Tuesday's election is seen as a key off-year contest, and a test of strength for both parties leading up to the 2014 elections. But it's beginning to look like a rout. Democrat Terry McAuliffe is leading Republican Ken Cuccinelli by as much as 12 points. The race appears to have turned into a referendum on Cuccinelli's conservative views.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius took to Capitol Hill this week to try and explain the botched rollout of the website that is central to implementation of the Affordable Care Act. And despite apologies and mea culpas, the Obama administration is dealing with new questions about its grasp of technology — and even about the president's veracity.
President Obama walks off stage after speaking at the "SelectUSA Investment Summit" on Thursday. A poll released the same day found that the president's job approval rating had reached an all time low.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 6:04 pm
The Affordable Care Act's early travails are yielding some lessons for future presidents and lawmakers. Here are three:
1) Presidents can't be too careful about making high-profile promises. President Obama dented his credibility significantly by repeatedly promising that the Affordable Care Act would allow Americans with insurance they liked to keep those policies.
Food stamp recipients will see a cut in their benefits starting Friday. For the hungry and unemployed, more cuts may be coming. That's a challenge for the affected families, but it could also be a drain on the broader economy.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:06 pm
A federal appeals court has sided with the owners of a fruit and vegetable distributor who challenged part of the 2010 health care law requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for birth control. Federal courts have split on the issue, which is the subject of dozens of similar cases.
According to the National Women's Law Center, "a total of 88 lawsuits have been filed" over the issue of contraceptive coverage. Of that number, 63 cases are still pending; the other 25 have been closed.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:12 pm
If the Republican establishment doesn't get its preferred candidate in Tuesday's Alabama special congressional runoff election, it won't be for want of an overwhelming cash advantage.
Bradley Byrne, a former head of the state's community college system, has outraised Tea Party favorite Dean Young $689,000 to $260,000, according to the latest Federal Election Commission filings. And Young's total includes $175,000 the real estate developer and political consultant has lent himself, meaning the actual fundraising ratio is more like 8 to 1.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 11:48 am
News outlets are all over this story today:
Documents released by a congressional committee reveal just how few people successfully enrolled in health insurance plans on the troubled HealthCare.gov website in early days after its Oct. 1 launch. (That summary is courtesy of our colleagues on the NPR Newscast Desk.)
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. Joining us from Boston, healthcare consultant and contributor to National Review magazine, Dr. Neil Minkoff. Here in our Washington, D.C. studios, Dave Zirin. He is sports editor at The Nation. And Corey Dade is a contributing editor for The Root. Take it away Jimi.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We're going to spend the first part of this hour talking about a case in Florida that drew so much national attention at the end of last year and the first part of is one. And that's the killing of the unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin by the neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Now the new police chief in Sanford, Florida has made some big changes in the Neighborhood Watch Program there and we'll tell you about those.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 10:41 am
Here's an email that caught my eye Thursday. It's from Republican Bill McInturff, one of the best pollsters around and not someone known to hyperbolize. He was discussing the results of this month's NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, which he conducts with Democrat Peter Hart.
Credit J. Scott Applewhite - AP Photos J. Scott Applewhite / AP
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough after anxious Senate Democrats met privately on Capitol Hill with Obama administration officials about Obamacare, Oct. 31, 2013.
It's one month since the Affordable Care Act's health-exchange website went live and many Democrats would clearly love a do-over.
While that won't be forthcoming, they did get some handholding from Obama administration officials Thursday. But it will take more than that to quell the jitters as Democrats see what they had hoped would be a political asset in 2014, their signature healthcare legislation, threaten to become a liability.
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Biden at a White House event in October 2011. A new book says President Obama's aides were then studying whether to replace Biden with the former first lady on the 2012 ticket.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 9:52 am
"President Obama's top aides secretly considered replacing Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. with Hillary Rodham Clinton on the 2012 ticket, undertaking extensive focus-group sessions and polling in late 2011 when Mr. Obama's re-election outlook appeared uncertain," The New York Times reports.
Senate Republicans have once again blocked President Obama's nominees. Despite a deal in July to let several of the president's picks go through, the rancor has returned with a fresh batch of appointments. Two nominations failed within less than an hour on Thursday, and Democrats may once again threaten to change Senate rules so Republicans can't easily derail another nomination.
Acura MDX sport utility vehicles roll off the assembly line at a Honda plant in Lincoln, Ala., in May. Overseas investors have U.S. assets totaling nearly $4 trillion, including auto plants, banks and mines.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 11:44 am
When many Americans hear the word "globalization," they think: "jobs going overseas."
And sometimes it does mean just that.
But as globalization knits nations closer together, foreign companies increasingly are creating jobs in the United States, not luring them away. Despite the Great Recession, slow recovery and political dysfunction in Washington, the United States remains a top destination for the world's wealth.
Former Newark Mayor Cory Booker was sworn in Thursday, making him only the fourth African-American elected by popular vote to the United States Senate, and only the second in the chamber currently. This is in contrast to the 41 blacks who represent House districts.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:06 am
More than 47 million Americans who receive food stamps will be getting a bit less starting Friday when a temporary benefit enacted as part of the federal stimulus expires.
The Department of Agriculture, which runs the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program, or SNAP, as the food stamp program is formally known, says a family of four receiving $668 per month in benefits will see that amount cut by $36. One in 7 Americans receives food stamps.
The Obama administration is defending the Affordable Care Act over its faulty website, and reports that Americans are losing insurance coverage because of the law. To sort out the truth from the rumors, host Michel Martin speaks with Mary Agnes Carey of Kaiser Health News and technology developer Clay Johnson.
Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 7:35 am
Happy Halloween, fellow political junkies.
It was predictable that President Obama would face more political tricks than treats as a re-elected president than he did as a new one if only because, unlike his first term, he started his second with a Republican House largely hostile to him and his agenda.
Even as Sebelius testified, we brought two pollsters into our studios: one Republican, one Democrat. Both of these political pros spoke of Obamacare in intensely personal terms. Republican Whit Ayres spoke of someone unhappy at having to pay more for insurance. Democrat Anna Greenberg spoke of her brother getting insurance for the first time. She says the Obama administration has done a poor job selling the law for years.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
The trouble with an Obamacare website is taking on the never-ending quality of some earlier crises this administration has faced. It resembles, for example, the BP oil spill, where the administration needed a technical solution, and until that arrived, could do nothing but wait.
Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 5:19 pm
The U.S. government ran a deficit of $680 billion in the financial year that ended last month — the first time since 2008 that the annual shortfall has been under $1 trillion. It represents a fall from $1.09 trillion in 2012, but as the AP reports, "It's still the fifth-largest deficit of all time."
The Treasury Department announced the news along with the White House budget office Wednesday.
One person who got a letter canceling his health insurance was Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo. He holds up the letter during a congressional hearing Wednesday on insurance problems. He says his family chose to buy private insurance rather than use the congressional plan.
President Obama repeated this line or a variation of it many times during the campaign to pass his landmark health care bill: "If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period."
But while that might be true for people who get health insurance through their employer, it's not true for many people who buy their policies in the individual market — about 5 percent of the nation's policyholders.
Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, an unlikely scene unfolded as a bust of Winston Churchill was unveiled in Statuary Hall Wednesday. The entertainment: Roger Daltrey. Who? Yes, Roger Daltrey of the 1960s rock band The Who.