Politics

Around the Nation
11:56 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

John Edwards Resumes Career As Trial Attorney

Former U.S. senator and Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards has returned to a North Carolina courtroom to help represent a 4-year-old Virginia boy in a medical malpractice case.

Edwards is one of three attorneys representing the parents and guardians of a boy with brain damage and physical injuries they say occurred in December 2009.

At that time, the boy was an infant in the care of Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, N.C., and an emergency room doctor.

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It's All Politics
3:49 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Bloomberg Seeks To Alter Gun Debate With $50 Million, And Moms

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Wednesday that he plans to spend $50 million this year on field operations to support candidates in favor of gun safety laws.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 4:54 pm

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg's plan to invest $50 million in what he describes as a mom-driven grass-roots effort to support pro-gun-safety candidates grabbed headlines Wednesday, and energized gun control activists.

The commitment, the former New York City mayor says, aims to beat back the profound political influence of the National Rifle Association in 15 targeted states — to "make them afraid of us," he told NBC's Today show.

"This is what the American public wants," Bloomberg said, referring to his group's intended focus on gun-purchase background checks.

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The Two-Way
12:58 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Holy Bible Could Become Louisiana's Official Book

Hurricane Katrina holdout Hazzert Gillett reads his Bible in his New Orleans home in September 2005. The state's Legislature is considering a bill to make the Holy Bible the official state book.
Brian Snyder Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 1:51 pm

The "Good Book" could become the official book of Louisiana if a bill sent to the state's Legislature passes in a vote that could come as early as this week.

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Shots - Health News
1:40 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Is Obamacare A Success? We Might Not Know For A While

Hundreds in California rushed to get health insurance just before the deadline.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 11:13 am

After months of focusing on how many people have or haven't signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, we now have a rough total (7.5 million), and everyone's keen to get to the bigger questions: How well is the law working? How many of those who signed up have paid their premiums and are actually getting coverage? How many were uninsured before they signed up? And just how big has the drop been in the number of uninsured people?

Unfortunately, the answers to some of these questions simply aren't knowable — or, at least, not knowable yet.

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Politics
2:45 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Pursuing IRS Controversy, House GOP Pivots Toward Crossroads

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 4:48 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee have voted to seek the criminal prosecution of former IRS official Lois Lerner. They allege that she violated several laws as the tax agency grappled with conservative groups seeking tax exempt status. The vote also marked a sharp turn in Republican strategy in the year-long controversy.

NPR's Peter Overby reports.

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Politics
2:45 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Red State Returns Spotlight To Women, Backbone Of Texas GOP

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 4:48 pm

Republican women have always played an important role in Texas politics, but this year, the GOP finds itself on the defensive in the campaign for women's votes. As KUT's Ben Phillpott reports, there's a new group to help address the issue: Red State Women.

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

Transcript

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It's All Politics
2:02 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Crossroads GPS At Heart Of GOP's Lois Lerner Probe

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich. (center), flanked by the committee's ranking member, Sander Levin, D-Mich. (right), and Sam Johnson, R-Texas, listen on Capitol Hill April 9 as the panel debates whether IRS official Lois Lerner's refusal to testify to Congress deserves criminal prosecution.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 6:08 pm

Among the alleged crimes committed by Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the heart of the tax agency's targeting of conservative groups: singling out Crossroads GPS, Karl Rove's nonprofit group that spent $165 million in the last election attacking Democrats and helping Republicans.

That's according to House Republicans pushing criminal charges against Lerner.

The House Ways and Means Committee met in closed-door session Wednesday to discuss three specific violations Republicans believe she committed while running the IRS's office that handles tax-exempt groups.

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NPR Story
2:55 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Senate Panel Considers Nominee To Head Safety Commission

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 6:02 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Politics
4:21 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

White House Learns Complications Of Pay Equity Debate

Lilly Ledbetter speaks at the White House on Tuesday, during an event marking Equal Pay Day. President Obama announced new executive actions to strengthen enforcement of equal pay laws for women.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 3:24 am

Money and politics don't always make for polite conversation, but President Obama tried to tackle both at the White House on Tuesday.

Obama signed a pair of executive orders aimed at encouraging conversation about men's and women's pay scales. It's a talk that Democrats hope will yield political gains this year.

It also raised questions, though, about how the administration pays its own people.

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It's All Politics
2:18 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Holder Plays Asparagus Card Against GOP Antagonist

Attorney General Eric Holder played the asparagus card against one of his House Republican tormenters.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

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News
2:14 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

An Angry Hearing On The Hill For 'Cockamamie' Twitter-like Network

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 3:24 am

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy was incensed that he only learned about the creation of a Twitter-like network in Cuba through press accounts. He had the chance Tuesday to vent his frustration when USAID administrator Rajiv Shah appeared before Leahy's committee.

