Politics

Politics
2:59 am
Thu December 5, 2013

IRS Targets Money Transfers In Social-Welfare Politicking

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 2:05 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The IRS is taking aim at the growing political role of tax-exempt social welfare groups. It's a category of American politics where spending has increased 80-fold in the last decade. Donors can give as much money as they want to these groups, and their names are not disclosed to the public. The IRS wants to roll back the social welfare politicking, after a summer of controversy over the way it treated Tea Party groups applying for tax-exempt status.

NPR's Peter Overby reports.

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The Two-Way
10:03 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Report: Threat Of Mandatory Minimums Used To Coerce Guilty Pleas

In August, Attorney General Eric Holder told federal prosecutors to no longer hit low-level drug offenders with charges that carry mandatory minimum sentences. But it's not yet clear how broadly that directive is being interpreted.
Stephen Lam Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 7:44 am

A new report says the Justice Department regularly coerces defendants in federal drug cases to plead guilty by threatening them with steep prison sentences or stacking charges to increase their time behind bars.

And for the first time, the study by Human Rights Watch finds that defendants who take their fate to a judge or jury face prison sentences on average 11 years longer than those who plead guilty.

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It's All Politics
3:39 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Immigration Advocates Face Hurdles In GOP House Districts

Immigration advocates gather Tuesday outside the fence for the lighting of the 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree in Washington.
Susan Walsh AP

Want to understand why House Republicans aren't onboard with an immigration overhaul? Take a close look at the districts they represent.

Hispanics today make up 17 percent of the nation's population and are the fastest-growing ethnic group. But an NPR analysis of U.S. census data shows they live disproportionately in districts represented by Democrats. The average Democratic district is 23 percent Latino; the average Republican district, less than 12 percent.

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The Two-Way
11:01 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Income Inequality Is The 'Challenge Of Our Time,' Obama Says

President Obama talks Wednesday about the economy and growing economic inequality in Washington.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 2:46 pm

President Obama tried Wednesday to turn the conversation back to the economy, calling the growing income gap the "defining challenge of our time."

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It's All Politics
10:53 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Poll: Support For Obama Among Young Americans Eroding

President Obama speaks at a town hall meeting at Binghamton University in Vestal, N.Y., in August.
Mike Groll AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:48 pm

After voting for him in large numbers in 2008 and 2012, young Americans are souring on President Obama.

According to a new Harvard University Institute of Politics poll, just 41 percent of millennials — adults ages 18-29 — approve of Obama's job performance, his lowest-ever standing among the group and an 11-point drop from April.

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Politics
3:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Loophole Or Workaround? (Food Stamp Edition)

Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 1:39 pm

In the debate over whether to cut the food stamp program, members of Congress are looking at two pretty arcane provisions in the law. People who want to cut food stamps call the provisions loopholes. People who don't want to cut food stamps say they're efficient ways to get benefits to those who need them most.

1. Categorical Eligibility

People who qualify for one means-tested program — like welfare — can automatically qualify for other programs — like food stamps. This is called "categorical eligibility."

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Politics
3:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Federal Health Insurance Website Features 'Reset' Button

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 5:03 am

The Obama administration is renewing its sales push for the president's signature health care law. On Wednesday, officials host a "youth summit" at the White House, where young people will be encouraged to sign up for insurance coverage. Their participation is crucial to help balance out the cost of insuring older, sicker people.

Politics
3:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Immigration Debate To Drag Into Next Presidential Election

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 4:38 am

It's more than likely that overhauling immigration will not happen this year. Congress has only nine working days left in 2013. And it appears, the issue will not be resolved next year either.

Politics
3:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Supporters Of Immigration Overhaul Remain Focused

Activists Cristian Avila (left), Dae Joong Yoon and Eliseo Medina ended their fasting for immigration reform after 22 days in Washington, D.C.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 11:17 am

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill face a lengthy to-do list before they head home for the holidays. Near the top is an issue deemed a priority after last year's election — immigration reform. So far, only the Senate has passed a bill.

