Ari Shapiro speaks with political commentators, EJ Dionne of the Washington Post and Brookings Institution and David Brooks of The New York Times. They discuss the latest on the HealthCare.gov Website and the discord over reaching a troop agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Good morning. We hope many of you are enjoying some time off for Thanksgiving, maybe doing some shopping, but meanwhile work is continuing on the website for the federal health care exchanges.
Unless Congress acts quickly, taking mass transit to work is about to get more expensive for some people.
For the past four years, public transportation users and people who drive their cars to work and pay for parking have been able set aside up to $245 a month in wages tax free if they're used for commuting costs or workplace parking.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. I'm not trying to scuttle the deal - those words earlier this week from Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey. He's one of several high profile Democrats who voiced skepticism of the agreement announced over the weekend to curb Iran's nuclear program. His chief concern with the deal, that it lets Iran off the hook by offering some $7 billion worth of sanctions relief.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is one of the most prominent critics of the U.S. deal with Iran. While President Obama calls the agreement a breakthrough, Netanyahu calls it a "historic mistake." It's far from the first time the Israeli and American leaders have clashed.
Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu took charge of their countries within a few months of each other. They were hardly a matched pair.
Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 5:29 pm
The Obama administration announced it is delaying until November 2014 a requirement that small businesses shop for health insurance via the troubled federal HealthCare.gov site, which has been blamed for many problems since its launch last month. The shift applies to businesses with fewer than 50 full-time workers.
The new U.S. Treasury/Internal Revenue Service rules aimed at clarifying what constitutes political activity for tax-exempt "social welfare" organizations are likely to give more heartburn to conservative groups than their liberal counterparts.
The United States, along with five other world powers, has signed an agreement with Iran over its controversial nuclear program. What do Iranian expatriates in America think of the deal, which would temporarily ease western sanctions? Host Michel Martin speaks to human rights activist Sussan Tahmasebi and writer Roya Hakakian.
Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 1:27 pm
These are politically segregated times.
Secession movements are active in several states, generally consisting of residents of rural red counties seeking to separate themselves from the more liberal and urban-centered policies of blue-state leaders.
And Democrats and Republicans are much less likely to live among each other than they were a generation ago.
Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 4:45 am
After years of wide spread fretting about the size of the federal debt and angst about new federal regulations for health care, one federal program is enjoying widespread popularity: Medicaid. Morning Edition examines this political paradox.
Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 4:42 am
The Obama administration is pushing a new set of regulations that would make it much harder for so-called "social welfare" organizations to engage in political campaigns. This comes after a summer of controversy over the way the IRS treated Tea Party groups applying for tax exempt status.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take another case involving the Affordable Care Act, this time a challenge to the provision that for-profit companies that provide health insurance must include contraceptive coverage in their plans offered to employees.
President Obama's Affordable Care Act will be back before the Supreme Court this spring. This time, the issue is whether for-profit corporations citing religious objections may refuse to provide contraceptive services in health insurance plans offered to employees.
In enacting the ACA, Congress required large employers who offer health care services to provide a range of preventive care, including no-copay contraceptive services. Religious nonprofits were exempted from this requirement, but not for-profit corporations.
The six-month agreement struck between Iran and Western nations last weekend lays out a detailed plan of inspection for Iran's nuclear facilities. The White House calls it "unprecedented transparency and intrusive monitoring." So how will that work? Melissa Block speaks with Dr. David A. Kay, former U.N. Chief Weapons Inspector, to find out.
Much of the criticism of the interim nuclear deal reached with Iran Sunday has focused on the sanctions relief Iran will receive over the next six months if it follows through on restricting its nuclear program. Although the only irreversible relief being offered is a gradual release of $4.2 billion in frozen Iranian revenue, critics warn that the "architecture of the sanctions regime has been undermined." Analysts say all the important sanctions hampering Iran's economy remain in place, but the announcement of the deal itself is having a psychological impact on markets.
Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 1:29 pm
Ending the year by weighing in again on a topic that caused it great grief back in the spring, the Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday defined limits on the political activity of tax-exempt "social welfare" organizations.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez has only been in office for a few months, but he's already making waves. He's pushing for a higher minimum wage and immigration reform. Perez speaks with host Michel Martin about his goals for the U.S. labor force.
Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, planned to hold at least four field hearings on the Affordable Care Act, which he blames for increased health insurance prices.
On Monday, Republicans held the second of at least four planned hearings that Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has said will focus on health insurance price increases he blames on the Affordable Care Act.
The troubled rollout of the ACA has also shaken relations between the White House and congressional Democrats. For more on that we're joined by NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson at the White House.
Hey there, Mara.
MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hi, Audie.
CORNISH: So this isn't just about Darrel Issa stirring up anger, right? I guess Democrats genuinely worry that this rollout has hurt them heading into 2014, as Don just mentioned. So where do things stand?
Secretary of State John Kerry will have to work hard to allay concerns about the Iran deal, concerns from U.S. allies, including Saudi Arabia and Israel. And as Melissa just mentioned, the White House faces criticism from some in Congress. Kerry will need to convince senators not to impose additional sanctions on Iran so that negotiators can come up with a comprehensive deal over the next six months. As NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, Kerry seems to be well positioned to take on the challenges.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. The nuclear accord reached over the weekend with Iran is, according to President Obama, an important first step. The new Iranian president calls it a definite achievement but to the Israeli prime minister it's a historic mistake. The six-month deal freezes important parts of Iran's nuclear problem. In exchange, Iran gets temporary relief from economic sanctions amounting to about $7 billion.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.
In a diplomatic breakthrough, Iran has agreed to temporary limits on its nuclear program. In exchange, the U.S. and its allies have agreed to relax some of their crippling economic sanctions on Iran. The six-month agreement is designed to buy time to negotiate a more lasting deal that would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It's already drawn a skeptical response in Israel and from some lawmakers here at home.
Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 12:22 pm
Once again raising expectations that a deal over Iran's nuclear program is at hand, Secretary of State John Kerry joined the foreign ministers of the U.K., Russia, China, France and Germany in Geneva to try to hammer out an agreement that would curb Iran's nuclear work in exchange for the loosening of some sanctions.