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

Transcript

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It's All Politics
1:26 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

The Politics Of Equal Pay: It's More Than A Women's Issue

A crowd lines up in Atlanta for a recent women's forum on pay equity and other issues featuring Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
David Tulis AP

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 2:18 pm

The pay equity issue, which President Obama and Democrats are making a central theme of the 2014 midterm election campaign, is often framed as a women's issue. But Democrats are expecting it will also have crossover appeal to men.

For many men, it's a matter of self-interest: Two-income families are part of a long-term trend, as many families find two paychecks essential to cover the bills in an era of rising prices and stagnant, if not falling, wages.

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Around the Nation
3:08 am
Tue April 8, 2014

San Francisco's Chinatown Hurt By Yee Scandal

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 6:09 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, these charges against Leland Yee have been rippling through San Francisco's large Asian community. NPR's Richard Gonzales has been listening to reaction in the city's storied Chinatown.

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Around the Nation
3:05 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Next Chapter Unfolds In San Francisco Political Scandal

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 6:09 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Today, California State Senator Leland Yee is scheduled to appear in court. The corruption charges he faces range from the common to the extraordinary. The Democrat is accused of taking money from favors - that happens a lot - but this part does not: the FBI says Yee offered to connect undercover agents to international arms traffickers in exchange for campaign contributions. San Francisco journalist Tim Redmond is covering this case.

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Politics
3:01 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Obama's Executive Orders Take On Unequal Pay For Women

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 6:09 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Today is Equal Pay Day, according to the U.S. Labor Department. The government calculates the average pay of men and women.

GREENE: A woman would've had to work all last year, then all the way until today in order to match what the average man made just last year.

INSKEEP: She needed more than 15 months to match what the man made in 12.

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It's All Politics
10:03 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Study: States Did Better Job Running Elections In 2012

Voters line up in the dark to cast their ballots at a polling station on Nov. 6, 2012 in Miami, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee AP

For all the criticism about long lines and other Election Day snafus, most states actually improved the way they handled elections between 2008 and 2012, according to a new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The report found that, overall, wait times at polling stations decreased by about three minutes over 2008, and 40 states and the District of Columbia improved their "election performance index" scores, which Pew calculated from 17 indicators that make up the index.

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It's All Politics
3:27 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Former Senate Rivals Team Up To Combat Campus Sexual Assault

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., attends a press conference calling for the creation of an independent military justice system to deal with sexual harassment and assault in the military on Feb. 6.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

After a lengthy clash over competing military sexual assault reform bills, Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York are teaming up to push for increased funding to investigate and combat sexual assault on college campuses.

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NPR Story
3:14 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Gay Candidate May Help Mass. GOP End Losing Streak

Former Republican Massachusetts state Sen. Richard Tisei announces his run for the 6th Congressional District seat held by John Tierney on Jan. 23 in Wakefield, Mass.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 7:36 am

Republicans in Massachusetts have lost the past 92 U.S. House races. That's a staggering number — the worst GOP drought in the country.

But analysts say this year the party might have a man who could snap that losing streak. He is vying for a seat in the Massachusetts 6th Congressional District, just north of Boston.

In many ways, Richard Tisei is a quintessential New England politician. He even sports the classic side-part hairstyle with a bit of that Kennedy swoosh. Old ladies tell him he's handsome. He's a veteran state senator and a local boy.

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Politics
1:24 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Welcome To Voting Rights Boot Camp

Supporters of the Voting Rights Act listen to speakers discussing the Supreme Court's rulings outside the court building in June 2013. The court ruled that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, aimed at protecting minority voters, is unconstitutional.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 1:30 pm

Election season is getting underway in states all over the country, and voting rights advocates worry some of those places may move to disenfranchise minorities by exploiting a Supreme Court ruling.

That ruling last June blew up a system that had forced states with a history of discrimination to win federal approval before making election changes.

Now, legal groups are responding by training a new generation of activists to sue. Consider this recent gathering of a few dozen lawyers and community activists on the 28th floor of an Atlanta skyscraper.

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The Two-Way
2:20 pm
Sun April 6, 2014

Obama Is Poised To Sign Executive Order On Equal Pay And Contractors

Seeking to advance the cause of equal pay for women, President Obama plans to sign an executive order Tuesday barring federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their salaries with each other.

Federal contractors would also be forced to give the Labor Department data about their employees' pay along with their race and gender, under new rules the president is instructing the agency to adopt.

