The last two abortion clinics in Texas' Rio Grande Valley along the Mexican border are closing today. New restrictions passed by the Texas Legislature last year require that doctors at abortion clinics obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Well, many hospitals have been reluctant to grant those privileges, and as NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports, today's closures have women's health advocates concerned.
Since the start of the year, the political ad war against vulnerable Democratic senators has not been run by the Republican Party. Instead, the attacks have been coming from a tax-exempt social welfare group called Americans for Prosperity. Now, Democrats are pushing back. Instead of going after the organization, they're attacking its most prominent benefactors, conservative billionaires David and Charles Koch. NPR's Peter Overby reports.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
After months of anticipation, the Senate has rejected a proposal to fundamentally change the way the military prosecutes sexual assault. Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand of New York needed 60 votes for a bill that would give military prosecutors, rather than commanders, final say over which sexual assault cases to prosecute. The legislation got 55 votes today.
Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 12:27 pm
The U.S. Senate's opening prayer on Thursday was delivered by the Dalai Lama — in his words, "a simple Buddhist monk."
The Tibetan spiritual leader has been in the U.S. for several weeks and his itinerary has included a White House meeting with President Obama, over the strong objections of China. As The Associated Press puts it:
Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 11:59 am
The Central Intelligence Agency and one of the congressional panels that oversees its work, the Senate Intelligence Committee, are in what looks to be an increasingly bitter battle over just who's been behaving improperly.
McClatchyDC and The New York Times have been rolling out stories this week about claims that the CIA may have been monitoring the work of the committee's staffers in recent years and that some of those congressional aides may have left CIA headquarters with classified documents that shouldn't leave that secure facility.
Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 12:00 pm
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the annual gathering of conservatives which is part pep rally, part trade show, part revival meeting and part political cattle call, rolls into Washington this week.
As the 2014 version gets underway, one of the major questions hanging over the event is this: how much juice does the Tea Party still have?
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A handful of Senate Democrats joined Republicans yesterday to defeat President Obama's choice to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
Debo Adegbile is a civil rights lawyer who once helped handle the appeal of a cop killer. He nomination forced a tough choice upon Democrats: Vote yes and infuriate law enforcement groups - or vote no and anger minority voters.
The government is often dismissed as nothing but paper-shuffling bureaucrats, but in reality, there's a lot less paper being shuffled these days. Far fewer copies of the federal budget came off government presses this week, just one example of how Washington is trying to wean itself off paper and to online distribution of information.
Of course, this being Washington, this is not without controversy, as NPR's Brian Naylor reports.
Now a view of the president's national initiative from a man whose long worked with young men of color at the local level, Malik Washington. He's acting executive director of the William Killebrew Foundation based here in Washington, D.C.
President Obama may be the standard bearer of the Democratic Party, but his unpopularity in some parts of the country means there are certain places on the campaign trail where it's best for him to stay away.
Enter former President Clinton, who can go where Obama fears to tread.
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Now, a remarkable hearing on Capitol Hill today that ended with its Republican chairman shutting off the microphones. The hearing was part of a House Republican probe alleging the IRS unfairly scrutinized conservative groups seeking tax exempt status. As NPR's Peter Overby reports, the IRS official who was called to testify today refused.
In New Mexico, the nation's only nuclear waste dump is closed. It's been several weeks since radioactive material was detected in the air at the site. As NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports, the incident is shaping up to be yet another setback in the quest to find a home for America's nuclear waste.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Melissa Block. We begin this hour on Capitol Hill, where the secretary of Defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs were grilled today by lawmakers. The Pentagon leaders appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee to defend the proposed cuts in military spending. The cuts are outlined in budget President Obama sent to Congress yesterday.
Eight Senate Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid, joined Republicans in a vote to block President Obama's nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 10:34 am
As she's done before, the woman at the center of the political storm over the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of some conservative groups from 2010 into 2012 invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions during a brief appearance before a congressional committee on Wednesday.
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Earlier this year, it seemed like immigration reform might return to the top of the legislative agenda.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Finally, if we're serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, law enforcement, and fix our broken immigration system.
Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 11:53 am
As expected, President Obama on Tuesday unveiled a $3.9 trillion budget plan for fiscal 2015 that his number crunchers say would produce a $564 billion deficit.
The gap between spending and revenue, while large, would be down from more than $744 billion this fiscal year and a record $1.4 trillion in 2009 — a fiscal year that began when President George W. Bush was still in office. Since then, deficits during the Obama years have topped $1 trillion three times.