Brian Naylor

NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk.

In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies, including transportation and homeland security.

With more than 30 years of experience at NPR, Naylor has served as National Desk correspondent, White House correspondent, congressional correspondent, foreign correspondent and newscaster during All Things Considered. He has filled in as host on many NPR programs, including Morning Edition, Weekend Edition and Talk of the Nation.

During his NPR career, Naylor has covered many of the major world events, including political conventions, the Olympics, the White House, Congress and the mid-Atlantic region. Naylor reported from Tokyo in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, from New Orleans following the BP oil spill, and from West Virginia after the deadly explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine.

While covering the U.S. Congress in the mid-1990s, Naylor's reporting contributed to NPR's 1996 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism award for political reporting.

Before coming to NPR in 1982, Naylor worked at NPR Member Station WOSU in Columbus, Ohio, and at a commercial radio station in Maine.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maine.

With the government shutdown now in its 11th day, polls show that voters think Republicans bear the biggest share of the blame.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in Virginia — a state that's home to some 172,000 federal civilian workers and where federal spending is a big part of the economy. In the race to be Virginia's next governor, GOP candidate Ken Cuccinelli is falling in the polls.

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On a Thursday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

Congress has until Tuesday to agree on funding for federal agencies in order to avoid a partial government shutdown. So let's look this morning at exactly what that shutdown would mean.

For those old enough to remember, the government shutdown skirmishing now underway in Washington brings back some not-so-fond memories of late 1995 and early 1996.

That's the last time a divided government, unable to settle its differences before the money from previous years' spending bills ran out, forced dozens of agencies to close. Some 800,000 federal workers were told to stay home and millions of Americans were shut out of everything from their national parks to small-business loans.

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Today is Janet Napolitano's last day as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Napolitano is leaving Washington D.C., heading for California, to become at the end of this month, president of the University of California System. NPR's Brian Naylor sat down with Napolitano yesterday for a look back at her tenure as head of one of the government's largest and most complex departments.

In the grand days of railroad travel, passengers arrived in monumental terminals. There was grandeur, style and comfort — qualities that today's equivalent for long-distance travel, the airport, mostly lack. Especially in the United States.

In a survey of international travelers by the British firm Skytrax, not a single U.S. airport ranked anywhere near the top of the list. Singapore got top honors, while the best the United States could do was Cincinnati's airport — which came in at No. 30.

Fifty years ago this week, when hundreds of thousands of demonstrators came from across the country to take part in the 1963 March on Washington, the city was not yet the cosmopolitan capital that it arguably is today.

But it was a mecca for African-Americans, says historian Marya McQuirter.

"Washington was definitely a different city 50 years ago," she says, "for a number of reasons. By 1957, it had become the largest majority black city in the country."

The cars we drive have gotten ever more sophisticated. They can just about park themselves; they tell us if we're drifting out of our lane; they can prevent skids. Some even automatically apply the brakes if they sense that a collision is imminent.

Engineers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh are developing a car that can do all of those things and more — it can actually drive itself. Imagine that commute to work.

The U.S. Postal Service lost some $16 billion last year and continues to bleed red ink. Congress has been unable to agree on a rescue plan.

The latest proposal would allow the post office to end Saturday delivery in a year and enable it to ship wine and beer.

The Postal Service's woes are familiar: People don't really send letters anymore, so first-class mail is down, and Congress makes the post office prepay future retiree benefits to the tune of $5.5 billion a year.

The Internal Revenue Service, under attack by congressional Republicans, has been operating without a permanent commissioner. President Obama nominated John Koskinen on Thursday for what might be seen as a thankless job.

The president called his nominee "an expert at turning around institutions in need of reform." But Koskinen will have his work cut out for him, starting with his Senate confirmation hearing.

History With Struggling Agencies

Janet Napolitano's announcement that she'll be stepping down as Department of Homeland Security secretary after four years on the job leaves an opening at the top of the key Cabinet agency. But it's not the only job opening at Homeland Security.

Fifteen top posts at DHS, including secretary, are now vacant or soon will be. Many are being filled on a temporary basis, and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle want the Obama administration to get busy filling those jobs, too.

The wildfire season is expected to intensify and firefighters are facing it with decreasing resources. Federal budget cuts, including the sequester, mean fewer firefighters, less equipment and less spending on prevention.

If the US Airways-American Airlines merger announced earlier this year is approved, the combined airline would control two-thirds of the takeoff and landing slots at Reagan National Airport, outside Washington, D.C.

The government could force the airline to give up some of those slots as a condition of the merger. But lawmakers warn that could have consequences for some small- and medium-sized cities. And, not coincidentally, it could affect flight plans for lawmakers themselves.

As you head out for summer vacation, ponder this: There's a 1 in 9 chance that the bridge you're crossing has been deemed structurally deficient or basically in bad shape by the federal government.

The collapse of the I-5 bridge in Washington last week has once again raised questions about the state of the nation's infrastructure. But there is no consensus on how to tackle the problem or how to pay for proposed solutions.

A bill that would overhaul the nation's immigration laws is headed to the Senate floor early next month, where it will need all the friends it can get to pass. The measure would give the estimated 11 million immigrants in the United States illegally a path to citizenship, as well as tighten border protections.

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President Obama said today that the people of Moore, Oklahoma, should know that their country will be there for them as long as it takes. The president issued a disaster declaration hours after the tornado struck, and he dispatched officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to Oklahoma. NPR's Brian Naylor has this story on what role FEMA can play.

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