Egypt's protest movement against the controversial draft constitution appears to be losing steam. The opposition had hoped to fill the streets last night with protestors, but calls to demonstrate only generated a lackluster turnout. Voting on the new constitution begins today for Egyptians living abroad. Voters in Egypt are expected to begin casting ballots on Saturday as President Mohammed Morsi plans. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson has this report from Cairo.
Superstorm Sandy caused massive beach erosion and damage to the Jersey shore. Some people say the beach restoration work, which will largely be paid for with federal tax dollars, will mostly help to protect expensive homes for the wealthy — people who have free access to the beach — while most communities would still be charging fees for public access.
At an oceanfront park in Long Branch, N.J., Tim Dillingham looks out over the beach in awe of how much the pounding waves and high waters of Hurricane Sandy have changed the Jersey shore.
Dillingham is the executive director of the American Littoral Society, a coastal conservation group. Before the storm, he says, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent years building up the beaches by pumping sand onto them.
But that shouldn't be a solution to restoring the shore, he says.
Among the loose ends that lawmakers would like to tie up before the end of this lame-duck session is the farm bill, which is made up mostly of crop subsidies and food stamps.
The last farm bill expired in September. The Senate has passed a new one; the House has not. Farm-state lawmakers are urging leaders to include a farm bill as part of any budget deal to avert year-end tax increases and spending cuts.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, speaks Tuesday as Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., listen during a news conference on Capitol Hill calling for no reduction in the Medicare and Medicaid budgets as part of the year-end budget talks.
At least in public, Republicans have been clear that they see the current budget negotiations as a chance to address what they see as the source of Washington's deficit problem: major entitlement programs.