About half a million federal workers remain furloughed because of the congressional budget impasse that's keeping the government partially shut down. The closure has entered its tenth day. Contractors that feed off government spending are also feeling the pinch.
While economists and bankers have been warning that there will be catastrophic consequences if Congress fails to raise the nation's borrowing limit, a small group of Republicans in Congress says that's just not so. They believe the country will not default, even if the debt ceiling is breached.
The partial government shutdown has forced the Pentagon to delay payments to the families of troops killed while serving in the U.S. military. Normally these families would receive a $100,000 payment three days after the death of member of the Armed Forces. More than 20 have died since the shutdown began. A private, non-profit group called the Fisher House Foundation will pay the death benefits during the shutdown.
Laura and John Arnold of Houston have pledged up to $10 million to keep the Head Start program running in six states. The preschool program for children from low-income families abruptly closed in some areas last Friday because of a lack of funding.
A partial federal shutdown has prompted angry debate nationwide. Sen. Michael Bennet, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, tells Steve Inskeep that on the budget impasse issue, "The divide between Democrats and Republicans is less than the divide that exists in the Republican Party."
Kwame Kilpatrick faces sentencing on 24 corruption convictions, including racketeering. Federal prosecutors say Kilpatrick so abused the public trust that he helped push Detroit into bankruptcy and deserves a sentence of 28 years to life in prison.
In 2008, Florida announced the largest land sale in the state's history — to buy hundreds of miles of Everglades land owned by U.S. Sugar. But only a small fraction was acquired. Now, environmental groups are lobbying for the deal's revival before a contract giving the state an exclusive option to buy expires.
When politicians say that small businesses are key to job growth, what most people imagine are mom-and-pop shops — the dry cleaner or coffee place. It may make a good sound bite, but research shows that most small businesses stay small. Only a fraction of these do grow into something big.
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