The nation's governance crisis, driven by economic anxiety, is the political equivalent of what meteorologists call a "blocking pattern" where storm systems get stuck over a particular region due to stationary high pressure systems that prevent the turbulent weather from passing along in the normal way.
Federal workers can rest assured that the government will not be shutting down this weekend after the Senate reached a deal Monday; but they are in for another budget fight in November, when the current bill expires.
There may not be a government shutdown later this week after all — at least that's what a deal agreed on Monday night by the Senate aims to prevent. Lawmakers had been tied up in partisan knots for days over a temporary spending measure keeping the government open once the new fiscal year begins this weekend. Most of the trouble was over House Republicans' insistence that disaster relief funding in that measure be offset by cuts in other government programs. It's now up to the House to seal that Senate deal.
The 2012 presidential election is more than a year away, but that's not keeping political advertisers from targeting the TV airwaves. However, a survey has found that the TV audience is shrinking — especially the young voters.
To try to jump-start Puerto Rico's economy, Gov. Luis Fortuno pushed through a series of cost-cutting measures — including eliminating more than 20,000 government jobs. This has helped close Puerto Rico's large budget deficit, but it's done little to help those struggling to find jobs.
With FEMA running out of disaster money at some point this week and the whole federal government starting a new fiscal year on Saturday without an accompanying budget, Congress muddles through another budget standoff. NPR's Tamara Keith joins Michele Norris to bring us the latest.
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