Politics

It's All Politics
5:22 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Senate Retreats Offer Chance To Bond, Plot Strategy

President Obama's motorcade returns to the White House after visiting with Senate Democrats at their retreat at Washington Nationals Park.
Carolyn Kaster AP

It was annual Senate retreat time in Washington this week, a moment when senators get away from the U.S. Capitol, free themselves of their staffs and daily legislative, office and fundraising chores, and try to gain some fresh perspective.

They didn't go far, mind you. Senate Democrats met Wednesday at Washington Nationals Park about a mile and half away from Capitol Hill, still in sight of the Rotunda. Republicans merely repaired to their usual place across the street from the Capitol, the Library of Congress.

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Politics
4:17 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Democrats Worry About Losing Senate Majority

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:59 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

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Around the Nation
3:16 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Pussy Riot: Prison Ordeal Will Help Us Fix Russia's System

Nadezhda "Nadya" Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot at the NPR studios in New York City.
Quoctrung Bui/NPR

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 1:19 pm

Members of the punk protest band Pussy Riot were just released from jail after spending nearly two years in a penal colony for a controversial performance at a Moscow church in 2012, but they are far from done fighting. Nadezhda "Nadya" Tolokonnikova and Maria "Masha" Alyokhina continue to be outspoken against human rights abuses in Russia, bringing the band's message to the U.S. for the first time.

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It's All Politics
4:32 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Black Openly Gay Judge Would Be Federal Bench's First

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has indicated he won't block the nomination of Judge Darrin Gayles, who would be the first openly gay black man to serve on the federal bench.
AP

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 7:33 pm

Darrin P. Gayles, a Florida state circuit judge, appears to be on track to become the nation's first openly gay black man to serve on the federal bench.

President Obama on Wednesday nominated Gayles, a former assistant U.S. attorney, to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

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It's All Politics
4:19 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Celebrities Turn Star Power Toward Political Stage

Three of the seven cast members shown here on the set of the 1987 film Predator would later run for governor in their home states. Two of them, Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger, won. Sonny Landham (second from right) lost.
Sunset Boulevard Corbis

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 1:50 pm

If you wanted to pursue a career in politics, you could have done worse than appearing in the 1987 movie Predator.

That movie featured not only Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura — future governors of California and Minnesota, respectively — but Sonny Landham, who later ran for governor and senator in Kentucky.

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Health Care
3:29 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Obamacare Opponents Open New Front For Debate In 'Risk Corridors'

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 8:23 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Here's another way congressional Democrats are using the Budget Office report in support of the Affordable Care Act. They're defending an obscure provision in the law that serves to backstop insurance companies participating in the health plan exchanges. And in a flip of party stereotypes, this has Democrats standing up for the insurance companies and Republicans clashing with big business.

NPR's David Welna explains.

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Politics
3:29 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

One Day After CBO Report, It's Time To Start Your Spin Cycle

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 8:23 pm

On Tuesday, economists with the Congressional Budget Office announced findings that indicated the new health care law may result in hundreds of thousands leaving the workforce. The findings spurred new debate on the merits of the law and its economic impact. NPR's Scott Horsley has more on the reactions to the report.

It's All Politics
1:57 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

White House Creates 'Climate Hubs' To Help Rural Towns, Farmers

Farmers in Iowa are among those around the country who will get help coping with climate change through a new federal program.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 11:00 am

The White House on Wednesday rolled out a high-profile plan to help farmers and ranchers adjust to climate changes that have already begun to upend growing seasons and threaten livestock.

The "climate hub" initiative was praised by environmentalists, though they were quick to warn President Obama that it would not provide him cover on another environmental issue in the headlines: the Keystone XL pipeline.

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It's All Politics
1:42 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Activist Sandra Fluke Passes On Congressional Run

Sandra Fluke introduces President Obama at a campaign event in Denver on Aug. 8, 2012.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Count Sandra Fluke out — at least on a national level, for now.

After suggesting that she was gearing up for a possible congressional campaign, the women's rights activist and lawyer has announced she won't be entering the race for California Rep. Henry Waxman's soon-to-be-available seat after all.

Instead, Fluke says she's pursuing a different route: She plans to run for the state Senate spot currently held by Ted Lieu.

Lieu is running for Waxman's job, as is former City Controller Wendy Greuel, a finalist in last year's Los Angeles mayoral race.

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It's All Politics
1:24 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Rethinking The 17th Amendment: An Old Idea Gets Fresh Opposition

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, speaks during the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition's Friends of the Family Banquet in Des Moines, Iowa, in November 2013. Lee is one of the few candidates calling for 17th Amendment repeal who have won office.
Justin Hayworth AP

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 3:11 pm

It may be an idea whose time came and went 100 years ago.

Nevertheless, it's back.

A number of Republican politicians and conservative commentators are calling for repeal of the 17th Amendment. Ratified in 1913, it gave voters the power to elect U.S. senators directly.

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World
11:46 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Alarm As Haitians Flee Country

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Politics
4:16 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Republicans Use Latest CBO Report To Rail Against Obamacare

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 12:31 pm

The new Congressional Budget Office report gives ammunition to Republicans and puts Democrats on the defensive. It said the Affordable Care Act would reduce the number of full-time workers by more than 2 million by the year 2024. But as usual, the truth is more complicated than the headlines and press releases suggest.

