Politics

Politics
2:34 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Compromise Deal Speed Immigration Bill Through Senate

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 3:27 am

The chances of an immigration overhaul bill getting through the Senate greatly improved on Thursday. A deal was reached on a border security plan. Steve Inskeep talks about the deal with two of the senators in the so-called "Gang of Eight," who are working on a bipartisan approach to immigration, Arizona Republican Jeff Flake and Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin.

Politics
2:34 am
Fri June 21, 2013

House Votes Down 5-year Farm Bill

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 3:22 am

Members of the House on Thursday rejected the measure, studded with Republican priorities. In the past, the farm bill has been a model of bipartisan support. But defections in both parties spelled the bill's doom.

Shots - Health News
1:04 am
Fri June 21, 2013

With Health Exchanges Poised To Open, PR Push Draws Scrutiny

In San Jose, Calif., on June 6, President Obama encouraged people to sign up for insurance in the nation's largest health insurance market.
Stephen Lam Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 7:07 pm

This weekend marks 100 days until people can begin signing up for new health insurance coverage under the federal health care law. It also marks another milestone: the launch of an enormous public relations effort to find people eligible for new coverage and urge them to sign up when the time comes.

But like everything else about the health law, even this seemingly innocuous effort has been touched by controversy.

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National Security
1:03 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Obama's Pick To Lead FBI Adds New Layer To Privacy Debate

Jim Comey, then deputy attorney general, testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in 2005.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 2:34 am

President Obama will formally nominate Jim Comey to be the country's next FBI director on Friday.

Comey, a registered Republican and longtime federal prosecutor, is best-known for raising alarms inside the Bush White House about a secret electronic surveillance program. That issue has taken on new resonance after disclosures about the Obama administration's dragnet collection of American phone records.

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The Salt
4:05 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

House Smacks Down Farm Bill, And Farm Lobby, Too

Gracie Shannon-Sanborn, 5, holds a sign as she joins her father Allen Sanborn (L) and members of Progressive Democrats of America at a rally in front of Rep. Henry Waxman's office on June 17, 2013 in Los Angeles, Calif. The protestors asked the congressman to vote against a House farm bill, which was defeated Thursday.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 12:16 pm

The so-called farm bill came to the floor of the House of Representatives Thursday. And it crashed. The defeat shocked many observers, but the vote wasn't even particularly close: 234-195. (You can see how your own representative voted here.)

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It's All Politics
3:58 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Why The Immigration Fight Seems Like The NBA Finals

The final outcome of the congressional fight over immigration will be as unpredictable as the result of Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 4:57 pm

Maybe Game 6 of the NBA Finals has something to teach us about how to watch the immigration debate now taking place in Congress.

Game 6, of course, was the instant sports classic in which the defending champion Miami Heat made an improbable comeback to tie their series with the San Antonio Spurs, three games apiece.

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Environment
2:48 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

White House Plans Major New Push On Climate Change

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 4:42 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The White House is planning a major new push on climate change. The initiative may include rules to limit emissions from existing power plants. That's a controversial move that environmentalists wanted for a long time. For more, NPR's Ari Shapiro joins us from the White House. And Ari, up until now, where has climate change been on the president's list of priorities, would you say?

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Politics
2:48 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Farm Bill Meets Surprise Defeat In U.S. House

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 4:42 pm

The U.S. House defeated its version of the farm bill this afternoon. The bill would have cut the food stamps program and transformed subsidies for farmers from direct payments to crop insurance premium support. But Republicans lost 60 of their own members who voted no, along with most Democrats.

Politics
2:48 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Immigration Bill Breaks Through Stall With Security Compromise

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 4:42 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. We begin this hour with what appears to be a major breakthrough in the Senate on immigration. The legislation has been stalled, as some senators complained that it did not do enough to secure the border with Mexico. Well, today, a compromise has been struck. It would nearly double the number of border patrol agents at the Mexican border.

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Author Interviews
12:19 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

'The Center Holds' Sees Victory For Moderates In Obama's Win

In his new book, The Center Holds, Jonathan Alter looks at President Obama's re-election campaign.
Simon & Schuster

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 12:50 pm

Journalist Jonathan Alter sees the 2012 presidential contest as the most consequential election of recent times. In his new book, The Center Holds, Alter argues that President Obama's re-election prevented the country from veering sharply to the right.

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Politics
12:11 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

4 Facts You Might Not Have Known About The IRS Scandal

Dennis Brack Landov

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 11:52 am

For a little more than a month now, we've been reporting on the IRS's flagging of Tea Party and conservative groups for extra scrutiny. Through it all, some basic questions remain: Who ordered the targeting? And why?

We don't have any satisfying answers to those questions yet — and it seems neither do the congressional investigators. But along the way, as new revelations have trickled out, we've noticed some surprising and even puzzling facts about the situation that haven't gotten much attention.

