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The Senate voted 60-37 Tuesday to advance President Obama's trade agenda — setting up a big victory for the White House and a painful loss for labor unions.

This latest Senate vote clears away procedural hurdles for legislation granting Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to Obama. That power allows the president to negotiate trade pacts and then put them on a so-called fast track through Congress. With TPA in place, Congress would take a simple yes-or-no vote on any trade deal, with no room for amendments.

This post was updated at 1:25 p.m. ET to include comment from the White House press secretary.

The Obama administration is preparing to announce changes in the way it deals with families whose loved ones have been taken hostage by terrorist groups such as the self-declared Islamic State militant group. Families were invited to a private meeting with administration officials Tuesday in advance of a public announcement at the White House on Wednesday.

As the Supreme Court edges closer to issuing an opinion that could deal a blow to the federal health exchange operating in more than 30 states, Democrats have sounded a warning to their colleagues on the other side: Be careful what you wish for.

You'd think everyone in the aviation industry would be on the same page about improving air travel. Surely they all want more modern aircraft and upgraded airports, right?

They do. But airlines and airports are in a political dogfight this summer over who should be getting more of your money for improvements.

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Last week's tragic shooting at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., that killed nine black parishioners gathered for a Bible study has renewed the debate over one of the most controversial Southern symbols — the Confederate flag.

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South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced Monday a new push to remove the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds.

Debate about the flag heated up after nine African-Americans were killed in a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., last week. Its removal would require action by state legislators.

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Back in 2009, our colleague Robert Siegel got a tour of West Miami from Rubio himself.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

MARCO RUBIO: See that little wood swing?

ROBERT SIEGEL, BYLINE: Yes, yes.

Marco Rubio, at just 44, is the youngest major presidential candidate in the 2016 field. The Florida senator is one of the rising stars of the Republican Party — and the roots of that rise started in a small city just outside Miami.

West Miami is less than a square mile. It's a tight-knit community of just over 6,000 people. This is where Marco Rubio grew up.

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Depression-era federal program aimed at stabilizing raisin and other commodity prices.

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Today, South Carolina's Republican governor called for the Confederate battle flag flying on the grounds of the state capital to be removed.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Federal prosecutors in Tennessee have notified an 85-year-old nun they will not seek to reinstate her sabotage conviction for breaking into a nuclear facility.

Comedian Marc Maron's WTF podcast might not seem like the place for a typical presidential interview, but several months ago the White House reached out to Maron to see if he'd be interested in having Barack Obama as his guest. "I just didn't think that it would ever happen," Maron says.

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Rethinking The Presidential Debate

Jun 21, 2015
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Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., returned to his home state the day after nine people were killed in Charleston's Emanuel AME Church. The crime was emotionally devastating for many of his constituents, and the senator himself lost a friend in the attack. He took time out for a wide ranging conversation about the shooting, what he believes may have caused it, and how he'd like his state — and the country — to move forward. A version of the interview aired on Here & Now.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz blew away another gathering of religious conservative leaders this week, preaching about threats to religious freedom to a receptive and hungry crowd.

"I will never, ever, ever shy away from standing up and defending the religious liberty of every American," the GOP White House hopeful thundered at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's "Road to Majority" conference in Washington.

"Religious liberty has never been more threatened in America than right now today," Cruz added.

This week, Republican candidates played up their Christian credentials to faith and conservative activists at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority conference in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas didn't have to reach far to sell himself as the candidate of faith and the best choice for religious conservatives who are concerned about social issues like same-sex marriage and abortion.

This story is part of NPR's series Journey Home. We're going to the places that presidential candidates call home and finding out what those places tell us about how they see the world.

How did a city kid, who grew up in a 3 1/2-room apartment in Brooklyn, N.Y., end up the mayor of Burlington, Vt., and later one of the state's two senators? For Bernie Sanders, it began with a subway ride into Manhattan with his brother.

Congress' official scorekeeper says repealing Obamacare would increase the federal budget deficit and the number of uninsured Americans by 24 million.

The report from the Congressional Budget Office comes as Washington awaits a ruling by the Supreme Court that could end insurance subsidies for some six million people in 30 states.

This post was updated at 6:13 p.m. ET

When tragedies happen, like the shooting in Charleston, they usually find their way into the realm of politics eventually.

This time is no different, as Democrats and Republicans are finding very different ways of talking about what happened in South Carolina. Democrats see race and gun control as issues at the center of it. Republicans, on the other hand, largely point to mental illness and label what happened a tragic but random act.

After the Emancipation Proclamation, some slave owners kept the news from their slaves. In a 1941 recording, a former slave recalls June 19, 1865, when slaves in Texas were told they were free.

"Voices from the Days of Slavery" is an online exhibition at the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress. This story was brought to us by Hearing-Voices producer Barrett Golding.

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And we'll continue now with thoughts on the assault in Charleston and more from E J Dionne of the Washington Post and David Brooks of The New York Times. Welcome back to you both.

E J DIONNE, BYLINE: Thank you.

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