Politics

It's All Politics
3:10 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

IRS Chief: No Evidence Of 'Intentional Wrongdoing' So Far

Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel testifies before the House Financial and General Government subcommittee in early June.
Win McNamee Getty Images

That "be on the lookout list" used to flag Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny of their tax-exemption applications?

It turns out it wasn't the only one the Internal Revenue Service had been using.

There were also other lists, covering a "broad spectrum" of categories and cases, according to a preliminary IRS report released Monday.

"Once we came to that conclusion, we took immediate action to suspend the use of these lists in the Exempt Organizations unit within IRS," said Danny Werfel, the new acting chief of the IRS, in a conference call with reporters.

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Law
11:50 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Race And Admissions: The University Of Texas' Long History

Students walk through the University of Texas, Austin, campus near the school's iconic tower.
Eric Gay AP

The U.S. Supreme Court sent a case involving the use of race in the University of Texas' admissions process back to a lower court for stricter scrutiny on Monday. It's one more chapter in the university's long struggle with how it chooses who gets in.

Here's a brief look at some key moments:

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Politics
3:16 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Political Conservatives Stage App-Building Competition

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 9:54 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's no great secret that Republicans are behind in applying digital technology to politics. They admitted as much after the last presidential election. And in an effort to catch up, over the weekend, political conservatives staged an event called the Liberty Hackathon in San Francisco. The sponsor of the app building competition was the Charles Koch Institute, named for its benefactor the billionaire backer of the Tea Party Movement.

NPR's Nathan Rott went to the event and sent us this report.

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U.S.
12:57 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Why The AR-15 Is More Than Just A Gun

"We've always sold more guns when Democrats are in office than we ever sell when Republicans [are] in office," says Mitch May, the general manager at Clark Brothers Gun Shop in Warrenton, Va.
Ailsa Chang NPR

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 10:07 am

Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid insist that gun control legislation is not dead — they say they're strategizing on how to bring the issue back to the Senate floor.

Even if it does return, one proposal unlikely to survive is an assault weapons ban. Military-style assault rifles now form a nearly $1 billion industry supported by gun owners who spend thousands of dollars collecting these firearms.

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Education
5:37 am
Sun June 23, 2013

What Happens Without Affirmative Action: The Story Of UCLA

Students at the University of California, Los Angeles, rally in October to protest claims that race factored into the school's admission decisions.
Neil Bedi The Daily Bruin

Originally published on Sun June 23, 2013 11:10 am

The Supreme Court is expected to rule this week on a case that may shake up race-conscious admissions in higher education. The justices could change the shape of affirmative action or even strike it down altogether.

California is one of eight states that have already scrapped affirmative action. That means state schools can no longer consider the race of its applicants. At the University of California, Los Angeles, the change has been messy, ambiguous — and sometimes a little ugly.

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Code Switch
5:03 am
Sun June 23, 2013

More States Let Unauthorized Immigrants Take The Wheel

Immigrant advocates use an image of New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez on a mock state driver's license during a 2012 rally in Santa Fe, N.M., to protest her proposal to repeal a state law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses.
Russell Contreras AP

Originally published on Sun June 23, 2013 11:01 am

The national debate over immigration may be churning on in Washington, D.C., but there's one policy a growing number of states can agree on: driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants.

Vermont, Connecticut and Colorado passed new laws this month allowing drivers without Social Security numbers to receive licenses or authorization cards. They join Nevada, Maryland and Oregon, whose governors signed similar laws in May. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn started the trend this year when he signed Senate Bill 957 in January.

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Health
4:28 pm
Sat June 22, 2013

Ohio Family-Planning Services At Mercy Of Budget Bill

Family-planning clinics would be pushed down the list of health services receiving funding from the state if a budget bill moving through the Ohio Legislature is signed into law.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat June 22, 2013 4:53 pm

Working its way through the Ohio Legislature is a state budget bill that has major implications for the way family-planning services are provided. The Ohio budget contains language that puts family-planning clinics at the bottom of the list to receive funding.

Family Planning Association of Northeast Ohio operates several independent family-planning clinics. They do not provide abortions and have no affiliation with Planned Parenthood, but the clinics are still at the end of the line under a new tiered system because they give referrals.

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Politics
6:28 am
Sat June 22, 2013

Did IRS Targeting Harm Tea Party Groups?

Originally published on Sat June 22, 2013 8:59 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. The U.S. Congress continues its hearings into the IRS flagging of Tea Party groups that apply for tax-exempt status. What may have been overlooked is the fact that this status would have offered little practical benefit to most of the groups that were targeted.

Joining us now to help explain all this is NPR's S.V. Date who coordinates campaign finance coverage for NPR. Shirish, thanks very much for being with us.

SHIRISH DATE, BYLINE: You're quite welcome, Scott.

