On each Sept. 30, the nation wraps up its old budget, and on Oct. 1, it starts a fresh spending cycle. Or at least, that's what is supposed to happen.
But once again, Oct. 1 has come and gone, and the country still has no formal budget in place. Instead, Congress last week approved a stopgap funding bill to keep the government operating temporarily, just as it has done time and again since the 1970s.
This year, the annual budget fight has become especially muddled. That's because Congress and the White House are actually engaged in three different, but related, budget debates that are going on simultaneously.
Ultimately, the three battles involve just one question: How much money should government take in and spend? But the separate tracks involve different time horizons, and each problem has to be resolved in a different way.
Here is a fresh look at the three ongoing budget battles:
Voters in West Virginia will choose the state's next governor on Tuesday, in a special election to finish the term of Democrat Joe Manchin. The popular former governor left office after being elected to the U.S. Senate last November.
On the ballot are the man who has been acting governor, Democratic state Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, and GOP businessman Bill Maloney.
But Republicans are trying to make the race a referendum on someone not on the ballot: President Obama.
After many awful seasons this year's Detroit Lions are — can you believe it — undefeated. To add to the glory, each of the Detroit car makers is showing signs of health with increased quality and profitability. It's long-awaited good news for a city that's been through bad times.
There's no denying that Detroit has had an image problem for quite a while. A whole cottage industry has sprung up over the years with many people from all walks trying to help turn that image around.
We're back with ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
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I'm 100 percent certain I'm not going to run. I don't want to run. I don't feel like I'm ready to run. First, you have to have in your heart, you got to want it more than anything else. More than anything else. I don't want it that badly.
More than 50 of America's most decorated war heroes are in Louisville, Kentucky, this weekend to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Medal of Honor. Three men have received the honor in the last year — the first time the Congressional Medal of Honor Society has welcomed new living members since Vietnam. Reporter Brenna Angel of member station WUKY, reports on how they shared their stories across generations.
Now, that al-Qaida leader killed this week, Anwar al-Awlaki, he was born in New Mexico. And a decade ago, he was already branding himself as a kind of spokesman for Muslim Americans. Here he is as a guest on NPR's TALK OF THE NATION back in 2001, two months after 9/11.
More than half a million people work for the U.S. Postal Service making it the seventh largest employer in the world. But like a lot of other businesses, this one is being hit hard by the tough economy and transformed by the Internet.
Chad Harbach's debut novel, The Art Of Fielding, is about baseball in the same way Moby-Dick is about whaling. Or in the same way Friday Night Lights is about football.
Which is to say, it is — and it isn't.
Harbach's protagonist, Henry Skrimshander, is a prodigal shortstop at a small, midwestern liberal arts college called Westish University. Henry is destined for the big leagues, until a debilitating mental slump lands him on the bench.
The international spotlight has been on North Africa this year, where Arab autocrats have been overthrown by government opponents seeking democracy in three separate countries – Libya, Egypt and Tunisia.
But farther south on the continent, a less dramatic democratic trend has been playing out for years.
Seventeen of the 49 nations in sub-Saharan Africa are holding national elections this year. That's partly an accident of timing. But it's also a sign that holding power in Africa these days increasingly requires a leader to hold regular elections.