Politics

Politics
12:59 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Get A Social Security Check? Treasury Says It's Time To Go Electronic

U.S. Treasury checks are run through a printer.
William Thomas Cain Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 10:33 am

Every month, the government sends out about 5 million checks to Americans who receive federal benefits. On March 1, the Treasury Department is making those paper checks a thing of the past.

Since May 2011, all new Social Security recipients are required to get direct deposit of their benefits. Some 93 percent of all recipients now do.

But there are still holdouts, so the Treasury Department started a campaign and a website, Go Direct, in an effort to convince the remaining 7 percent.

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It's All Politics
2:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

How New Jersey's High-Flying Sen. Menendez Ran Into Turbulence

Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, shown in June, has come under scrutiny before, but has never been charged.
Mike Coppola Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 3:12 pm

These should be good times for Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez.

New Jersey voters re-elected him last fall in a landslide, and he became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee a few weeks ago. But along the way, Menendez has come under scrutiny by the Senate Ethics Committee and perhaps other government investigators — and certainly the media — for his connections to a longtime friend and generous campaign donor.

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The Two-Way
2:19 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Sen. Mike Johanns Says He Won't Seek Re-Election

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 5:39 pm

Mike Johanns, the Republican senator from Nebraska, announced Monday that he won't seek another term in the Senate.

Here's more from the Omaha World-Herald:

"Johanns said it was time to 'close this chapter' in his life. He noted that he and his wife, Stephanie, have spent 32 years in public life and that they want to spend more time with family.

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Environment
3:19 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Protesters Call On Obama To Reject Keystone XL Pipeline

Dr. J. William Hirzy, a chemistry professor at American Universiy, rests outside the rally route with a graph he uses to teach his students about the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature.
Daniel M.N. Turner NPR

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 2:33 pm

Tens of thousands of protesters turned out on the National Mall Sunday to encourage President Obama to make good on his commitment to act on climate change.

In his Inaugural address from outside the U.S. Capitol, the president said: "We will respond to the threat of climate change knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations."

Just a few weeks later, next to the Washington Monument, Paul Birkeland was one of a couple dozen people holding a long white tube above their heads.

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It's All Politics
1:22 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Government Slowly Changes Approach To Whistle-Blowers

In this 1971 file photo, the real-life Frank Serpico (center, with beard) appears at a hearing during an investigation into police corruption in New York City.
Jim Wells AP

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 4:42 am

The federal government once considered whistle-blowers a nuisance or worse. But over the past few years, that attitude has slowly started to change. More agencies have been reaching out for tips about fraud and abuse in and outside the government, even if digging through the stacks of complaints can present a challenge.

Think back to those movies in the 1970s — movies filled with heroic figures who risked it all to expose unsafe factories and police corruption, like New York cop Frank Serpico exposing his less-than-clean colleagues.

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It's All Politics
10:20 am
Sun February 17, 2013

White House Outlines Plan To Give Illegal Immigrants Path To Citizenship

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., (second and third from left) announced plans to work on a bipartisan immigration proposal with their colleagues on Jan. 28 on Capitol Hill. They were also some of the first to respond to a leaked White House proposal.
Alex Wong Getty Images

The first details of an initial proposal by the White House to tackle the nation's immigration system include an eight-year path to legal residency for illegal immigrants.

A draft of the plan, which USA Today says was leaked to the newspaper by a White House official, proposes the creation of a "Lawful Prospective Immigrant" visa for those living here illegally.

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It's All Politics
9:27 am
Sun February 17, 2013

White House Warns Of Sequestration's Effects

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough at the White House on Jan. 25.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 12:08 pm

The White House and congressional Democrats are sounding the alarm bells over the consequences of the sequester, the across-the-board cuts to the budget that are scheduled to go into effect in March.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said the cuts would offset "pretty good" economic activity over the past few months. He said President Obama had a plan to cut an addition $1.5 trillion from the deficit.

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Politics
4:13 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Looking At The Realities Of Passing New Gun Control Legislation

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The fate of new gun control legislation for now lies in the U.S. Senate. And we turn to Senator Patrick Leahy. He's a Democrat from Vermont and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SENATOR PATRICK LEAHY: This is the first Judiciary Committee hearing of the 113th Congress.

MARTIN: His committee has been holding hearings to try to come up with possible ways to address gun violence.

