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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Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has withdrawn from consideration as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve.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.
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.
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."
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.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now it's time for our weekly visit to the barbershop where the guys talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. Sitting in the chairs for a shape-up this week are writer Jimi Izrael, with us from Cleveland. Here in our Washington, D.C. studios, sports writer and journalism professor Kevin Blackistone, Corey Dade, contributing editor for The Root, and NPR editor Ammad Omar decided to stick around. What do you know?
There's a lot of searching on Capitol Hill but no discovery yet of a way to avoid a federal government shutdown at the start of next month.
Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor are searching for enough House GOP votes for a spending bill that could pass in the Democratic-controlled Senate and keep the government open past Sept. 30.
Tea Party-affiliated lawmakers are searching for a way to repeal the Affordable Care Act with the help of the Democratic-controlled Senate and President Obama.
Now, the future shape of the economy will be influenced, in part, by negotiations in Congress this month. What could possibly go wrong? If Congress doesn't act by the end of this month, there will be a partial government shutdown and then in October a fight over the debt ceiling looms. Some Republicans want to rerun a tactic they used in 2011, refusing to borrow to pay for commitments Congress previously made unless the White House agrees to Republican budget demands. NPR congressional correspondent Tamara Keith has the latest.
Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 5:09 pm
Leaders who respect each other and have a good relationship don't mock each other.
Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin do not have a good relationship.
Just as Russia and the U.S. are attempting to work out a delicate deal to rid Syria of chemical weapons, the Russian president published an op-ed in The New York Times thumbing his nose at President Obama.
It's been more than two years since Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill stripping collective bargaining rights from most public employees. The new law sparked massive protests at the Wisconsin State Capitol because many saw it as an attack on unions.
While most demonstrators eventually went away, a small group did not. They arrive at the building most weekdays to sing anti-Walker and pro-union songs.
On a recent day, more than 100 people were gathered in a circle on the Capitol lawn, tapping cowbells and singing a localized version of "This Land Is Your Land."
Native American tribes gave up millions of acres to the federal government in the 19th century in exchange for promises of funded health care, education and housing. But time and again, those funds have been cut.
The recent across-the-board federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, are no exception. They came with a 5 percent reduction in funding for mental health services, including suicide prevention. That's especially troubling for Native Americans, whose suicide rate are four times the national average.
Now that Congress' extraordinary Syria debate is on hold, at least for now, the next upcoming drama is really a return to much more familiar territory: how will congressional leaders get enough votes to pass legislation to keep the government from going off yet another metaphorical cliff.
Until Wednesday, it looked like Congress was moving toward a vote this week to fund the government past September, when the fiscal year ends, and into December — thus avoiding a shutdown. But that vote was postponed until next week at the earliest.
Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 3:15 pm
When the global financial system started to collapse five years ago, leaders from the Treasury Department, Congress and the Federal Reserve jumped up and started running.
Like men on a burning wooden bridge, they raced along, making crazy-fast decisions. They seized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, bailed out big banks, saved automakers, slashed interest rates and funded a massive infrastructure-building project to stimulate growth.
Kentucky Republican Rand Paul is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and one of Congress' leading skeptics of U.S. military strategy, including possible strikes on Syria. On Tuesday, he offered a detailed response to President Obama's speech about the Syrian crisis. Paul joins Michel Martin of Tell Me More to talk about his opposition to military action, and what the U.S. should do.
Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 4:08 pm
With the highly anticipated Syria speech behind him, the path ahead for President Obama's effort to get congressional authorization of military strikes in Syria is no easier than before. In fact, post-speech, it seems more obstacle-strewn and steeper than ever.
Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 9:00 am
One line President Obama might have borrowed for his speech to the nation Tuesday night was a famous one from John F. Kennedy's inauguration address: "Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate."
Always admired as a fine turn of phrase, what meaning does this have in our own time?
Perhaps it might have helped Obama make the turn from indicting the Syrian regime's alleged use of chemical weapons to explaining why he backed off his own earlier threat of military retaliation against Syria.