From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
On Capitol Hill today, a rare acknowledgement from lawmakers that they are partly to blame for the country's crowded prisons. Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, opened a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this way.
SENATOR PATRICK LEAHY: We must reevaluate how many people we send to prison and for how long.
SIEGEL: Leahy wants to dial back the long prison sentences that Congress approved during the war on drugs and he's got some surprising allies.
That threat of a government shutdown or worse, default, is taking a toll on the country's businesses. Half of the CEOs surveyed by the Business Round Table say the gridlock in Washington is making them less likely to hire. Today, President Obama tried to enlist business leaders in a campaign to press Congress. Their message: Keep the government open and raise the debt ceiling. NPR's Scott Horsley has the story.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. We have said this before and in the next week and a half you're likely to hear it repeated. If Congress does not act, the government will shut down on October 1st. Today, House Speaker John Boehner unveiled a new strategy designed more to appease the hardliners in his own conference than to avoid a shutdown.
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 1:36 pm
As House Republican leaders acquiesce to their Tea Party faction and tie a government spending renewal to the defunding of Obamacare, don't look for much cheering from the Senate minority leader's office.
That's because what had largely been House Speaker John Boehner's problem now becomes Kentucky GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell's problem — at least for the next steps of this drama.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later this hour, we will meet the new Miss America, Nina Davuluri, and we'll find out how she's already gotten a lesson in grace under fire after her Indian-American heritage drew a swarm of haters on the web. It's the first of two conversations we'll have this hour about the interesting politics of beauty right now.
A secret surveillance court has issued a very rare public defense of the U.S. program that collects massive data on phone calls. The court wrote that this program which stores numbers and call times but not content, we're told, does not violate privacy rights.
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The American Civil Liberties Union countered that it is folly to trust privacy decisions to a secret court.
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 3:19 am
In the aftermath of this week's shooting rampage at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., there has been no revival of the debate over gun control. In fact, the response from both sides in the debate has been muted. That's very different from what happened after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in December.
Now that Larry Summers has withdrawn his name from consideration to lead the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, Vice Chair of the Fed, has emerged as the frontrunner. For more on Yellen and her career, Audie Cornish talks with Alan Blinder, a professor of economics at Princeton University.
In a slap to the United States, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced she is postponing her state visit to Washington. It was scheduled for Oct. 23 and would have been the first state visit of President Obama's second term. The postponement follows revelations that the National Security Agency spied on Rousseff, her top aides and Brazil's state-run oil company.
William Daley, who was briefly President Obama's White House chief of staff, has long relished being the guy behind the guy who got elected. So his exit from the Illinois governor's race makes a certain kind of sense.
Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 4:45 pm
When William M. Daley — son and brother of famous Chicago mayors, former Obama White House chief of staff and all-around Democratic pooh-bah — was President Clinton's commerce secretary, he kept in his office a framed passage from Theodore Roosevelt's "Citizenship in a Republic" speech.
"It's not the critic who counts. ... The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena."
Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 4:17 pm
A gunman shoots up a military facility, kills a dozen people and puts a fair chunk of the nation's capital on lockdown.
The political response to Monday's massacre at the Navy Yard in Washington?
Measured, bordering on muted.
From the words of the president to those on both sides of the gun control debate, caution has been the rule, with even the sharpest partisans tending to hold their tongues in the hours still suffused with tragedy.
Host Michel Martin kicks off a special broadcast in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, by looking at some of the biggest political stories - in particular those resonating with Latinos. Martin is joined by Democratic strategist Maria Cardona and syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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And I'm Renee Montagne.
President Obama says the nation does not want to watch another game of chicken in Washington, D.C. this fall, and he's warning congressional Republicans not to force his hand. Congress must, once again, raise the debt ceiling, or the federal government won't be able to pay all of its bills. Mr. Obama told GOP lawmakers yesterday they should lift that limit on borrowing, without trying to extract concessions from him.
Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 2:35 pm
By taking his name out of consideration for the Federal Reserve chairmanship this weekend, Lawrence Summers became a metaphor for the difficulties President Obama has had in pursuing his economic agenda.
And the end of Summers, at least as Ben Bernanke's potential successor, signaled that the president's inability to get traction on his economic agenda is likely to get worse, not better. Now even lawmakers in his own party are willing to break with him on high-profile economic decisions.
The world watches and waits to hear if the Assad government will give up Syria's chemical weapons stock. In the meantime, George Perkovich of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace talks with host Michel Martin about Israel's view on the Syrian conflict.
Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 1:36 pm
New York City Democrats breathed a sigh of relief late Monday morning when Bill Thompson conceded the mayoral primary to Bill de Blasio, avoiding what could have been a nasty intraparty battle.
Thompson, 60, made his announcement on the steps of New York's City Hall in lower Manhattan, flanked by de Blasio and New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
"I am proud to stand here today and support Bill de Blasio to be the next mayor of the city of New York," said Thompson, a centrist former city comptroller who finished a distant second in last week's nine-candidate primary.
Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has withdrawn from consideration as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. He cited a potentially divisive nomination hearing. Summers was widely thought to be President Obama's top choice to replace Ben Bernanke next year.
Iran's President Hasan Rowhani, who was elected in June, has exchanged lettes with President Obama, the U.S. leader said in an interview that aired Sunday. Here, Rowhani speaks to Iran's Parliament in Tehran.
In the weeks since Iran's President Hasan Rowhani was elected this summer, he and President Obama have swapped letters, Obama says. The U.S. president discussed the exchange for the first time publicly in an interview with George Stephanopoulos that aired on ABC's This Week Sunday.
Protesters gather outside the White House on Tuesday before President Obama addressed the nation about the situation in Syria. Obama said he was asking Congress to delay authorizing a strike on Syria to allow a diplomatic plan to work.
Originally published on Sun September 15, 2013 1:56 pm
Sometimes presidents have to make things up as they go along.
President Obama's decisions have had an improvisational air these past three weeks. His course on Syria kept shifting, at times seemingly guided by offhand remarks.
But the results are what count.
"If it works out in the end, the president's allowed to be uncertain," says Tim Naftali, a former director of the Nixon presidential library. "Oftentimes, the judgment you get during the crisis is not the judgment you get at the end."
Joe Lhota, the Republican nominee for mayor of New York City, is former head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Credit Spencer Platt / Getty Images
Democrat Bill de Blasio, right, stands near the man he'd like to succeed in office — New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg — during ceremonies Wednesday marking the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. De Blasio easily outdistanced a handful of opponents in Tuesday's Democratic primary, but a recount is needed to see if he topped the 40 percent threshold to avoid a runoff.
Another Colorado story now. Gun control advocates had hoped that last year's shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado might move more Americans to call for stricter gun laws. Gun control measures ground down in the U.S. Congress but some states did pass legislation, including Colorado. Yet this past week, Colorado voters recalled two lawmakers who had backed the legislation.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. The week began with President Obama seeking congressional approval for military action. Now, it is ending with talks in Geneva aimed at a diplomatic solution. In this part of the program, the politics of the crisis in Syria. We'll talk to our regular weekly commentators and we'll start with a report on the man leading the U.S. diplomatic effort, Secretary of State John Kerry.