It's All Politics
5:44 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

More Access To Health Care Means Millions Can Quit Or Cut Hours

Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Jason Furman at a White House press briefing Tuesday.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 6:59 am

What might have been a routine update on the state of the federal budget Tuesday instead became the newest front in the ongoing political war over President Obama's signature health care law.

At issue: a revised estimate about how many people would voluntarily leave the workforce because they can get health care without necessarily holding down a job.

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It's All Politics
4:26 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

RNC Highlights Black History Month With Radio Ads

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus is seen at the Jan. 24 RNC winter meeting in Washington. Priebus celebrates the achievements of black Republicans in a series of new radio ads designed to honor Black History Month.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 5:27 pm

Leaders of the Republican Party acknowledge they have a problem attracting minority voters — especially African-Americans, 93 percent of whom voted for President Obama in 2012, compared with just 6 percent for GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

That chasm is at the heart of a new initiative by the Republican National Committee during February. In its first-ever Black History Month ad campaign, the RNC has launched radio spots aimed at African-American audiences in a handful of cities: Washington, D.C.; Detroit, Cleveland and Atlanta.

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It's All Politics
3:26 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

RNC's Priebus Insists Minority Outreach Effort Is Built To Last

Patrick Lundy and the Ministers of Music gospel choir perform Tuesday at the Republican National Committee's awards lunch at Washington's Howard Theatre.
Frank James NPR

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 9:56 am

Much of politics is about symbols and gestures. And there were plenty of them at the historic Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C., Tuesday.

Under Chairman Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee vows to be much more serious about outreach to African-Americans than ever before.

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Politics
3:26 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

The Fine Art Of The Public Apology

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 6:00 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A few little words yet so hard to say: I'm sorry.

MAYOR ROB FORD: I made my decisions. They are my mistake. And I am sitting here today to acknowledge that and to say I'm sorry for that.

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: And I come out here today to apologize to the people of New Jersey.

LANCE ARMSTRONG: Do you want me to say I'm sorry? Do you want me to say I apologize? Do you want me to dance around? I'm not quite sure what you want me to do.

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Health Care
3:26 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Is Obamacare A Job Killer? New Estimates Suggest It Might Be

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 6:00 pm

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.

Economy
3:26 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Deficit Shrinks, But Debate Continues To Grow

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 6:00 pm

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.

It's All Politics
1:45 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Surgeon General Pick's Tweets Annoy GOP, But Not Enough To Block Him

Dr. Vivek Murthy, President Obama's nominee to be the next U.S. surgeon general, testifies Tuesday on Capitol Hill before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on his nomination.
Charles Dharapak AP

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.

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It's All Politics
1:35 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Women's Rights Activist Sandra Fluke Aims For Congressional Seat

President Obama is accompanied by Sandra Fluke at a 2012 campaign event in Aurora, Colo. Fluke gained attention when talk show host Rush Limbaugh spoke disparagingly of her testimony before Congress on the issue of contraception and insurance coverage.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

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.

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Politics
9:56 am
Tue February 4, 2014

House Republicans' New Immigration Proposals: 'Trap' or Opportunity?

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 12:21 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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.

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Research News
3:21 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Political Map: Does Geography Shape Your Ideology?

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 6:12 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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.

SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

INSKEEP: What's the research?

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NPR Story
2:59 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Senate Expected To Pass Long-Delayed Farm Bill

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 6:12 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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.

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Politics
1:41 am
Tue February 4, 2014

The Deficit: The Talk Is Big, But The Number Is Shrinking

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 6:12 am

The deficit is the nation's annual budget shortfall, the difference between what the government spends in one year and what it takes in. In 2009, '10, '11 and '12, it was huge.

"You look at the president's budget," said House Speaker John Boehner in 2012, "and we've got trillion-dollar deficits for as far as the eye can see."

"We're going to have trillion-dollar deficits for years to come," said former congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul.

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Politics
2:15 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

A Candidate For Congress In Georgia — And Michigan And Hawaii And...

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:33 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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.

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The Two-Way
2:15 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

'Time Is Short' On Debt Ceiling, Treasury Secretary Says

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew on Monday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:33 pm

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.

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It's All Politics
2:11 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Keystone XL Pipeline Report Creates Political Headache For Obama

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline will run through this field near Bradshaw, Neb.
NH AP

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 4:11 pm

Any expectation that a new State Department report would clarify the Keystone XL pipeline issue went up in smoke in recent days.

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.

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The Two-Way
9:25 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Yellen Becomes Fed Chair, And Bernanke Heads To Think Tank

Janet Yellen smiles Monday before being sworn in as Federal Reserve Board chair at the Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C.
Charles Dharapak AP

Just as Janet L. Yellen was sworn in as the first woman to head the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke announced his next move on Monday.

The former fed chief, who saw the country through a recovery from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, will join Brookings' Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy.

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Your Money
8:54 am
Mon February 3, 2014

MyRA: Understanding President Obama's Retirement Savings Plan

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 12:23 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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.

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The Two-Way
6:19 am
Mon February 3, 2014

VIDEO: Obama And O'Reilly Hit Harder Than Denver And Seattle

President Obama and Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly at the White House on Sunday.
FoxNews.com

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 5:50 pm

There wasn't anything close about Sunday's Super Bowl — a 43-8 blowout win for the Seattle Seahawks over the Denver Broncos.

But before the big game, there was a much more contentious contest:

President Obama's live interview with Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly.

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