Joining us now is the Senate Majority Whip, the number two Democrat in the leadership, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. Welcome to the program once again.
SENATOR DICK DURBIN: Good to be with you.
SIEGEL: You and other Senate Democratic leaders seem to regard the House deferring action on the debt ceiling as an olive branch. Meanwhile, House Democrats like George Miller say they're tied to a three-month leash. What's the good part of this deal that House Democrats don't get?
Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 12:21 pm
NPR's Political Junkie Ken Rudin recaps the week in politics, from Obama's inaugural address to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's testimony on Benghazi. Jack Pitney, political science professor at Claremont McKenna College, discusses the Republican decisions on the debt ceiling and the future of the Republican party.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, the Supreme Court case that established abortion rights in this country is now 40 years old, but the political and cultural fights about abortion are going on still. We'll talk about this with our panel of women commentators. That's our Beauty Shop roundtable and that's in just a few minutes.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, President Obama's vision for reducing gun violence includes improving access to mental health care. So we decided to ask two mental health professions who've thought a lot about violence, especially gun violence, for their perspectives on what kinds of changes they think would be helpful.
The House is expected to vote Wednesday on a Republican leadership plan to put off the debt ceiling fight for three months. This marks a new strategy for House Republicans who until recently had pledged not to raise the debt ceiling unless it was matched with an equal amount of spending cuts.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears before two congressional committees Wednesday to talk about the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya last September. The hostage drama in Algeria, near the Libyan border, has put a spotlight back on that troubled region.
President Obama pulled out a surprise in his inaugural address on Monday. After barely mentioning climate change in his campaign, he put it on his short list of priorities for his second term.
"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," he said. Today the White House had scant detail on what the president plans to do.
Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 5:24 pm
It may have struck many people as odd that Lamar Alexander, the senior senator from Tennessee, gave a shout-out to Alex Haley, the author of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, during his remarks at the presidential inauguration.
Congress faces a battle over gun laws that could be the biggest in a generation.
Leading the charge for gun rights is the National Rifle Association, with its huge budget and grass-roots operations. On the other side, a new leader has emerged in recent years: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not only outspoken on gun control, he has also opened his substantial wallet for the cause.
Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 2:46 pm
President Obama mentioned him five times in Monday's inaugural address — God, that is.
In modern times, religion has become so intertwined in our political rhetoric that the failure of any president to invoke God in a speech as important as the inaugural could hardly escape notice. Thanks to this graphic in The Wall Street Journal, we noticed the presidents who did (nearly all) and the few who didn't (Teddy Roosevelt, Rutherford B. Hayes).
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., arrives at President Obama's inauguration Monday on Capitol Hill. On Tuesday, Ryan, who ran for vice president on the losing Republican ticket last year, said Obama's inaugural address showed a "proud and confident liberal progressive."
Yes, sometimes it's true, I do bend the rules to suit ScuttleButton. Sometimes I completely violate the precepts that ScuttleButton was founded on. So yes, many of you who write in to complain do have valid points.
But this week I may have gone too far. You'll see what I mean once you figure out the puzzle. I just want you to know that there was a serious rule violation this week and that I'm aware of it.
Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 11:13 am
President Obama made history in his inaugural address when he mentioned Stonewall in the same breath as Selma, the Alabama town considered the birthplace of the black-rights movement, and Seneca Falls, the upstate New York site of the first women's-rights convention.
But Obama's reference was very likely lost on many in the generations that have come of age long after gay men resisted police harassment at the Stonewall Inn gay bar in New York City.
In his inaugural address yesterday, President Obama pressed Americans to put aside mindless partisanship. He said we cannot treat name-calling as reasoned debate. At the same time, he strongly defended his political views, voicing support for gay rights and the role of government.
The crowd of supporters out on the National Mall liked it. Republicans watching in Texas had a different view. Here's NPR's Wade Goodwyn.
OK, if you stood near where the president stood yesterday at the west front of the Capitol, looking down from there, you see down the long strip of grass that is the National Mall, past the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial.
Alright, an inauguration is never complete without a night of inaugural balls. Both official events were held at the Washington Convention Center.
NPR's Allison Aubrey went to check out the scene and meet the guests who were there. Turns out, when you get a ticket to a ball with the president of the United States, you just get to Washington. Who needs a hotel?
First lady Michelle Obama arrives at the Senate carriage entrance for the presidential inauguration ceremonies at the U.S Capitol.
Credit Jonathan Ernst / Reuters/Landov
Malia Obama (left) is wearing a J.Crew coat; her sister, Sasha, wears a coat from American designer Kate Spade.
Credit Win McNamee / Getty Images
The first lady and her daughters arrive for the swearing-in of President Obama at the Capitol.
Credit Kevin Lamarque / Reuters /Landov
Obama and Michelle walk in the inauguration parade near the White House. The first lady chose a coat by designer Thom Browne.
Credit Charles Dharapak / AP
On Sunday, during the official swearing-in ceremony at the White House, the first lady wore a dress and cardigan by Reed Krakoff. <em>Women's Wear Daily</em> reports she wore the same cardigan on Monday.
Credit Doug Mills/Pool / AP
Sasha and Malia Obama clap from the reviewing stand in the nation's capital as they watch the presidential inaugural parade.
Credit Mark Wilson / Getty Images
President Obama greets first lady Michelle Obama on stage during the Commander-In-Chief inaugural ball. Michelle's dress was designed by Jason Wu.
Credit Evan Vucci / AP
Vice President Biden, President Obama and Mrs. Obama pause to pay their respects at the Martin Luther King Jr. statue in the Capitol rotunda as they leave the inaugural luncheon. The first lady wore a cardigan she wore just the day before.
Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 11:24 am
Update at 9:05 p.m. ET Michelle Obama's Dress
NBC News is reporting that the first lady is wearing a custom Jason Wu ruby-colored chiffon and velvet gown, Jimmy Choo shoes and a ring by Kimberly McDonald to the Commander in Chief Ball. The White House said that the outfit and accompanying accessories will go to the National Archives at the end of the inaugural events.
Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 7:01 pm
President Barack Hussein Obama, sobered but resolute after four years as the nation's first African-American head of state, began his second term Monday with an ardent defense of government as essential to the nation's economic and moral fiber, and a call to citizens to accept their obligation to shape the national debate.