A bi-partisan Senate immigration policy plan has won support of many key political leaders. But some within the African-American community say it could hurt low wage black workers. Guest host Celeste Headlee discusses the issue with Harry Holzer of Georgetown University; and Lesley Jordan, a food industry worker from Los Angeles.
Last year, something surprising happened: A piece of legislation about abortion made it through both chambers of Congress and was signed into law by President Obama.
It was a law providing insurance coverage for abortion for military women in the case of rape or incest. The bipartisan support enjoyed by the military trumped politics as usual, which generally holds that Republicans and Democrats have to fight over anything involving abortion.
But will the women who volunteer for the Peace Corps inspire a similar truce on the same issue?
Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 7:09 am
Sen. Joe Manchin says he's going to reintroduce his bill that expands background checks for gun purchases to sales made at gun shows and online, and he predicts that the second time around, it will get enough votes to move out of the Senate.
Across the country, state budgets are back in the black after years of belt-tightening and spending cuts. From California to Florida, in nearly every state, the economic recovery has produced a surge in tax revenue.
For governors and state legislators, that's produced a new question: how to spend the money.
The past three years have not been easy ones for elected officials. Nearly every state requires them to produce a balanced budget. And with declining revenue from sales, property and income taxes, that has meant big spending cuts.
The House was set to vote this week on a bill modifying the president's health care law. The Republican bill was supported by the leadership, but ran into trouble and was pulled from the floor before the scheduled vote.
It's an example of the kind of obstacles Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, faces in getting legislation through the House. In many recent cases, his problem hasn't been the Democrats as much as members of his own party, backed by proudly conservative outside groups.
Kansan journalist Jason Probst says the Kansas he knows has disappeared.
"The great state of Kansas passed away on March 31, 2013 after a long and difficult battle with extremism," he wrote in an editorial for The Hutchinson News.
His faux obituary, lamenting Kansas' embrace of conservatism, went viral. Tens of thousands of people read it. Many were fellow Kansans who wrote to Probst to say they, too, were disturbed by their state's dramatic swing to the right.
North Korea has accused an American tourist of committing crimes against the state and trying to bring down the country's regime, according to the North's official news agency.
The KCNA said Saturday that 44-year-old Kenneth Bae, imprisoned since November, confessed to the crimes and would be facing judgement in a North Korean court. He is identified in the report by his Korean name, Pae Jun Ho.
The 2012 election was the most expensive in history, but there remain some gaping holes in our knowledge about who paid for what. The Securities and Exchange Commission is considering a proposal to add more transparency in future elections, but it won't happen without a fight.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The first great sequester showdown has ended and the White House says President Obama will sign a bill that effectively ends furloughs for air traffic controllers. The House yesterday approved the measure, which was passed by the Senate Thursday night, and the action comes after a week of flight delays that angered air travelers and set off a flurry of finger-pointing in Washington, D.C. NPR's Brian Naylor reports.
President Obama has spoken at two memorial services in just over a week — one for victims of the Boston Marathon attack and one for those who died in the chemical plant explosions in West, Texas. In both speeches, he focused on victims and survivors.
But other Democrats are using these events to talk about another subject: the role of government.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. The White House tried to clarify its message on Syria today, saying it is still studying evidence that the government there has used chemical weapons. Here's press secretary Jay Carney.
JAY CARNEY: We are continuing to work to build on the assessments made by the intelligence community. The degrees of confidence here are varying, this is not an airtight case.
We also have some sequester news today. The House approved a bill, and the president says he'll sign it, to end the furlough of air traffic controllers. Short-staffed control towers translated into thousands of flight delays this week, all because of those automatic across-the-board spending cuts. NPR's Tamara Keith has that story.
Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 1:33 pm
President Obama on Friday became the first sitting president to address Planned Parenthood's annual meeting, delivering a strongly worded speech defending the embattled organization.
"We shouldn't have to remind people that when it comes to women's health, no politician should get to decide what's best for you," said Obama, who was greeted by sustained applause when he took the stage.
The U.S. Congress — a body not exactly known for its swift feet — raced Friday to complete legislation to help travelers avoid delays at airports.
The House voted 361-41 to approve legislation that the Senate passed without objection late Thursday. The bill gives the Federal Aviation Administration more spending flexibility to cut its budget while avoiding furloughs of air traffic controllers.
The furloughs of air traffic controllers that have slowed air travel in the past week and frustrated thousands of fliers should soon come to an end.
By a vote of 361-41, the House of Representatives just passed legislation that would allow the secretary of transportation to shift up to $253 million in funds so that controllers no longer have to be furloughed to meet the requirements of sequestration (the mandated, across-the-board spending cuts that began taking hold March 1).
Now we turn to Detroit, where police have been reportedly using a pretty controversial method to deal with vagrancy. Allegedly, police are taking homeless people off city streets - particularly in high tourist areas - then driving them outside of the city limits and leaving them there. The American Civil Liberties Union recently sent a letter to city officials and the Detroit Police Department demanding an end to this practice, and the group also filed a complaint with the Department of Justice, requesting an investigation.
I'm Celeste Headlee, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. And it is time for a visit to the Barbershop. That's where the guys talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Coming up, an unexpected death can be a test of faith for just about anyone, but what happens when that death is a suicide? We'll talk about that in just a few minutes, but first when it comes to politics it's become something of a cliché to say 9/11 changed everything. And in the immediate days following those terrorist attacks, Republicans and Democrats came together.
Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 1:46 pm
Maybe it's not your first thought after saying "I do," but federal election law gives married couples some advantages in making political contributions. The Federal Election Commission tried Thursday to make those same breaks available to couples in same-sex marriages — but commissioners said they're thwarted by the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
True, President Obama's Justice Department no longer defends DOMA, and the Supreme Court is weighing whether to get rid of it. But the FEC didn't want to get too far out in front. The vote was a reluctant 5-0.
Politics has been especially gloomy lately, but NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving try their best to improve the mood in this week's podcast, offering analysis on the politicization of the Boston bombings, Max Baucus' potential successor and Senate primary battles in Massachusetts and Hawaii. Plus: Jeb Bush gets some 2016 advice.
The Tribune Co., emerging from bankruptcy and looking to reshape itself, is now considering the sale of all its newspapers — including the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, TheBaltimore Sun and five other regional newspapers. It's still very early in the sale process; although the newspaper unit has been valued at $623 million, significant debts are also attached, and Tribune has signaled that it reserves the right not to sell if there isn't a worthy bid.
The president's appearance at that memorial service came on the same day he joined with all his living predecessors. He met with Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, whose presidential library was dedicated in Texas.
A photograph, sent out on Twitter incidentally, by former President Clinton, shows the five men in a circle, chatting. Three Democrats joined two Republicans on a day when political differences were overlooked.
Here's NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea.