Audie Cornish speaks with our regular political commentators E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution, and David Brooks of The New York Times. They discuss the House vote to defund the Affordable Care Act.
Audie Cornish speaks with Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state about the House's continuing resolution vote, and the Republican strategy behind it. McMorris Rodgers is chairwoman of the House Republican Conference.
Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 1:34 pm
The Republican-controlled House's vote to cut $40 billion from the food stamp program is just the latest example of how the GOP balance of power has shifted rightward over the past decade.
President George W. Bush isn't fondly remembered by progressives for much. But anti-hunger advocates credited him during his administration for strongly supporting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (the formal name for food stamps) and other policies to help unemployed or low-income workers and their children escape the fear of not knowing where their next meals would come from.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, you've heard about the Tennessee woman who sent her adoptive son back to Russia because she decided she couldn't cope. We'll hear from an investigative reporter who says this actually happens more often than you might think because the Internet makes it easy. She's going to explain more about that in just a few minutes.
First, though, we're going to look at some of the latest political headlines.
Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 3:37 pm
The Republican-controlled House has voted to keep the government funded but its "continuing resolution" comes with a poison pill to defund the Affordable Care Act that Democrats have vowed is dead on arrival in the Senate.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Each recent mass shooting in this country has provoked an outpouring of sorrow - and cash: Sandy Hook Promise, the Aurora Victim Relief Fund, now the Navy Yard Relief Fund. What the shootings has not produced is a consensus about how to prevent future tragedies. Congress has been unable to pass gun safety laws for almost two decades.
The Republican-controlled House is set to vote Friday on a stopgap spending bill to keep the government open for business through the middle of December. And the White House has already said if it makes it to the president's desk, he'll veto it. That's because the bill also would defund the Affordable Care Act.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 6:19 pm
It was a day when most in Congress were obsessed with an increasingly likely government shutdown that would be of lawmakers' own making. But not the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The GOP-controlled panel held a marathon six-hour hearing on what South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy called the most important issue of all to the folks back home: the attack in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead just over a year ago.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 6:51 pm
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted Thursday to slash $40 billion from the federal food stamp program.
GOP lawmakers cited what they said was widespread abuse of the program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which is intended to help poor individuals and families buy groceries.
The vote to cut food stamps came on a party line vote of 217-200.
"It's wrong for working, middle-class people to pay" for abuse of the program, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 3:40 pm
House Republicans, meet Sen. Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz, House Republicans.
Given the surprise expressed by some House members at the Texas senator's approach to the defunding of Obamacare, perhaps an introduction was in order.
A few dozen House members Wednesday morning successfully coerced a reluctant Speaker John Boehner into tying the Obamacare language to a must-pass government funding bill. This came after weeks of television ads featuring Cruz and fellow Senate Republican Mike Lee advocating exactly that plan, regardless of the consequences.
Now, more on the SNAP program. Close to 16 million American households, nearly 14 percent of households, receive food stamps. That's 48 million Americans. Who are they and how would a cut affect them? Well, we're going to put those questions to Stacy Dean at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Welcome to the program.
STACY DEAN: Thanks for having me.
SIEGEL: What does that population look like? Who are those 48 million Americans?
The House today is voting on a plan pushed its Tea Party wing to slash $40 billion from food stamps. That's twice as much as the original House farm bill contemplated, and eight times as much as the Senate bill.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 1:12 pm
They never quite get over it.
Whenever there's a mass shooting, a tragedy that occurs with depressing frequency, survivors of earlier events have their own memories brought back vividly and horribly.
Kristina Anderson, one of dozens of people who was shot at Virginia Tech in 2007, now works across the river from Washington, D.C. When the news of the Navy Yard shootings there broke on Monday, her day melted into tears.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 10:08 am
Capitol Hill is rife with rich people — "hillionaires," if you will.
Writing in The New York Times, Nicholas Carnes, a public policy professor at Duke University, points out that millionaires show up in only 3 percent of American families. But more than 60 percent of the Senate, most members of the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court — and the president himself — are millionaires.
An appeals court in Texas has overturned the 2010 conviction of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who had been found guilty of illegally funneling corporate money to Texas candidates during the 2002 campaign cycle.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 9:24 am
No one who's been paying attention for, say, the past few decades, needs to be reminded of how extremely polarized Washington is.
So it's usually good news when Democrats and Republicans can come together on an issue, as they did recently to support the idea of creating the new honorary position of "Science Laureate of the United States."
When the Federal Reserve explained its decision to keep pumping money into the financial system, it pointed to stubbornly high unemployment.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
That has long been a concern for the number two official at the Fed, Janet Yellen. She is now considered the leading candidate to replace Ben Bernanke, when he steps down as Fed chairman. His term expires in January.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Sandy Phillips will travel this week from her home in Texas to Washington, D.C. She was on her way to lobby for gun legislation. She expected to testify at a congressional hearing but it was canceled due to the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. Phillips stayed in Washington anyway.
So how many senators or representatives have you met?
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.