March 1, 2010 in Nation/World

In brief: Senate impasse prompts furloughs

From Wire Reports

WASHINGTON – Two thousand federal transportation workers will be furloughed without pay today, and the Obama administration said they have a Kentucky senator to blame for it.

Federal reimbursements to states for highway programs will also be halted, the Transportation Department said in a statement late Sunday. The reimbursements amount to about $190 million a day, according to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The furloughs and freeze on payments were the result of a decision last week by Republican Sen. Jim Bunning to block passage of legislation that would have extended federal highway and transit programs, the department said. Those programs expired at midnight Sunday.

The extension of transportation programs was part of a larger package of government programs that also expired Sunday, including unemployment benefits for about 400,000 Americans.

Bunning objected to the $10 billion measure, saying it would add to the budget deficit.

Furloughs will affect employees at the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Research and Innovative Technology Administration.

RFK’s grandson opts out of race

BOSTON – Joseph P. Kennedy III, the son of a former congressman and the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, said Sunday he had decided against running for the U.S. House from Massachusetts this year.

Kennedy told the Associated Press that he wants to remain in his new job as a prosecutor in Cape Cod’s Barnstable County. The 29-year-old Stanford University and Harvard Law graduate has held the post only for eight months.

“I’ve got a job I love – being an assistant district attorney on the Cape – and I want to get better at it at this point,” Kennedy said. “I know serving in Congress would be a great job, but I’ve got a great job.”

A top state Democrat said Saturday that Kennedy was weighing a race if Rep. William Delahunt were to decide against seeking re-election in the 10th Congressional District, which encompasses the Massachusetts South Shore and Cape Cod.

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