The bills that would restrict the right to own and sell some guns will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday. It's the most progress gun legislation has made in nearly two decades, in the aftermath of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
The House has approved a bill to fund the federal government through the end of September. The $982 billion continuing resolution introduced by Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY), who heads the Appropriations Committee, would avoid a potential government shutdown on March 27.
President Obama recently acknowledged the obvious: He doesn't have the supernatural powers necessary to do a mind meld, Jedi or otherwise, with Republican congressional leaders that would lead to pacts on fiscal policy or anything else for that matter.
But if he doesn't have the power to force meetings of the minds with his Republican opponents, he can at least still get meetings with them.
Popping up on the president's schedule all of a sudden was a Wednesday night dinner at a Washington, D.C., hotel with a group of GOP senators.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. It began around mid-day today, while wet snow fell on Washington D.C. Inside the Capitol building, a conservative Republican senator began to talk and talk - and talk. Rand Paul launched a filibuster to block the nomination of John Brennan for CIA director because of concerns over the administration's drone policies.
Now, more on the long speech Carrie mentioned from Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. He's engaged in an old fashioned stand on the floor and talk till you can't filibuster. It began shortly before noon, aimed at blocking the president's nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA.
SENATOR RAND PAUL: I've chosen to make a stand on this one and not so much the person, but the principle of this. I have nothing personally against Brennan. I have nothing personal against the president.
Arkansas has approved a law banning most abortions after 12 weeks of gestation, as both houses of the state's legislature vote to override a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe. The Republican-backed Human Heartbeat Protection Act will become the nation's most restrictive law.
In vetoing the Senate version of the bill Monday, Beebe said that it "would impose a ban on a woman's right to choose an elective, nontherapeutic abortion well before viability."
In his profile of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in this week's issue of The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin writes: "Ginsburg has suggested that she would like to serve as long as Louis Brandeis, her judicial hero, who retired at eighty-two." Ginsburg turns 80 this month and is marking her 20th year on the court. She has had cancer — colon and pancreatic — and her tiny, frail-looking stature leads many people to wonder if she'll be retiring soon.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, officials in a number of major cities around the country are looking to close public schools to save money, but some parents and activists say the cost of that move is higher than you might think. We'll talk with a reporter and an activist in her city in just a minute.
Look around your kitchen table and you'll see the work of Ambassador Ron Kirk. He's the United States Trade Representative, which is a cabinet-level position, and he's negotiated trade deals all around the world. Host Michel Martin talks to him about why he's choosing to step down from his post and the importance of U.S. trade.
When former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush got to work on his new book on immigration, he was expected to be out in front of his party urging a broader conversation with Hispanics and more open legislation. After all, he had previously supported a pathway to citizenship for immigrants here illegally. Instead, it's fellow Florida Republican Marco Rubio in the lead, and Bush who's explaining an apparent reversal on the issue of citizenship. Both are likely candidates for president in 2016.
Some members of Congress have put aside partisan sparring in defense of a legendary fighter. Republican Senator John McCain and Democratic Senator Harry Reid are among those calling for a posthumous pardon for the heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. Johnson became the first black man to win that title back in 1908. His next win in 1910 sparked race riots and his relationships with white women added to the controversy.
Here's actor Samuel L. Jackson as Johnson in the 2005 Ken Burns documentary, "Unforgivable Blackness."
If Nov. 7 brought pangs of withdrawal from the end of the presidential race — good news!
The next one has already started.
Witness last week's dust-up over the American Conservative Union's failure to invite New Jersey's Chris Christie, one of the most popular Republican governors in the country, to its annual Conservative Political Action Conference. And if that flew under the radar, this week's book tour launch by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has removed all doubt that the countdown to Iowa has begun.
For years, federal programs for seniors and those that help kids have been on a collision course.
Now, given the automatic spending cuts taking place under sequestration, the moment for real competition may have arrived.
While Medicare and Social Security will come through the sequester mostly unscathed, a broad swath of programs targeted toward children — Head Start, education, nutrition assistance, child welfare — stand to lose hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars.
If Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has his way, Detroit will become the sixth and largest city there to come under state control. But steering a city out of crisis can be a tricky task. Host Michel Martin speaks with Jerome Vaughn, of WDET, and Robert Bobb, a former emergency financial manager for Detroit Public Schools, about the situation.
Apologies for those on my Political Junkie/ScuttleButton mailing list who didn't get a notification last week about the new column and new puzzle. NPR has adjusted its e-mail server and my mass mailing from last week didn't see the light of day. I'm hoping the problem will be addressed this week.
In the past, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush favored a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, but in a new book, he modifies that position to call for requiring illegal immigrants to leave the U.S. and re-apply to enter if they want to pursue citizenship.
Now that the sequester has taken effect, there's a new phrase that keeps popping up in Washington: the "continuing resolution." If Congress doesn't pass a continuing resolution by March 27, the government will run out of money and will likely shut down. Here's a list of four things you might want to know about how a continuing resolution works and how it might soften the blow of the sequester.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the son and brother of presidents, says the United States should overhaul its laws to make immigration easier and to give illegal immigrants a way to legal residence, not citizenship.
Bush lays out his plan with co-author Clint Bolick in the new book Immigration Wars. Bush tells NPR's Steve Inskeep that they propose legalizing undocumented immigrants "after there is a recognition that if people come here illegally, they have to pay a fine or do community service [and] make sure they don't commit any serious crimes."
With President Obama nominating Ernest Moniz to be the nation's next energy secretary, he continued a relatively recent trend of putting scientists atop a part of the federal bureaucracy once overseen by political types.
If confirmed by the Senate, Moniz, an MIT physicist, will follow Nobel laureate Steven Chu, a University of California physicist who served as Obama's first-term energy secretary.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
An MIT physicist and Washington insider is the president's choice to run the Department of Energy. Ernest Moniz served as an undersecretary of energy for President Clinton. He now works at MIT, where his research institute publishes studies on energy that are considered required reading on Capitol Hill.
As NPR's Christopher Joyce reports, Moniz is a booster of solar and wind power but also some types of fossil fuel.
Sally Jewell was tapped last month for Interior Secretary but one of Alaska's senators, Republican Lisa Murkowski, announced she might block the nomination. At issue is a proposed gravel road in King Cove, Alaska. The town is so remote that the residents have no way to get in and out. The road would connect King Cove to a larger town nearby, but it would have to cut through a national wildlife refuge. Washington Post environment reporter Juliet Eilperin explains to Audie Cornish why the town of less than a thousand has an impact on a nomination for a national position
President Obama rounds out his Cabinet for his second term, nominating three new leaders Monday: Walmart Foundation's Sylvia Mathews Burwell for budget chief, MIT scientist Ernest Moniz to head the Energy Department and veteran regulator Gina McCarthy to run the EPA — a post that's likely be a lightning rod during Senate confirmations.