Politics

Politics
11:28 am
Tue February 11, 2014

House Sets Vote On Raising Debt Limit

House leaders have had weeks to come up with a plan to deal with the nation's debt limit. Now, the day before they want to leave town for a break, it appears they've essentially decided to throw in the towel. They plan to put a bill on the House floor raising the debt ceiling for a year without any conditions attached.

It's All Politics
9:12 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Immigration Turbulence Buffets Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio gestures while speaking during a Feb. 6 news conference on Capitol Hill.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Will the real John Boehner please stand up?

Just a dozen days ago, Speaker Boehner and his GOP leadership team embraced a set of principles for updating the nation's immigration laws.

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All Tech Considered
8:40 am
Tue February 11, 2014

The Internet Flexes Political Muscle With Anti-NSA Protest

Thousands of websites participating in the "Day We Fight Back" will show this banner, or something similar, to site visitors.
Courtesy of Demand Progress

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 11:27 am

Reddit, Tumblr and Mozilla are among nearly 6,000 websites participating in "The Day We Fight Back," an online protest Tuesday against government surveillance.

The goal of the protest, organizers say, is partly to pass a federal bill called the USA Freedom Act, which is intended to rein in the mass surveillance programs by the National Security Agency that were exposed by Edward Snowden.

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It's All Politics
8:31 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Holder Calls For Restoring Felons' Voting Rights

Eric Holder, attorney general of the United States, speaks at a Feb. 7 reception for baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron in Washington.
Nick Wass AP

Attorney General Eric Holder called on 11 states to repeal "counterproductive" laws that bar convicted felons from "the single most basic right of American citizenship-the right to vote."

In a speech Tuesday at Georgetown University law school, Holder used his bully pulpit to note that 5.8 million people are prohibited from voting because of current or former felony convictions, including 1-in-5 black adults in Florida, Kentucky and Virginia.

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Politics
3:02 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Twittersphere Lets Us In On Diplomats' 'Normal' Banter

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 10:36 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

America's ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, made news recently when she responded in 140 characters to snarky comments by her Russian counterpart, after she met with the Russian protest group Pussy Riot.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This exchange started with the Russian ambassador, Vitaly Churkin. He asked of Power: She hasn't joined the band? I would expect her to invite them to perform at the National Cathedral in Washington. Maybe they could arrange a world tour for them, you know?

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Politics
2:58 am
Tue February 11, 2014

House Has 6 Working Days Left To Raise Debt Ceiling

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:28 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The U.S. Treasury is now in its fourth day of resorting to what it calls extraordinary measures to ensure all the nation's bills get paid. Officials estimate they can keep doing that for only 16 more days without risking a default on the debt. But the House of Representatives has only six working days left to raise the debt ceiling, and this morning, House Republicans were back behind closed doors, gauging support for a plan to do that. NPR's David Welna as at the capital, and he joins us know with the latest.

Good morning.

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Health Care
2:57 am
Tue February 11, 2014

U.S. Delays Obamacare Deadline For Some Businesses

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:28 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Obama Administration is delaying the part of the Affordable Care Act that affects businesses and the insurance they offer - again. As NPR's Julie Rovner reports, this time, the administration is calling its changes to the new law a phase-in.

JULIE ROVNER, BYLINE: OK, first off, the very smallest employers, those with fewer than 50 workers? They never had to do anything, and still don't.

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Politics
2:56 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Congressional Panel Probes W.Va. Chemical Spill

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:28 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

SENATOR JAY ROCKEFELLER: I wouldn't drink that water if you paid me.

INSKEEP: That's West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller yesterday, telling NPR he does not trust his own state's water. More than a month has passed since a chemical spill left 300,000 West Virginians without usable tap water. Specifically, residents were told not to drink or cook with the water.

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Politics
4:28 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

With Wallets Bulging, States Must Decide How To Spend Their Cash

During his January State of the State address, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker made the case that extra money should be returned as property and income tax cuts; some Republicans say his proposal goes too far.
Andy Manis AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 1:55 pm

After several lean years of cutting budgets to the bone, states hit hard by the deep recession finally have good fiscal news: Many states are now projecting budget surpluses.

But in an election year for three dozen governors, these surpluses are setting up potential political battles over what to do with the extra cash.

The first salvos are coming from governors themselves, in their annual State of the State addresses, as many of them take credit for bringing budgetary warmth to states that suffered through long, bitterly cold economic winters.

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It's All Politics
4:18 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Debt Ceiling Standoff? Not This Time

House Speaker John Boehner and his fellow Republicans could give President Obama the clean debt ceiling increase he wants but not for the reasons the president wants it.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 6:27 pm

When the federal government hits its debt ceiling at the end of the month, don't expect another big red-on-blue confrontation.

The appetite in the House Republican conference for that kind of debt-defying standoff isn't what it was last fall when the nation was hit by the double whammy of the debt limit and partial federal government shutdown.

