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.

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.

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Well, the last speaker today was President Obama. He delivered remarks from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where King gave his speech five decades ago.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We rightly and best remember Dr. King's soaring oratory that day, how he gave mighty voice to the quiet hopes of millions, how he offered a salvation path for oppressed and oppressors alike.

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.

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It's not often that a state senator draws the attention of the national news media, but Texas Democrat Wendy Davis did today when she addressed a packed house at the National Press Club here in Washington. Davis, you may remember, lead an 11-hour filibuster earlier this summer against a bill in the Texas legislature that restricted access to abortions. NPR's Brian Naylor explains how that act of defiance has led to speculation about her political future.

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.

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It's already been a long summer for Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. A steady stream of news reports have revealed gifts and loans he and his family accepted from a campaign donor, totaling some $145,000. McDonnell has been mentioned as a possible future presidential candidate, though with these revelations some now express doubt about his chances.

As NPR's Brian Naylor reports the trouble for McDonnell could also affect the Republican who hopes to succeed him in the governor's office.

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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.

The case of Edward Snowden has put a spotlight on the large number of people who have security clearances: 5 million people in the United States have been granted the authority to look at classified information.

And 1.4 million of them have top-secret clearances, the highest classification.

Everyone with a security clearance has to undergo a background check. Those investigations are overseen by the federal Office of Personnel Management, but they are often conducted by outside contractors.

The biggest of those contractors is now under investigation.

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.

Revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted some conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status for extra scrutiny have put a spotlight on a part of the tax code increasingly popular with political groups: section 501(c)(4).

But what's the benefit for organizations to get approved for 501(c)(4) status?

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We're going to spend some time this morning, examining tax examiners at the IRS. The Internal Revenue Service is under fire for paying extra attention to conservative groups that were seeking tax exempt status. The groups had names suggesting they were linked with the Tea Party.

GREENE: Now, social welfare organizations can claim tax exemptions, political groups are treated differently.

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Congress has held its first hearing on last month's Boston Marathon bombing. Boston's police commissioner testified yesterday that he did not know about an FBI probe into one of the suspects. He also said he's not clear the information would have made a difference.

But as NPR's Brian Naylor reports, lawmakers still want answers about the flaws and inadequacies of joint terrorism task forces.

The immigration overhaul bill before the Senate would provide, among other things, more visas for migrant farm workers and high-tech workers, and a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

One thing it would not provide is help for same-sex couples in which one partner is an American and one foreign-born. For heterosexual couples, a foreign-born spouse automatically qualifies for a green card and many of the benefits of citizenship. Not so with gay and lesbian couples.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

In the days since the Boston Marathon bombings, local law enforcement officials have been given high marks for their response to the attack and the coordination among numerous federal, state and local agencies involved.

But at the same time, questions are being raised about the coordination among federal agencies handling intelligence they had about the suspects in the months before the attack.

Local officials have defended the decision to essentially lock down the city of Boston on Friday while law enforcement searched for a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing.

Residents were told to remain indoors during the hunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who survived an early morning shootout with police in the suburb of Watertown during which his brother, Tamerlan, was killed.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced the decision to lock down Watertown and the surrounding areas, including Boston, at a dawn news conference Friday.

It's no secret that many of the nation's roads are in pretty bad shape. In the latest report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the condition of America's highways rated a grade of D.

Congestion is a big problem, and so is upkeep. Most states rely on gas taxes to raise the money for repairs and new construction, but that funding source is not the stream it used to be, says James Corless of Transportation for America.

The nation's capital has been undergoing something of a building boom. Dozens of construction cranes dot the Washington, D.C., skyline.

So it comes as no surprise that the federal government is hoping to take advantage of the real estate values and unload what's seen by many as an eyesore on Pennsylvania Avenue: the J. Edgar Hoover Building, headquarters of the FBI.

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The Transportation Security Administration says starting next month, it's OK to bring small knives aboard passenger jets. The new policy is a result of the agency's shift from focusing on objects that might pose a threat to focusing on people. But many flight attendants, a few airlines and some lawmakers are pushing back against the new policy.

Control towers at many small and medium-sized airports around the country are set to shut down next month because of the across-the-board federal budget cuts. The towers have been operated under contract to the Federal Aviation Administration.

One of the airports affected is in Latrobe, Pa., southeast of Pittsburgh — the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, named after the golf great who grew up a well-placed drive from the runway. A statue of Palmer watches over the small terminal.

Hear Brian Nayor, Julie Rovner, Yuki Noguchi and Carrie Johnson talk with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep about the many federal entities operating without permanent leadership by clicking the audio link.

Some workers may dream about how productive they'd be without a boss. But for thousands of federal employees, being without a boss is a reality. And productivity isn't necessarily the result.

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