Congress is beginning a busy post-election session. Lawmakers have weeks to prevent higher taxes and spending cuts due to take effect at the end of the year. Then there are hearings on the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya and the scandal over the affair that ended the career of CIA Chief David Petraeus. Here's NPR's David Welna.
November 6th saw most Tea Party members reelected to Congress, but there were also notable defeats. Tea Party candidates lost Senate races in Indiana and Missouri. This week, one Tea Party lawmaker suggested in an interview with Politico that it's time to moderate the approach. We invited New York Times reporter Kate Zernike to talk about the status of the Tea Party. She's written a book about it with a great title, "Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America."
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jacki Lyden in Washington; Neal Conan is away. It's been just more than two months since the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked. Four Americans died there, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Congressional committee hearings resume today, on the handling of the attack.
Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 11:29 am
Anyone who follows the adventures of the alternative minimum tax has to be getting sick of the many sequels. Again and again, this unpopular income tax threatens to hit middle-class families with large and unexpected tax increases.
And each time the threat reappears, Congress applies a "patch" to fix the problem temporarily. That makes the threat an annual event — along with the associated congressional hand-wringing and taxpayer confusion.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, we're hearing a lot about the so-called fiscal cliff: those automatic spending cuts and tax hikes that will take effect if lawmakers and the White House don't come up with a deficit reduction plan by the end of the year. We're going to focus on a tax hike that may hit many more people than you might think. We'll have that conversation in just a few minutes.
If the government goes over the "fiscal cliff," millions of households could see tax increases because of an obscure part of the tax code, known as the alternative minimum tax. Host Michel Martin talks with NPR Business Editor Marilyn Geewax about exactly what could happen and who would be affected.
I know what you're thinking. Same old president. Same old Senate. Same old House.
And yes, same old ScuttleButton.
ScuttleButton, of course, is that once-a-week waste of time exercise in which each Monday or Tuesday I put up a vertical display of buttons on this site. Your job is to simply take one word (or concept) per button, add 'em up, and, hopefully, you will arrive at a famous name or a familiar expression. (And seriously, by familiar, I mean it's something that more than one person on Earth would recognize.)
Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 5:36 am
Immediately after last week's election, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced the state would not be setting up its own health insurance exchange. Next door in Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback announced that Kansas will have no involvement in running a state exchange either. The moves open the door for increased federal involvement in health care in staunchly Republican territory.
President Obama meets with labor leaders at the White House on Tuesday to discuss how to steer clear of the so-called fiscal cliff. It's the first of many meetings aimed at avoiding automatic tax increases and spending cuts at the beginning of the new year.
A week ago, the president proved again that he and his team are good at winning elections. The question now is whether he can translate victory at the ballot box to success in shaping policy.
Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 5:08 am
In the wake of last Tuesday's elections, a lively debate has erupted into the open over whether conservatives and the Republican Party were well-served by their favorite media outlets.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney was reported to have been so certain of a victory on Tuesday night that he cast aside tradition and did not draft a concession speech. But conservatives now say his misplaced confidence — and theirs — were bolstered by the predictions of many like-minded pundits, which were broadcast and posted online around the clock by sympathetic news outlets.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, with the election now over President Obama and members of Congress are getting no end of free advice about how they should spend the next four years. So today and tomorrow, we'll talk about that with people we are calling the loyal opposition. Today, we speak with one of Mr. Obama's former advisors, Van Jones, and we'll ask him what progressives want to see in the next four years.
Van Jones has become a leading voice on the progressive left. That only happened after a short stint as the Obama administration's Green Jobs czar. Jones is now the co-founder of the policy group, Rebuild the Dream. He talks with host Michel Martin about what progressives should expect — and demand — in a second Obama term.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
With the election settled, Washington, Wall Street and much of the rest world, it seems, are focused on whether Congress and a reelected president can avoid the fiscal cliff. To tell us what's at stake, we turn now to David Wessel. He's the economics editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "Red Ink," a new primer on the federal budget and the deficit.
Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 3:44 am
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
The nation's capital this morning is trying to make sense of the sudden resignation last week of CIA director David Petraeus. More details are emerging about the extramarital affair that brought Petraeus down. It came to light following an FBI investigation that was not focused originally on the CIA director, but which soon led straight to him.
A second term means some new Cabinet appointments for President Obama, including at the Treasury. After four pretty grueling years, Secretary Timothy Geithner has made it clear he will be leaving Washington.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said last week that Geithner would be staying on through the inauguration. He's also expected to be a "key participant" in "fiscal cliff" negotiations.
A "return on investment" is a concept better known to Wall Street than to Washington. But after President Obama and the Democrats won most of the close elections last week there are questions about the seven- and eight-figure "investments" made by dozens of conservative donors.
During the election season, it was pretty common to hear about donors making "investments" in superPACs and other outside groups, rather than a "political contribution," perhaps because the phrase has a sort of taint to it.
Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz talks to Micah Zenko of the Council on Foreign Relations about why the United States will never have another peacetime president. Zenko's article, "A Period of Persistent Conflict," appeared this week in Foreign Policy.
So, we all know losing is part of sports, and it's part of politics too. We asked Mike Danforth and Ian Chillag, our friends from the NPR podcast How to Do Everything to explore some options for Mitt Romney on this recent campaign loss.
MIKE DANFORTH, BYLINE: If you want advice on how to deal with a loss, you got to someone with experience.
IAN CHILLAG, BYLINE: Coach Marv Levy, want to remind us of your Buffalo Bills?
Making a deal to avert the fiscal cliff is going to take more than mere consensus on spending and taxes. It'll take political skill on the part of the president; the ability to leverage the power of his office to find new strategies and pressure points to break the gridlock. In short, he'll need to do what appears to be impossible.
ROBERT CARO: Part of the nature of political genius is that you can come along and do something where no one else can do it.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. A newly re-elected President Barack Obama won't officially begin his second term until he is sworn in again on January 20th. But some of the priorities of his next four years in office are already taking shape, and the challenges are becoming more apparent. NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson joins us now to talk more about all this. Hey, Mara.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
Here's a term you're going to get really tired of in the next several weeks - if you haven't already: The fiscal cliff. It's a combination of automatic spending cuts and tax increases set to hit at the start of the year. That is, if Congress and the president fail to find a way to avoid it.
NPR's Tamara Keith has this primer.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Both House Speaker John Boehner and the president made it clear, they don't want to go off the cliff.
Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin's sexual orientation was never really a factor in her victorious campaign against Republican former Gov. Tommy Thompson. Advocates for gay rights see that as a watershed moment for the movement.
Baldwin won a seat many thought she couldn't, defeating one of the state's most successful politicians in the process. The celebration Tuesday night in Madison was euphoric.
The enthusiastic crowd was never louder than when Baldwin acknowledged making history.