From NPR News in Washington, I'm Windsor Johnston.
Two more of the 20 students killed during Friday's deadly shooting rampage at an elementary school in suburban Connecticut are being laid to rest today. A hearse carried the casket of first-grader James Mattioli. A funeral was also planned today for six-year-old Jessica Rekos. Several wakes are also being held including one for teacher Victoria Soto.
House Speaker John Boehner says he is working on Plan B if a deal can't be reached with the President to avoid automatic spending cuts and tax hikes. But as NPR's Tamara Keith reports negotiations are continuing.
The speaker's backup plan would extend the Bush-era tax cuts for all but those making more than $1 million a year. But Democratic leaders are clear they won't support it and as a result, it doesn't have a chance in the Senate. White House spokesman Jay Carney says the President hopes that a deal can be reached and he rejects Boehner's Plan B.
It's not a great alternative, it's not a great fallback.
And even Boehner says a broad deal with the President that includes equal parts tax increases and spending cuts would be preferable.
I think it'd be better for our country.
The Republican Plan B could be brought to the House floor as soon as Thursday. Tamara Keith, NPR News, the Capitol.
Senator Patrick Leahy has formally assumed his position in the presidential line of succession today, becoming the Senate Pro Tempore after the death of Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye.
That you take this oath, an obligation freely without any mental reservation.
Vice President Joe Biden, administered the oath of office to Leahy this morning, when he says he was extremely hard when he looked inside of his desk last night and saw the senator's name.
We describe our names there and Dan Inouye is there. And when I looked at that I was overcome with emotion.
And Inouye was second longest serving senator in US history. He died yesterday at the age of 88.
Confidence among home builders in the U.S. is at its highest level in more than 6.5 years. NPR's Dave Mattingly reports on the latest index from the National Association of Home Builders / Wells Fargo.
The index is up for the eighth straight month to its highest level since April of 2006. Chief Economist David Crowe with the National Association of Home Builders says builder confidence is rising across the country as home sales and prices continue ticking upward.
We are seeing this widespread improvement occur in lots of places even those places that have pretty dramatic declines like Florida and California. Crowe says home builders are now reflecting the confidence that's been evident among home buyers for months. Dave Mattingly, NPR News, Washington.
At last check on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 98 points at 13,332; the NASDAQ was up 37.
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The government has fined Toyota more than $17 million for failing once again to quickly report problems to federal regulators and for denying a safety recall. The National Traffic Safety Administration says this is the fourth fine against Toyota in the past two years for similar infractions. The latest stems from a June recall of floor mats in some Lexus vehicles that caused gas pedals to stick.
The woman, whose affair with the former CIA Director David Petraeus led to his resignation, will not be charged with cyberstalking. NPR's Tom Bowman reports Paula Broadwell's alleged threatening emails to another woman, brought the scandal to light.
U.S. Attorney Robert O'Neill in Florida told Broadwell's lawyer, she will not face federal charges related to email she sent Jill Kelley, a Tampa socialite and friend of Petraeus. Kelley complained to the FBI about those emails and that's what started the investigation. Broadwell's a West Point graduate, an army reservist who wrote a biography of Petraeus. Her security clearance was suspended and federal investigators are still looking into other aspects of the case. Among the issues, did Broadwell improperly receive classified information from Petraeus when he was commander in Afghanistan. Tom Bowman, NPR News, Washington.
A jury recently found that some Samsung phones illegally used Apple technology ordering it to pay Apple more than $1 billion. But a federal judge now has rejected Apple's demands that Samsung stops selling those models in the U.S. The battle involves three older generation smartphones. Samsung argues that Apple was trying to (tie) up Samsung in courts around the world rather than competing with it head-on.
I'm Windsor Johnston, NPR News.