The United States is now just over two weeks away from a plunge over the "fiscal cliff" — that is, unless Congress can agree on a deal to prevent automatic tax hikes and spending cuts in the new year. But once again, Congress seems headed for the brink.
That's been happening more and more in recent years. And it was noted sadly by a string of retiring senators as they were bidding their colleagues farewell this past week.
Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 10:50 am
In the category of unintended consequences, Susan Rice's announcement about her future could — under one scenario — mean a Republican in President Obama's inner circle, decorated Vietnam veterans overseeing the nation's military and its foreign policy, and another special election for Senate in Massachusetts.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
In front of the White House today, the flag flies at half-staff. And across the country, Americans are expressing their grief and their sense of despair. This morning, in his weekly address, the president spoke out about the tragedy.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 5:22 pm
Horrible acts of violence have forced President Obama to speak to a shocked nation after several mass shootings — at a shopping center in Arizona, a Colorado movie theater, a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and, on Friday, a Connecticut elementary school.
Each time his sadness has been readily visible, mirroring the feelings of millions of Americans.
In this week's Barbershop, the guys weigh in on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrawing her name from consideration for secretary of state. They also discuss Michigan's right-to-work law and whether unions are still relevant today.
Labor pains in Michigan, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner head to the cliff, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice is steamed, and we're still waiting for a Senate replacement for Jim DeMint in South Carolina.
It looks like the only folks smiling in this week's podcast are Ken Rudin and Ron Elving.
"In recent weeks, new lines of attack have been raised to malign my character and my career. Even before I was nominated for any new position, a steady drip of manufactured charges painted a wholly false picture of me."
The Consumer Price Index is one of the most familiar measures in economics and politics. But some in Washington want to change the way the index is calculated to better reflect people's shopping habits.
While the proposed change is described as a technical fix, it could also cut the federal deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 5:01 am
President Obama hosted House Speaker John Boehner today, spending nearly an hour together in which they reportedly discussed ways to avert the looming "fiscal cliff" of spending cuts and tax hikes that are due to strike at the end of 2012. Boehner left the White House at 6 p.m., ET, apparently without reaching a deal. As Politico reports, the Republican plans to return to his home state of Ohio this weekend.
Well, even if Americans largely agree on addressing the deficit with a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts, the consensus falls apart when you get specific about those spending cuts. And that may be why politicians have been wary of discussing cuts in too much detail. We're going to try to remedy that now with NPR's Scott Horsley. Hi, Scott.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Robert.
ScuttleButton, of course, is that once-a-week waste of time exercise in which each Monday or Tuesday (or, as they call today, "Thursday") 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 Thu December 13, 2012 9:30 am
Stephen Prince has plenty of money, and he doesn't mind sending more of it to the federal government.
"There's nothing in history that supports the view that if you give the wealthy their money back, they'll invest it," says Prince, who owns a company based in Nolensville, Tenn., that makes gift cards. "We invest anyway — that's what the wealthy do."
Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 10:25 am
Every time President Obama explains why he wants to increase taxes on the richest 2 percent, Republicans have a ready answer: Most small business owners file their taxes as individuals, and a rate hike would discourage them from hiring new workers.
Of the 535 members of Congress, not many appear to be in the loop about the "fiscal cliff" negotiations. That makes the rest nervous about having to vote on a bill on short notice despite misgivings about what's in it. But this is often how major deals get accomplished in Washington.
In these budget negotiations, the names Boehner and Obama come up most often — and virtually all the rest are on the outside looking in.
In a closed-door meeting Thursday, lawmakers will consider whether to approve a secret report that chronicles CIA detention and interrogation practices — including methods that critics have compared to torture.
That report — along with the release of a new movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden — is rekindling an old debate about whether those methods worked.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Audie Cornish.
Negotiations are intensifying between congressional Republicans and the White House. Both sides say they want to find a compromise to end the budget stalemate that's gripped Washington. Both sides are also vying for support from the business community. The White House has reportedly put an overhaul of the tax code on the table.
Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 10:54 am
No one can argue the setback to organized labor served up by Michigan's new law, which bars unions from requiring workers to pay dues even if they don't join their workplace bargaining unit.
Tuesday's passage of "right to work" legislation in a state dominated by the auto industry and the historically powerful United Auto Workers was a surprising "smack in the face" to unions, says labor expert Lee Adler, especially given President Obama's nearly 10-point win in the state last month.
Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 1:12 pm
Despite his re-election and more Democratic seats in Congress, President Obama has far from a free hand to make the kind of comprehensive deal House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans are demanding — one that includes cuts to entitlement programs.
Strong resistance to that notion is coming from the political left, including warnings that while Obama won't have another re-election, most of his allies on Capitol Hill will be facing voters again.
President Barack Obama is expected to make some key changes to his second-term cabinet. As Hillary Clinton prepares to step down as Secretary of State, many wonder whether she will run for president in 2016.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, another young woman, a mother, has been killed by a man who supposedly loved or at least cared for her. That got us thinking about the political fight over the ways to address violence against women. We're going to talk about that with our panel of women commentators. We call it the Beauty Shop and it's coming up later in the program.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up in my Can I Just Tell You essay, I want to share some thoughts and some surprising facts about violence in relationships. That's in just a few minutes.
But, first, it's time for the Beauty Shop. That's where we get a fresh cut on the week's news with a panel of women writers, journalists and commentators.