From talk of the House Republicans, now to a top Senate Democrat. Senator Patty Murray of Washington state is chair of the Senate Budget Committee and secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference. Welcome to the program, Senator Murray.
SENATOR PATTY MURRAY: Well, very nice to talk to you.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
The clock is ticking towards a partial government shutdown, and congressional Republicans and Democrats are digging in their heels. In many ways, the House and Senate are no closer to a deal than they were three weeks ago when they returned from recess. NPR congressional correspondent Tamara Keith explains.
President Obama declared today that his signature health care law is here to stay. That, despite efforts by Republicans in Congress to delay parts of the law or block them entirely. Next week, new online insurance markets will get up and running. And today, at a campaign-style rally outside Washington D.C., the president encouraged uninsured young people to sign up for coverage. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.
Another round of talks on Iran's suspect nuclear program took place Thursday, this one at the United Nations and, for the first time, at the ministerial level. Secretary of State Kerry and Iran's new Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, will be among those in attendance along with their counterparts from the United Kingdom, France, Russia and Germany. No breakthroughs are anticipated in New York but the talks are expected to reconvene a week or so later in Geneva in search of an accord.
Congress has been getting most of the attention during this latest round of budget brinksmanship. But some of the biggest players in the debate have been outside conservative groups with close ties to Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Perhaps the most influential voice is also a soft-spoken one. It belongs to former South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who now heads the Heritage Foundation.
Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 11:26 am
During the fifth hour of his televised marathon speech protesting Obamacare, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz caught the attention of Dr. Seuss fans everywhere by pulling out a copy of Green Eggs and Ham on the Senate floor to read as a bedtime story to his children.
Good morning, fellow political junkies.Today finds the Senate in continued debate aimed at reaching a legislative agreement that keeps the federal government open into the new fiscal year which starts Oct. 1.
Meanwhile, there seems to be a growing mood among congressional Republicans to test President Obama's resolve to not negotiate over raising the debt ceiling in a few weeks.
Here are some politically-connected items or themes that caught my eye this morning.
The Senate took the next step on its weeklong road to passing a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown next week. The legislative movement follows on the heels of a 21-hour talk-a-thon by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who is hoping to defund Obamacare.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
We're less than a week away from a possible shutdown of the federal government and there is still no clear path to a stopgap budget agreement in Congress. A bill to keep things running did inch forward in the Senate today. But getting a final deal between the Senate and the House is another question.
NPR's Scott Horsley reports on what a government shutdown would mean for people's pocketbooks.
The United States added a signature to a new treaty today. It's on international arms trade. The agreement is meant to stem the flow of weapons to conflict zones around the world. Human rights activists are hailing the decision, but the Obama administration will have an uphill battle getting the treaty ratified by Congress. NPR's Michele Kelemen has more from the United Nations.
Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 4:23 pm
OK, so it wasn't a real filibuster, as no Senate action was actually blocked or delayed. But Texas Republican Ted Cruz's talk-fest did succeed in one key measure: duration.
At 21 hours and 19 minutes, Cruz held the Senate floor 8 hours and 27 minutes longer than Kentucky Republican Rand Paul did in March when he staged an actual filibuster over the country's drone policy.
Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 1:48 pm
Neither got much national attention, but two elections worth watching took place Tuesday: a House special election primary in southwest Alabama and a mayoral primary in Boston.
In Alabama's 1st District GOP primary — the only one that really matters in the conservative, Mobile-based seat — former state Sen. Bradley Byrne and real estate developer Dean Young emerged from a nine-candidate field. They'll go head to head in a Nov. 5 runoff primary that pits the GOP establishment against Tea Party forces.
Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 9:21 am
It's Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, which puts us five days away from a possible federal-government shutdown that would begin Oct. 1 if Congress fails to pass a stop-gap spending bill.
So the drama in the Senate over the spending bill leads the day's interesting political items and features Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. At this writing, Cruz was in the last gasps of an anti-Obamacare talkathon. That's where we start:
Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 7:29 pm
There's a showdown underway in Congress.
The Republican-controlled House has voted to keep the government running only if the Affordable Care Act is defunded, and the Democratic-controlled Senate isn't likely to go along with that plan. If the two sides can't resolve their differences by Oct. 1, the U.S. government will shut down.
We asked you what you wanted to know about the potential government shutdown, and journalists from NPR's Washington Desk tracked down the answers:
Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 11:17 am
Update at noon ET. It's Over:
Saying that "it's fitting that this debate concludes with a prayer" because he believes Americans are pleading with Congress to defund President Obama's health care law, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas just wrapped up his marathon protest on the Senate floor.
Cruz began speaking just after 2:40 p.m. ET Tuesday and abided by Senate rules when he finished at noon today.
"The pleas from the American people," he said of what he sees as the public's opposition to Obamacare, "are deafening."
A Tea Party attempt to defund Obamacare has the Senate moving in slow motion toward a bill to fund the government beyond Sept. 30. Today, Senate Republicans met in a closed-door strategy session, where a number of them were expected to register their displeasure with the defund plan and its chief proponent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Tuesday was the opening day of the UN General Assembly in New York City. President Obama opened the session. His speech was followed by addresses from a number of foreign dignitaries, including Iranian president Hassan Rouhani.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. We begin with a day at the United Nations, as world leaders gathered in New York. President Obama gave his annual speech to the General Assembly. He spent about 40 minutes giving a detailed defense of America's role in the world. As NPR's Ari Shapiro reports, the president insisted that the U.S. will remain a key player in international events, despite criticism at home and overseas.
Could Texans soon be represented in the U.S. Senate by the Cruz family?
It's an entertaining though wildly improbable scenario that's been generating some chatter at the GOP grass-roots level. But the notion of Tea Party hero Sen. Ted Cruz serving with his father, Rafael Cruz — a Tea Party star in his own right after a series of anti-Obama speeches at town halls hosted by Heritage Action — just got a wee bit less outlandish.
Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 1:09 pm
While conceding that nations will disagree about when and how to step in as "tyrants ... commit wanton murder," President Obama told the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that "we must get better" at preventing atrocities.
The president again laid out his case for strong international action to hold Syrian President Bashar Assad accountable for his regime's alleged use of chemical weapons. Then Obama told world leaders that:
Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 2:06 pm
A brief and abstract chronicle of some of Tuesday's more interesting political stories, the kinds of stories that might get people who like politics talking around a water cooler, if people still did that sort of thing.
All right. Let's talk more about that debate in Congress, which must pass a bill by Sept. 30 to keep the government running or see a partial shutdown. Republicans in the House passed a bill to fund the government but defund Obamacare; and now that bill is in the Senate, where Richard Durbin of Illinois is the Senate majority whip, the No. 2 Democrat in charge of counting votes. Senator, welcome back to the program.
Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 9:36 am
Just a week before the federal government could shut down if no agreement is reached to fund it past the end of September, it's anyone's guess whether Democrats and Republicans will avoid plunging over this particular cliff.
More certain, however, is that if a shutdown happens over Obamacare and Republicans wind up taking the heat, many GOP fingers of blame will point squarely at Sen. Ted Cruz.
The Texas Republican will likely become the face of the 2013 shutdown, just as Newt Gingrich became the poster boy of two government shutdowns of the mid-1990s.