A new front has opened in the political battle over the Affordable Care Act, with Tuesday's release of the Congressional Budget Office's annual budget and economic outlook. The economists updated an earlier estimate about how many workers would leave the workforce because they no longer needed a job to have health care coverage — revising upward from 800,000 people to over 2 million people. Republicans pounced on the higher number, and President Obama now finds himself playing defense.
The federal government's deficit is shrinking quite quickly — and that may not necessarily be a good thing. As congressional forecasters lower their predictions for economic growth over the next decade, some experts are saying that gross domestic product and unemployment figures would look better, were it not for the government's rapid push to get a handle on the deficit.
Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 9:50 am
Boston physician Vivek Murthy was expected to run into political headwinds Tuesday during his Senate confirmation hearing for the post of the nation's top doc — surgeon general.
Murthy, 36, the founder of a national physicians group that worked to pass the Affordable Care Act, was seen by some as vulnerable to GOP attacks because of his political work, his youth and his less-than-a-lifetime of public health experience — not to mention a few impolitic tweets guaranteed to rile conservatives.
Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 4:45 pm
Add women's rights activist Sandra Fluke to the roster of Democrats hoping to succeed Rep. Henry Waxman.
Fluke has filed with the California Democratic Party to seek its endorsement for the heavily Democratic Los Angeles-based seat held by Waxman since 1975.
She's listed on the state party's website as one of three candidates who have officially filed in the 33rd Congressional District. The other two are state Sen. Ted Lieu and Wendy Greuel, a finalist in last year's Los Angeles mayoral race.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We're a month into a new year, but we want to start the program today talking through some of the old issues that are bubbling back up in Washington. The political parties are doing that, too. In fact, House Republicans just finished a three-day retreat in Maryland to plan their strategy for the year. And one of the issues they focused on was immigration.
The political map of America changes, but it doesn't change very quickly. Massachusetts was a reliably liberal state decades ago and still is. The South is still the South. This raises the question of why it is that certain areas come to be reliably liberal or conservative.
NPR Shankar Vedantam joins us to discuss some research that explores the question. Hi, Shankar.
The Senate will be voting on final passage of a five-year farm bill this afternoon. One big change in the new bill - it puts an end to the controversial cash payments made directly to farmers regardless of their profits. Still, as NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, critics argue the new crop insurance program that replaces those cash subsidies is just another giveaway.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
We're going to introduce you now to one unusual Republican running for Congress in this year's midterm elections. As a candidate, Allan Levene stands out for a bunch of reasons. He's a naturalized U.S. citizen, born and raised in London. He says the federal government should do away with corporate taxes and create a new Israel in Texas.
Warning that "simply delaying action on the debt limit can cause harm to our economy," Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew repeated Monday that he believes Congress should act soon to raise that limit so the federal government avoids even looking like it might default on its debts.
In the aftermath of a conclusion that downplayed the oil pipeline's potential effects on climate change, the issue has gotten even more politically complicated for the Obama White House. Environmentalists are ramping up their opposition to the proposed 1,179-mile pipeline, while Republicans have intensified their push for approval. As for Democrats, well, that depends on their election prospects.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We'd like to start the week talking about a subject that might be on your mind as you start preparing your taxes and you're pull out those bank statements. We want to talk about planning for retirement. Almost half of households in this country don't have enough savings to cover their retirement or even unexpected emergencies, that according to a new report from a group called the Corporation for Enterprise Development.
Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 10:43 am
Pro football prognosticators are divided over who's the favorite to win Sunday's Super Bowl. Some give the edge to Peyton Manning and the high-flying Denver Broncos. Others believe the stifling Seattle Seahawks defense will carry them to victory.
Here at the It's All Politics blog, we can't help with any game-day analysis or offer any insights into how the two teams match up against each other.
But we can tell you a little about the politics surrounding each team.
Originally published on Sun February 2, 2014 10:17 am
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's political team is going on the offensive against charges that he knew more than he admits about a plan to use lane closures on the George Washington Bridge as part of a political vendetta.
In an email to donors and journalists headlined "5 Things You Should Know about the Bombshell That's Not a Bombshell," on Saturday, political aides to the governor pushed back on accusations by David Wildstein, a former Port Authority official who oversaw the lane closures.
The Keystone XL oil pipeline may be closer to being built. The U.S. State Department's released an environmental impact statement that says the project would not make climate change any worse, and it's now up to President Obama to decide the fate of the pipeline. NPR's Jeff Brady reports that environmental groups and many Democrats want the president to reject the review's findings.
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's denied new allegations that he knew about the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge as they were going on. Now, charges made in a letter released yesterday from the lawyer of David Wildstein, a former ally of the governor's. He oversaw the closures as an official of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Leaving Washington, D.C. for the frozen banks of the Chesapeake Bay might not be everybody's idea of a great late January getaway, but that's where House Republicans packed off for a three-day retreat this week. They gathered at a resort in Cambridge, Maryland, to try to reach agreement on a few big issues, among them immigration and the need once again to raise the debt ceiling.
A lot of reporters who cover Congress went along too, including NPR's congressional correspondent David Welna. David, thanks very much for being with us.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The U.S. Labor Department says there are nearly four million people in America who've been unemployed for six months or more. That number has remained stubbornly high, even as the overall unemployment rate has fallen. Yesterday, President Obama met with U.S. business leaders and urged them not to overlook qualified job applicants just because they've been out of work for a while.
Audie Cornish 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 president's State of the Union initiatives, the retiring members of the House and the agenda of the annual Republican retreat.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. President Obama summoned business leaders to the White House today. His message: Hire people who've been out of work for a long time. It's just the latest example of the president trying to get things done without having to turn to Congress. So far, more than 300 companies have promised to re-examine their hiring practices to make sure that they are not discriminating against the long-term unemployed.
House Republicans headed back to Washington on Friday from a resort along the frozen waters of the Chesapeake Bay. They were there for a three-day retreat aimed at mapping out a legislative strategy for this midterm election year.
One of the most pressing issues they face is the need next month for Congress to raise the nation's debt limit. GOP lawmakers seem leery of another debt ceiling showdown, and their leaders are pushing to act on immigration this year.