Tomorrow marks a year since the IRS admitted it have given excessive scrutiny to Tea Party and right-leaning patriot groups that wanted tax exempt status. Since then, the tax agency has been battered by firings, resignations, lawsuits and investigations. It's also been a tough year for the biggest group known to have been under that scrutiny by the IRS, the social welfare organization Crossroads GPS. NPR's Peter Overby reports.
House lawmakers in South Carolina have voted to slash funding for two of the state's largest public colleges in retaliation for the introduction of books with gay themes into the schools' freshman reading programs.
The House voted on Thursday to establish a new investigative committee to look into circumstances surrounding the attack two years ago on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the ambassador and three others.
Republicans accuse the White House of misleading the public about the nature of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack and stonewalling efforts by Congress to investigate. Democrats see the creation of the new investigative committee as an election-year political ploy to raise money and motivate the party's base.
The name "Benghazi" used to just inflame conservatives. Now it is demonstrating its power to outrage progressives as well, though for different reasons.
To be precise, Democrats are angered not just by the House GOP's creation of a special committee to probe the 2012 terrorist attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead but by Republican fundraising in connection with the Benghazi probe.
How do you tell the difference between someone who needs to be taken to jail and someone who needs to be taken to the hospital? It can be a delicate situation to decipher, and it's been a big concern in Connecticut since the Newtown shootings of 2012.
Lance Newkirchen, a regular patrol officer in the town of Fairfield, is also specifically trained to respond to mental health calls. On a recent weekday, he headed out in his patrol car for a follow-up call.
The fight over the Keystone XL oil pipeline has stalled progress on an unrelated bill in the U.S. Senate. Republicans want to attach a series of amendments, including approval for the pipeline to a bill about energy efficiency. But Democratic leader Harry Reid says the Keystone vote ought to be separate. And as NPR's Jeff Brady reports, the disagreement leaves the energy efficiency bill in limbo.
A House committee on Thursday voted to issue a subpoena to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki over allegations of delays at VA hospitals that may have caused as many as 40 deaths of patients waiting for care.
In addition to calling Shinseki to testify, lawmakers also subpoenaed records from a Phoenix VA hospital that allegedly maintained an alternate wait list showing that patients waited only a few weeks for treatment when in fact some waited more than a year.
The story you thought was long over is back: Monica Lewinsky, the former White House intern whose affair with President Clinton eventually led to his impeachment and made her the object of punch lines and scorn, has written an article in Vanity Fair in which she says, "It's time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress."
Lewinsky, who was 21 at the time of the affair, is now 40. She writes that it's "time to stop "tiptoeing around my past â€” and other people's futures."
With immigration reform a non-starter in Congress, those advocating reform have been urging the Obama administration to make changes on its own. And the first of those changes was announced this week. It involves the guest visa program known as H1B that allows highly skilled professionals from other countries to come to work in the U.S. The change would allow nearly 100,000 spouses of H1B visa holders to work as well. NPR's Kelly McEvers has the story.
There's a long-held assumption that women are more likely than men to collaborate. As the number of women in Congress has increased, however, so has the partisanship and gridlock. So does a woman's touch actually help on Capitol Hill?
There's a lot of academic research that supports the idea that women are better at building bipartisan coalitions. Studies have found that women in Congress not only sponsor more bills but also collect more co-sponsors for those bills.
Daniel Smith's house is barely standing after a tornado in Arkansas late last month killed 16 people. The EF4 tornado ripped a gash through the rural communities of Mayflower and Vilonia. Homes were wiped clean to their slabs, businesses shredded beyond recognition.
Wednesday, President Obama went to see the damage for himself, and to meet with residents like Smith. It's a task that he and many presidents before him have had to do far too often.
Late Tuesday, House Republicans made public on Speaker John Boehner's website their draft resolution to create the Benghazi select committee. The resolution calls for a panel of seven Republicans and five Democrats and no written rules for the panel.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Congressional elections do not come for months, but in many districts the real action is now. Its primary season and yesterday voters went to the polls around the country. In North Carolina's Republican Senate primary, Thom Tillis, the State House speaker, won a big enough margin to avoid a runoff.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Everybody makes conversation about the weather. And today that includes President Obama. He's appearing on three network TV shows to discuss a new government report on climate change. It's on a day when the president also visits Arkansas to survey the damage from last week's tornadoes.
North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis won the Republican U.S. Senate nomination Tuesday, a victory for GOP establishment forces over the Tea Party in a battleground state that will feature one of the nation's most competitive Senate races this fall.
Tillis, who avoided a runoff by winning more than 40 percent of the vote, will face first-term Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in November. Hagan rates among the most vulnerable Senate Democrats.
Three states are holding primaries Tuesday, and voters might understandably be confused over what kind of identification they need to show at the polls.
In Indiana, it has to be a government-issued photo ID. In Ohio, you can get by with a utility bill. In North Carolina, you won't need a photo ID until 2016. But that law, along with ID laws in many other states, faces an uncertain future.
In its 168 years, Iowa has never elected a woman to Congress or picked one as its governor.
For many residents who pride themselves on a progressive civil rights history that predates statehood, that political reality has become an exasperating distinction shared with only one other state â€” Mississippi.
Women make up less than 20 percent of those serving in Congress, but more than half the population. There are many reasons for this, but one simple answer comes back again and again. It's about recruiting.
When Monica Youngblood got the call, she thought it was a joke. The call came from a man she had worked to help get elected.
"It's your time," she says he told her. "We need people like you in Santa Fe. We need a voice like yours who's lived here, who's been through what you've been through. I think you need to really consider it."