Here are four of them:

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National Security
2:34 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Director Mueller Told Senate Panel FBI Uses Drones

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 5:07 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On a Thursday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Good Morning.

In one of his final appearances on Capitol Hill, normally media-shy FBI Director Robert Mueller made some news. Mueller, who's retiring in September, acknowledged that the FBI has started to deploy unarmed drones in the U.S. Still, he played down how often agents use those drones.

NPR's Carrie Johnson has more.

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It's All Politics
1:01 am
Thu June 20, 2013

How Ted Cruz's Father Shaped His Views On Immigration

Ted Cruz celebrates his victory in the Texas Senate race with his father, Rafael, and daughter Caroline on Nov. 6, 2012, in Houston.
David J. Phillip AP

As the Senate debates a massive overhaul of the nation's immigration laws, one of its newest members has emerged as a leading opponent of the bill's most controversial feature: a path to citizenship for millions living in the country unlawfully.

The views of that freshman senator — Texas Republican Ted Cruz — have been significantly colored by the saga of his own father, an immigrant from Cuba.

"In my opinion, if we allow those who are here illegally to be put on a path to citizenship, that is incredibly unfair to those who follow the rules," Cruz has said.

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It's All Politics
4:52 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Meet The New Governor: Sharply Partisan And Upwardly Mobile

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (foreground) speaks after a meeting with President Obama at the White House on Feb. 25. With him (from left): National Governors Association Vice Chairwoman Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 5:35 pm

Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is already executing prisoners faster than any Florida governor in modern times, signed a bill Monday designed to speed up the death penalty process.

Six weeks ago, Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley moved in the opposite direction: He signed a bill abolishing the death penalty, making Maryland the sixth state to end capital punishment in as many years.

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It's All Politics
4:15 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Capitol Hill's Partisan And Racial Divide Cast In Bronze

Vice President Biden joined congressional leaders at the Capitol Hill dedication ceremony for a statue of abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
Carolyn Kaster AP

A 7-foot-tall statue of famed, lion-maned abolitionist Frederick Douglass that was dedicated Wednesday on Capitol Hill is perhaps best understood as a bronze symbol of the partisan divide in Washington and of racial politics.

The ex-slave, who later became a friend of President Abraham Lincoln, was a federal official and an important journalist of his day. It took years for a statue of him to land a spot because it became a proxy in the fight over voting rights and statehood for Washington, D.C.

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Economy
3:36 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

G-8 Nations Pledge To Crack Down On Corporate Tax Evaders

Leaders take part in the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland on Tuesday. Their discussions included tax-avoidance issues.
Ben Stansall WPA Pool/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 8:18 pm

The world's wealthiest nations are promising to fight what they call the scourge of tax evasion. This week's meeting of the Group of Eight industrialized countries concluded with a pledge to end the use of tax shelters by multinational corporations.

But there are still big questions about how they will make a dent in the problem.

In the aftermath of the global recession, countries all over the world have struggled with budget shortfalls. More and more of them have come to blame part of their revenue problems on one culprit — tax avoidance.

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Europe
3:16 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Obama Evokes Cold War In Speech At Berlin's Brandenburg Gate

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 8:18 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. In front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate today, President Obama stood, as he said, along the fault line where a city was divided. In a speech on the former path of the Berlin Wall, Mr. Obama said that while the barbed wire and checkpoints are gone from the city, the struggle for freedom and prosperity continues in many other parts of the world.

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It's All Politics
1:50 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Nina Totenberg Answers Your Supreme Court Questions

This artist rendering shows Supreme Court Justices (from left) Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan in 2012.
Dana Verkouteren AP

With the Supreme Court expected to hand down big decisions this month — including rulings on voting rights, affirmative action and

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Politics
11:41 am
Wed June 19, 2013

The Penultimate Edition Of The Political Junkie

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 9:20 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The speaker clamps the Hastert Rule on immigration reform. Three Republican senators now support gay marriage. And the Bay State Senate race goes into its last week. It's Wednesday and time for a penultimate edition of the political junkie.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?

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The Salt
11:01 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Women And Children Caught In Middle Of Potato War

Fresh white spuds aren't allowed in a government supplemental nutrition program for women and children because, unlike other fruits and vegetables, potatoes aren't lacking in the typical diet.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

We didn't plan it, but somehow, it has turned into Potato Week here at The Salt. The latest twist in the tater tales takes us to Capitol Hill.

Americans love to pile on the potatoes – we consumed a whopping 112 pounds per capita last year. But lately, the potato industry has been playing the part of jilted lover and taking its heartache to Congress.

According to the National Potato Council, the U.S. Department of Agriculture "discriminates" against fresh, white potatoes.

Huh?

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Middle East
10:02 am
Wed June 19, 2013

To Arm, Or Not To Arm The Syrian Rebels?

