Chief Justice John Roberts wants everyone to know the federal judiciary is doing its part to keep down government costs. Roberts used his year-end report on the state of the courts to point out that the judicial branch consumes "a miniscule portion of the federal budget" — about $7 billion in fiscal year 2012, or two-tenths of 1 percent of the total government budget.
The simplest explanation to what's going on in Washington is that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans command majorities in both Houses and control of the White House and you can throw in political realignment as an explanation. Liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats have been diminished to the point of near extinction. But even so, Democrats and Republicans in Congress in years past somehow managed to make deals and legislate despite profound differences.
The Dow Industrials gained 166 points today. That's about 1.3 percent. Before today, the stock market had been steadily drifting lower, losing ground for five straight days. Joining us now to talk about the market is NPR's Jim Zarroli. And, Jim, of course, we don't know how today's talks in Washington will ultimately turn out, but it does appear that before the markets close today news of a deal was moving the markets. True?
As the hours ticked away before the end of the year, Congress still did not have a final package to vote on or even debate to avert automatic tax hikes and spending cuts. NPR's David Welna, reporting from the Capitol, talks with All Things Considered host Audie Cornish to help us understand what the next day or two may hold.
Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 1:32 pm
Jeff Jarvis has had enough of the White House's petition site.
The 1-year-old site, We the People, is meant to be a place for Americans to directly entreat the president. Any petition that gathers more than 25,000 signatures in its first month is supposed to generate an official response from the Obama administration.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Less than 10 hours from now, we arrive at the political deadline set by Congress and the president a year and a half ago when they mandated a deal on taxes and spending so awful, so unthinkable, that the prospect would surely force a compromise.
NPR's coverage of President Obama's comments on the "fiscal cliff" talks
Update at 9:45 p.m. Deal Reached
Vice President Joe Biden was meeting late Monday with Senate Democrats to brief them on a proposed deal to stop sharp tax increases and spending cuts. A source told NPR the deal with congressional Democratic and Republican leaders includes a mix of both.
Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick will represent Arizona's 1st Congressional District when she returns to Washington this week after sitting out a term. This time around, Kirkpatrick hopes to strengthen her foothold in a swing district, but she's dealing with a tricky electorate.
First elected to the House in 2008, Kirkpatrick turned a red district blue. Then in 2010, the backlash against President Obama and his health care plan hurt her. So, a Republican dentist from Flagstaff took her seat for a term.
The countdown is on to a new year — and the fiscal changes that are on the other side of midnight. But what else is on the cards economically for 2013, both here and overseas? Guest host Celeste Headlee puts the question to the Wall Street Journal's Sudeep Reddy.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up: Why did the Oscar-winning filmmaker of "The Hobbit" devote his time, money and moviemaking skills to an entirely different project about a long-ago crime in Arkansas? We'll speak with Peter Jackson and one of the men featured in a new documentary "West of Memphis." That's in just a few minutes.
Despite what has been called a status quo election, life is far from static on Capitol Hill. The 113th Congress will bring with it generational and some historic changes, including the first all-female delegation for a state (New Hampshire), and the fewest number of military veterans in the Senate and House since World War II.
Originally published on Mon December 31, 2012 3:49 am
As American make contributions to various charities at the end of the year, there is increasing evidence that politics is playing a role in their decisions. Research suggests that the way the charity presses certain ideological buttons predicts whether liberals or conservatives will pony up a donation.
And let's turn to some other developments we're following very closely. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in a New York City hospital this morning. She is being treated for a blood clot. Now, a State Department spokesman said this stems from a concussion Clinton sustained earlier this month. The blood clot was discovered during a follow-up exam yesterday.
We're joined in the studio by two of our colleagues, NPR foreign affairs correspondent Jackie Northam and NPR science editor Rob Stein. Good morning to both of you.
Earlier this week, former George W. Bush adviser and Republican strategist Mark McKinnon wrote that all he wants for Christmas is a new GOP. He tells host Jacki Lyden what he wants from his party going forward.
Arizona DREAM Act Coalition staff members, other advocacy group representatives and young immigrants line up in Phoenix last August for guidance about the federal program called Deferred Action, that would help illegal immigrants avoid deportation.
This is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.
Time is quickly running out for Congress to strike a deal blocking automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that kick in within the New Year. Despite the presence of Vice President Joe Biden at the White House and a flurry of proposals passed back and forth today between Senate Republicans and Democrats, things seem to have reached an impasse this afternoon. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that nothing will happen this evening.
Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 4:15 pm
In the final hours of the latest budget crisis in Washington, several salient facts are increasingly clear.
First, the leaders of the two parties in the Senate might still put together a negotiated deal that would avert the combination of tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. The leaders would start with President Obama's top priorities, modify them to accommodate Republican preferences, throw in some measures that are GOP priorities and take the package to the floor.
Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 5:36 pm
Senate negotiators failed to reach a deal Sunday on averting the "fiscal cliff," with the chamber adjourning for the night and only one day remaining before a package of spending cuts and tax increases automatically kicks in.
Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate will go back in session at 11 a.m. ET Monday. It's at least theoretically possible that negotiators might reach a deal and the Senate will have a package to vote on when it reconvenes Monday, meaning the measure could go to the House — where it may or may not come to the floor for a vote.
Weekend Edition Sunday guest host Linda Wertheimer speaks with Joshua Green, senior national correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek, about the latest in the last-minute push to resolve the debt crisis.
Last year marked the first time in more than six decades that there was no Kennedy in elected office in the nation's capital.
But that gap ends this week with the inauguration of Rep.-elect Joseph Kennedy III of Massachusetts. The son of former Rep. Joe Kennedy and the grandson of the late Robert F. Kennedy was elected by a 2-1 margin in his first run for office.
There's little denying that Kennedy's election was about more than just him.
There's always name-calling in national elections, but now there are more ways to get the message out, says political opposition researcher Michael Rejebian. During the past election, he says, the dirt was just flying more often.
Rejebian and Alan Huffman — both former investigative reporters — dig up background on their clients' opponents. While their currency is facts, many of the political attacks this election cycle were doling out something different.
This is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.
Three days, that's how long Congress has to pass legislation that would avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. The combination of expiring tax cuts and across-the-board spending cuts become effective midnight on Monday. So happy New Year.
It's not exactly the way Republicans, Democrats or most Americans want to celebrate the New Year. To find out if we're any closer to a deal, I'm joined by NPR's White House correspondent Ari Shapiro. Hi Ari.
Even though the top four congressional leaders left their White House meeting with the president separately and silently on Friday, they cast the hourlong encounter in a positive light back at the Capitol.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi described the tone of the discussion to head off across-the-board tax hikes and spending cuts as "candid." An aide to House Speaker John Boehner put out a statement that noted that the group agreed the next step should be the Senate's — a tacit acknowledgement that Boehner is no longer the lead negotiator with President Obama.