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Health Care
11:03 am
Sat April 5, 2014

With Enrollee Goal Met, Obamacare Still Faces Political Trial

President Obama arrives in the Rose Garden on Tuesday to trumpet 7.1 million signups under the Affordable Care Act.
Carolyn Kaster AP

President Obama and his supporters had a rare opportunity to celebrate this week.

A last-minute surge in people signing up for health insurance sent the total government enrollment figures over the seven-million mark.

That number seemed out of reach just a few months ago, when a crash-prone website threatened to undermine the president's signature health care law.

Republicans are still bent on repealing the law, but now millions more Americans have a stake in Obamacare's survival.

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It's All Politics
3:34 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

You Could Be A 'New Republican' If You Agree With This Ad

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is part of an effort to redefine the Republican Party.
Wilfredo Lee AP

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 4:39 pm

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Business
3:00 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Expecting A Spring Thaw, Shops And Restaurants Warm To Hiring

Employment and wages are increasing, along with hopes for more consumer spending, analysts say.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 3:37 pm

As winter loosens its grip, employers are taking on more help.

Hotels, bars and restaurants added 33,000 workers, while retailers tacked on 21,000 jobs in March, the Labor Department said Friday. Economists say those increases suggest employers are growing more confident that Americans will be spending more this year.

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Fine Art
3:00 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

From Stick Figures To Portraits, Bush Frees His Inner Rembrandt

A portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin is on display at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas.
Benny Snyder AP

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 2:26 pm

Former President George W. Bush worked with many world leaders while in office. Now, he's unveiling 24 portraits he painted of some of them. As Lauren Silverman of KERA reports, the exhibit will be at his new presidential library.

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Commentary
2:17 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Week In Politics: Money In Campaigns And Health Care Numbers

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 4:18 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Well, now it's time to talk politics with our Friday regulars, columnists E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and the Brookings Institution, and David Brooks of The New York Times. Good to see you both.

E.J. DIONNE: Good to be with you.

DAVID BROOKS: Good to see you.

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Economy
2:17 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Life Without Jobless Benefits: Watching, Searching And Praying

Josie Maisano poses with her congressman, Democrat Sander Levin of Michigan. Levin says if Congress can't respond to people like Maisano, "we've failed."
Tamara Keith NPR

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 5:11 pm

There's a small frame hanging on the wall near the computer Josie Maisano uses to search for work. Inside there's a picture of her at this year's State of the Union address and a blue ribbon that Democrats wore that night to highlight the plight of people like Maisano, whose unemployment benefits stopped at the end of December.

"Oh, my God. It was just a once-in-a-lifetime experience," says Maisano. "Listening to President Obama, it was just very, very heartwarming."

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It's All Politics
1:05 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Congressman's Lament: $174,000 Isn't Enough To Make Ends Meet

Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., joins other members of the House of Representatives at a closed-door intelligence briefing on Syria in September.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 2:00 pm

In what world does an annual salary of $174,000 meet the definition of underpaid?

That would be in the nation's capital, where soon-to-be-retired Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., said Americans should know that their members of Congress — as the board of directors for the "largest economic entity in the world" — are underpaid.

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The Two-Way
10:39 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Bush's 'Art Of Leadership' Puts Putin And Others On Display

Former President George W. Bush says his favorite from among the portraits he's painted of world leaders is the one he did of his father, former President George H.W. Bush. "I painted a gentle soul," he says.
George W. Bush Presidential Center

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 11:01 am

"The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy" officially opens Saturday at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas.

As the nation's 43rd president says: "Who woulda thought it?"

Talking with his daughter Jenna Bush Hager during a pre-recorded interview on NBC-TV's Today show, the self-deprecating Bush says:

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Politics
10:31 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Enrollment Numbers Put Obamacare Battle To Rest?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Now it's time for our political chat. This week there's a lot to talk about. The Supreme Court struck down some campaign contribution limits. The White House beat it's a goal of 7 million Americans signed up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act, and Republican Congressman Paul Ryan debuted his own budget proposal, something that could be a blueprint for a White House run in 2016. So joining us to help us unpack those political headlights is Corey Dade.

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National Security
4:38 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Senate Committee Votes To Declassify CIA Interrogations Report

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 6:22 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The Senate intelligence committee voted yesterday in favor of declassifying a huge report that's been kept under wraps for nearly a year and a half. It's the so-called torture report on the interrogation and secret detention program carried out by the CIA following the 9/11 attacks. NPR's David Welna reports.

DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: Only a 450-page summary of the report and its 20 findings would actually be declassified. New Mexico Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich predicts a big impact.

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