When Congress reached a bipartisan budget deal last December, there was much fanfare about the compromises made by both parties. And immediately afterwards, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle began working to reverse one of the spending cuts - a small reduction in military pensions. One plan to restore those pensions is up for a vote today in the Senate. As NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, resistance against the small cut is calling into question whether Congress has the political will to reduce the long-term debt.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
On Capitol Hill this week, another congressman is calling it quits. Representative Rob Andrews, a Democrat from New Jersey, will be resigning a week from Tuesday. In his 23 years in Congress, Andrews proposed 646 bills, and none of them was ever enacted. The Washington Post called it the, quote, "worst record of the last 20 years."
I spoke with Andrews earlier this week and asked him to respond to that headline.
Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 1:04 pm
Attorney General Eric Holder has for the first time directed Justice Department employees to give same-sex married couples "full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent under the law," a move with far-ranging consequences for how such couples are treated in federal courtrooms and proceedings.
An American diplomat got in trouble for saying something, well, undiplomatic.
Victoria Nuland, a top State Department official, thought she was having a private phone conversation. She was speaking about developments in Ukraine with the U.S. ambassador to that country, Geoffrey Pyatt. And she was speaking bluntly, even using a not-so-choice word about America's European allies.
Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 11:51 am
Bitter partisan brinkmanship has been the hallmark of debates over raising the debt ceiling in recent years, but there are signs that it could be less contentious this time around. Still, Congress needs to act fast to avoid a default. Here are three things you should know as things move forward:
-- Without a deal, the Treasury will officially run out of money on Feb. 27:
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — State Sen. Scott Beason is making another run for Alabama's 6th District congressional seat, adding a high-profile tea party name to a large GOP field. Beason announced his campaign Friday, the final day to file qualifying papers. So far seven Republicans are contending for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus. Beason was behind Alabama's sweeping immigration bill, considered the toughest in the nation before it was largely gutted by the courts. He was also the sponsor of Alabama gun legislation last year.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A bill pending in the Legislature would establish a gradually increasing minimum wage in Alabama. WAKA-TV reports Alabama is one of five states without any minimum wage law, but legislation in the House would change that. The bill would allow Alabama to set its own minimum wage instead of relying on the federal government. The current minimum wage set by the federal government is $7.25 an hour. The bill would gradually increase the minimum wage in Alabama to $9.80 an hour by 2016. Democratic state Rep.
Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 7:31 pm
A federal jury has found Mayor Tony F. Mack of Trenton, N.J., guilty of six charges ranging from extortion and bribery to fraud. Mack's brother was also convicted of conspiracy and bribery charges in the case, which involved plans for a parking garage.
The Justice Department announced the jury's ruling Friday evening. In a news release about the verdict, U.S. Attorney Fishman said that Mack and his brother, Ralphiel, had schemed to use the influence of the mayor's office to extract money in exchange for easing development on city-owned land. Their trial lasted five weeks.
Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 7:31 pm
In politics, it always comes down to timing. And right now, it appears the timing just isn't right for congressional Republicans to take up an immigration overhaul.
If you read between the lines, that's what Speaker John Boehner was saying when he talked earlier in the week about how "difficult" the immigration issue is. And it's what GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell was saying when he indicated earlier in the week that he didn't see immigration overhaul happening this year at all.
President Obama's plan to bypass roadblocks in Congress and govern through executive order isn't going over well on Capitol Hill. Republican lawmakers are demanding to see the legal justification for some of the president's decisions on healthcare and the minimum wage. NPR's Carrie Johnson has that story.
Melissa Block speaks with our regular political commentators, E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution and David Brooks of The New York Times about the lackluster January jobs report, the debate surrounding a new report from Congressional Budget Office and the renewed debate over immigration policy.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. And we'll begin the hour with the latest snapshot of the American economy. Once again, the news is mostly disappointing. Employers added a scant 113,000 jobs to payrolls last month. That's the second straight month where hiring fell far below expectations. On the other hand, the unemployment rate fell slightly and a good number of people who've been out of work for a long time found jobs.