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It's All Politics
3:20 am
Sat June 22, 2013

Presents From The President: What Obama Gives His Friends

President Obama meets with speechwriter Jon Favreau in the Oval Office in 2009.
Pete Souza White House via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 22, 2013 7:59 pm

Between his trip to Europe last week and his travels to Africa next week, President Obama is doing a lot of gift exchanges with foreign leaders.

In the past, he has gotten mixed reviews. Four years ago, he was panned for giving the queen of England an iPod. Other presents have gone over better. But the president does not personally select these gifts — a staffer does.

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It's All Politics
4:35 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Marco Rubio's Big Problem: Explaining His Immigration Shift

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is a member of the so-called Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group of lawmakers working on immigration reform.
Drew Angerer Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 7:23 pm

Sen. Marco Rubio has a problem. He has transformed from conservative hero to suspect in the eyes of many on the political right because he now supports "a path to citizenship" for people unlawfully in the U.S. after forcefully opposing it in 2010 when he was running for U.S. Senate.

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Politics
4:29 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Shortening Lines At Polling Stations A Challenging Task

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 5:11 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. Seven months ago many voters waited in long lines to cast ballots in the presidential election. Well, today a presidential commission charged with fixing the problem was finally up and running. As NPR's Pam Fessler reports, the panel's looking for answers to questions that have challenged election officials for a long time.

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Politics
4:29 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Va. Gubernatorial Race Could Preview Congressional Midterms

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 5:11 pm

Republicans and Democrats are looking at this year's race for governor in Virginia as a possible harbinger of the 2014 election. The contest pits Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli against Democratic Party fundraiser Terry McAuliffe. Both candidates are strongly supported by their respective bases, but sport strong negatives among moderate voters. The outcome could come down to turnout.

Health
12:03 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Obesity Is A 'Disease.' Now What?

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, you've heard about gay marriage and affirmative reaction cases before the Supreme Court, but we'll talk about another important case that isn't getting a lot of attention in just a few minutes. But first, over the past few decades, obesity has become a serious health care issue in the United States. The obesity rate was 13 percent in 1962, it now stands at 34 percent of adults and 17 percent of children.

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Law
12:03 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Who Will Care For 'Baby Veronica?'

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

Now we turn to the Supreme Court. The country is waiting on several rulings, important cases dealing with affirmative action, voting rights, and same-sex marriage. But there are other pending cases with lower profiles that still carry really profound implications for the country.

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Barbershop
12:03 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Humble Pie And Doughnut Burgers In The Barbershop

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michelle Martin is away today. And it's time, yet again, for our weekly visit to the barbershop. The guys are going to talk about what's in the news, what's on their minds.

Sitting in the chairs for a shape-up this week - writer and culture critic Jimi Izrael, contributing editor for The Root, Corey Dade. Arsalan Iftikhar - he's senior editor of the Islamic Monthly and founder of TheMuslimGuy.com. They're all here in D.C. with me. How're you guys doing?

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Shots - Health News
11:09 am
Fri June 21, 2013

FDA OKs Prescription-Free Plan B For All Ages, Ending Battle

Protesters picket in front of the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building in New York City in 2006 for the removal of an age limit on the morning-after pill.
Bloomberg Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 2:23 pm

The Food and Drug Administration Thursday evening approved over-the-counter sale, with no age restrictions, of Plan B One-Step. That's the morning-after pill whose status has been the subject of a dozen years of political wrangling and legal dispute.

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'It's All Politics': NPR's Weekly News Roundup
7:33 am
Fri June 21, 2013

It's All Politics, June 20, 2013

Evan Vucci AP

NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin weigh in on President Obama leaving controversies like the IRS and the NSA behind as he attended the G-8 summit in Europe. Back in Washington, the House OKs a far-reaching 20-week abortion ban bill. And former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) raises eyebrows saying immigrants are "more fertile" than U.S.-born citizens.

Politics
4:03 am
Fri June 21, 2013

The Death Penalty's Slow But Seemingly Sure Decline

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn speaks with reporters at the Capitol in 2011 after signing legislation abolishing the death penalty in the state.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 11:00 am

The death penalty has become a bit like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland. It may never fade away entirely, but capital punishment is certainly less visible or actively pursued than it used to be.

In May, Maryland became the sixth state in as many years to abolish the death penalty. Across the nation as a whole, fewer criminals are being put to death. Last year, 43 were executed, down significantly from the peak of 98 back in 1999.

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Politics
2:34 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Compromise Deal Speed Immigration Bill Through Senate

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 3:27 am

The chances of an immigration overhaul bill getting through the Senate greatly improved on Thursday. A deal was reached on a border security plan. Steve Inskeep talks about the deal with two of the senators in the so-called "Gang of Eight," who are working on a bipartisan approach to immigration, Arizona Republican Jeff Flake and Illinois Democrat Richard Durbin.