Despite the standstill, supporters of immigration reform are pushing to keep the issue alive on a crowded legislative slate.

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The Salt
1:05 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Why $7-Per-Gallon Milk Looms Once Again

Sticker shock in the dairy aisle? If the government fails to pass the farm bill, milk prices could spike sometime after the first of the year.
George Frey Landov

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 11:29 am

The leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees are meeting Wednesday as they continue to try to work out the differences between their respective farm bills. If they fail, the country faces what's being called the "dairy cliff" — with milk prices potentially shooting up to about $7 a gallon sometime after the first of the year.

Here's why: The nation's farm policy would be legally required to revert back to what's called permanent law. In the case of dairy, that would be the 1949 farm bill.

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Politics
3:01 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

White House Revs Up Delayed Push For Health Coverage

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:39 pm

With HealthCare.gov able to handle an increasing number of users, the Obama administration finally went on the offensive to urge Americans to sign up for new health insurance. The administration had planned a massive advertising and social media campaign to support the Affordable Care Act back in October, but the push was delayed for two months after the health insurance exchange website failed in its debut. The effort comes as the deadline for people to sign up for coverage starting next year looms.

The Two-Way
1:08 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

'This Law Is Working,' Obama Says Of Health Care

While conceding that "more problems may pop up as they always do when you're launching something new," President Obama on Tuesday said the troubled HealthCare.gov website "is working well for the vast majority of users" and his Affordable Care Act "is working and will work into the future."

"We may never satisfy the law's opponents," Obama added during an afternoon event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House. But, he said, "we know the demand [for health insurance] is there and we know the product on these marketplaces is good."

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It's All Politics
4:37 am
Tue December 3, 2013

How 2013 Became The Greatest Year In Gay Rights History

Several same-sex couples hold a group wedding ceremony Monday at the Sheraton Waikiki in Honolulu.
Marco Garcia AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:59 am

Any day now, the New Mexico Supreme Court may grant same-sex couples the right to get married.

At this point, such a ruling may not seem like such a big deal. Prior to last year's elections, gays and lesbians had a civil right to marry in only six states. Now, they have it in 16.

"This year represented the true tipping point," says Eric Marcus, author of Making Gay History. "We've reached a moment in history where it's very difficult, if not impossible, to go back."

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Politics
3:13 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Upset Over Divisive Political Culture? Blame Burke And Paine

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:02 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The writer Yuval Levin contends that our divisive political culture comes down to two competing ways for Americans to view their country.

YUVAL LEVIN: You look at the world, it's imperfect. There are good things and bad things. Are you struck first and foremost by the good or are you struck first and foremost by the bad? Do you think this is something to build on or do you think we've got to start over?

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Health Care
3:13 am
Tue December 3, 2013

HealthCare.gov Uses Waiting Room To Cool Traffic Surge

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 4:02 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

As with other e-commerce sites, Cyber Monday was a busy one for the HealthCare.gov. It brought a surge in traffic to the government's beleaguered health insurance website.

Later today, President Obama will give a speech detailing the work of the technical teams who have been patching bugs and expanding capacity.

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It's All Politics
3:48 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Court Upholds Public Broadcasting Political Ad Ban

This image, provided by the Obama For America campaign, shows a still frame made from a video ad entitled "Only Choice."
Uncredited AP

While lawyers dismantle many restrictions on political money, the rules affecting Morning Edition and Downton Abbey still stand tall. A federal court in San Francisco says public radio and TV stations cannot carry paid political ads.

The 8-3 decision Monday by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a ruling last April by a smaller panel of the court. NPR and PBS both joined the case as friends of the court.

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Politics
2:44 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Unemployment Benefit Program Set To Expire At Year's End

Job seekers attend a March health care job fair in New York.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 5:12 pm

More than 1 million people will see their extended unemployment benefits immediately cut off at the end of the month if Congress doesn't act.

