Politics

Politics
2:29 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Senate Follows House Lead In Passing Debt Limit Raise

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 6:00 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

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It's All Politics
1:48 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Democrats Clash In Military Sexual Assault Debate

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (center) and Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (right) are at odds over the best way to respond to military sexual assaults.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 4:45 pm

The Capitol Hill crackdown on sexual assaults in the U.S. military has been a rare mission on which Republicans and Democrats have found common ground over the past year.

The effort, spearheaded by Senate women — including an unprecedented seven on the Armed Services Committee — has already resulted in scores of tough new provisions designed to root out sexual predators, improve victims' services, and end commanders' ability to overturn jury convictions.

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The Two-Way
1:45 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

With Senate's OK, Debt Limit Bill Will Head To White House

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 2:22 pm

The Senate has voted to extend the federal debt limit, giving final congressional approval to a bill that is meant to cover the government's finances into 2015. The measure passed on a 55-43 vote.

But the most dramatic phase of the legislation's passage came just before the final tally, when it had to get past a cloture vote. Politico says, "Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) demanded the 60-vote threshold on the debt hike."

As The Hill reports:

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin Found Guilty Of Corruption

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin enters court for his corruption trial in New Orleans last month. He was charged with accepting bribes, free trips and other gratuities from contractors in exchange for helping them secure millions of dollars in city work.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 5:35 am

A federal jury has found Ray Nagin guilty of bribery and fraud. The former New Orleans mayor, 57, was accused of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks, in an indictment that included 21 counts. He was found guilty on 20 of those counts.

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The Two-Way
5:50 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Republican Faulconer Elected Mayor In San Diego

San Diego Mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer celebrated with his family and supporters Tuesday night as votes were counted.
Lenny Ignelzi AP

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 8:35 am

Six months after Democratic Mayor Bob Filner left office in disgrace because more than a dozen women had stepped forward to accuse him of sexual harassment, San Diegans have chosen a Republican to take over.

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Election 2012
5:03 am
Wed February 12, 2014

San Diego Voters Elect Republican Mayor To Fill Filner's Term

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 5:57 am

The special election was held after Democratic Mayor Bob Filner resigned. He was accused by multiple women of sexual harassment.

Politics
4:25 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Gov. Christie Promotes GOP Despite Scandal At Home In N.J.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks to the Economic Club of Chicago on Tuesday. Christie was in town to raise money for the Republican Governors Association.
PAUL BEATY AP

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 10:19 am

Despite ongoing investigations into a scandal over lane closures at the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie continues to travel the country as head of the Republican Governors Association. He's promoting the GOP agenda and raising money for this year's elections but compared to Christie's usual style, it's been a low key tour — no media interviews and very few photos ops with smiling candidates.

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Education
4:10 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Pay Cuts, End Of Tenure Put North Carolina Teachers On Edge

Elementary school students in North Carolina stand outside their school in November, during an event organized by teachers to protest changes in public education.
Dave DeWitt WUNC

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 6:00 pm

Teacher salaries are losing ground fast in North Carolina.

Jennifer Spivey has been a teacher for three years at South Columbus High School, on the north side of the border between the Carolinas. She's been recognized as an outstanding teacher; she has a master's degree, and last summer she won a prestigious Kenan fellowship to improve education. But she still lives in her parents' basement.

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Politics
3:56 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

House Passes 'Clean' Debt Limit Bill

A woman looks at the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 31 in Washington.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 6:00 pm

Tuesday saw a rarity in Congress these days: a "clean" bill.

The House passed one to raise the debt limit, a move that avoids a possible default later this month.

In the past, House Republicans have used this debate to extract concessions from President Obama and congressional Democrats.

But not this time. House Republicans demanded nothing in return. The House passed the no-strings-attached debt hike Tuesday evening — though just 28 Republicans voted with the Democratic minority to pass the extension, 221 votes to 201 votes.

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The Two-Way
3:48 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

House Votes To Extend Debt Limit To March 2015

The House of Representatives has voted to extend the federal debt limit, after the Republican majority abandoned its hopes to tie other provisions to the measure. By a 221-201 vote, the House voted to extend the debt limit to March 15, 2015.

Update at 5:35 p.m. ET: Ryan Reportedly Voted 'No'

In the end, 28 Republicans joined with 193 Democrats to approve the move.

On Twitter, several congressional reporters quickly noted that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., was one of many Republicans who voted against the legislation.

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Economy
2:53 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Fed Chair Promises Continuity Before Congress

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 6:00 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Janet Yellen made her first appearance on Capitol Hill today as the new leader of the Federal Reserve. Her message was clear. There will be no sudden changes in Fed policy. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, Yellen said the central bank is likely to keep pulling back its big stimulus program despite concerns about the economy.

