It was the Senate's turn Tuesday to grill the Internal Revenue Service, or more accurately, former agency officials, about its handling of the scandal involving the targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
An aerial view shows an entire neighborhood destroyed by Monday's tornado in Moore, Okla.
Credit Jacquelyn Martin / AP
Sens. Tom Coburn (above) and, to a lesser extent, James Inhofe (below) have become the faces of pushback on federal emergency spending even though Oklahoma is one of the biggest recipients of U.S. disaster aid.
Even as President Obama was declaring that tornado-devastated Oklahoma would get "everything it needs right away," the state's most vociferous critic of federal emergency aid vowed that he, too, would push for assistance "without delay."
Horace Greeley may have suggested at one point that going west might be a good idea, but he probably wouldn't be happy to see what's going on with Los Angeles as of late. The Dodgers are in last place in the National League West, the Angels are hovering near the bottom of the American League West, and the Lakers' appearance in the playoffs was brutally short. Even Jimmy Fallon and NBC are bringing The Tonight Show back to Manhattan, deserting some place called Burbank after 40 years.
Facing questions for the first time about why Internal Revenue Service personnel singled out some conservative groups for inappropriate scrutiny while he was head of the agency, former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman told Congress on Tuesday that "I was dismayed and I was saddened" to learn about what had happened under his watch.
Both the former IRS commissioner who was in charge when the agency singled out some conservative groups for extra scrutiny and the man who replaced him will be appearing at a Senate Finance Committee hearing Tuesday morning.
Douglas Shulman, an appointee of President George W. Bush who left the IRS last November, and acting commissioner Steven Miller (who is losing his job because of the scandal) are due at the 10 a.m. ET hearing.
The White House is defending itself - again - against charges that it's trampling on the First Amendment. The Justice Department obtained a portfolio of information about a Fox News reporter's conversations and visits. Obtaining this information was part of an investigation into a possible leak. A federal prosecutor said the reporter, James Rosen, had conspired in the commission of a crime. We have more from NPR's David Folkenflik.
Let's turn to another story for now: The acting head of the IRS has resigned, but is still facing questions about the agency. Lawmakers continue their probe into the federal tax agency targeting Tea Party groups seeking tax exemption.
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an introduction of the iPhone 5 in San Francisco on Sept. 12. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations says Apple is paying billions of dollars less than it should in taxes each year, taking advantage of technicalities in U.S. and Irish tax laws.
Giant technology firm Apple is paying billions of dollars less than it should in U.S. taxes each year, according to a report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. In a hearing Tuesday in Washington, D.C., Apple CEO Tim Cook will defend the company.
The subcommittee's report says Apple avoids the tax payments mainly by shifting profits to three subsidiary companies in Ireland. The investigation found Apple is taking advantage of technicalities in U.S. and Irish tax laws to avoid paying any tax on a huge portion of its profits.
When the sun rises over the Rio Grande Valley, the cries of the urracas — blackbirds — perched on the tops of palm trees swell to a noisy, unavoidable cacophony. That is also the strategy, it could be said, that local officials, health care providers and frustrated valley residents are trying to use to persuade Gov. Rick Perry and state Republican lawmakers to set aside their opposition and expand Medicaid, a key provision of the federal health law.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, when you think about poverty in this country, you might think about certain people living in certain places. It turns out that some of those old assumptions are wrong. For example, more poor people now live in the suburbs. We'll talk about why that is in just a few minutes.
Now let's look little more deeply at this narrative of scandal. NPR's Scott Horsley has more.
SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: When President Obama gets frustrated with the gridlock in Washington, he sometimes looks back wistfully to the decades after World War II. Back then, he suggests Republicans and Democrats managed to work together, despite their differences, building highways, protecting consumers, and educating generations of workers.
The phrase "second term curse" is so familiar that it's become a cliche of American politics. Whether it's President Richard Nixon's resignation or President Bill Clinton's impeachment, presidents tend to have a tough time during the back half of an eight-year presidency.
