Making an already head-splittingly difficult deal on the fiscal cliff even harder to resolve is a set of three rules by which the Republicans who run the House play.
These are not official regulations; they're more shibboleths that House GOP leaders have adopted in recent years. And those rules are leaving House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, little room to maneuver as lawmakers try to avoid a set of tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect at the end of the year.
Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 10:44 am
Sen. Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, was clearly frustrated with the tactics some of his colleagues were using to gum up the legislative process.
The mere threat of a filibuster of a procedural motion to allow the defense authorization bill to be considered on the floor caused the Senate's leadership to balk at scheduling the legislation at all.
President Obama is hoping the same campaign tools that helped him win re-election will also deliver a policy win in the fight over federal taxes.
The president wants Congress to extend Bush-era tax cuts for most Americans, while allowing taxes to go up for the wealthiest 2 percent. His aides are using email, social media and beyond-the-Beltway campaign appearances in hopes of putting pressure on Republican lawmakers.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. (right), shown at a news conference Thursday on Capitol Hill with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is arguing for raising taxes on the wealthy as part of a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.
As negotiations continue in Washington over a plan to avoid the fiscal cliff — that combination of tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled for Jan. 1 — one big sticking point is whether to raise tax rates for high-income Americans.
Congress and the White House constructed the cliff last year, thinking it would force them to focus on solving the deficit problem. But they're still battling over what approach makes the most sense.
Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 6:56 am
Facing criticism over appointing an all male slate of chairmen to lead major House committees, Speaker John Boehner on Friday announced that Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan will head the House Administration Committee.
As of now, Miller is the only Republican woman expected to head a House committee when the 113th Congress convenes Jan. 3.
Freshman Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire has been standing side by side with colleagues John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina in questioning the Obama administration's version of events about the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in September.
It is just the latest in a series of high-profile moments for Ayotte, who is seen as a rising star in a party struggling to win female voters.
Among the many distinctions of the 2012 election season was that it was the most expensive in history. President Obama and Mitt Romney each raised around a billion dollars and outside groups spent another billion or more. We know that a lot of that money went to pay for advertising, but what about the people who placed the ads or produced them or think up the strategy behind them?
Committe Chairman John Kerry , D-MA, speaks during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the nomination of Robert Beecroft to be ambassador to Iraq Sept. 19 in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 2:19 pm
President Obama has yet to make known his choice to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but plenty of Republicans have made theirs: John Kerry.
And that puts the Massachusetts senator and former Democratic presidential nominee in a bit of a bind. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he'd normally be one of the loudest voices defending U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice against GOP attacks that she mishandled her role in explaining an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. But she's the other top contender for the Cabinet post.
NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin take you over the cliff in the latest podcast.
This week: a less-than-friendly reception for Susan Rice among Senate Republicans; some in the GOP declare their independence from the no-tax pledge; an update in the battle to succeed Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress; and the 2013 gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey begin to take shape.
U.S. Rep. Allen West came to Washington as part of the 2010 wave of Tea Party-backed candidates. He became known as aggressive and outspoken, but his tenure in Congress was short-lived. He recently conceded a close race for Florida's 18th District. West sits down with host Michel Martin to reflect on his term and his outlook for the future.
The White House and congressional leaders continue to talk about taxes, spending cuts and how to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff that arrives at midnight Dec. 31 — when Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire and automatic spending cuts are set to go into effect.
As NPR and others cover the story, we'll try to to point to interesting reports and analyses. Here are three of the latest.
A high stakes negotiation that got underway two weeks ago on a congenial note has turned acrimonious. We're talking about the effort by the White House and Congress to avoid those automatic tax hikes and sweeping spending cuts that kick in on January 1st. The top two Republicans on Capitol Hill are flatly rejecting what the White House proposed to them yesterday. NPR's David Welna has the story.
"No substantive progress has been made." That's what House Speaker John Boehner had to say Thursday about efforts to avoid automatic spending cuts and tax increases at year's end.
The administration's lead negotiator, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, met with congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle Thursday, looking for an agreement on the hazard Congress and the White House created last year to focus their minds on deficit reduction.
Renee Montagne talks with Rep. Raul Labrador, Republican from Idaho and one of the congressmen who introduced the bill that's set for a vote Friday. The STEM Jobs Act allows people who are in the U.S. legally who are getting advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math to stay and get their green cards, he says.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation to make old emails a little more private on Thursday. The legislation also applies to old Facebook posts, Google documents and anything else you might be hiding online behind a password.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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One of the big sticking points in negotiations to avoid the fiscal cliff is President Obama's insistence that income tax rates go up for the wealthiest Americans. Most congressional Republicans are against that idea. Here's House Speaker John Boehner yesterday.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 4:46 pm
Yes, he talked about the negotiations over taxes and spending cuts. Yes, it was a holiday photo op. But what really struck us about Vice President Joe Biden's this morning to Washington, D.C.'s first Costco store was how, once again, he just seems to have so much fun.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan with a special broadcast today from the Joseph H. and Claire Flom Auditorium at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. Today's show is part of a project called The National Conversation, a joint production of the Wilson Center and NPR.
While the next Congress includes more women than ever before, the sexual ratio remains way below 50-50. And that applies not just to electoral politics, but to the ranks of government officials. Yes, we've seen three women as secretary of State, but what about the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies? Important, argues Jane Harman, the president of our host today - the Woodrow Wilson Center - not just as demographic justice, but because women lead differently.
The explosion in world popularity of quinoa in the past six years has quadrupled prices at retail outlets. But for all the demand from upscale grocery stores in America to keep their bulk bins filled with the ancient grain-like seed, almost no farmers outside of the arid mountains and coastal valleys of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile grow it.
But plant breeders and scientists who study the biology and economics of quinoa say that is about to change.
The Bush-era tax cuts are taking center stage on discussions about deficit reduction. But the payroll tax holiday is also at risk, which could cost the typical family $1,000 a year. Host Michel Martin talks with The Wall Street Journal's Sudeep Reddy about the fiscal cliff and how the outcome could affect consumers.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 11:58 am
As the White House and Congress debate how to steer clear of the fiscal cliff, one obstacle is the president's insistence that the wealthy should pay more in taxes. And one way that could happen is through changing the rules for dividends and capital gains.
If you own a share of stock in a company today, when the company pays out a dividend, the most you're taxed is 15 percent. And if you decide to sell the stock and cash out, you'd also pay 15 percent on your profits — the capital gains.
Here in Washington, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice has been on Capitol Hill this week trying to drum up support for a nomination she doesn't yet have. She's hoping to become secretary of state, but so far it's not looking good. Rice is under fire from Republicans for what she said on Sunday talk shows, about the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya in September.
Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 2:03 am
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In the latest effort to avoid the automatic fiscal cliff tax hikes and spending cuts, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner meets today with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders on Capitol Hill.
In so many ways our country seems politically divided. Nevertheless, last month's election left 11 states controlled by supermajorities, meaning one party occupies the governor's mansion and owns the overwhelming majority in the legislature. Let's get a sense for the dynamic in one of these states - Indiana. Republicans seem in command. And yet despite their new leverage, Indiana's Republican lawmakers are preaching caution and a need for increased bipartisanship. Indiana Public Broadcasting's Brandon Smith reports.