Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 5:48 pm
Barely three years after the Supreme Court's landmark Citizens United ruling, which liberated corporations to spend freely in elections, the justices say they'll take up another campaign finance case — this time aiming at one of the limits on the "hard money" that goes directly to candidates and party committees.
The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to campaign finance laws limiting how much an individual can give to political campaigns.
The justices on Tuesday decided to hear an appeal from Shaun McCutcheon of Alabama and the Republican National Committee. They are arguing that it's unconstitutional to stop a donor from giving more than $46,200 to political candidates and $70,800 to political committees and PACs.
Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 4:01 pm
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is out with his first ad of the 2014 election cycle. It's a three-minute, Web-only spoof that pokes fun at President Obama and an array of Democrats who might challenge McConnell, the five-term Kentucky senator.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer.
Earlier this hour, President Obama spoke in the White House about the impacts of deep spending cuts that are scheduled to take effect a week from Friday. A group of first responders in uniforms stood behind him. The president said if Congress does not stop these cuts, these men and women in uniform will not be available to help communities respond to, and recover from disasters.
The Defense Department and other government agencies are preparing for the possible government budget cuts known as sequestration. Host Michel Martin talks with Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Robbins of the Defense Department and Washington Post 'Federal Diary' columnist Joe Davidson about who'll be affected.
Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 10:54 am
Standing in front of first responders who he says could lose their jobs, President Obama pushed Tuesday for Congress to act now to avoid $85 billion in "automatic, severe budget cuts" set to kick in starting on March 1.
The cuts due because of the so-called sequestration "are not smart, they are not fair [and] they will hurt our economy," the president said.
Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 11:25 am
Nobody saw this one coming.
Sen. Mike Johanns, a reliably conservative Republican from Nebraska, announced yesterday (Feb. 18) he would retire rather than seek a second term in 2014 ... one where he was considered the overwhelming favorite. A former two-term governor and agriculture secretary under President George W. Bush, Johanns wrote his constituents an open letter that was also signed by his wife Stephanie:
These should be good times for Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez.
New Jersey voters re-elected him last fall in a landslide, and he became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee a few weeks ago. But along the way, Menendez has come under scrutiny by the Senate Ethics Committee and perhaps other government investigators — and certainly the media — for his connections to a longtime friend and generous campaign donor.
The quality of health care for female veterans will be the highlight at a town hall meeting in Tuscaloosa tonight. The American Legion is hosting the event. It’s the country’s largest organization of war-time veterans. Officials say women now make up about 15 percent of the country’s service members. About 340,000 women veterans are currently enrolled in the VA health-care system, and officials say they expect that number to keep growing. Roscoe Butler is a field representative with the American Legion.
Alabama's new chief justice, Roy Moore, says the judicial system is being cut out of existence.
Moore says the state General Fund appropriation for the court system is less now that when he began his first term in 2001. He said legislation passed last year to increase court fees isn't producing the revenue that state officials forecast for the courts. He predicts that Gov. Robert Bentley's proposed budget for the courts in the new fiscal year will leave a $19 million shortfall and cause more layoffs.