An emergency federal benefit program was put in place during the recession to help those who are unemployed longer than six months. That allowed them to get as much as a year and a half of help while they searched for work, even after state benefits ran out.

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It's All Politics
12:31 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

A Poorly Worded RNC Tweet On Rosa Parks Backfires

Schoolchildren tour the bus that civil rights icon Rosa Parks made famous when she refused to give up her seat.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 4:06 pm

If nothing else, the Republican National Committee has gotten people thinking about Rosa Parks.

Of course, the RNC also gave its political opponents a chance to mock the GOP with its poorly worded tweet Saturday marking the 58th anniversary of the African-American civil rights activist's refusal to give up her bus seat to a white person, an event that sparked the Montgomery bus boycott.

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Health Care
10:15 am
Mon December 2, 2013

HealthCare.gov Back On Track?

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 8:58 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Politics
2:50 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Avoiding Another Government Shutdown Moves To Front Burner

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 11:27 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

The end of Thanksgiving weekend brings us closer to another deadline. The budget chairs of the Senate and the House, here in Washington, are continuing talks to set spending levels for the coming year and maybe beyond. They're leading a conference committee setup as part of the deal to end the partial government shutdown this past fall.

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Politics
2:50 am
Mon December 2, 2013

White House Confident Insurance Website Is Working Better

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 11:27 am

In this, the first week of December, the Obama administration says it has met its self-imposed deadline of fixing the troubled healthcare.gov web site. And it says people should be able to sign up for health insurance. So, is it fixed and when will we know for sure?

It's All Politics
1:55 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

5 Most Memorable Political Ads Of 2013

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The New And The Next
3:22 pm
Sat November 30, 2013

Bickering In Bangladesh; Curling; Glow-In-The-Dark Tattoos

Courtesy of Ozy.com

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 1:31 pm

The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest discoveries.

This week, Ozy deputy editor Eugene Robinson fills in for Carlos to tell NPR's Arun Rath about two dueling divas in Bangladeshi politics, the rising popularity of an obscure winter sport, and tattoos that you can wear to work.

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The Two-Way
12:59 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

Obama Visits Immigration Activists

President Obama meets Friday with immigration activists on the National Mall in Washington.
Leslie E. Kossoff/Pool EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 1:55 pm

President Obama visited immigration activists in Washington on Friday, telling them there is still time for the House to pass legislation that would overhaul the nation's immigration system.

Obama stopped by a tent on the National Mall where some activists have been abstaining from food for the past 18 days. He was accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama.

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Politics
12:55 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

Week In Politics: HealthCare.gov And Troop Levels In Afghanistan

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 3:12 pm

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.

Health Care
3:10 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Shopping Online For Health Exchanges Not Perfect Yet

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 9:42 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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.

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Politics
3:10 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Tax Break For Mass-Transit Commutes May Soon Be Slashed

Commuters wait on the platform as a Metro-North train arrives in Bridgeport, Conn.
Craig Ruttle AP

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 1:57 pm

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.

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Shots - Health News
2:02 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Breaking Up With HealthCare.gov Is Hard To Do

Lara Imler has tried to cancel her enrollment on HealthCare.gov, but to no avail.
Annie Feidt Alaska Public Radio Network

Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 2:43 pm

Enrolling in HealthCare.gov is not easy, and it's been particularly difficult in Alaska. Just 53 people enrolled in the first month.

Anchorage hair stylist Lara Imler is one of the few who got through, as we previously reported. But Imler discovered problems with her application, and now she wants to cancel her enrollment.

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It's All Politics
12:45 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving: A Very Brief Political History

President George W. Bush paid a surprise Thanksgiving visit to American troops in Baghdad on Nov. 27, 2003.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

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Politics
2:24 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Democratic Senator Pushes For More Sanctions Against Iran, Not Fewer

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 8:04 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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.

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