Politics & Government

It's All Politics
4:49 am
Sat February 23, 2013

Senate Decisions Could Put Lindsey Graham's Seat At Risk

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina voices his opposition to President Obama's choice of former Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska as secretary of defense, on Capitol Hill last week.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 10:55 am

It seems Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has done his best in recent weeks to get as much ink as possible, talking about things that play well with the conservatives in his home state of South Carolina, like Benghazi and gun rights.

Graham also held up the nomination of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary to get more answers about what happened in Benghazi, even as he admitted Hagel had nothing to do with it. But his opposition might have more to do with home state politics than the nomination itself.

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It's All Politics
4:13 am
Sat February 23, 2013

States Take Sides As Court Revisits Voting Rights Act

President Lyndon Johnson and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. discuss the Voting Rights Act in 1965. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court hears arguments on whether a key part of the law is still needed nearly a half century after its passage.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments next week in a case that tests the constitutionality of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the law considered the most effective civil rights statute in American history. At issue is whether a key provision of the statute has outlived its usefulness.

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It's All Politics
5:06 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

What's The Sequester? And How Did We Get Here?

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (left) answers questions during a briefing with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Friday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 6:26 pm

They've been everywhere this week: dire warnings about threats posed by across-the-board federal spending cuts.

Unless Congress acts, the cuts are due to take effect a week from Friday. The administration is trying to drive home the ways that could affect you.

For example, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned Friday that air traffic controllers will have to take unpaid days off beginning in April. Fewer controllers on the job could mean airport delays, and some airlines may decide to cancel flights.

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It's All Politics
4:18 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Sequester In South Carolina: A Tale Of Fighter Jets And Preschools

Four F-16s from the 77th Fighter Squadron of Shaw Air Force Base fly over Darlington Raceway before a NASCAR race in Darlington, S.C., in May 2012.
Geoff Burke Getty Images for NASCAR

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 5:47 pm

In Sumter, S.C., home of Shaw Air Force Base and the 20th Fighter Wing, cars sport bumper stickers that say, "Jet noise is the sound of freedom."

Throughout the day, F-16s on training runs blast from a runway on base, disappearing into the foggy sky. But if automatic, across-the-board federal spending cuts slated for March 1 go into effect, there will be a lot less of that sound.

"To cut to that level, we just could not pay for the amount of flying hours that we currently have," says Capt. Ann Blodzinski, the base's chief of public affairs.

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BackTalk
11:06 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Who Should We Honor On Presidents' Day?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now it's time for BackTalk. That's where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere. Editor Ammad Omar is with us. What's going on today, Ammad?

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Economy
11:06 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Could Minimum Wage Increase Boom Or Bust Economy?

President Obama's plan to jump-start the economy starts with increasing the minimum wage and avoiding sequestration. Host Michel Martin talks about those challenges and others, like rising gas prices and expanding waist lines. She's joined by NPR's senior business editor Marilyn Geewax and Wall Street Journal economics reporter Sudeep Reddy.

It's All Politics
10:25 am
Fri February 22, 2013

A User's Guide To Washington Jargon

House Speaker John Boehner held a news conference Feb. 13 in which Republicans promoted the hashtag #Obamaquester to blame President Obama for automatic spending cuts set to kick in March 1.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

It's not as elegant as some languages, but neither is it as impenetrable as, say, an economics textbook or the iTunes user agreement.

"We have our own language on Capitol Hill," says Don Ritchie, head of the Senate Historical Office.

That language — the budget terms and political euphemisms that fly freely through the air in Washington, D.C. — often ends up seeping into the nation's discourse.

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'It's All Politics': NPR's Weekly News Roundup
8:25 am
Fri February 22, 2013

It's All Politics, Feb. 21, 2013

President Barack Obama points to the crowd after delivering remarks on immigration in Las Vegas in January.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images
  • Listen to the Roundup

Since President Obama and congressional Republicans have decided to blame each other for the impending sequester, this week's podcast is dedicated to pointing fingers at everyone, including Jesse Jackson Jr., Pete Domenici and Joe "Buy a Shotgun" Biden. And if the podcast is not interesting? Blame NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving.

