Politics & Government

Politics
2:46 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Why The GOP Is Winning The Statehouse War

Texas is one of 23 states in which Republicans have control of both the state legislature and the governor's office.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:18 pm

While the federal government is divided and gridlocked, some states have become political monopolies where one party controls both the state legislature and the governor's office.

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The Two-Way
1:48 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

What's America's Problem? 1 In 5 Says It's The Government

Dissatisfaction with America's government headed the list of problems cited in a new Gallup poll. Here, dusk falls on the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 30 — the eve of the federal shutdown that further frustrated many citizens.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 8:05 pm

The biggest problem the United States faces is not unemployment or the economy — it's the country's government, according to a plurality of Americans cited in a recent Gallup poll. Among Republicans, Democrats and independents, dissatisfaction with the U.S.'s political leadership topped all other issues.

The open-ended question they answered in the monthly poll of American attitudes was, "What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?"

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Can I Just Tell You?
11:21 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Poverty: 'We Need To Talk About It As It Is, Not As It Was'

iStock.

Finally today, I'd like to end the program where we started: talking about poverty. We, like a lot of other people in the news business have been talking about poverty a lot this week and last.

We're doing this because we have something called a news peg — which is a fancy word for a reason to talk about something we want to talk about anyway. And that news peg is the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson's first State of the Union address, when he said this:

"This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America."

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Economy
11:21 am
Wed January 15, 2014

U.S. Agriculture Secretary 'Convinced' Rural Revitalization Plan Will Work

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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The Two-Way
9:55 am
Wed January 15, 2014

VIDEO: Springsteen, Fallon Do 'Gov. Christie Traffic Jam'

Bruce Springsteen (left) and Jimmy Fallon doing their "Gov. Christie Traffic Jam."
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon blog

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:39 pm

Being stuck in a horrendous traffic jam is no joke.

Nor is having your potential presidential prospects possibly put into jeopardy by a scandal involving your top aides.

But we do have to say that NBC-TV's Jimmy Fallon has come through yet again with another should-see music video that adds some laughs to the news.

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The Two-Way
7:03 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Extending Jobless Benefits Likely Delayed Again

The lines were busy last September at an unemployment insurance phone bank operated by the California Employment Development Department in Sacramento.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 11:21 am

The headlines tell the story:

-- "Hopes Dim For Long-Term Extension To Jobless Benefits." (All Things Considered)

-- "Senate Blocks Jobless Aid." (Politico)

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National Security
4:17 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Congress Weighs In On NSA Overhaul Proposals

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 6:30 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

The National Security Agency faces pressure to reform. Congress is starting to consider what to do about an agency that still operates in great secrecy but has seen many of its operations exposed. In a moment we'll ask how much more we don't know. We start with lawmakers listening to a presidential commission pushing for change after the disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

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Politics
2:05 am
Wed January 15, 2014

'Pretty Good' Budget Deal Looks Good Enough To Avoid Shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. A massive $1.1 trillion spending bill, aimed at funding the government until October, is getting generally positive reviews, including from House Republicans eager to avoid another shutdown crisis with elections looming.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 8:01 am

For the first time in years, the House of Representatives is expected to approve a massive new spending bill Wednesday that keeps federal agencies operating until a new fiscal year starts in October.

The so-called "omnibus" package of all 12 annual spending bills is a compromise; it has more money in it than what Congressional Republicans wanted, but less than what President Obama had asked for. There is some disappointment with the measure on both sides of the aisle, but this time nobody is talking about forcing another government shutdown.

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It's All Politics
6:13 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

5 Takeaways From The Omnibus Spending Bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks Tuesday on Capitol Hill, where a massive spending bill, aimed at funding the government through October and putting to rest the bitter budget battles of last year, is getting generally positive bipartisan reviews.
Susan Walsh AP

Regular order. That phrase refers to Congress conducting business in a methodical way, like it used to back before "dysfunctional" came to seem an official and permanent part of Congress' name.

When the House and Senate appropriations committee chairs announced late Monday evening that they had agreed on how to allocate the $1.012 trillion in federal spending, it was yet another step on the path to regular order that Congress forced itself to return to after years of regular disorder, best symbolized by last year's partial government shutdown.

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It's All Politics
6:11 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

IRS Gets Spending Bill Smackdown From Congress

John Koskinen, President Obama's choice to head the Internal Revenue Service, testifies Dec. 10 on Capitol Hill before the Senate Finance Committee hearing on his nomination.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

The IRS is getting a special $200,000 earmark in the 2014 spending bill now moving through Congress.

But it's not because the agency is suddenly in the good graces of lawmakers.

The new funds are earmarked for "intensive training" in the Exempt Organizations division – the office that pulled the IRS into its worst scandal in years. Last spring, Exempt Organizations chief Lois Lerner apologized for the division's targeting of tea party and other conservative groups that were seeking tax exemptions as 501c4 social welfare organizations.

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