Continued from page 1

Department officials have said that their review may not be finished until January, meaning that any appearance by Mrs. Clinton before Congress could be delayed.

SENATE

Sen. Coburn finds plenty of waste at Pentagon

One of the Senate’s leading fiscal conservatives says defense spending could be slashed by $68 billion over 10 years if the military stops spending millions of dollars operating grocery stores and schools and developing a roll-up version of beef jerky.

In a report on defense spending, Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, dubs the Pentagon the “Department of Everything.”

Mr. Coburn said the Pentagon could save money if it eliminated duplicative and excessive programs that have nothing to do with the nation’s security.

By turns sober and cheeky, the report points out that the Pentagon has spent more than $1 million on the 100-year Starship Project. About $100,000 went for a workshop that included a discussion titled “Did Jesus Die for Klingons Too?”

LABOR

Superstorm Sandy blamed for spike in jobless claims

Superstorm Sandy drove the number of people seeking unemployment benefits up to a seasonally adjusted 439,000 last week, the highest level in 18 months.

The Labor Department said applications increased by 78,000 because a large number were filed in states damaged by the storm. People can claim unemployment benefits if their workplaces close and they don’t get paid.

The storm may distort claims for another two weeks, the department has said. The four-week average of applications, a less-volatile number, increased to 383,750.

Before the storm, applications fluctuated between 360,000 and 390,000 this year. At the same time, employers added an average of nearly 157,000 jobs a month. That is barely enough to lower the unemployment rate, which was 7.9 percent in October.

From wire dispatches and staff reports