Former IRS official Lois Lerner raises her hand as she's sworn in Wednesday at the start of a House Oversight & Government Reform Committee hearing. She declined to answer questions posed by Chairman Darrell Issa, invoking her Fifth Amendment right.
Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 10:34 am
As she's done before, the woman at the center of the political storm over the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of some conservative groups from 2010 into 2012 invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions during a brief appearance before a congressional committee on Wednesday.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, BYLINE: And I'm Audie Cornish.
Earlier this year, it seemed like immigration reform might return to the top of the legislative agenda.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Finally, if we're serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, law enforcement, and fix our broken immigration system.
Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 11:53 am
As expected, President Obama on Tuesday unveiled a $3.9 trillion budget plan for fiscal 2015 that his number crunchers say would produce a $564 billion deficit.
The gap between spending and revenue, while large, would be down from more than $744 billion this fiscal year and a record $1.4 trillion in 2009 — a fiscal year that began when President George W. Bush was still in office. Since then, deficits during the Obama years have topped $1 trillion three times.
Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 10:06 am
The process of electing a new governor in Texas begins in earnest Tuesday, when Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis are expected to easily dispatch their primary opponents and move on to the Nov. 4 battle.
As if they hadn't already.
Both Abbott, 56, the state's attorney general and a former state Supreme Court judge, and Davis, 50, a state senator and former Fort Worth City Council member, have been amassing money and press since at least last fall.
The Conservative Political Action Conference — better known as CPAC — kicks off its annual meeting in Washington, D.C., this week. It's a who's-who of Republican presidential contenders and marquee conservatives like Jim DeMint, a former senator from South Carolina who has played a key role in the rise of the Tea Party.
There's been a lot of talk lately about Democrats' plan to turn Texas blue. But it is at the moment an exercise in optimism. To understand just how conservative much of the state is, look no further than the Republican primary for lieutenant governor. The incumbent, veteran powerbroker David Dewhurst, is running against three strong challengers.
And as NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports, all four candidates have been racing each other to the right.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
President Obama met today in the Oval Office with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. At the top of the president's agenda: Getting Israel to accept a framework for peace talks with the Palestinians.
NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith reports.
To the list of political issues with which we began this mid-term election year, which had the Affordable Care Act and the economy at the top, we can now add Russia's involvement in Ukraine.
But while the domestic issues divide along fairly clear blue and red lines, the political question of what the U.S. should do about Russian President Vladimir Putin's deployment of the Russian military into Ukraine's Crimea is scrambling Washington's normal partisan lines.
Secretary of State John Kerry, who has described Moscow's military intervention in the Crimea an "incredible act of aggression," will travel to Ukraine's capital on Tuesday to meet with the country's embattled government.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement late Sunday that Kerry "will meet with senior representatives of Ukraine's new government, leaders of the Rada [Ukraine's parliament], and members of the civil society."
Now to hear more about those primary elections I mentioned, we called in NPR political editor Charles Mahtesian to walk us through the primary races we should be watching. With congressional approval rating is at a record low, I asked Mahtesian whether that means more incumbents are being challenged within their own parties this year.
On Tuesday, President Obama will unveil his budget proposal for the coming year. But for all the sound and fury surrounding the president's spending plan, it's likely to have very little significance. Congress routinely ignores the president's budget. And lawmakers have already settled on overall spending levels for the coming year.
That's led some to ask whether it's time to bring the curtain down on this annual exercise in political theater.
Shahidullah Shahid (right), spokesman of banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan sits with a local commander Azam Tariq as they speak to journalists at an undisclosed location near the Afghan border last month.
The Pakistani Taliban said Saturday it will observe a month-long cease-fire to revive failed peace talks with Islamabad.
"The senior leadership of the Taliban advises all subgroups to respect the Taliban's call for a ceasefire and abide by it and completely refrain from all jihadi activities in this time period," the militant group said in a statement.
President Obama spoke about the Ukraine crisis Friday afternoon, saying, "The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine."
Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 8:46 pm
Saying that the United States is "deeply concerned" by reports that Russia is taking military action in Ukraine, President Obama urged Russia not to intervene in the destabilized country, where tensions have reached new highs this week.
Obama said that he had spoken to Russia's President Putin in recent days, to foster cooperation in coping with the situation.
George P. Bush passes a portrait of his grandfather George H.W. Bush at the Republican Party of Texas headquarters in Austin. Bush, the son of a governor and the nephew and grandson of two presidents, is running for Texas land commissioner.
Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 5:41 pm
George Prescott Bush.
Ring a bell?
It should, and if it doesn't, it soon will. George P. Bush, 37, is a great-grandson of a late U.S. senator from Connecticut; a grandson and nephew of former U.S. presidents; and the eldest son of ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who just may run for president himself in 2016.
On Tuesday, George P., referred to by some as the "Hispanic George Bush" because of his mother's Mexican heritage, will take his generation's first crack at the family business when he runs in a statewide Republican primary for Texas land commissioner.
Couples kiss during the Athens gay pride parade last June. Last month, activists organized a "kiss-in" during a church service run by a Greek Orthodox bishop who has threatened to excommunicate politicians supporting same-sex unions.
Credit Louisa Gouliamaki / AFP/Getty Images
Stella Bellia (left) is the president of Rainbow Families Of Greece, a coalition of same-sex couples with children. She and her Italian partner, Grazia-Haris Scocozza, have twin boys.
Credit Courtesy of Stella Bellia
Gregory Vallianatos, a gay activist and former TV host, is running for Athens mayor in May elections.
Credit Joanna Kakissis / NPR
"In Greece a man must always be straight," says Petros Sapountzakis (right), a teacher who was attacked by ultranationalists after leaving a theater in 2012. He and his boyfriend, Alex Kantirov, have been together for five years.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. The Clinton Library and the National Archives released some 4,000 documents today from the Clinton administration. Among other things, the papers the deal with the Clinton's defeated healthcare reforms and then First Lady Hillary Clinton's image. They're part of a trove of documents and the first of several batches to be made public. NPR's Brian Naylor has been going through them and he joins me now. Brian, welcome.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. Late today, President Obama addressed the ongoing turmoil in Ukraine. He said his administration is deeply concerned by reports of Russian military movement inside Ukraine, and he sent this message to Russia.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.
Now we'd like to turn to Venezuela, where violent protests have filled the streets for two weeks now - a story that may have been overshadowed in this country somewhat by the turmoil in Ukraine. The unrest is putting a spotlight on President Nicolas Maduro and the country's economic problems. We wanted to hear more so we've called Andrew Rosati. He's a freelance journalist based in Caracas, Venezuela. And he's with us from there now. Welcome back, Andrew. Thanks so much for joining us again.