It was just a year ago that the House rejected a deal with President Obama and threatened to allow the U.S. to default on debt obligations coming due. The Tea Party refusal to raise the debt ceiling led to a downgrade in U.S. credit and a selloff in the markets. NPR's David Welna reports on what's changed since then and what hasn't.
An employee loads flat trays onto a truck at the U.S. Postal Service processing and distribution center in Merrifield, Va.
Credit Andrew Harrier / Bloomberg via Getty Images
For the first time ever, the United States Postal Service has defaulted on a payment to the Treasury.
The USPS warned of a default in a statement on Monday. It it would not make the $5.5 billion payment due today and that it would also default on a $5.6 billion payment due Sept. 30. Both of those payments are federally mandated and go toward prefunding retiree health benefits.
This week, the Senate is considering a plan to improve cybersecurity. Its advocates say they want to prevent computer hackers from going after the power grid or other vital infrastructure in this country. Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski contends a cyberattack could be worse than the freak storm that hit the nation's capital this summer.
"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced on Tuesday an agreement to avoid a government shutdown shortly before the November election," The Hill writes. "He said he, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and President Obama have all agreed to the deal."
Boehner confirmed the news in an email his staff just sent to reporters:
"Republican congressional investigators have concluded that five senior ATF officials ... are collectively responsible for the failed Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation that was 'marred by missteps, poor judgments and inherently reckless strategy,' " the Los Angeles Times reports.