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March 8th, 2013
10:35 AM ET

Congressional bonuses in a time of cuts

By Lisa Desjardins, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @LisaDCNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

Capitol Hill (CNN) – A CNN analysis of thousands of pages of Congressional expense reports shows that in the months leading up to the fiscal cliff (and potential, sharp budget cuts), nearly a quarter of the lawmakers in the House of Representatives gave their own office staff bonuses.

Click here to see the list of how much each member of Congress spent and which lawmakers gave their staff what appear to be bonuses.

That money is itemized as “Other Compensation” in the more than 2000-page report.

Only a handful of members of Congress gave us statements defending the bonuses last quarter.

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-CA, wrote, “have a hard working, dedicated team… and I want to pay a salary that reflects their service.”

He said he only gives bonuses if there is “money left over” at the end of the year.

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March 8th, 2013
10:06 AM ET

Prepping for NYC’s ban on large sugary drinks

By Steve Kastenbaum, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @SKastenbaumCNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) – The term 'nanny state' can be heard echoing throughout New York City as the ban on large size sugary soft drink goes into effect next week.

Some businesses are figuring out ways to work around the ban.

[1:08] “What I don’t understand is this, they don’t want me to put a carafe of let’s say tonic or ginger ale, unless it’s diet, out which a carafe is a liter. But I can have ten 16 ounce bottles of it out on the same table,” said Paul Seres who runs the DL Restaurant and Lounge in New York City.

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March 4th, 2013
10:54 AM ET

Businesses hit by Sandy struggle to recover

By Steve Kastenbaum, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @SKastenbaumCNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) – A few hundred people filled the parking lot at the Fairway supermarket on the waterfront in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, NY last Friday morning.

The store is reopening four months after it was flooded by Superstorm Sandy’s storm surge.

Owner Howard Glickberg says it took millions of dollars to repair the Fairway supermarket.

[2:06] “We’re lucky. We had the resources to open up this store. Luckily we had full insurance coverage. Other business owners didn’t have flood insurance. They didn’t have money to back them up. And a lot of businesses just aren’t going to open up again.”

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February 28th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

NYC hot dog carts, small business with big impact

By Steve Kastenbaum, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @SKastenbaumCNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) – Hot dog carts, with their blue and yellow awnings, are practically on every street corner in New York City.

No one pays much attention to the vendors other than during the 15-20 seconds it takes to buy a hot dog and a drink. But if you stopped to talk to one you might be surprised to learn how mighty the small sidewalk business is.

[4:16] “It provides my rent money, provides my kids’ tution, pays for Greek school, pays for my daughter’s ballet school, her tutor lessons. So it’s all from me for here.” said Gus Argy.

He’s the third generation of his family to man the hot dog cart across the street from New York’s City Hall.

FULL POST

February 21st, 2013
05:51 PM ET

Budget cuts: "Plan B" via your gas tank

By Lisa Desjardins, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @LisaDCNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) – March first is approaching like a 18-wheel truck with no brakes. Both political parties have proposed plans to avoid forced budget cuts, or the sequester, yet neither seems to have much of a chance of surviving both chambers by the impending deadline.

Democrats would increase end some farm subsidies and increase some taxes.

[:26] Rep. Chris Hollen, D-MD says, “we shouldn't be giving tax breaks to big oil companies and we believe that we should apply the Buffet Rule to people making over two million dollars a year.”

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