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U.S.
3:13 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Rethinking The U.S. Presidency: 3 Alternative Realities

President Woodrow Wilson meets with his first Cabinet, circa 1912. Should Cabinets have a more central role in a president's decision making?
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Did you pay attention to the State of the Union Address? Were you struck by the countless complexities President Obama has to deal with? The economy. The national budget and deficit. Health care. Tax reform. Education. Jobs. Energy. Climate change. The national infrastructure. Immigration. Gun violence and on and on and on.

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It's All Politics
9:52 am
Sat February 16, 2013

College Republicans Offer GOP Advice For Winning Over Their Generation

Ohio State College Republicans await Mitt Romney's son, Craig, who canvassed with them in Columbus last October.
Courtesy College Republicans at The Ohio State University

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 9:59 am

During President Obama's State of the Union address this week, 14 members of the College Republicans at Ohio State University gathered in a meeting room at their student union on campus in Columbus, Ohio.

The president's speech, which they watched on a giant flat-screen TV, was punctuated with groans, rebuttal, criticisms and sarcasm from this young audience. These students worked hard, to no avail, to deliver the much prized battleground state of Ohio to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

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Politics
5:05 am
Sat February 16, 2013

In Hometown Visit, Obama Advocates 'Common Sense' Approach To Guns

President Obama speaks about strengthening the middle class and the nation's struggle with gun violence at Hyde Park Academy in Chicago on Friday.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 8:05 am

"It's good to be home," President Obama said to a crowd, including uniformed high school students, at Chicago's Hyde Park Academy on Friday.

The school is in the same neighborhood where the Obamas raised their children, but the topic of the president's visit was raising Chicago's children — and the nation's. The president returned to his hometown to address the scourge of gun violence that's plaguing the city and many other parts of the country.

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Politics
4:41 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Examining The Political Event That Wasn't There

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 8:05 am

Politics is a subjective business, but a recent study seems to indicate — with some manipulation — people can claim to recall political events that never actually occurred. Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon speaks with NPR science correspondent Shankar Vedantam about the research.

Politics
4:41 am
Sat February 16, 2013

New Gun Laws Still A Touchy Subject In Congress

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 8:05 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

President Obama's also trying to get the government more involved in trying to stop gun violence, but his supporters in Congress face an uphill battle in getting new gun control measures passed. Senator Richard Durbin's Senate judiciary subcommittee held hearings this week. The senator from Illinois, who is also majority whip, joins us now. Thanks for being with us.

SENATOR RICHARD DURBIN: It's good to be with you, Scott.

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Politics
4:41 am
Sat February 16, 2013

The Politics Of Raising The Minimum Wage

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 8:05 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for Congress to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour, up from its current rate of 7.25.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. Even with the tax relief we've put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That's wrong.

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Politics
4:41 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Young Republicans Say 'Grand Old Party' Needs To Win Youth Votes

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 10:16 am

A group of young Republicans at Ohio State University discuss the president's policies, his popularity with their cohort and what the GOP needs to do to win more young votes.

Politics
4:41 am
Sat February 16, 2013

The Water Sip Heard Around The World

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 8:05 am

Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon considers all the attention Sen. Mark Rubio received, not for his comments on President Obama's State of the Union address, but for the water the Florida senator drank while delivering his remarks.

Politics
2:24 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Week In Politics: State Of The Union, Chuck Hagel

Robert Siegel speaks with political commentators E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution, and syndicated columnist Mona Charen. The discuss the State of the Union, and Chuck Hagel's nomination for defense secretary.

It's All Politics
1:33 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

President's New Voting Commission Greeted With Skepticism

Lines of voters wait to cast their ballots as the polls open in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Nov. 6.
Edward Linsmier Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 2:18 pm

One of the more memorable moments in President Obama's State of the Union address this week was his introduction of an elderly woman sitting in the House gallery. The president said that Desiline Victor had to wait three hours last year to vote in North Miami.

"Hour after hour, a throng of people stayed in line to support her," Obama said. "[Because] Desiline is 102 years old. And they erupted in cheers when she finally put on a sticker that read, 'I Voted.' "

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Around the Nation
10:03 am
Fri February 15, 2013

The State of Indian Country: Global Tribes?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Religion
10:03 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Keeping The Faith In The Catholic Church

Earlier this week, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would be retiring from his position, but he's not the only prominent Catholic stepping down. Host Michel Martin speaks with top Catholic lobbyist and policy adviser, John Carr, about his own retirement and what's next for him and the Church.