And the House GOP can't even agree on what points to negotiate with President Obama — who has said he's not willing to negotiate on the debt ceiling anyway.

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The Two-Way
4:02 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

U.S. Resets Obamacare Deadline For Some Businesses To 2016

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 6:50 pm

The Obama administration says businesses employing 50-99 people now have until Jan. 1, 2016, to provide health insurance, rolling back part of the requirement known as the employer mandate. Under the Affordable Care Act, larger companies must offer the coverage in 2015.

NPR's Julie Rovner filed this update for our Newscast desk:

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Politics
3:13 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Sen. Rockefeller Responds To Water Safety Concerns

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 1:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Is the water safe to drink? As we've just heard, that's the question still plaguing hundreds of thousands of West Virginians who live in and around Charleston. I spoke earlier today with the other U.S. senator from West Virginia, the senior senator, Democrat Jay Rockefeller.

Senator Rockefeller, welcome to the program.

SENATOR JAY ROCKEFELLER: Thank you, Melissa. I wouldn't drink that water if you paid me.

BLOCK: Really? Well, that was my first question, would you drink the water? And you say no.

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Politics
3:13 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Legislators Make A Field Trip To Investigate W.Va Spill

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 1:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Officials in Charleston, West Virginia, testified today that the water there is now suitable for drinking and bathing, but nobody seemed ready or willing to call it safe. The testimony came at a field hearing held by members of Congress one month after a chemical in spill in the Elk River tainted the water for some 300,000 people. NPR's Brian Naylor was there today and he filed this report.

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Law
3:13 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Fate Of Former New Orleans Mayor Now In Jury's Hands

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 1:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. The fate of the former mayor of New Orleans is now in the hands of a jury. Ray Nagin is accused of using his public position for personal financial gain. Nagin is a Democrat. He became known worldwide as the face of city government when Hurricane Katrina struck. He held office for two terms. NPR's Debbie Elliot was in federal court today to hear closing arguments in this case and she joins us now.

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It's All Politics
2:03 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Interest Groups Gear Up For Next Supreme Court Vacancy

President Obama hugs Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg prior to delivering his 2011 State of the Union address.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 2:24 pm

It's been nearly four years since activists engaged in a battle over a Supreme Court nomination, and a tepid one it was.

Republicans barely pushed back on President Obama's 2010 nomination of Elena Kagan, his second appointment in as many years. She was confirmed by the Senate, 63-37.

At the time, influential Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona acknowledged the problem inherent in pursuing a high court battle: The GOP had only 41 Senate votes, making it "pretty difficult" to sustain a filibuster against Kagan, or any Obama appointee.

That could change by year's end.

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Health
10:05 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Fifty Years After Major Report, Surgeons General Work To End Smoking

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 10:41 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Politics
3:18 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Does Congress Have Enough Political Will To Reduce The Debt?

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 8:24 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

When Congress reached a bipartisan budget deal last December, there was much fanfare about the compromises made by both parties. And immediately afterwards, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle began working to reverse one of the spending cuts - a small reduction in military pensions. One plan to restore those pensions is up for a vote today in the Senate. As NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, resistance against the small cut is calling into question whether Congress has the political will to reduce the long-term debt.

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Shots - Health News
1:25 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Family Planning Squeezed In California By Health Law

A new electronic system will attempt to cut costs at the Planned Parenthood in Concord.
Courtesy of Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 7:56 am

An unexpected quirk in the Affordable Care Act has left birth control clinics struggling to balance their budgets in California.

Clinics that have long enjoyed state support to run as nonprofits are having to rethink how to stay in business.

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Politics
2:48 pm
Sun February 9, 2014

A New Jersey Democrat On His Lack Of Wins In Congress

Originally published on Sun February 9, 2014 4:33 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

On Capitol Hill this week, another congressman is calling it quits. Representative Rob Andrews, a Democrat from New Jersey, will be resigning a week from Tuesday. In his 23 years in Congress, Andrews proposed 646 bills, and none of them was ever enacted. The Washington Post called it the, quote, "worst record of the last 20 years."

I spoke with Andrews earlier this week and asked him to respond to that headline.

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The Two-Way
10:18 am
Sat February 8, 2014

Holder Orders Equal Treatment For Married Same-Sex Couples

John Lewis (left) and Stuart Gaffney embrace outside San Francisco's City Hall shortly before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California in June.
Noah Berger AP

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 12:04 pm

Attorney General Eric Holder has for the first time directed Justice Department employees to give same-sex married couples "full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent under the law," a move with far-ranging consequences for how such couples are treated in federal courtrooms and proceedings.

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Politics
6:26 am
Sat February 8, 2014

A Possible Explanation For How U.S. Diplomat's Call Was Tapped

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland leaves a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev on Friday. A phone call of hers about Ukraine was leaked on the Internet.
Gleb Garanich Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 10:05 am

An American diplomat got in trouble for saying something, well, undiplomatic.

