The leadership vacancy created by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano's resignation is the latest and greatest blow to a department where one-third of the heads of key agencies and divisions have been filled with acting officials or remained vacant for months.
The immediate and the institutional are on a collision course in the Senate, where majority Democrats want to erode the right of minority Republicans to block confirmation of President Barack Obama's picks for administration posts.
The official Xinhua News Agency corrected a dispatch that quoted the finance minister as saying growth could be 7 percent this year, in an apparent attempt to defuse market worries on a more severe slowdown. Xinhua's corrected story clarified that Minister Lou Jiwei, speaking in Washington, said: "There is no doubt that China can achieve this year's growth target of 7.5 percent". That amounted to repeating the official target set in March for the world's second largest economy when the new government took office.