Politics
2:34 am
Fri June 21, 2013

House Votes Down 5-year Farm Bill

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 3:22 am

Members of the House on Thursday rejected the measure, studded with Republican priorities. In the past, the farm bill has been a model of bipartisan support. But defections in both parties spelled the bill's doom.

Shots - Health News
1:04 am
Fri June 21, 2013

With Health Exchanges Poised To Open, PR Push Draws Scrutiny

In San Jose, Calif., on June 6, President Obama encouraged people to sign up for insurance in the nation's largest health insurance market.
Stephen Lam Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 7:07 pm

This weekend marks 100 days until people can begin signing up for new health insurance coverage under the federal health care law. It also marks another milestone: the launch of an enormous public relations effort to find people eligible for new coverage and urge them to sign up when the time comes.

But like everything else about the health law, even this seemingly innocuous effort has been touched by controversy.

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National Security
1:03 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Obama's Pick To Lead FBI Adds New Layer To Privacy Debate

Jim Comey, then deputy attorney general, testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in 2005.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 2:34 am

President Obama will formally nominate Jim Comey to be the country's next FBI director on Friday.

Comey, a registered Republican and longtime federal prosecutor, is best-known for raising alarms inside the Bush White House about a secret electronic surveillance program. That issue has taken on new resonance after disclosures about the Obama administration's dragnet collection of American phone records.

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The Salt
4:05 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

House Smacks Down Farm Bill, And Farm Lobby, Too

Gracie Shannon-Sanborn, 5, holds a sign as she joins her father Allen Sanborn (L) and members of Progressive Democrats of America at a rally in front of Rep. Henry Waxman's office on June 17, 2013 in Los Angeles, Calif. The protestors asked the congressman to vote against a House farm bill, which was defeated Thursday.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 12:16 pm

The so-called farm bill came to the floor of the House of Representatives Thursday. And it crashed. The defeat shocked many observers, but the vote wasn't even particularly close: 234-195. (You can see how your own representative voted here.)

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It's All Politics
3:58 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Why The Immigration Fight Seems Like The NBA Finals

The final outcome of the congressional fight over immigration will be as unpredictable as the result of Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 4:57 pm

Maybe Game 6 of the NBA Finals has something to teach us about how to watch the immigration debate now taking place in Congress.

Game 6, of course, was the instant sports classic in which the defending champion Miami Heat made an improbable comeback to tie their series with the San Antonio Spurs, three games apiece.

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Environment
2:48 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

White House Plans Major New Push On Climate Change

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 4:42 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The White House is planning a major new push on climate change. The initiative may include rules to limit emissions from existing power plants. That's a controversial move that environmentalists wanted for a long time. For more, NPR's Ari Shapiro joins us from the White House. And Ari, up until now, where has climate change been on the president's list of priorities, would you say?

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Politics
2:48 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Farm Bill Meets Surprise Defeat In U.S. House

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 4:42 pm

The U.S. House defeated its version of the farm bill this afternoon. The bill would have cut the food stamps program and transformed subsidies for farmers from direct payments to crop insurance premium support. But Republicans lost 60 of their own members who voted no, along with most Democrats.

Politics
2:48 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Immigration Bill Breaks Through Stall With Security Compromise

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 4:42 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. We begin this hour with what appears to be a major breakthrough in the Senate on immigration. The legislation has been stalled, as some senators complained that it did not do enough to secure the border with Mexico. Well, today, a compromise has been struck. It would nearly double the number of border patrol agents at the Mexican border.

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Author Interviews
12:19 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

'The Center Holds' Sees Victory For Moderates In Obama's Win

In his new book, The Center Holds, Jonathan Alter looks at President Obama's re-election campaign.
Simon & Schuster

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 12:50 pm

Journalist Jonathan Alter sees the 2012 presidential contest as the most consequential election of recent times. In his new book, The Center Holds, Alter argues that President Obama's re-election prevented the country from veering sharply to the right.

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Politics
12:11 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

4 Facts You Might Not Have Known About The IRS Scandal

Dennis Brack Landov

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 11:52 am

For a little more than a month now, we've been reporting on the IRS's flagging of Tea Party and conservative groups for extra scrutiny. Through it all, some basic questions remain: Who ordered the targeting? And why?

We don't have any satisfying answers to those questions yet — and it seems neither do the congressional investigators. But along the way, as new revelations have trickled out, we've noticed some surprising and even puzzling facts about the situation that haven't gotten much attention.

Here are four of them:

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National Security
2:34 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Director Mueller Told Senate Panel FBI Uses Drones

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 5:07 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On a Thursday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Good Morning.

In one of his final appearances on Capitol Hill, normally media-shy FBI Director Robert Mueller made some news. Mueller, who's retiring in September, acknowledged that the FBI has started to deploy unarmed drones in the U.S. Still, he played down how often agents use those drones.

NPR's Carrie Johnson has more.

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