Politics

Economy
10:15 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Crunching The Job Numbers

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 12:52 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later in the program we'll crack open the mail bag to hear what you have to say about stories we covered this week. That's Backtalk and it's coming up. But first, we want to talk about the latest unemployment numbers which are now out. The Department of Labor says that unemployment is down to its lowest level since December 2008.

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BackTalk
10:15 am
Fri December 7, 2012

What Rep. Allen West & Obama Have In Common

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 12:52 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now it's time for BackTalk. That's where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere. Editor Ammad Omar is with us once again. What do you have for us today, Ammad?

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Economy
10:02 am
Fri December 7, 2012

A Good Jobs Report Might Be Bad For The Jobless

Judy Smith, of Dalton, Ga., looks over paperwork as she files for unemployment benefits in August after being laid off from a catering job. More than 2 million people who get extended benefits may lose them if Congress doesn't act soon.
David Goldman AP

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.

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Economy
8:43 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Why A 'Fiscal Cliff' Failure Could Help The Economy

If President Obama and Congress fail to reach a deal on tax and spending changes, the nation would feel a lot of fiscal pain. But it also may benefit from the long-term fiscal restraint that would come from keeping tax hikes and spending cuts in place.
Getty Creative Images

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.

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Politics
2:55 am
Fri December 7, 2012

South Carolina's Jim DeMint To Leave U.S. Senate

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 3:19 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

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Politics
12:57 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Tea Party May Be Losing Steam, But Issues Still Boil

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 7:56 am

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.

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It's All Politics
3:48 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Blacks, Latinos Join White House In Fiscal Cliff PR War

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.

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It's All Politics
3:27 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

DeMint's Exit Creates Political Ripples, Raises Questions For Tea Party

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., speaks to the media after a Republican caucus luncheon last year. He's joined by (from left): Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.; Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Alex Brandon AP

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.

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It's All Politics
3:21 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Boehner Faces Conservative Backlash Over Fiscal Cliff Talks

House Speaker John Boehner appears at a news conference after a House Republican conference meeting Wednesday on Capitol Hill.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 4:40 pm

The Internet has not been kind to House Speaker John Boehner in recent days. On Twitter, there are some new, not-so-subtle hashtags going around: #boehnermustgo, #fireboehner and #purgeboehner.

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Politics
2:54 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Senator DeMint Leaving Congress To Head Think Tank

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 4:40 pm

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.

It's All Politics
1:59 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

White House Dismisses Constitutional Challenge In Debt Ceiling Saga

White House spokesman Jay Carney briefs reporters Thursday at the White House. "This administration does not believe the 14th Amendment gives the president the power to ignore the debt ceiling — period," he said.
Charles Dharapak AP

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.

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Politics
11:58 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Fixing The Budget, While Protecting The Middle Class

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.

The Two-Way
8:56 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Sen. Jim DeMint Leaving Congress To Run Heritage Foundation

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., speaks during to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 9.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 12:47 pm

One of the most consistently conservative voices in Congress and a favorite of Tea Party activists across the nation is leaving the Senate.

South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint is resigning to take over as president of the Heritage Foundation.

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The Two-Way
6:25 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Alan Simpson Goes 'Gangnam Style'

The Can Kicks Back

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 9:05 am

How can you get young folks to press their elders to solve the debt and deficit crises?

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Business
3:12 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Obama, Business Roundtable Disagree Over Taxes

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.

It's All Politics
4:00 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Obama And House GOP Engage In Fiscal Cliff Talks, Only Briefly With Each Other

President Obama is introduced to the Business Roundtable by Boeing CEO Jim McNerney in Washington on Wednesday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 4:30 pm

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.

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It's All Politics
3:52 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Looming Spending Cuts Would Hit Hard All Over

Alan Krueger, chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, warns that consumer spending will drop if Congress and the White House fail to reach a deal on spending cuts and tax increases.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 4:09 pm

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.

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U.S.
3:52 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

White House To Seek Emergency Sandy Funds

Cleanup continues on the site of a demolished home on the Rockaway Peninsula in New York on Nov. 29.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 8:24 am

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.

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Politics
2:53 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Black Voters Reflect On Obama's First Term

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 4:00 pm

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.

It's All Politics
2:30 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Celebrities And The Senate: Would Ashley Judd Stand A Chance?

Ashley Judd acknowledges the crowd during a University of Kentucky Wildcats basketball game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., in January.
Andy Lyons Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 2:48 pm

Could an actress and political activist with no electoral experience give the Senate's top Republican a race in very red Kentucky?

It would be a long shot, say political experts, even though Ashley Judd has deep roots in the state, calling herself an "at least 8th generation Eastern Kentuckian."

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Politics
12:25 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

The Election, Gay Marriage And The GOP

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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?

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Politics
12:16 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Resolving The Deficit Stalemate

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.

Economy
10:30 am
Wed December 5, 2012

How Helpful Is Extending Unemployment Benefits?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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.

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Politics
2:48 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Taxes Are A Stumbling Block To Fiscal Cliff Talks

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 7:09 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

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NPR Story
2:42 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Senate Fails To Ratify U.N. Treaty On Disabilities

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 7:09 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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.

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The Salt
12:36 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Milk Producers Peer Over The Dairy Cliff

Dairy farmer Bob Andrews feeds heifers in the same barn his grandfather used. He says today "the harder you work, the further you get behind."
David Sommerstein NCPR

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 7:09 am

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.

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It's All Politics
12:35 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Is A Recess Appointment Valid If The Senate Says It's Not Really Gone?

The Senate side of the U.S. Capitol.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 7:09 am

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.

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Politics
4:05 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Social Security's COLA At Stake In 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks?

Originally published on Wed December 5, 2012 8:34 am

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.

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It's All Politics
2:36 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

For Tea Party Activists In Florida, The Health Care Battle Goes On

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 4:50 pm

President Obama's re-election sent a message to state capitals: The war over the president's health care overhaul is finished.

Even in Florida, where Republican leaders led the legal battle against Obamacare, there's recognition now that the state has to act fast to comply with the new law.

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It's All Politics
1:14 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Obama And Boehner Call It Negotiation; The Rest Of Us Are Permitted To Laugh

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner meet in the White House on July 23, 2011. At that time, they were discussing how to avert a debt default. The talks ultimately led to the deal that now brings us aspects of the so-called fiscal cliff.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 8, 2012 11:29 am

If you're tempted to throw back your head and guffaw when you hear the word "negotiation" linked with "Congress" and "fiscal cliff," please, don't hesitate.

Because what you're seeing play out publicly between congressional Republicans and Democrats and the White House bears little resemblance to negotiation.

"The game that's being played is the same game that's been played over the past few years — brinksmanship, and hard positional bargaining," says William Ury, who knows negotiation when he sees it.

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