And one other piece of news from the Senate, Democrat Max Baucus is retiring. The powerful chair of the Senate Finance Committee has represented Montana since 1978. Baucus is the sixth Senate Democrat to announce he won't run for reelection in 2014. NPR congressional correspondent Tamara Keith has that story.
An investigator inspects the area near a surveillance camera on the roof of the Lord & Taylor store near the Boston Marathon finish line on Thursday. That camera provided the first glimpse of the men who allegedly planted the bombs.
Footage from surveillance cameras along the Boston Marathon route gave the FBI early clues about the bombing suspects. And prosecutors say they'll use some of those images to try to prove their criminal case against 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. But the proliferation of cameras in America's big cities is raising some tricky questions about the balance between security and privacy.
It was pictures of two brothers taken by a camera outside the Lord & Taylor department store that provided the first glimpse of the men who allegedly bombed the Boston Marathon.
Following the Republican Party's losses in the 2012 elections, there has been a lot of hand-wringing about what the party should do to improve its electoral fortunes.
Some argue that the GOP should moderate its positions on social issues, as well as policies that affect income inequality and social mobility, and that it should embrace compromise as a way to attract more voters. But others say that changing its positions risks alienating the core Republican base and diluting the party's conservative message — doing more damage in the end.
Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 11:16 am
Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, an influential red-state Democrat who helped craft Obamacare but bucked his party last week in voting against expanded background checks for gun sales, will retire in 2014, he announced Tuesday.
The chairman of the influential Senate Finance Committee, Baucus was expected to face a potentially tough race for a seventh term after four decades on Capitol Hill. He becomes the sixth Senate Democrat to announce his retirement, as Republicans look for an opportunity to retake Senate control in the midterm elections.
Lots of people have been inquiring about the future of ScuttleButton. While I wish I had an answer — I don't, not yet — I'd like to suggest that you sign up for the Political Junkie/ScuttleButton mailing list. That way, I will be able to share the information once I have it (see info below).
Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 3:46 am
The Senate Judiciary Committee turned its attention back to the immigration overhaul proposal Monday, even as opponents began to use the Boston bombers' journey to the United States as a cautionary tale.
Mayor Thomas Menino, who is recovering from a broken leg unrelated to the bombing, watches on as President Obama speaks during an interfaith healing service last week following the Boston Marathon blasts.
Credit Susan Walsh / AP
Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup poses with then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords during a Salvation Army fundraiser about a year before she was shot in the head.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and President George W. Bush tour an area near a collapsed interstate bridge, which left 13 people dead in 2007.
Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul and his son Rand Paul, a Republican senator from Kentucky, on stage at a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2011. At the time, the elder Paul was seeking the Republican nomination for president. He's now retired from Congress, and the younger Paul says he's "considering" his own 2016 bid.
Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 4:11 pm
Freshman Sen. Rand Paul insists that he won't decide until next year whether a 2016 presidential run is in his future.
But comments the Kentucky Tea Party Republican made this week at a newsmaker breakfast about a run — "we're considering it" — as well as upcoming speaking engagements in early caucus and primary states Iowa and New Hampshire suggest serious consideration.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., meets in his office last week with families of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. A bipartisan plan to expand background checks for gun buyers was defeated Wednesday in the Senate.
Originally published on Fri April 19, 2013 3:49 pm
Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who lent his name to bipartisan legislation that would have extended background checks for gun purchasers to gun shows and online sales, isn't letting go.
At least not yet.
To Manchin, the bipartisan compromise he co-sponsored with Sen. Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican of consistent conservative credentials, fell victim to a steady stream of misinformation spread by some gun rights absolutists, including the National Rifle Association.
Updated 1:50 p.m. ET: (Correcting that brothers shared an apartment in Cambridge, not Watertown.)
The suspects in Monday's deadly Boston Marathon explosions and the Thursday night murder of a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are two brothers from a former Soviet republic who were in the United States legally for years, and lived together in a Cambridge, Mass., apartment.
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.