A school flexibility bill recently passed by the Alabama House won't come up in the Senate until at least Thursday.
The Senate's Republican leadership had planned to ask the Senate to pass the bill Tuesday. But Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, says they decided to wait because three Republican senators were either absent or late Tuesday. He says he hopes to bring up the bill Thursday.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Audie Cornish. Tick-tock goes the sequester clock. Three more days until automatic across-the-board spending cuts kick in. And today, President Obama was once again on the road trying to build public pressure on Congress to delay or replace the cuts. NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson begins our coverage.
With automatic spending cuts totaling $85 billion scheduled to start Friday, Congressional leaders and President Obama continued maneuvering to avoid the political fallout. Melissa Block talks to Tamara Keith about the state of play and has details from a poll that suggests that Americans want to cut the deficit, but only in the abstract.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
Next month, the Supreme Court will take up a highly anticipated challenge to California's Prop 8, the ban on gay marriage. Today, a group of prominent Republicans weighed in with a legal brief opposing the ban. That puts them at odds with their party's position. But as NPR's Don Gonyea reports, it puts them in line with public opinion.
An Iranian woman shops at a supermarket in the capital, Tehran, on Feb. 22. International sanctions have hurt Iran's economy, but prospects for a breakthrough on Iran's nuclear program are dim as negotiators meet in Kazakhstan.
Credit Behrouz Mehri / AFP/Getty Images
A view of fruit market in the northern Iranian city of Tonekabon.
A new round of international talks on Iran's nuclear program is under way in Kazakhstan, where the U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany are asking Iran to give up any thought of building a nuclear weapon in exchange for relief from sanctions.
Western leaders do not predict a breakthrough, but they say small steps could be taken that would increase confidence on both sides.
Still, it's hard to imagine how such negotiations could proceed with lower expectations for progress.
Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 2:41 pm
You are Barack Obama and you find yourself hacking away in the weeds of sequestration — and some frustration. What's going on?
After all, you won a second term as President of the United States. You withstood the hooks and slices of a nasty campaign. Your approval rating is on the rise. Over President's Day weekend you played golf with Tiger Woods. For an American politician, it probably doesn't get any better than this.
President Obama has for weeks warned congressional Republicans and the American public of the dangers facing the nation from the sequester budget cuts.
Failing to reach a deal between the White House and Congress by Friday could lead to some young children being dropped from Head Start, the FBI furloughing agents and fewer food inspectors, according to the president.
If the cuts unleash these and other harms, like longer lines at airports, Congress and voters won't be able to say they weren't warned.
And now we turn to a political stalemate that seems to be turning into a crisis. We've been talking about the across-the-board cuts to the federal budget that seem more and more likely to go into effect this Friday because Congress and the White House have not agreed on a deficit reduction plan. It's being called sequestration.
Edward Blum isn't a lawyer, and he doesn't play one on TV.
But he has been the driving force behind two race-related cases before the U.S. Supreme Court this term, including one that justices will hear Wednesday that seeks to roll back a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
The other, Fisher v. University of Texas, which challenges the use of race and ethnicity in public college and university admissions policies, was heard by the court in October and awaits its decision.