybe even get out in front of it. That and more in today's Wheelhouse Digest, including Colin McEnroe's tribute to the late, much-beloved, "titanic figure" Irving Kravsow.
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 government is just 10 days away from defaulting on its debt. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said that by Oct. 17, the department will likely have less money on hand than it needs to pay all its bills.
"The reality is that if we run out of cash to pay our bills, there is no option that permits us to pay all of our bills on time, which means that a failure of Congress to act would for the first time put us in a place where we're defaulting on our obligations as a government," Lew said on NBC's Meet The Press on Sunday.
This year, in eight or nine or maybe even more towns -- this kind of thing is notoriously hard to keep track of -- candidates who thought they had followed the rules to get on the ballot suddenly found out they hadn't and they weren't. Versions of this drama seem to have played out -- each time a little differently -- in East Hampton, Middletown, Easton, Windham, Bethel, Simsbury, Westport, Fairfield and Ridgefield. In some cases, the candidates gave up and walked away.
The state of Connecticut's Department of Revenue Services is offering a amnesty program for individuals and businesses that owe back taxes. Those who take advantage of the program will get a 75 percent reduction in accrued interest, and all other penalties waived. But there are a few catches.
With the November municipal elections approaching there have been some nasty battles involving alternative parties fighting their way onto the ballot. There’s something about local politics that leads to hand to hand combat. We’ll be looking at East Hampton, Middletown, Westport and any other town with a feisty third party.
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The plan to transfer all female prisoners out of the Danbury federal facility is back in effect today, although it remains to be seen whether the government shutdown will slow transfers. While we wait to see what happens next, The Wheelhouse Digest is making a pit stop in New London, where a German website has taken an interest in development news. Also a must-see: the "Saturday Night Live" send-up of a square white Connecticut mom who checks out Grand Theft Auto 5, and ended up playing it all week.
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.
The Partnership for Strong Communities wants to know if you can find an affordable apartment in expensive Connecticut. Their new video game, Rent Roulette, allows you to role play. "Maybe you'll land a job that allows you to live where you want," they say. "But maybe, you’ll be like so many in our expensive state, and have to settle for something less." The game was designed by Ed Hogan of Manchester Community College, and includes real-time housing and labor data for Connecticut.
Think you can find an affordable apartment in expensive Connecticut? Play our new video game, Rent Roulette, and see. Maybe you'll land a job that allows you to live where you want. But maybe, you'll be like so many in our expensive state, and have to settle for something less.
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?
As we mourn the passing of legendary Connecticut photojournalist Bill Eppridge today -- he was 75 -- we're also thinking at The Wheelhouse Digest about the bizarre incident in Washington, D.C. on Thursday that ended fatally, when a Stamford woman tried to drive through a barrier toward the White House. More on that and our dashed hopes about commuting by helicopter below.
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.
The federal government shutdown does not (directly) affect our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse. But it sure does give us something to talk about tomorrow. We'll be joined by Wheelhouse regulars to talk about this shutdown -- or, as Rep. David Schweikert called it on NPR's Morning Edition, a "government slowdown."
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.
Quinnipiac University released their latest national poll on Tuesday, looking at American voters' attitudes about the government shutdown and Obamacare. The poll of 1,497 registered voters revealed that 72 percent are opposed to the notion of shutting down the government to stop implementation of Obamacare, and 64 percent oppose blocking an increase of the debt ceiling to derail the Affordable Care Act.
You may have noticed that the federal government shut down today. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called this a "sad day for America." But it's not keeping Connecticut down. Today, the state's new health care exchange takes its first spin around the Internet (if on slightly unstable web-wheels), and -- you know you've been waiting for this -- a bunch of new laws go into effect. Maybe you forgot just how good October 1 would be to you. That and more in today's 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.
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.
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.
Governor Dannel Malloy on Friday defended state borrowing that will help finance the opening of Bass Pro Shops at Steelpointe Harbor in Bridgeport. The state will invest more than $30 million to bring the sporting goods retailer to anchor the long-delayed commercial development.
It's the last day of September, so you know what that means: it's your last day to celebrate the full functioning of federal government, which may be partly out of commission by this time Wednesday. All the same, federal grants were just awarded to five Connecticut towns for law enforcement purposes. We'd hate to see those grants not come through, but these are strange times at The Wheelhouse Digest. That story and more on this federal holiday of sorts.