Politics
4:42 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Obama To Urge Japan To Join Trans-Pacific Partnership

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 5:26 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a Japanese visit to the White House.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet with President Obama at the White House today. For Abe, the primary focus of the summit is re-vitalizing Japan's security alliance with the United States in the face of the threat from North Korea as well as tensions between Japan and China.

But as NPR's John Ydstie reports, the leaders will also discuss economic issues.

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Scottsboro Boys
4:45 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Alabama Senate Votes For Scottsboro Boys Pardon

The Alabama Senate votes to allow posthumous pardons for the Scottsboro Boys.
Credit en.wikipedia.org

The Alabama Senate has approved legislation to allow posthumous pardons for the Scottsboro Boys.


The Senate voted 29-0 Thursday for the legislation sponsored by Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur. The bill now goes to the House for what Orr predicts will be a similar vote.

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Medicaid Expansion
4:39 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Ala. Senate Democrats Blocked On Medicaid Effort

Senate Minority Leader Vivian Davis Figures has offered a resolution urging Governor Bentley to reconsider his decision not to expand Medicaid.
Credit AP Photo/Dave Martin

Democrats in the Alabama Senate are having trouble pressing their top issue.


Senate Minority Leader Vivian Davis Figures of Mobile offered a resolution Thursday urging the Republican governor to reconsider his decision not to expand Medicaid. The Senate's Republican leader, President Pro Tem Del Marsh, cut off debate on the resolution by getting it sent to the Senate Rules Committee.

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Politics & Government
4:29 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Sept. 11 Trial Judge Gives Defense Attorneys Access To 'Camp 7'

This image reviewed by the U.S. military shows the front gate of "Camp Six" detention facility of the Joint Detention Group at the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Defense attorneys in the trial of the five men accused of orchestrating the terror attacks on September 11th will get to see for the first time where their clients are incarcerated.

The army judge presiding over the trial at Guantanamo Bay said today he will allow the lawyers to visit a secret section of the prison.

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Hagel Nomination
4:26 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

GOP Senator From Ala. Signals Support For Hagel Nomination

Republican Senator Richard Shelby says he will vote to confirm Chuck Hagel as defense secretary.
Credit United States Senate / Wikimedia Commons

Republican Sen. Richard Shelby says he will vote to confirm Chuck Hagel as defense secretary, a major boost for President Barack Obama's nominee.


The Alabama lawmaker tells the Decatur Daily he has concerns about his fellow Republican but plans to support him. Shelby spokesman Jonathan Graffeo said Thursday that, barring unforeseen surprises, the senator will vote for confirmation.

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It's All Politics
4:00 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

The 'Line' For Legal Immigration Is Already About 4 Million People Long

Newly sworn-in U.S. citizens recite the Pledge of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony in Baltimore in 2012.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 9:26 am

In the back and forth between Congress and the White House over immigration, both sides seem to agree that people now in the U.S. illegally should wait at "the back of the line" for legal residency — meaning no green card until all other immigrants get theirs.

But that presents a problem, because the wait for a green card can take decades.

Maria has been waiting in line with her husband for 16 years and counting for what the government calls a priority date for legal residency. Because she is in the U.S. without documents, Maria asked NPR to use only her first name.

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Politics
3:51 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

'Friends Of Hamas': How A Joke Went Wrong

Originally published on Sun February 24, 2013 7:50 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

Among the many charges thrown at Chuck Hagel, as he seeks confirmation as defense secretary, is this one: that he received funding from a group called Friends of Hamas. That explosive claim first surfaced on the conservative website breitbart.com. It got traction and spread among conservative media.

Thing is there's no evidence that any such group exists, not to mention any evidence of a Hamas-Hagel connection.

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