This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, we are going to dig into the new Senate bill that would dramatically overhaul the country's immigration framework. We want to answer as many questions as we can about the bill and also talk about what it says, or what it might say, about what immigration means to the American people right now.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, we'll check in with the Barbershop guys to hear what they have to say about all the news of the week.
But, first, it's only because of the kind of week that we've had that it would be possible that a major issue like the one we're about to talk about could actually fly under the radar. It was introduced by a group called the Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group who also had the support of a very wide array of interest groups that often do not agree on much of anything.
A somber week, with people wasting no time putting the Boston tragedy in political terms. President Obama unleashes on Congress after a background check amendment to the gun bill goes down in the Senate. At least the latest exploits of Mark Sanford and Anthony Weiner keep NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving amused in the latest episode of the It's All Politics podcast.
Steve Inskeep speaks with NPR's Scott Horsley, who has the White House perspective on news of the Boston Marathon bombings manhunt. NPR has confirmed that the two suspects were from Chechnya. For insights on that region, Morning Edition talks with Matt Rojansky, deputy director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Okay, we are continuing to follow the events in Boston this morning. Police there say one of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers has been killed and the other is on the run in the Boston suburb of Watertown. For the moment, let's turn to another major story here in Washington. A bipartisan bill revamping the nation's immigration laws goes to the Senate judiciary committee today.
It was formerly rolled out yesterday by the group of Senators known as the Gang of Eight and critics have weighed in. Here's NPR's David Welna.
Hopefully, the disappointment/frustration of that April Fool's ScuttleButton has subsided and now you're ready for the real stuff.
ScuttleButton, of course, is that once-a-week waste of time exercise in which each Monday or Tuesday I put up a vertical display of buttons on this site. Your job is to simply take one word (or concept) per button, add 'em up, and, hopefully, you will arrive at a famous name or a familiar expression. (And seriously, by familiar, I mean it's something that more than one person on Earth would recognize.)
From NPR News, this is all things considered. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
Americans love a political comeback. When it comes to sex scandals, voters seem increasingly willing to forgive, if not forget. That's what former Congressman Anthony Weiner and former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford are hoping, as they attempt a return to public office.
But, as NPR's Joel Rose reports, both politicians face major hurdles.
Robert Siegel talks to Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma about why he voted no against the measure to expand background checks. The measure failed to get the 60 votes needed to pass in the Senate.
President Obama's nominee to head the Labor Department, Thomas Perez, appeared before a Senate committee today where he tried to portray himself as a bipartisan problem-solver who could listen to all sides. While the tone of the hearing was friendly, Perez faced some skeptical questions about a housing discrimination case he was involved with at the Justice Department.
Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 3:54 pm
If it seems perplexing why an idea that has broad support nationally could fail to pass the U.S. Senate, here's an important reminder: The Senate is not a democratic institution.
It never has been, and it was never designed to be. Rather, it was structured to give small or sparsely populated states the ability to stop the majority's will. And on Wednesday, that's how it worked out, as the Senate failed to reach a 60-vote threshold to support new background checks on gun purchases.
Neil Heslin, father of 6-year-old Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Jesse Lewis, holds a picture of the two of them as he testifies during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in February.
Credit Alex Wong / Getty Images
Family members of those killed in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting stand together as President Obama speaks at the White House on Wednesday, after gun control measures were defeated in the Senate. In the foreground are Mark and Jackie Barden with their children Natalie and James, who lost Daniel. Behind them are Nicole Hockley, mother of Dylan, and Jeremy Richman, father of Avielle.
Credit Carolyn Kaster / AP
Mike Cragin and his bulldog, Truman, stopped by the Dunkin' Donuts in Newtown, Conn., on Thursday. After the elementary school shooting in December, Cragin came to the same place and put up a sign inviting people to hug his dog.
Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 3:47 pm
Following the Senate's rejection Wednesday of a range of gun control measures, including universal background checks, many in Newtown, Conn., are reacting with surprise and disappointment. The town is still stricken with grief from the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December that took the lives of 20 students and six adults.
On Thursday morning, Mike Cragin stopped by the Dunkin' Donuts in Newtown with his bulldog, Truman.
The "Gang of Eight" senators hold a news conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday to discuss their immigration overhaul bill. The senators, from left, are Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Richard Durbin, D-Ill., John McCain, R-Ariz., Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 3:59 pm
Bipartisan bonhomie broke out Thursday afternoon when four Democratic and four Republican senators made a case for their comprehensive immigration overhaul proposal.
The scene at the Dirksen Senate Office Building stood in marked contrast to the ugly end Wednesday of a smaller cross-party effort to fashion gun legislation that would have expanded background checks and banned assault-style weapons.
Angela Davis was once on the FBI's most wanted list. But decades after her brush with the law as a political activist, she remains a hero to some, and a villain to others. Host Michel Martin talks with Shola Lynch, the director of the new documentary Free Angela and All Political Prisoners.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later in the program we will tell you about an up and coming emcee who's making a splash in Los Angeles and he's not somebody you might expect to see rocking the mic. That's just one of the stories NPR's new Code Switch team will be bringing you. We'll tell you more about that in just a few minutes.