Outgoing acting Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Steve Miller (right) and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George are sworn before a full House Ways and Means Committee hearing Friday.
The IRS was in the hot seat Friday, with its outgoing acting commissioner testifying before a House committee. A Senate panel is scheduled for Tuesday. Congress is prodding to find out why the agency singled out conservative groups for special scrutiny.
The Tesla Model S, Motor Trend Car of the Year, is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show, in Detroit in January. Tesla's attempts to sell its cars without going through dealerships is meeting resistance.
NPR's Peter Overby reports on the Congressional testimony of IRS officials in response to the scandal over special scrutiny of tea party groups. Underneath all the politics, there's a policy question that hasn't been addressed.
It's been a long slog already for the bipartisan immigration overhaul proposed by the Senate's Gang of Eight.
The legislation has been the target of more than 300 amendments during days of debate and votes by the Senate Judiciary Committee. But while the bill has largely held its own so far, its prospects for getting through Congress remain uncertain.
In Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy's view, the immigration overhaul is "moving very well."
"It's moving a lot faster than people said it would," says Leahy, a Vermont Democrat.
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. There are three simultaneous controversies rattling the Obama administration this week: the IRS, the phone records of the AP reporters, and Benghazi. NPR's White House correspondent Ari Shapiro joins us. Ari, thanks for being with us.
President Obama's commencement speeches seem to be his real State of the Union addresses. On May 5, he told Ohio State students that they were graduating into a "healing" economy.
Credit Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP
But last year, he reminded Air Force Academy graduates that they were the first class in nearly a decade to graduate with "no Americans fighting in Iraq."
Credit Charles Dharapak / AP
Throughout all his graduation speeches, Obama sounds themes of shared responsibility, as when he told University of Michigan students in 2010 that "government is us."
Credit Carolyn Kaster / AP
President Obama's commencement speeches often seem more about the big-picture state of the union than do his State of the Union addresses. On May 5, he told Ohio State students that they were graduating into a "healing" economy.
President Obama checks to see if it's still raining as a Marine holds an umbrella for him during a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House on Thursday.
President Obama's first term was free from the kind of scandal that consumes every ounce of political oxygen in Washington. Now, in light of a trio of controversies, his supporters find themselves in the uncomfortable and unaccustomed position of having to defend some hard-to-defend events.
Democrats have offered up a range of responses. They view the issues — Benghazi, the IRS and the Justice Department snooping on The Associated Press — as separate issues that shouldn't be lumped together.
The PBF Energy refinery in Paulsboro, N.J., uses toxic chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid. Rather than using "inherently safer" design methods, the industry says, other safety measures are taken to prevent accidents like the one in West, Texas.
Credit Raveendran / AFP/Getty Images
In this photograph from 2009, children play in front of the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, India. Twenty-five years prior, in 1984, it was the site of a deadly gas leak that killed thousands of people.
Credit Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
The West Fertilizer Co., shown from the air, lies in ruins after an explosion that killed 15 people, injured more than 150 and damaged houses and buildings for blocks in every direction.
You might think that everything would have changed for the chemicals industry on April 16, 1947. That was the day of the Texas City Disaster, the worst industrial accident in U.S. history. A ship loaded with ammonium nitrate — the same chemical that appears to have caused the disaster last month in West, Texas — exploded. The ship sparked a chain reaction of blasts at chemical facilities onshore, creating what a newsreel at the time called "a holocaust that baffles description."
Heritage Action, the political activist offshoot of the conservative Heritage Foundation, has some advice for House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor: focus on the scandals plaguing the Obama administration and stay away from legislation that could "highlight major schisms" within the House Republican Conference.
I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we go to Ohio where black business owners are meeting to swap some new ideas. Basketball legend Magic Johnson even got a lead on an investment there. We'll tell you more about that in just a few minutes. But first, House Republicans voted yesterday to repeal President Obama's signature healthcare law - again.