The first of what is likely to be many congressional hearings on the Affordable Care Act rollout happens Thursday. After more than three weeks, consumers trying out the new health care exchanges have complained of delays, inaccurate information and other computer problems. House Republicans are determined to shine a spotlight on the bungles.
The U.S. performance on the global stage has looked a little rocky in the past few weeks.
The Obama administration had to let Russia take a lead in managing the security challenge in Syria. The United States was also embarrassed when allies like Germany, France and Brazil reacted angrily to the news that the National Security Agency had monitored their leaders' communications.
Finally, the government shutdown and the congressional fight over the debt ceiling prompted critical comments about U.S. political dysfunction.
President Obama is putting former CEO Jeff Zients in charge of the "tech surge" — the administration's emergency effort to fix the Web portal at the heart of the federal government's new health care market. But what about the contractors that built the system? What's their responsibility?
There's a battle for control of the GOP between establishment Republicans and a new brand of conservatives.
"You can call them populist, you can call them insurgents, you can them Tea Party adherents. ... I think the general term I try to use is the 'insurgent' wing," says New York Times national political correspondent Jonathan Martin.
The sexting scandal surrounding former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner has been fodder for comedians, punsters and those who love double entendres. Now it's the source material for a play, The Weiner Monologues, coming to off-off-Broadway's Access Theatre Nov. 6 through Nov. 10.
Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 2:14 pm
How badly did the recent fiscal fight go for the GOP?
Here's one hint: Prominent Republican pollster Bill McInturff opens his "after action report" on the government shutdown with a quote from Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu on the skills needed in picking the terrain of battle: "He who knows them not, nor practices them, will surely be defeated."
President Obama recently announced that he would be turning his attention to immigration reform. But what's a realistic expectation, and what are immigrant communities really hoping for? Host Michel Martin talks with Fernando Espuelas of Univision, and Eduardo De Souza, a soccer coach at Longwood University.
A top White House national security aide who was secretly going on Twitter to insult other Obama administration officials and politicians from both major parties, and to question the policies he had been helping develop, is apologizing.
Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 1:49 pm
When it finally came out Tuesday, the September jobs report — delayed for 18 days by the government shutdown — showed a labor market moving forward. But the pace was slow enough to prompt many economists to view it as a letdown.
Job growth "is disappointing, given that employment is still down by about 1.8 million from its peak prior to the recession," Gus Faucher, senior economist with PNC Financial Services Group, said in his analysis.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up in this program, states and cities across the country are facing major budget problems and so some leaders there are saying it's time to slash public pensions. We'll talk about that in just a few minutes.
Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 2:44 pm
People aren't exempted from new regulations because they're old and crotchety, even if that's what it sounds like when we say they're "grandfathered in."
The term "grandfathered" has become part of the language. It's an easy way to describe individuals or companies who get to keep operating under an existing set of expectations when new rules are put in place.
It has been four months since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The ruling paved the way for thousands of same-sex married couples to receive federal benefits, and a special group of government lawyers has been working to make that happen.
Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 5:35 am
Republican Chris Christie's decision Monday to drop his administration's legal challenge to same-sex marriage made perfect sense for the governor of New Jersey,
But for the potential 2016 presidential candidate, whose path would presumably start in Iowa — where the Republican Party is dominated by social conservatives — the calculation is a bit more complicated.
Bob Vander Plaats, Iowa's powerful evangelical conservative, put it bluntly Monday.
Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 5:12 pm
The hottest hot seat in Washington is the one occupied by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, whose office confirmed Monday she'll testify about the Internet disaster that is HealthCare.gov, the Affordable Care Act website.
When it comes to union organizing at an auto plant, the tension is typically between the workers and the management. But not at Volkswagen in Tennessee. There, the United Auto Workers is attempting to finally unionize the automaker's first foreign-owned plant in the South. And so far, Republican officials are the ones trying to stand in the way.
Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 1:05 pm
The website that's meant to allow Americans to shop and sign up for new medical plans under the Affordable Care Act isn't working as well as it should, President Obama says. But he promised that the problems will be fixed — and he said the Affordable Care Act is bringing many benefits that aren't tied to those problems.
"Nobody is madder than me that the website isn't working as it should — which means that it's going to get fixed," Obama told a crowd at an outdoor address at the White House.
Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 1:37 pm
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
NPR's business news starts with an acknowledgement of trouble by President Obama.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: OK, the president is speaking right now to reporters and others in the White House Rose Garden. Our White House correspondent Scott Horsley has been listening in. He's in our studios. Hi, Scott.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Steve.
INSKEEP: OK, the president's talking about Obamacare. What's he saying?
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, one blogger wants black women to be more welcome in the world of comic books, videogames and science fiction. We'll talk about her efforts to change geek culture in just a few minutes.
Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 9:55 am
Happy Tech-Surge-To-Fix-Healthcare.gov Day in your nation's capital.
In the wake of a disastrous rollout of his legacy legislation, President Obama will speak in the White House Rose Garden later this morning to declare the problems unacceptable.
And to outline how the White House has dispatched an A-Team to fix glitches that have frustrated many of the 19 million Americans that have gone online to research or sign up for insurance coverage through Healthcare.gov.
Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 7:43 am
Among the newsworthy moments in Dr. Sanjay Gupta's interview of former Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday's 60 Minutes is a discussion about how Cheney came to be the 2000 Republican vice presidential nominee even though he had already suffered three heart attacks by that time.
Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 12:09 pm
"Gov. Chris Christie announced today that he was dropping the fight against same-sex marriage in New Jersey by withdrawing his appeal of a major case that was being heard by the state Supreme Court," The Star-Ledger writes.
Christie's office has released a copy if its court filing, in which it officially withdraws its appeal.