Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, (who we're sure was not intentionally making the "choke" sign) and Marilyn Tavenner, head of the HHS agency that oversaw the Obamacare website project.
Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 7:39 am
Good Tuesday morning, fellow political junkies.
As you go through your day, keep this in mind: at least you're not Marilyn Tavenner. When critics of the Obama administration's botched launch of the Affordable Care Act call for heads to metaphorically roll, Tavenner, the top official of the Health and Human Services agency that oversaw the ill-fated website project, is high on that list.
Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 9:40 am
NPR's Scott Horsley reported Monday on questions about a famous quote attributed to the late Winston Churchill. Did the former British prime minister say it? Take this interactive quiz to find out — and see if you can find the correct speaker for other famous comments.
Fed up with what they see as a lack of representation at the California Capitol and overregulation, supervisors in the far Northern California county of Siskiyou, which includes Yreka, have voted in favor of secession.
Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 10:59 am
There's a big race right now to become the 51st state.
Forget traditional contenders like Puerto Rico. In several existing states, residents of less populous areas are hoping to create new states of their own.
Citizens in 11 mostly northeastern Colorado counties are among them. They'll vote on Nov. 5 whether to break off and form their own state. Many are unhappy about liberal state legislation they believe reflects the values of the Denver-Boulder corridor, but not their part of the world.
Louie talks with UTEP Political Science professor Dr. Jose Villalobos about the courses he teaches on Congress and the presidency. Dr. Villalobos' students, Michelle Rojas and Robert Maddox, join in the conversation and offer their views on everything from Obamacare, Syria, and the budget. Dr. Villalobos recommends this website to anyone wanting to learn more about politics: http://www.realclearpolitics.com.
President Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr in Russia in September in happier times before revelations that the NSA electronically eavesdropped on U.S. allies.
Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 8:54 am
Good morning, fellow political junkies.
It's the last week of October. That means the administration has just a month to meet its self-imposed deadline to have the Affordable Care Act website running as efficiently as it and millions of Americans had originally envisioned.
But the first item in our Monday political mix of some of the more interesting tidbits that caught my eye this morning indicates why setting such a deadline might be easier than meeting it.
Senators and representative hold budget talks this week, a meeting that should have been routine but was not arranged until after a government shutdown. Now Democrats and Republicans are supposed to set a framework for federal spending, on everything from defense to education to helping seniors.
Ron Brownstein of National Journal says it's going to be hard because of both party's political calculations. He starts us off with Democrats.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
Political professionals like to keep an eye on the only two governors races to come year after each presidential election. In 2005, Democrats won the races in New Jersey and Virginia. They went on to dominate congressional races the year after.
Originally published on Sun October 27, 2013 4:17 pm
The next state to legalize same-sex marriage may be Hawaii, where the state's Legislature will begin a special session on the issue Monday. The governor called the session so that lawmakers could consider the Marriage Equality Act, which would allow same-sex couples to wed.
There's little doubt that the Obama administration would like a health care website do-over.
Since its rollout Oct. 1, Obamacare's online insurance exchange sign-up, critical to success of the health care overhaul, has been a well-documented disaster.
The White House, in addition to managing considerable political fallout, also is dealing with a big, fat public relations problem. Just how does the administration go about winning the trust of the American people after the October Obamacare debacle?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. With the drama of the 17-day government shutdown over, the spotlight returned this week to the troubled rollout of the Obamacare insurance exchanges. Both Republicans and Democrats expressed anger over the crippled HealthCare.gov website during hearings that were conducted this week, but of course there are competing agendas, as there always are.
This has not been an easy month for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas — who learned the political ropes working for Sebelius' father-in-law, then a Kansas congressman — called for her to step down over the debut of HealthCare.gov, the problem-plagued website where people are supposed to apply for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican and Tea-Party darling, was in Iowa Friday headlining a fundraising dinner for the state Republican Party. It was Cruz's third visit to Iowa in as many months, but this time was different.
It was his first time back since the government shutdown and his 21-hour, anti-Obamacare talkathon that preceded it — events that catapulted him from junior senator to a conservative hero and household name.
As we just heard, Republican Party approval ratings are lower than ever, but that's not stopping Texas Senator Ted Cruz from taking a post-shutdown victory lap in Iowa tonight. Cruz is headlining the state Republican Party's annual Reagan dinner and he's often talked about as a potential presidential candidate. Iowa, of course, holds the first presidential caucus. NPR's Tamara Keith is in Des Moines to hear the speech and she joins us now. Hey there, Tamara.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. We're going to focus now on the aftermath of the government shutdown and the fight over the debt ceiling. The past few weeks have been tough on Republicans. The fight failed to defund or delay the health care law, as they'd hoped. And it drove public approval of the GOP to historic lows. But is that enough to keep some in the party from attempting another shutdown in the months ahead? NPR's S.V. Date reports.
Last week's death of Florida Republican Bill Young left a seat open in the House of Representatives. Young represented a closely divided district. The election to replace him will be the first one in a swing district since the government shutdown and debt ceiling battles earlier this month. Congressman Young was buried yesterday.
The governor has not yet picked a date for the election to replace him, but the race is expected to be expensive, and recent events in Washington are likely to fuel the debate. NPR's Don Gonyea reports.
And now to our Friday political commentators E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and David Brooks of The New York Times. Welcome back to you both.
DAVID BROOKS: Good to be here.
E.J. DIONNE: Good to be with you.
BLOCK: So this week, Angela Merkel apparently joining the list of world leaders whose cell phones have been monitored by the NSA. And it was enough to draw in a cry of enough is enough from the French European Commissioner Michel Barnier, talking to the BBC.
Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 1:37 pm
A subcontractor that built a portion of the HealthCare.gov website that's now working relatively well is being promoted to oversee a thorough revamping of the entire glitch-prone portal, and work will be done by the end of next month, the White House says.
President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio talk with reporters at the White House after a meeting about the federal budget deficit and economy in Nov. 2012. Some Republicans have proposed raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67.
A young black man is suing high-end retailer Barneys, saying he was arrested after buying a $350 belt. Host Michel Martin checks in with the Barbershop guys for a fresh cut on that story and the rest of the week's news.
With Democrat Tom Harkin retiring, Iowa will have an open U.S. Senate seat for the first time in nearly 30 years. For Republicans hoping to gain a majority in the Senate, this is a key opening. But the GOP is far from settling on a candidate.
As House Republicans pummeled the White House at a hearing Thursday on the rocky online debut of federal insurance exchanges, President Obama tried changing the subject. He again urged Republicans in the House to do as the Senate has done and pass a broad rewrite of the nation's immigration laws. But the chances that could happen any time soon appear remote.