Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 11:49 am
The Labor Department's glad tidings Friday about the uptick in job creation last month might morph into bad news next month for many of the long-term unemployed.
That's because the boost in November hiring, with employers adding 146,000 jobs, might make it more difficult for Democrats to argue in favor of having Congress renew the extension of benefits for people out of work more than six months.
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 10:11 am
It wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen to the country.
If President Obama and Congress can't come to agreement on new tax and spending policies by the end of year, the U.S. could slip into recession, defense and domestic programs will see damaging cuts, and the American people may become convinced that Washington can't govern the nation.
On the other hand, the lack of a deal would do a lot to help erase the federal deficit.
The battle over how to avoid the looming cuts and tax increases known as the fiscal cliff is a frustrating one for the Tea Party. The movement is still a force within the GOP, even as its popularity has fallen over the past two years.
But in the current debate, there have been no big rallies in Washington, and Tea Party members in Congress seem resigned to the fact that any eventual deal will be one they won't like — and one they'll have little influence over.
Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 4:47 pm
The White House is warning African-Americans and Hispanics that they face disproportionate harm from tax hikes, spending cuts and an end to extended unemployment benefits if a deal isn't struck to avoid the fiscal cliff.
At a closed White House meeting Thursday, the administration briefed more than 100 black leaders on potential stakes for their communities, some of which still are experiencing the worst effects of the recession.
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 6:51 am
When Thursday dawned in Washington, some things seemed certain: The fiscal cliff fight would continue; the National Christmas Tree would be aglow by evening, and Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina would continue to be the Senate's most important Tea Party voice.
So much for Washington certainties.
With his surprise announcement that he was exiting the Senate to head the Heritage Foundation think tank, a job that paid his predecessor $1 million annually, DeMint brought to an end his role as the Tea Party's godfather in the Senate.
Senator Jim DeMint on Thursday announced that he will not return to the new Congress, and instead will resign early next month. DeMint will instead lead the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
White House spokesman Jay Carney put an end to intense speculation Thursday about whether President Obama would do an end run around Congress with one simple line: "This administration does not believe the 14th Amendment gives the president the power to ignore the debt ceiling — period."
Some Democrats had been urging Obama to unilaterally raise the debt limit — a bold move that would take away Republican leverage in the ongoing negotiations over taxes and spending.
House Republicans and the White House are at a stalemate over how best to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. As the deficit deadline approaches, the priority for Senate Budget Committee member Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), is to protect the middle class.
President Obama is lobbying the CEOs of the nation's largest companies to support him as he tries to reach a budget deal with Republican lawmakers. The president met Wednesday with members of the Business Roundtable. The group urges the extension of Bush-era tax cuts for everyone, including the wealthy.
The president and House Republicans continued to snipe at each other Wednesday over the impending set of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. They traded accusations and blame during another day with plenty of talk, but — until late in the day, at least — no negotiations.
Tax increases are only a part of what lies ahead if Congress can't come to an agreement to avert the fiscal cliff by the new year. Massive spending cuts will also kick in — and those cuts will be felt throughout the economy.
The current stalemate got under way two years ago when Congress, locked in a bitter partisan battle over whether to extend the George W. Bush-era tax cuts, passed what was known as the Budget Control Act of 2011.
Billions in damages and not enough in the bank account — that's where federal officials find themselves in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
The White House says it will send an emergency funding request to Capitol Hill this week — expected to be $50 billion to $60 billion. Top administrators told Congress on Wednesday that they want at least some of that money to go toward preventing the kind of devastation caused by Sandy and other recent storms.
In just over a month, President Obama will be sworn in for his second term. Audie Cornish takes a moment to look back at what his presidency has meant for African-Americans. We hear from a comedian, David Alan Grier; from a lawmaker, Emanuel Cleaver, who is outgoing chair of the Congressional Black Caucus; and from three seniors at Howard University, a historically black college in Washington, D.C.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Standstill, nowhere, nothing happening - House Republicans ask the president to talk, but they know taxes top his Christmas list. It's Wednesday and time for a...
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Naughty and nice...
CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.
VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?
Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 12:55 pm
After House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) proposed a deficit reduction proposal that included $800 billion of increased revenue, some within the Republican Party objected loudly. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), a member of the House Budget Committee, shares his views on how to resolve the stalemate.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, for years now we've been talking about ways to close the achievement gap. Now some states are asking to set standards based on race. You can imagine why this is controversial. So we'll try to learn more about this in just a few minutes.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
Americans are not optimistic that leaders here in Washington will strike a budget deal in time to avoid automatic tax increases and spending cuts. A new poll by the Pew Research Center found nearly half the country expects the budget stalemate to drag on.
And amid that budget debate, a wall of Republican opposition to a new United Nations treaty kept it from being ratified in the Senate. The treaty is aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of disabled people. And even though it was inspired by the Americans with Disabilities Act, Republicans argue that it would harm U.S. sovereignty and even interfere with home schooling. Here's NPR's David Welna.
There's more than one cliff drawing controversy this month. The federal farm bill is one of many items caught in congressional gridlock. The bill resets U.S. agriculture policy every four years, and most farmers are still covered by crop insurance and other programs until next planting season. But there's one exception: dairy.
In a tug of war between President Obama and Congress, a federal appeals court panel in Washington, D.C., will hear arguments Wednesday on the legality of Obama's controversial recess appointments.
The White House says it was forced to install three new members of the National Labor Relations Board in January because of inaction by Senate Republicans. But those lawmakers argue the Senate wasn't really in a recess at the time.
The Republican plan to avert the "fiscal cliff" that the White House rejected Monday includes at least one element that's likely to produce controversy: a proposal that would, among other things, affect the cost of living adjustment for Social Security.
Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 1:33 pm
NEAL CONAN, HOST:
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan. When the 112th Congress adjourns, some of the most vivid politicians of our times will leave the stage. We've already spoken with Democratic Representatives Barney Frank and Dennis Kucinich. Today two political mavericks.
One ran for president of the United States, the other for vice president. Both at one time or another left their parties. Both left indelible marks on politics and on Washington, D.C.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Later in the program, exit interviews with Senator Joseph Lieberman and Congressman Ron Paul as they leave Congress after many years. But first we continue our Opinion Page series on the fiscal cliff.