Barbershop
10:02 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Who Really Benefits From Raising Minimum Wage?

President Obama argued for raising the minimum wage in his State of the Union address, but will it really help keep up with the cost of living? And the manhunt for Christopher Dorner kept the country on its toes for a week. Now that it's over, what questions remain? Host Michel Martin and the guys weigh in.

Race
9:36 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Why Do People Sympathize With Christopher Dorner?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we've heard President Obama's State of the Union speech, but what about the state of Indian Nations? We'll hear more about the message from Indian Country in just a few minutes.

But first we turn to Los Angeles, where the hunt for former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner is now over. Dorner's remains have now been positively identified after they were removed from the mountain cabin that burned down after a fiery standoff with authorities.

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'It's All Politics': NPR's Weekly News Roundup
8:23 am
Fri February 15, 2013

It's All Politics, Feb. 14, 2013

Charles Dharapak DPA/Landov
  • Listen to the Roundup

Mr. Speaker, The Podcast of the United States! NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving dissect President Obama's State of the Union address, make the obligatory and sophomoric quench-filling jokes about Marco Rubio and look at what seems to be the makings of a filibuster against Defense Secretary-nominee Chuck Hagel.

Krulwich Wonders...
7:53 am
Fri February 15, 2013

A Crazy But Rational Solution To Our Electoral College Problem

Courtesy of Fake Is The New Real

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 12:26 pm

Let's pretend. Let's pretend that politics doesn't matter, politicians don't matter, history doesn't matter, nostalgia doesn't matter, emotion doesn't matter, habit doesn't matter, romance doesn't matter, prejudice doesn't matter — all that matters is good old rational, mathematical, look-at-the-numbers common sense.

And now let's look at the Electoral College.

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Politics
4:41 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Obama To Push State Of The Union Messages In Chicago

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 6:39 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The president will leave the sequester debate behind this afternoon when he travels to Chicago. He's expected to talk about the gun violence that plagues his home town.

Fifteen-year-old Hadiya Pendleton became a symbol of the problem after she was murdered last month in a park about a mile from the president's Chicago home. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports on what activists expect from President Obama.

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Politics
4:12 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Hagel Nomination Blocked At Least Temporarily

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 6:39 am

Chuck Hagel will have to wait at least another 10 days to find out if the Senate will confirm him as the next secretary of defense. That's because Senate Democrats failed to muster the 60 vote supermajority needed to break a GOP filibuster of the former Nebraska Republican senator's nomination.

Politics
4:12 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Automatic Budget Cuts Near As Democrats, GOP Stand Firm

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 6:39 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

With Congress headed for a recess, prospects are dimming for a deal to keep the nation from falling off the next fiscal cliff - sequestration. That's the term for automatic spending cuts that go into effect March 1.

NPR's Mara Liasson explains how the White House and Congress got to this impasse and why it's so hard to get past it.

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NPR Story
4:12 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Effects Of Automatic Spending Cuts Become Clearer

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 6:39 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

As we've been hearing, clock is ticking on the sequester. That is the Washington term for the across-the-board cuts that will take effect March 1, unless Congress acts to put them off.

The impact the $85 billion reduction in government programs could have became a bit clearer yesterday, as NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

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It's All Politics
4:33 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Lautenberg Retirement Ends Potential May-December Senate Fight With Booker

Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker speaks last year at a ceremony at City Hall.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 5:21 pm

The potential Democratic Party contest for a U.S. Senate seat between 89-year-old Sen. Frank Lautenberg and 43-year-old Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker had been shaping up to be a generational battle royale.

Alas, it won't happen now that Lautenberg has announced that he won't run for re-election in New Jersey's 2014 Senate race. In a statement, the octogenarian senator said:

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It's All Politics
3:40 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

As Spending Cuts Loom, Alarm Bells Begin To Sound

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey (from left), Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Undersecretary of Defense and Comptroller Robert Hale wait for a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. Military leaders are warning Congress about the effects of the sequester.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 4:27 pm

Senate Democrats offered an alternative Thursday to the sequester, the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts set to hit March 1.

Despite dire warnings in congressional hearings this week, many on Capitol Hill seem resigned to the sequester.

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