By a vote of 59-34 the Senate on Friday moved the nomination of Janet Yellen to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve past a key procedural hurdle.
The vote invoked "cloture" — effectively preventing Republicans from filibustering President Obama's nominee.
Next up for Yellen's nomination: A confirmation vote, set for Jan. 6. With the Democratic caucus controlling 55 of the Senate's 100 seats, she's expected to get a majority and then become the first woman to head the central bank.
The former Massachusetts senator — and a soon-to-be official resident of Rye, N.H. — arrived at the New Hampshire GOP's holiday party in his trademark pickup truck Thursday evening, and was greeted by more than 100 chanting protesters.
Only hours before the deadline to sign up for health insurance that will begin Jan. 1, the Obama administration has offered people whose plans have been canceled a new option. They can sign up for catastrophic coverage instead.
These little-noticed plans cover only three primary care visits, specified preventive services and medical costs that exceed a catastrophic amounts. In 2014, that's $6,300 for an individual.
"Although individual employees have engaged in misconduct or inappropriate behavior, we did not find evidence that misconduct is widespread," concludes a report from the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general. The IG's investigation was launched after the 2012 scandal over some agents' behavior while they were on a mission in Colombia.
The economy grew by 4.1 percent in the third quarter of the year, significantly higher than the earlier projection of 3.6 percent. The upward revision comes mostly thanks to stronger consumer spending, and it's the strongest showing in almost two years.
Maybe it all started with ugly Christmas sweaters. Or with cheesy inflatable Santas. Or hideously inappropriate tree ornaments. But Christmastime – at least its visible trappings and accoutrements – seems to be getting tackier.
Credit Katy Adams / Courtesy Clyde's Restaurant Group
A plate of Sweet Jesus oysters grown in Chesapeake Bay by Hollywood Oyster Co. in Hollywood, Md.
Credit Elizabeth Shogren / NPR
David Schulte, a marine biologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, developed a small reef area to provide a habitat for oysters in one of the Chesapeake Bay's tributaries. It's one of several public-private efforts aimed at restoring the bay's oysters. Read more about that project.
Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 10:44 am
The history of the Chesapeake Bay oyster hasn't always been a pure one. So you could forgive a chef for being skeptical about the big bivalve comeback being staged in D.C. and the surrounding area this winter as oyster season gets underway.
But many mid-Atlantic chefs are actually cheering. That's because a major public-private effort to re-establish the oyster as a quality local food product — as well as a weapon against water pollution — seems to be working.
Confirming one of the week's less-secret secrets, the White House announced Friday morning that President Obama intends to nominate Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., to be the next ambassador to the People's Republic of China.
The 72-year-old Baucus has been in the Senate since 1978. He is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 12:09 pm
Politicians in the Dominican Republic have long courted Dominicans in the U.S. for votes. That relationship has strengthened in the past couple of years; in 2011, the Dominican government established seven representatives for its communities abroad.
And that influence means activism in the U.S. matters back on the island.
Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 11:04 am
Among the memorials to Nelson Mandela put up across India is a billboard in Tamil Nadu that features a photo of actor Morgan Freeman, not the iconic anti-apartheid hero from South Africa who died earlier this month.
At a Ford plant in Michigan, workers load a battery into a Ford C-MAX plug-in hybrid vehicle. The economy picked up speed in the third quarter. Economists caution, though, that it may slow in coming quarters.
Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 11:14 am
The U.S. economy expanded at a 4.1 percent annual rate in the third quarter, a significantly faster pace than first thought and its strongest showing since the end of 2011, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Friday.
After each quarter, the agency spends the next three months reporting and revising its figures on gross domestic product growth.
From the NPR Newscast: Julie Rovner on the latest changes to the health care program (with an introduction from Jean Cochran)
Word from the Obama administration that Americans who recently had their health insurance canceled will be allowed to buy "catastrophic policies" mostly intended for young adults has upset the insurance industry, NPR's Julie Rovner tells our Newscast desk.
