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.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Later in the program we are going to head to Central Africa to find out what's happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where an armed rebel group managed to take over one of the country's most important cities, despite the presence of a massive United Nations peacekeeping force. We'll talk about how that happened and why it matters with a reporter who is there on the ground. That's coming up later in the program.
Throughout his first term, some of President Obama's critics said he wasn't a tough enough negotiator. They felt he caved to Republicans too early, too often. Since his re-election, Obama has subtly changed his approach. He's bringing a more aggressive style — but some critics say it's not the best way to find common ground.
"A highly cautious, bureaucratic process that had the effect of watering down the U.S.'s own intelligence" led to the controversial "talking points" that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice used when she spoke about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, The Wall Street Journal reports this morning.
As leaders in Washington try to make a deal to avoid the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts slated to go into effect in the new year, one major focus of the negotiations is whether to let taxes go up on the rich.
The Obama administration wants to allow the Bush-era tax cuts to expire for top earners. House Speaker John Boehner and congressional Republicans have countered with a proposal that they say would raise revenue through ending loopholes and deductions in the tax code and would not increase tax rates.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
I'm Melissa Block.
And today there is a counter offer. Republicans have put forward the broad strokes of their proposal to avert the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled at the end of the year. It should sound familiar to those who followed the presidential campaign. House Speaker Jon Boehner offered a plan that borrows heavily from ideas put forth by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
And now, The Opinion Page; in fact a first, an Opinion Page series on the latest round of arguments on taxes and spending that have come to national attention under the ominous term the fiscal cliff. At the moment, the White House and congressional Republicans are at an impasse, and if that sounds familiar, that's because they arrived at a similar stalemate last year. When a subsequent supercommittee failed to reach agreement, the clock started ticking.
We're close to reaching the breaking point. The White House knows it. Democrats and Republicans in Congress know it. Wall Street knows it, economists know it. We've been pushing this off for quite some time, and now it's time to take action.
Of course, I'm talking about solving this week's ScuttleButton puzzle.
The battle over the looming spending cuts and tax increases known as the "fiscal cliff" begins this week where it ended last week — deadlocked. While there is no agreement on how lawmakers should work out the details of a compromise, there is widespread consensus that a deal must get done for the good of the country.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says it's up to congressional Republicans to take the next step in budget talks to avoid the pending automatic spending cuts and tax increases at the end of the year.
As Congress and the White House battle over a tax and spending plan before the end of the year, one number is at the forefront: $250,000. That's the income level above which the White House wants taxes to rise. Host Guy Raz speaks with Reuters personal finance columnist Linda Stern about where that amount of money goes a long way, and where it doesn't. Plus NPR's Mara Liasson weighs in on the state of budget talks in Washington.
Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 12:50 pm
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner took to the Sunday talk shows to push the Obama administration's plan to avert the "fiscal cliff," saying that while he was optimistic about a deal with Republicans, there would be no agreement without an increase in tax rates for the top 2 percent of income earners.
Before the official start of his second term, the president himself has to deal with a major legislative challenge, the across-the-board spending cuts and tax increases that will take effect next year unless the White House and Congress can reach a compromise. But in lieu of banging out a deal with congressional leaders face to face, the president is taking his case for how to solve the crisis on the road.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
President Obama has less than two months before the start of his second term. Often, that means a lot of shuffling in the presidential cabinet. The recent resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus means there's an open spot at Langley. And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said she will leave that office at the end of the year.
Weekend Edition host Rachel Martin speaks with NPR's Tamara Keith about the latest developments in the federal budget negotiations and the impending package of tax increases and spending cuts that are set to automatically go into effect unless Congress acts by Jan. 1, 2013.
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.