Gov. Robert Bentley's office spent $621,712 on travel in state-owned airplanes in his first 21 months in office.
The Decatur Daily and TimesDaily obtained the figures by filing an open records request with the Bentley administration.
Most of the travel was on a six-passenger jet owned by the state Department of Transportation. That agency billed the governor's office $598,610. The remaining $23,102 was for using aircraft operated by two other state agencies.
House Republicans have approved a farm bill sans food stamps, leaving a gaping hole in the middle of the measure for the first time in 40 years.
The 216-208 vote was largely on party lines, with no Democrats supporting it. Twelve Republicans also voted against it.
The decision to cleave food stamps — formerly called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, from the rest of the farm bill gives Republicans a victory after GOP lawmakers in the House turned down the full measure last month.
The prospects for a sweeping immigration overhaul dimmed as House Republican leaders said they would not take up a comprehensive bill passed by the Senate last month. Instead, they argued for a slower, step-by-step approach. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R, Fla.) tells Audie Cornish that he remains optimistic that the House can still pass a bill to fix the immigration system.
"On a recent trip to Afghanistan, I uncovered a potentially troubling example of waste that requires your immediate attention."
That's one of the opening lines of a letter the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction sent to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel this week. In it, Special Inspector General John Sopko detailed how a contract worth $34 million was used to build a facility U.S. troops will never use.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. The farm bill is back. Three weeks ago, the House surprised Hill watchers when Democrats and Republicans alike voted against the bill. Well, today, they passed it - narrowly. In today's bill, though, a huge component was missing. As NPR's Tamara Keith reports, House leaders stripped out the section of the bill that deals with food stamps.
It's already been a long summer for Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. A steady stream of news reports have revealed gifts and loans he and his family accepted from a campaign donor, totaling some $145,000. McDonnell has been mentioned as a possible future presidential candidate, though with these revelations some now express doubt about his chances.
As NPR's Brian Naylor reports the trouble for McDonnell could also affect the Republican who hopes to succeed him in the governor's office.
Senate Democrats appear so fed up enough by Republicans blocking President Obama's appointments that they are preparing to change Senate rules. The so-called "nuclear option" would end the use of the filibuster when it comes to appointments, dramatically diminishing the power of the minority party in the chamber.
Yes, Egypt is being torn apart and the immigration bill is in trouble. But that pales when you consider the fact that Eliot Spitzer IS RUNNING FOR NEW YORK CITY COMPTROLLER!! Fear not, NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving are all over it.
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
A Russian court found whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky guilty of tax evasion on Thursday, ending a convoluted case that caused a diplomatic row between Moscow and Washington. It gets even more bizarre given the fact that the man on trial died in 2009.
The posthumous conviction is unprecedented in modern times – even in a country with a history of show trials. But it's not entirely unheard of throughout the ages.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Good morning. Pork was on the menu on Capitol Hill yesterday, but not the kind Congress produces. Lawmakers on the Senate Agriculture Committee were focused on the takeover of Smithfield Foods by a big Chinese company.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene.
The massive immigration bill passed in the Senate with bipartisan support is now facing a challenge in the House. The Republican speaker has served notice that he will not put any bill to a vote that doesn't have the support of a majority of Republicans. And yesterday, almost every House Republican crowded into a closed-door meeting in the basement of the Capitol to discuss the issue.
The prospects for an immigration overhaul effort that could reshape the contours of American society appeared grim Wednesday after a closed door meeting of House Republicans.
A majority of the fractious House Republican Conference lined up in opposition to (barely) bipartisan legislation already approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate, despite the urging of leaders to do something on the issue.
Sensing that recent delays in key portions of the Affordable Care Act have caught the Obama administration at a weak point in its rollout of the law, Republicans in Congress are doubling down on their efforts to cripple the measure, at least in the eyes of the public if not in fact.
The Republican Party seems like two parties these days. In the Senate, Republicans joined a two-thirds majority to pass an immigration bill. But in the House, Republicans are balking.
Strategist Alex Lundry says it's hard to figure out the way forward when your party's base of power is the House of Representatives.
"One problem we have in the wilderness is that there are a thousand chiefs," he says. "And it is hard to get a party moving when you don't have somebody at the top who is a core leader who can be directive."
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish.
The push for a big rewrite of the nation's immigration laws has moved from one side of the Capitol to the other. Late last month, the Democratic-led Senate passed a sweeping immigration overhaul. Now it's up to the GOP-led House to act.