With just a handful of prescriptions to his name, psychiatrist Ernest Bagner III was barely a blip in Medicare's vast drug program in 2009.
But the next year he churned them out at a furious rate — not just psychiatric drugs, but expensive pills for asthma, cholesterol, heartburn and blood clots.
By the end of 2010, Medicare had paid $3.8 million for Bagner's drugs — one of the highest tallies in the country. He added another $2.6 million the following year, records analyzed by ProPublica show.
Automotive News reports the state altered regulations, first in 2011, and now a second time, making it simpler for Cubans to buy or sell new cars. Cubans, too, now have the freedom to ask: "What do I have to do to get you in this new car today?"
Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 6:11 am
"The women of the Senate who led the fight to change how the military deals with sexual assault in its ranks are hailing passage of a comprehensive defense bill that now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature," The Associated Press writes this morning.
Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 7:54 am
We start with a man called Mike and a cat called Ella. Two creatures.
Nothing odd about them, except that Mike has a beard and Ella is a touch chunky. Otherwise, they could be any cat & guy. Except ...
When you think about it, no one is ordinary. You could put a totally bland cat-and-guy couple in front of a hundred people, ask them to look, and each one would see a very different pair, different in a thousand subtle ways, because everybody looks at everything with different eyes.
The patriarch of the Duck Dynasty family has been suspended indefinitely from the hit reality TV show on A&E because of his remarks about homosexuality. He made the comments to GQ magazine. The show has spawned a multi-million-dollar industry of related products and books.
United Methodist church officials have defrocked Rev. Frank Schaefer, who presided over his son's gay wedding. Though the wedding was in 2007, it wasn't until this year that Schaefer's congregation in Lebanon, Pa., learned of it.
Two members of the Russian activist band Pussy Riot and billionaire Mikhail Khordorkovsky are expected to be released from prison by Russian President Vladimir Putin. David Greene talks to reporter Masha Gessen about whether this move signals a liberalizing trend, or is simply a calculation ahead of the 2014 Olympics.
Morning Edition wishes news anchors Jean Cochran and Paul Brown well. A number of our coworkers took the chance to accept voluntary buyouts as NPR changes. Leaving the Morning Edition staff are: Anne Hawke, Jim Wildman and Steve Munro.
U.S. Ambassador to the Unitied Nations Samantha Power (right) listens to Lucy Mandazuto at a community hospital in Bangui, Central African Republic, on Thursday. Mandazuto was wounded in sectarian violence.
You don't have to venture far to see the misery caused by the latest crisis in the Central African Republic.
On the edge of the airport in the capital Bangui, tens of thousands of people are sleeping out in the open with no basic services. It's here that Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, meets Martine Kutungai with her husband, a pastor, and their eight children.
Kutungai says she's terrified to go home because of the Seleka — Muslim rebels who toppled the government in March.
The Daily Show's Jon Stewart recently ranted against Chicago-style deep-dish pizza.
"Let me explain something. Deep-dish pizza is not only not better than New York pizza — it's not pizza," said Stewart, calling it "tomato soup in a bread bowl. ... I don't know whether to eat it, or throw a coin in it and make a wish."
Some upset Chicagoans made their own wishes — which can't be repeated here.
Yelitza Castro, an undocumented immigrant who works as a housekeeper in Charlotte, N.C., cooks dinners for homeless men and women every other Saturday night. It's a tradition that started after she and her children spotted a man standing in the rain on a cold day with a sign asking for help.
Yelitza gave the man $5, she recalls, but her children wanted to take him out to dinner. She turned around to go back, but he was already gone.
"And we were thinking we have to do something," she says.
President Obama heads to Hawaii on Friday. He goes there for Christmas every year and always talks about how good it is to get away from Washington. This year, that's likely to be especially true.
It's been a rough year for the president, starting with the very first hours of 2013.
One year ago, when the ball dropped on Times Square and people sang "Auld Lang Syne," Obama was supposed to be in Honolulu. Instead, he was in Washington as the country went over the so-called fiscal cliff.