The White House says the United States will arm Syrian rebels, but a new poll shows most Americans don't like the idea. Guest host Celeste Headlee speaks with Shadi Hamid of The Brookings Institution, about America's current and future involvement in Syria.

Political Junkie
9:05 am
Wed June 19, 2013

It's The Final ScuttleButton Puzzle ... For Now

Ken Rudin collection

Some words I never thought I would utter: This is the last ScuttleButton puzzle that will ever appear on the NPR Web site.

With the cancellation of Talk of the Nation, and of course the weekly Political Junkie segment that goes with it, the long relationship between Political Junkie and NPR is coming to an end.

Thus, this is the last button puzzle, with the final winner (and t-shirt and button prizes) announced on Wednesday, June 26th — the final Junkie segment on TOTN.

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It's All Politics
7:34 am
Wed June 19, 2013

IRS Staffer: 'What I Did Was Not Targeting'

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (right) speaks with the committee's ranking Democrat, Elijah Cummings, earlier this month, during a hearing on IRS conference spending.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 9:18 am

Another interview with a key IRS employee, another oblique connection to Washington, D.C., and yet still no explosive revelations in the scandal surrounding the agency's targeting of Tea Party groups.

That, it seems, was precisely the point of Rep. Elijah Cummings' decision to release 205 pages of redacted interview transcripts Tuesday (here and here).

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Politics
3:14 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Liberal Groups Say They Received IRS Scrutiny Too

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 11:46 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Some other news: We have a more complicated view, this morning, of the scandal at the IRS. An inspector general critiqued the tax agency's targeting of conservative groups, many of them linked with the Tea Party movement. We knew that much.

And now, it's become apparent that more liberal or progressive groups were also targeted. NPR's Tamara Keith reports.

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National Security
3:14 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Secret Surveillance Credited With Preventing Terror Acts

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 7:40 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The president's administration has plenty to occupy it here at home. The director of the National Security Agency was on Capitol Hill yesterday, defending the surveillance program that's received so much attention in recent in recent days. General Keith Alexander told the House Intelligence Committee that the NSA programs in question have stopped dozens of terrorist attacks, here and abroad. Here's NPR's Ailsa Chang.

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Politics
1:19 am
Wed June 19, 2013

How A Merger Could Affect Congress' Favorite Airport

A jet takes off from Reagan National Airport, near the Capitol.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 7:40 am

If the US Airways-American Airlines merger announced earlier this year is approved, the combined airline would control two-thirds of the takeoff and landing slots at Reagan National Airport, outside Washington, D.C.

The government could force the airline to give up some of those slots as a condition of the merger. But lawmakers warn that could have consequences for some small- and medium-sized cities. And, not coincidentally, it could affect flight plans for lawmakers themselves.

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It's All Politics
4:50 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Boehner Seeks To Reassure House GOP On Immigration

House Speaker John Boehner is getting flak from fellow Republicans over immigration legislation.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 8:29 pm

Faced with the threat of mutiny for what seems like the umpteenth time during his speakership, John Boehner moved to mollify fellow Republicans on Tuesday, saying immigration legislation would need the support of a majority of the House GOP before it could be brought to a floor vote.

After emerging from a meeting with House Republicans, following days of warnings by conservatives that the Ohio Republican had better not try to pass an immigration bill with mostly Democratic votes, Boehner sought to calm the roiling Republican waters.

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It's All Politics
2:58 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Obama's Unplanned NSA Discussion

President Obama listens to French President Francois Hollande during the G-8 summit at the Lough Erne golf resort in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, on Tuesday.
Evan Vucci AP

You have to wonder if President Obama ever thought, when he first ran for the White House, that he would need to defend himself from accusations his presidency would be a mere extension of his Republican predecessor.

But there he was with journalist Charlie Rose having to explain why his approach to national security wasn't really like that of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

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It's All Politics
10:15 am
Tue June 18, 2013

6 Surprising Things About The IRS Scandal

Lois Lerner, head of the IRS unit that decides whether to grant tax-exempt status to groups, leaves a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in May.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 11:24 am

Hundreds of pages of transcribed interviews reveal that IRS employees in Washington were involved at an early stage in the improper targeting of Tea Party groups — but at least so far the trail stops well short of the White House.

Based on interviews with two longtime IRS employees working in the Cincinnati field office, there's no smoking gun, no direct connection to the Obama administration or even any indication that those involved in the flagging of conservative groups had political motives.

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Politics
9:58 am
Tue June 18, 2013

President Obama, 'Honest And Trustworthy?'

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, data mining and privacy issues are in the news. But we want to talk about some data that could affect your life in ways you might not have considered. We're talking about your credit reports and we'll talk about how errors can appear and cost you plenty, and what to do about that. That's coming up later in the program.

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