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The Salt
1:22 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

After 23 Years, Your Waiter Is Ready For A Raise

A Denny's waitress delivers breakfast to customers in Emeryville, Calif. The tipped minimum wage has been stuck at $2.13 since 1991.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 2:21 pm

When Woody Harrelson's character got hired as a bartender on Cheers, he was so excited, he insisted on working for no more than the minimum wage. "I'd work like a slave," he said, "and, of course, I'd wash your car."

Most bar and restaurant workers would prefer to bring home a little more cash. They may be in luck.

As part of his plan to raise the minimum wage, President Obama has called for substantially increasing the base wage paid to tipped workers for the first time in decades.

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Politics
11:28 am
Tue February 11, 2014

House Sets Vote On Raising Debt Limit

House leaders have had weeks to come up with a plan to deal with the nation's debt limit. Now, the day before they want to leave town for a break, it appears they've essentially decided to throw in the towel. They plan to put a bill on the House floor raising the debt ceiling for a year without any conditions attached.

It's All Politics
9:12 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Immigration Turbulence Buffets Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio gestures while speaking during a Feb. 6 news conference on Capitol Hill.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Will the real John Boehner please stand up?

Just a dozen days ago, Speaker Boehner and his GOP leadership team embraced a set of principles for updating the nation's immigration laws.

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All Tech Considered
8:40 am
Tue February 11, 2014

The Internet Flexes Political Muscle With Anti-NSA Protest

Thousands of websites participating in the "Day We Fight Back" will show this banner, or something similar, to site visitors.
Courtesy of Demand Progress

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 11:27 am

Reddit, Tumblr and Mozilla are among nearly 6,000 websites participating in "The Day We Fight Back," an online protest Tuesday against government surveillance.

The goal of the protest, organizers say, is partly to pass a federal bill called the USA Freedom Act, which is intended to rein in the mass surveillance programs by the National Security Agency that were exposed by Edward Snowden.

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It's All Politics
8:31 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Holder Calls For Restoring Felons' Voting Rights

Eric Holder, attorney general of the United States, speaks at a Feb. 7 reception for baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron in Washington.
Nick Wass AP

Attorney General Eric Holder called on 11 states to repeal "counterproductive" laws that bar convicted felons from "the single most basic right of American citizenship-the right to vote."

In a speech Tuesday at Georgetown University law school, Holder used his bully pulpit to note that 5.8 million people are prohibited from voting because of current or former felony convictions, including 1-in-5 black adults in Florida, Kentucky and Virginia.

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Politics
3:02 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Twittersphere Lets Us In On Diplomats' 'Normal' Banter

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 10:36 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

America's ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, made news recently when she responded in 140 characters to snarky comments by her Russian counterpart, after she met with the Russian protest group Pussy Riot.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This exchange started with the Russian ambassador, Vitaly Churkin. He asked of Power: She hasn't joined the band? I would expect her to invite them to perform at the National Cathedral in Washington. Maybe they could arrange a world tour for them, you know?

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Politics
2:58 am
Tue February 11, 2014

House Has 6 Working Days Left To Raise Debt Ceiling

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:28 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The U.S. Treasury is now in its fourth day of resorting to what it calls extraordinary measures to ensure all the nation's bills get paid. Officials estimate they can keep doing that for only 16 more days without risking a default on the debt. But the House of Representatives has only six working days left to raise the debt ceiling, and this morning, House Republicans were back behind closed doors, gauging support for a plan to do that. NPR's David Welna as at the capital, and he joins us know with the latest.

Good morning.

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Health Care
2:57 am
Tue February 11, 2014

U.S. Delays Obamacare Deadline For Some Businesses

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:28 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Obama Administration is delaying the part of the Affordable Care Act that affects businesses and the insurance they offer - again. As NPR's Julie Rovner reports, this time, the administration is calling its changes to the new law a phase-in.

JULIE ROVNER, BYLINE: OK, first off, the very smallest employers, those with fewer than 50 workers? They never had to do anything, and still don't.

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Politics
2:56 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Congressional Panel Probes W.Va. Chemical Spill

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:28 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

SENATOR JAY ROCKEFELLER: I wouldn't drink that water if you paid me.

INSKEEP: That's West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller yesterday, telling NPR he does not trust his own state's water. More than a month has passed since a chemical spill left 300,000 West Virginians without usable tap water. Specifically, residents were told not to drink or cook with the water.

