For the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, nothing seems to come easy.
The agency runs at a fraction of the size of its much larger law enforcement counterparts. Under pressure from gun rights groups, it operated without a Senate-confirmed leader for seven years. And its new leader, B. Todd Jones, only narrowly averted a congressional roadblock to win confirmation this summer after serving more than two years as an interim leader.
The number of homeless people in the U.S. shrank from 2012 to 2013, according to a large government study that found the number of veterans and others who are homeless declined for the third straight year. But homeless numbers rose in New York and other states, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The study also found that nearly 20 percent of homeless people were in either New York City (11 percent of the U.S. total) or Los Angeles (9 percent).
Just as the food stamp program has been hit with funding cuts, a small study out of Harvard has found that the program isn't doing enough to ensure that its participants get a complete and nutritious diet.
The researchers wanted to find out how much the benefits provided through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a critical source of food aid for 47 million needy Americans, improved individuals' food security.
Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 4:48 pm
The political class was aflame Thursday with outrage (Republicans) and triumph (Democrats) as Senate Democrats voted to hem in the minority party's ability to filibuster most presidential nominees.
By a 52-48 vote, the Democratic-controlled Senate carried out the so-called nuclear option. The leadership will now allow a simple majority of senators to override filibusters on nominations, with the exception of those to the Supreme Court.
Previous precedent, in place since the 1970s, required a 60-vote "supermajority" to end a filibuster.
More than 200 Marines have been training since late September in the pine forests of North Carolina. They've been hiking for miles carrying 87-pound packs and assault rifles, sleeping in the field, attacking mock enemy positions.
And for the first time, women took part in the training. Three of them made it to the end and graduated Thursday morning.
They were there at Camp Geiger to answer the question of whether women have what it takes to become combat infantry Marines.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, journalist Paul Salopek started walking a while ago. He'll keep walking for seven years. He's following the development of mankind from Ethiopia all the way to the bottom of South America. And we'll talk about how students in cities across the U.S. are falling in his footsteps. That's in a few minutes.