After nearly two months in a Houston hospital, where he spent some of the time in intensive care for treatment of complications related to bronchitis, an infection and a stubborn fever, former President George H.W. Bush was sent home today.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Celeste Headlee in Washington. Neal Conan is away. This Sunday, Barack Obama will be officially sworn in for his second term as the 44th president of the United States. But today as Washington gears up for four more years, we wanted to look back at the first term, from health care to gay marriage to Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.
For many years, it didn't occur to Bishop Gene Robinson — the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church — that he might retire before age 72, the mandatory retirement age for Episcopal bishops. But then, in 2010, Mary Glasspool, who is also openly gay, was elected bishop suffragan in the Diocese of Los Angeles and, for the first time, Robinson reconsidered his retirement plans.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin.
Coming up, we'll talk about why the Peace Corps is stepping up its efforts to recruit doctors and nurses to its ranks of people serving in developing countries. That's ahead.
But first, President Barack Obama is just about a week away from being sworn into his second term in office. So we have been looking at some of the unresolved issues from his first four years. Last week, we talk about housing, particularly the foreclosure crisis.
Add this to the list of proposals to overhaul the gun industry: Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., says he will introduce legislation this week to roll back legal immunity for gun manufacturers and dealers.
Schiff tells NPR there's no need for the 2005 law called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act to remain on the books. That law gave gun makers, gun dealers and trade groups immunity from most negligence and product liability lawsuits. "Good gun companies don't need special protection from the law," Schiff says, "Bad companies don't deserve it."
Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 1:03 pm
At a news conference dominated by discussion of what's expected to be Washington's next big political battle, President Obama insisted Monday that he will not let Republicans tie an increase in the federal government's borrowing limit to negotiations over cuts in future federal spending.
Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 11:12 am
Democrats are fond of saying that Republicans are interested in only one thing, and that is to thwart President Obama at every opportunity. He proposes something, the GOP opposes it. He says it's day, they say it's night. In some cases, those complaints are justified; in others, it's just whining.
But it's a complex story about the opposition to Obama's choice of Chuck Hagel, the former two-term Republican senator from Nebraska, to become the next secretary of defense. It may not be about Obama at all.
A week from Monday, President Obama is to take his public oath of office for a second term.
The inauguration will be marked by celebratory balls and other festivities, sponsored by the privately financed Presidential Inaugural Committee. The first Obama inauguration had strict fundraising rules. But this year, the rules have been loosened, and critics wonder what happened to the president's old pledge to change the way Washington works.
In recent weeks, President Obama has chosen Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., as his next secretary of state; former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to head the Pentagon; counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to be CIA director; and his chief of staff, Jack Lew, to be the next Treasury secretary.
Each nomination will have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and they all could be stopped by a Senate filibuster — that is, the refusal by any one of 100 senators to let a matter come to a final vote.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor readily concedes that she was the beneficiary of affirmative action in higher education, and she doesn't really know why her view is so different from that of her colleague, Justice Clarence Thomas.
"As much as I know Clarence, admire him and have grown to appreciate him," she says, "I have never ever focused on the negative of things. I always look at the positive. And I know one thing: If affirmative action opened the doors for me at Princeton, once I got in, I did the work. I proved myself worthy. So, I don't look at how the door opened."
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Obama has announced most of his Cabinet choices for his second term. There are no big surprises. All are pretty familiar faces in Washington, D.C., but Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and the White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew still must get through Senate confirmation. We're joined now by NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Mara, thanks for being with us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Vice President Joe Biden met with factions in the gun debate this week, from the National Rifle Association to the families of the Virginia Tech shootings. On Tuesday, the vice president will present the recommendations of the task force on gun violence that he has been leading to President Obama. We're joined now by NPR's Brian Naylor who's been covering the gun debate in Washington D.C. Brian, thanks for being with us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
You might've chuckled a bit this week, if you heard about the trillion-dollar platinum coin plan, to perhaps address Washington, D.C.'s debt ceiling stalemate. But it will certainly be no laughing matter if the U.S. Congress refuses to raise the borrowing limit, and the U.S. government defaults on its debt. Global financial markets would likely plummet.
NPR's John Ydstie reports on some of the options the president has if he and Congress cannot reach an agreement.
Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 3:19 pm
You might think that after a pretty rancorous election season there would be lingering acrimony between people who belong to groups embroiled in some of the campaign's most heated debates. But if there is, a new study by Pew found that many Americans don't feel that way.
The announcement from Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., that he will not seek a sixth term in 2014, would seem to give Republicans a big opening in a state that has gone deep red in recent presidential elections.
But West Virginia's animus toward recent Democrats in the White House, especially President Obama, doesn't necessarily translate into Republican advantages in statewide races.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released new rules for mortgages this week. But neither the banking industry, nor consumer groups are completely happy. Host Michel Martin gets a sense of the current state of mortgages and foreclosures with real estate columnist Ilyce Glink and Keli Goff, political correspondent for The Root.
Evangelical pastor Louie Giglio of Atlanta has withdrawn from giving the inaugural benediction. He's being criticized for remarks he made against homosexuality about two decades ago. Host Michel Martin speaks with Laurie Goodstein, national religion correspondent for The New York Times, about the reaction to Pastor Giglio.
His second-term inauguration is a certainty. His cabinet choices may not be. President Obama's choice of Chuck Hagel to head up the Defense Department still faces hurdles, and there are questions about John Brennan at the CIA. Plus: Joe Biden tries for a consensus on guns. And Barney Frank wants to be the interim senator from Massachusetts. NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving try to make sense of it all.
Let's hear another perspective on President Obama's choice for Defense secretary. Chuck Hagel faces sharp questions at the least on his way to Senate confirmation. Earlier this week on this program, the analyst Danielle Pletka argued that the former Republican senator has omnidirectionally offended everyone, with his views on Israel, talking to Iran, the war in Iraq, and much more.
Florida and several other states are wrestling with a decision: whether to expand Medicaid.
When the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act last year, the court said states could opt out of that part of the law. But it's key. It would provide coverage to millions of low-income Americans who currently have no health insurance.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott says he's concerned about how much expanding Medicaid would cost. But others charge the governor is exaggerating.
Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 10:34 am
A re-elected president who gets to choose a second-term Cabinet has much more knowledge of the kind of team he needs than he did the first time around.
That's one simple way to understand President Obama's decisions as he creates his Cabinet 2.0.
The choices are not those of a president-elect who hasn't moved into the White House, or of a green president who hasn't watched his first international crisis unfold from his leather seat in the White House Situation Room.