The prospects for a sweeping immigration overhaul dimmed as House Republican leaders said they would not take up a comprehensive bill passed by the Senate last month. Instead, they argued for a slower, step-by-step approach. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R, Fla.) tells Audie Cornish that he remains optimistic that the House can still pass a bill to fix the immigration system.
House Republicans have approved a farm bill sans food stamps, leaving a gaping hole in the middle of the measure for the first time in 40 years.
The 216-208 vote was largely on party lines, with no Democrats supporting it. Twelve Republicans also voted against it.
The decision to cleave food stamps — formerly called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, from the rest of the farm bill gives Republicans a victory after GOP lawmakers in the House turned down the full measure last month.
Photos depict scenes at the $34 million command center in Camp Leatherneck, completed in November. U.S. troops will never use the facility, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction says.
"On a recent trip to Afghanistan, I uncovered a potentially troubling example of waste that requires your immediate attention."
That's one of the opening lines of a letter the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction sent to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel this week. In it, Special Inspector General John Sopko detailed how a contract worth $34 million was used to build a facility U.S. troops will never use.
It's already been a long summer for Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. A steady stream of news reports have revealed gifts and loans he and his family accepted from a campaign donor, totaling some $145,000. McDonnell has been mentioned as a possible future presidential candidate, though with these revelations some now express doubt about his chances.
As NPR's Brian Naylor reports the trouble for McDonnell could also affect the Republican who hopes to succeed him in the governor's office.
Senate Democrats appear so fed up enough by Republicans blocking President Obama's appointments that they are preparing to change Senate rules. The so-called "nuclear option" would end the use of the filibuster when it comes to appointments, dramatically diminishing the power of the minority party in the chamber.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. The farm bill is back. Three weeks ago, the House surprised Hill watchers when Democrats and Republicans alike voted against the bill. Well, today, they passed it - narrowly. In today's bill, though, a huge component was missing. As NPR's Tamara Keith reports, House leaders stripped out the section of the bill that deals with food stamps.
Yes, Egypt is being torn apart and the immigration bill is in trouble. But that pales when you consider the fact that Eliot Spitzer IS RUNNING FOR NEW YORK CITY COMPTROLLER!! Fear not, NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving are all over it.
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A Russian court found whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky guilty of tax evasion on Thursday, ending a convoluted case that caused a diplomatic row between Moscow and Washington. It gets even more bizarre given the fact that the man on trial died in 2009.
The posthumous conviction is unprecedented in modern times – even in a country with a history of show trials. But it's not entirely unheard of throughout the ages.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Good morning. Pork was on the menu on Capitol Hill yesterday, but not the kind Congress produces. Lawmakers on the Senate Agriculture Committee were focused on the takeover of Smithfield Foods by a big Chinese company.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm David Greene.
The massive immigration bill passed in the Senate with bipartisan support is now facing a challenge in the House. The Republican speaker has served notice that he will not put any bill to a vote that doesn't have the support of a majority of Republicans. And yesterday, almost every House Republican crowded into a closed-door meeting in the basement of the Capitol to discuss the issue.
The prospects for an immigration overhaul effort that could reshape the contours of American society appeared grim Wednesday after a closed door meeting of House Republicans.
A majority of the fractious House Republican Conference lined up in opposition to (barely) bipartisan legislation already approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate, despite the urging of leaders to do something on the issue.
U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., speaks at a press conference Wednesday on Republican plans to delay enactment of the Affordable Care Act. Looking on are Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and John Cornyn, R-Texas.
Sensing that recent delays in key portions of the Affordable Care Act have caught the Obama administration at a weak point in its rollout of the law, Republicans in Congress are doubling down on their efforts to cripple the measure, at least in the eyes of the public if not in fact.
The Republican Party seems like two parties these days. In the Senate, Republicans joined a two-thirds majority to pass an immigration bill. But in the House, Republicans are balking.
Strategist Alex Lundry says it's hard to figure out the way forward when your party's base of power is the House of Representatives.
"One problem we have in the wilderness is that there are a thousand chiefs," he says. "And it is hard to get a party moving when you don't have somebody at the top who is a core leader who can be directive."
An influential conservative group is going after longtime Republican Rep. Mike Simpson from Idaho — and it's getting started nearly a year in advance of the 2014 primary.
The Club for Growth is throwing its weight behind GOP challenger Bryan Smith, calling him a fiscal conservative: anti-tax and pro-growth. The lawyer from Idaho Falls is the first candidate endorsed through a website the club launched earlier this year called PrimaryMyCongressman.com.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Audie Cornish.
The push for a big rewrite of the nation's immigration laws has moved from one side of the Capitol to the other. Late last month, the Democratic-led Senate passed a sweeping immigration overhaul. Now it's up to the GOP-led House to act.
Americans will get the same ham slabs and bacon slices they have enjoyed for generations, even after Smithfield Foods becomes a Chinese subsidiary, Smithfield CEO Larry Pope told Congress on Wednesday.
Photos of President Franklin D. Roosevelt sitting in a wheelchair are also rare and weren't shown to the public while he was in office. In this image from 1941 he's with his dog Fala and Ruthie Bie, the granddaughter of a gardener who worked for the Roosevelt family.
President Obama is considering pulling all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by the end of next year, but the White House says no decision is imminent. Administration officials say the U.S. and Afghanistan are still talking about whether the U.S. will keep some residual force in Afghanistan after 2014.
The Senate is planning to vote Wednesday on a plan to bring interest rates on subsidized federal student loans back down to 3.4 percent for one more year. The rate doubled on July 1 when the chamber failed to agree on a plan.
While the Senate prepares to take the issue back up, college students are left staring at several competing proposals.
James Comey, the president's choice for FBI director, had a relatively easy time fielding questions Tuesday at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Lawmakers wanted to know about surveillance, waterboarding and other controversial issues, but they posed their questions gently.
Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said last night that U.S. aide to Egypt should be suspended and Senator Levin joins us now. Welcome to the program once again.
"Teresa Heinz Kerry continues to improve and remains in fair condition at Massachusetts General Hospital, while doctors seek the cause of seizure-like symptoms she experienced on Sunday," State Department spokesman Glen Johnson says in a statement sent to reporters Tuesday afternoon.
In the most extensive comments so far about her condition, Johnson also says that:
When Alfredo Corchado went to cover Mexico for TheDallas Morning News, he was determined not to focus on drugs and crime but rather to cover issues critical to the country's future — immigration, education and the economy.
As we just heard, Eliot Spitzer is hardly the only politician to attempt a political comeback after a sex scandal. In addition to Anthony Wiener, there is also former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. He won a seat in Congress this year, after famously slipping off to Argentina for an extra-marital affair.
NPR's Ari Shapiro looks at what makes some political sex scandals survivable.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Robert Siegel.
Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has become the latest politician to ask voters for a second chance. Five years after resigning amid a prostitution scandal, Spitzer is running for public office again, this time to be New York City comptroller.
As NPR's Joel Rose reports, some voters seem willing to listen.