Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 6:11 pm
We're kicking off a new morning routine in which we'll get the day started on NPR's It's All Politics" blog by sharing a handful of political stories that caught our interest or that we'll be watching.
As if the battle over the budget as well as the looming fight over the debt ceiling were not enough, there's a Farm Bill. Congress extended the Farm Bill after the fiscal cliff deal in January, but that extension expires at the end of the month. Congress is bitterly divided on food stamps and other issues. But both parties agree on something: The $5 billion-a-year farm subsidy called direct and countercyclical payments must go.
President Obama spoke at a memorial service Sunday for the victims of last week's shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. The president and first lady also met with families of the dead. Twelve people were killed in addition to the gunman, who died in a shootout with police.
Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 3:02 am
Former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was honored over the weekend for her service to the public by Scripps College. Giffords' alma mater awarded her the school's highest level of recognition: the Ellen Browning Scripps Medal.
For Democrats running in coal-producing states like Kentucky and West Virginia, the Environmental Protection Agency's new limits on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants provide a carboniferous chance to demonstrate independence from President Obama.
Those Democrats will probably take advantage of every chance they get to separate themselves from the president in voters' minds, since their Republican opponents will be working overtime to portray them as reliable Obama votes if they're elected to Congress.
President Obama isn't known as a schmoozer like Bill Clinton or a back-slapper like George W. Bush. But he does know that a personal touch can woo allies and soften adversaries.
Right now, domestic and international crises are looming on all sides of the president. Although a little tenderness might come in handy, Obama is repeatedly passing up opportunities to wage a charm offensive.
It's been a little more than a year since four Americans died during attacks on U.S. installations in Benghazi, Libya. Many congressional hearings have delved into the matter almost always at the behest of Republicans. But this week it was Democrats, and the House Government and Oversight Committee who demanded the latest session on Benghazi. It featured the two lead investigators of an independent report on that episode testifying for the first time in public about their conclusions.
The House has passed a stopgap spending bill that would keep the government open through Dec. 15. It passed almost entirely along party lines: In addition to funding the government, it calls for defunding of the Affordable Care Act.
The White House has said President Obama would veto the bill, were it to come to his desk in this form. And it most likely won't. Democrats, who control the Senate, won't pass a bill that defunds Obamacare.