Victoria Nuland, a top State Department official, thought she was having a private phone conversation. She was speaking about developments in Ukraine with the U.S. ambassador to that country, Geoffrey Pyatt. And she was speaking bluntly, even using a not-so-choice word about America's European allies.

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The Two-Way
6:19 am
Sat February 8, 2014

3 Things To Know About The Looming Debt Ceiling Showdown

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell delivers remarks during a news conference in December, where he commented on the Ryan/Murray budget, debt ceiling and XL Pipeline.
Shawn Thew EPA/Landov

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 10:51 am

Bitter partisan brinkmanship has been the hallmark of debates over raising the debt ceiling in recent years, but there are signs that it could be less contentious this time around. Still, Congress needs to act fast to avoid a default. Here are three things you should know as things move forward:

-- Without a deal, the Treasury will officially run out of money on Feb. 27:

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Politics
4:04 am
Sat February 8, 2014

Bidding Starts Early For Site Of Obama's Future Library

Presidents past and present were on hand for the opening ceremony for the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas in April 2013.
Kevork Djansezian AP

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 11:43 am

President Obama doesn't leave office until January of 2017, but already the competition has begun for the right to host his presidential library and museum.

A new foundation has been set up to raise money and to begin the site selection process, and there are already bids in the works from Chicago, Honolulu and elsewhere.

A Tradition Of Archives

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The Two-Way
6:02 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Trenton's Mayor Mack Found Guilty Of Bribery, Fraud Charges

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 6:31 pm

A federal jury has found Mayor Tony F. Mack of Trenton, N.J., guilty of six charges ranging from extortion and bribery to fraud. Mack's brother was also convicted of conspiracy and bribery charges in the case, which involved plans for a parking garage.

The Justice Department announced the jury's ruling Friday evening. In a news release about the verdict, U.S. Attorney Fishman said that Mack and his brother, Ralphiel, had schemed to use the influence of the mayor's office to extract money in exchange for easing development on city-owned land. Their trial lasted five weeks.

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Commentary
3:44 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Week In Politics: Jobs Numbers And CBO Report

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 7:04 pm

Melissa Block speaks with our regular political commentators, E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution and David Brooks of The New York Times about the lackluster January jobs report, the debate surrounding a new report from Congressional Budget Office and the renewed debate over immigration policy.

Economy
3:44 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Job Growth Runs Cold In January

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 7:04 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. And we'll begin the hour with the latest snapshot of the American economy. Once again, the news is mostly disappointing. Employers added a scant 113,000 jobs to payrolls last month. That's the second straight month where hiring fell far below expectations. On the other hand, the unemployment rate fell slightly and a good number of people who've been out of work for a long time found jobs.

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It's All Politics
3:10 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

House Republicans May Get To Immigration, Just Not Now

House Speaker John Boehner isn't necessarily walking away from an immigration law overhaul this year.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 6:31 pm

In politics, it always comes down to timing. And right now, it appears the timing just isn't right for congressional Republicans to take up an immigration overhaul.

If you read between the lines, that's what Speaker John Boehner was saying when he talked earlier in the week about how "difficult" the immigration issue is. And it's what GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell was saying when he indicated earlier in the week that he didn't see immigration overhaul happening this year at all.

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Business
2:18 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Disappointing Jobs Data May Point To A Tougher 2014

Job seekers sign in before meeting prospective employers during a career fair at a hotel in Dallas last month.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 4:03 pm

Friday's unemployment report confirmed what many workers already had suspected: Five years after the job market plunged off a cliff, the climb back remains a tough slog.

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It's All Politics
10:53 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh To Replace Sen. Max Baucus

Lt. Gov. John Walsh defending himself in Helena, Mont., on Jan. 26 against reports that he was reprimanded by the U.S. Army in 2010 for using his position as Montana adjutant general to solicit National Guard memberships to a private organization.
Matt Volz AP

Montana Lt. Gov. John Walsh, a Democrat, was appointed Friday to fill the unexpired term of longtime Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, who is leaving the Senate to serve as U.S. ambassador to China.

Walsh, 53, was already an announced candidate for the seat Baucus had planned to vacate at the end of this year. His appointment by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock gives the former adjutant general of the Montana National Guard a leg up in the November contest to replace the six-term senator.

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Law
10:07 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Does Probation For Profit Criminalize Poverty?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. If you've ever been pulled over for speeding or a busted taillight, you know that what comes next can be annoying and expensive - a ticket, possibly a court date. Now if you can pay, you pay and you go on about your business. But what if you can't? Well, you could end up on probation, and that's what we want to talk about today. Across the country, probation services are being privatized meaning that for-profit companies are running them, and they can tack on all sorts of fees.

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