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Politics
4:28 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

With Wallets Bulging, States Must Decide How To Spend Their Cash

During his January State of the State address, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker made the case that extra money should be returned as property and income tax cuts; some Republicans say his proposal goes too far.
Andy Manis AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 1:55 pm

After several lean years of cutting budgets to the bone, states hit hard by the deep recession finally have good fiscal news: Many states are now projecting budget surpluses.

But in an election year for three dozen governors, these surpluses are setting up potential political battles over what to do with the extra cash.

The first salvos are coming from governors themselves, in their annual State of the State addresses, as many of them take credit for bringing budgetary warmth to states that suffered through long, bitterly cold economic winters.

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It's All Politics
4:18 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Debt Ceiling Standoff? Not This Time

House Speaker John Boehner and his fellow Republicans could give President Obama the clean debt ceiling increase he wants but not for the reasons the president wants it.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 6:27 pm

When the federal government hits its debt ceiling at the end of the month, don't expect another big red-on-blue confrontation.

The appetite in the House Republican conference for that kind of debt-defying standoff isn't what it was last fall when the nation was hit by the double whammy of the debt limit and partial federal government shutdown.

And the House GOP can't even agree on what points to negotiate with President Obama — who has said he's not willing to negotiate on the debt ceiling anyway.

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The Two-Way
4:02 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

U.S. Resets Obamacare Deadline For Some Businesses To 2016

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 6:50 pm

The Obama administration says businesses employing 50-99 people now have until Jan. 1, 2016, to provide health insurance, rolling back part of the requirement known as the employer mandate. Under the Affordable Care Act, larger companies must offer the coverage in 2015.

NPR's Julie Rovner filed this update for our Newscast desk:

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Politics
3:13 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Sen. Rockefeller Responds To Water Safety Concerns

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 1:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Is the water safe to drink? As we've just heard, that's the question still plaguing hundreds of thousands of West Virginians who live in and around Charleston. I spoke earlier today with the other U.S. senator from West Virginia, the senior senator, Democrat Jay Rockefeller.

Senator Rockefeller, welcome to the program.

SENATOR JAY ROCKEFELLER: Thank you, Melissa. I wouldn't drink that water if you paid me.

BLOCK: Really? Well, that was my first question, would you drink the water? And you say no.

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Politics
3:13 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Legislators Make A Field Trip To Investigate W.Va Spill

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 1:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Officials in Charleston, West Virginia, testified today that the water there is now suitable for drinking and bathing, but nobody seemed ready or willing to call it safe. The testimony came at a field hearing held by members of Congress one month after a chemical in spill in the Elk River tainted the water for some 300,000 people. NPR's Brian Naylor was there today and he filed this report.

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Law
3:13 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Fate Of Former New Orleans Mayor Now In Jury's Hands

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 1:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. The fate of the former mayor of New Orleans is now in the hands of a jury. Ray Nagin is accused of using his public position for personal financial gain. Nagin is a Democrat. He became known worldwide as the face of city government when Hurricane Katrina struck. He held office for two terms. NPR's Debbie Elliot was in federal court today to hear closing arguments in this case and she joins us now.

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It's All Politics
2:03 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Interest Groups Gear Up For Next Supreme Court Vacancy

President Obama hugs Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg prior to delivering his 2011 State of the Union address.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 2:24 pm

It's been nearly four years since activists engaged in a battle over a Supreme Court nomination, and a tepid one it was.

Republicans barely pushed back on President Obama's 2010 nomination of Elena Kagan, his second appointment in as many years. She was confirmed by the Senate, 63-37.

At the time, influential Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona acknowledged the problem inherent in pursuing a high court battle: The GOP had only 41 Senate votes, making it "pretty difficult" to sustain a filibuster against Kagan, or any Obama appointee.

That could change by year's end.

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Health
10:05 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Fifty Years After Major Report, Surgeons General Work To End Smoking

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 10:41 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Politics
3:18 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Does Congress Have Enough Political Will To Reduce The Debt?

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 8:24 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

When Congress reached a bipartisan budget deal last December, there was much fanfare about the compromises made by both parties. And immediately afterwards, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle began working to reverse one of the spending cuts - a small reduction in military pensions. One plan to restore those pensions is up for a vote today in the Senate. As NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, resistance against the small cut is calling into question whether Congress has the political will to reduce the long-term debt.

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Shots - Health News
1:25 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Family Planning Squeezed In California By Health Law

A new electronic system will attempt to cut costs at the Planned Parenthood in Concord.
Courtesy of Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 7:56 am

An unexpected quirk in the Affordable Care Act has left birth control clinics struggling to balance their budgets in California.

Clinics that have long enjoyed state support to run as nonprofits are having to rethink how to stay in business.

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