Now, President Obama had promised to put the full weight of his office behind getting Congress to pass new gun control legislation. That weight was apparently not enough. When the legislation failed yesterday, Obama went into the White House Rose Garden and made a blistering speech, calling it a shameful day for Washington.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene.
We are following two major stories this morning. One is the fire and explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant. We'll have more on that in a moment.
INSKEEP: We begin with a victory for gun rights groups and a stinging defeat for gun control. Senate Republicans joined a small group of Democrats to reject every major gun control proposal President Obama has been pushing since the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.
Mark Barden, the father of a young Newtown, Conn., shooting victim, speaks at a White House news conference on Wednesday, with President Obama and former Rep. Gabby Giffords. Obama denounced the Senate's defeat of a measure to expand background checks for gun buyers. "This was a pretty shameful day in Washington," he said.
Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 4:53 pm
The Senate's rejection of more robust gun purchase background checks was a stinging blow to President Obama that raised questions about his second-term agenda.
Expanding background checks had become a key part of Obama's post-Newtown push for tougher federal gun control laws. And in recent weeks, the president had campaigned for overall gun control legislation — especially the bipartisan background-check compromise — with a sense of urgency.
President Obama makes a statement on gun violence as Vice President Joe Biden, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and family members of Newtown, Conn., shooting victims look on at the White House Rose Garden.
Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 4:36 pm
A bipartisan compromise that would have expanded federal background checks for firearms purchases has been rejected by the Senate.
The defeat of the measure by a 54-46 vote — six votes shy of the number needed to clear the Senate — marks a major setback for gun-control advocates, many of whom had hoped that Congress would act to curb gun violence in the wake of December's Newtown elementary school massacre, where 20 students and six adults were killed.
Jenny Sanford says her ex-husband was in her Sullivan's Island, S.C., home without her permission.
Credit Mary Ann Chastain / AP
Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, with his fiancee Maria Belen Chapur, addresses supporters in Mount Pleasant, S.C., on April 2, after winning the GOP nomination for the U.S. House seat he once held. Two days after the May 7 special election, Sanford is scheduled to appear in court on a trespassing complaint from his former wife.
Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 2:29 pm
If it seemed like former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's problem with female voters couldn't get any worse, well, it appears that it might have.
Sanford, a Republican, is hoping to put the marital scandal that defined his second term behind him with a return to Congress in a May 7 special election. But just two days later, Sanford will have to appear in court to defend himself from an accusation that he was at his ex-wife's house in February without her permission.
In the past three decades or so, when writing about political sex scandals became an art form, the tendency has always been to lump everyone together. There are many differences between, say, what Anthony Weiner did and what Mark Sanford did.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later in the program we will speak with a man for whom art and politics were intertwined. South African musical great Hugh Masekela will be with us. He talks about his years in exile and how he stays creative after decades of performing. That's later.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, leading Republicans have been making news lately talking about outreach to African-Americans, Latinos, and LGBT voters, but what about women? They've also been trending Democrat for decades. We're going to speak with a diverse group of women writers and commentators about this. That's later in the program.
Now we head into the Beauty Shop. That's where we get a fresh cut on hot topics with our panel of women journalists, commentators, bloggers and activists.
Even though the next presidential election is several years away, the major political parties are already thinking about how to reach new voters. Republicans in particular have been in the news, both because of their poor showing with minorities last year and their efforts to address that by bringing more diverse perspectives and candidates to the Republican Party.
Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 5:30 pm
On Monday, CNN's Wolf Blitzer and some others made a point of highlighting President Obama's failure to use the words "terror" or "terrorism" in his first remarks following the Boston Marathon bombings.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Celeste Headlee in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Though the Gang of Eight has postponed the full, public unveiling of their immigration bill until tomorrow, the rollout began in earnest over the weekend with Republican Senator Marco Rubio making the rounds on Sunday talk shows.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later in the program, it's hard to believe but it's been 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his famous letter from Birmingham jail, so it's easy to forget why he wrote it and to whom he wrote it, so we thought this would be a good time to talk about that. We'll talk about the controversy it caused then and the impact it has now. That's coming up.
A bipartisan immigration bill in the U.S. Senate contains a prerequisite. Before millions of people in the U.S. without documents have a chance at visas and eventual citizenship, the borders must be secured. So what qualifies as secure?
The Texas multimillionaire Bob Perry died this past Saturday. Perry made his money building suburban homes. He then spent much of it in ways that changed American politics.
NPR's Peter Overby tells us more.
PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: Bob Perry died at age 80. He never said much in public about his politics. The money spoke for him. In 2004, he plowed four and a half million dollars into the group that produced this ad.
And now, to Capitol Hill where lawmakers are debating several big ideas these days. There's the gun control bill in the Senate and a possible compromise on immigration reform. But that's not all. In just a few months, another fiscal fight could steal the spotlight.
NPR's Tamara Keith has this look forward to a potential battle over the debt ceiling again.