NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman joins us now to talk about the Pentagon's view on cuts to military benefits. And Tom, we just heard from Quil that retirees feel the military is essentially breaking faith with those who served. But what do Pentagon leaders say to that?
TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Well, Audie, I spoke with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsey earlier this week and I asked him about these pension cuts and here's what he had to say.
For President Obama and Senate Democrats, who gathered in a White House meeting Wednesday, it's all about mutual aid at this point.
If Obama is to maintain any leverage in Congress, he needs Democrats to keep control of the Senate since the House appears likely to remain in Republican hands. And if his second term agenda has any hope of being achieved — such as tackling income inequality, overhauling immigration or reaching a durable nuclear deal with Iran — he'll need a Democratic Senate majority working side-by-side with him.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers took the first step Thursday to patch a gaping hole in the 1965 Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court eviscerated a key part of the law that allowed for federal oversight of states with a history of ballot box discrimination.
Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 10:47 am
In his new memoir, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates heaped scorn on many members of Congress for pushing their parochial interests with him.
But he saved a special dig for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
"With two ongoing wars and all our budget and other issues, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry," Gates writes, describing how the Nevada Democrat urged him to have the Defense Department invest in research into irritable bowel syndrome.
It's an anecdote that drew snickers — and media attention, including here at NPR.
Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:19 pm
On Jan. 17, 1961, President Eisenhower used his farewell address to warn Americans that:
"We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later in the program, we are going to head to South Eastern Kentucky. The area is one of those designated as a promise zone by the Obama administration. So we want to hear about what that will actually mean. That's in just a few minutes. But now we look at some of the other items on the president's agenda. He's gearing up for a big speech tomorrow about controversial surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency.
Former California official Maria Contreras-Sweet is President Obama's pick to lead the Small Business Administration. She was introduced and her official nomination announced at a White House event Thursday.
Born in Mexico, Contreras-Sweet became the first Latina to serve as a cabinet secretary in California when she led its Business, Transportation and Housing Agency from 1999-2003.
The Senate Intelligence Committee today delivered its analysis of the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans were killed in that attack, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens. It's a bipartisan report. Democrats and Republicans on the committee agreed, among other things, that the attack might have been prevented if the State Department had taken better precautions at the Benghazi post.