Politics and Government

Politics
3:46 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

In The Year After Newtown Shooting, Most States Relaxed Gun Laws

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 5:26 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Since the Newtown shootings, the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns has spent upwards of $15 million on ads supporting tougher gun laws and on candidate ads around this issue. Most of that money comes from New York City Mayor Michael Blumberg. One year later, we're going to check in on what the results have been. Mark Glaze is the coalition's executive director and he joins me here in the studio. Welcome.

MARK GLAZE: Thanks for having me.

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State Capitol
2:18 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Oklahoma Revenue Collections Continue To Fall Short

Oklahoma Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger
Credit Oklahoma PCA / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma finance officials say collections to the main operating fund used to pay for state government continue to trail the official estimate, a trend that could lead to budget cuts for state agencies if it continues.

Oklahoma's Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger released figures on Wednesday that show collections to the state's general revenue fund trail by nearly 8 percent the official estimate upon which the state budget is based. So far for the first five months of the current fiscal year, collections have trailed the official estimate by about 6.5 percent.

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It's All Politics
1:21 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

6 Things Missing From The Budget Agreement

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., walk to announce a tentative agreement Tuesday between Republican and Democratic negotiators on a government spending plan.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 2:46 pm

The essence of the budget deal reached by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is better understood by looking at what's missing, rather than what's included in it.

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The Two-Way
11:58 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Sebelius Calls For Review Of HHS Practices That Led To Debacle

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Earlier today, Sebelius announced an inquiry into the agency's launch of the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov site.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 6:14 pm

"The launch of HealthCare.gov was flawed and simply unacceptable."

Those are the words of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, published Wednesday just before she met with people who share those views: members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

With her agency under fire since the website's failed release last month, Sebelius announced an internal inquiry and other steps that will focus on improving the contracting process, project management and employee training.

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Law
10:46 am
Wed December 11, 2013

No Cake For You: Saying 'I Don't' To Same-Sex Marriage

A Colorado judge recently ordered Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to serve gay couples, after he refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.
Lindsay Pierce Denver Post via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 3:15 pm

There were a few snickers when a Colorado state judge ruled that a baker has to produce wedding cakes for gay couples even though he opposes same-sex marriage on religious grounds.

A cake? What's the big deal?

But the decision, handed down late last week, is just the latest slice in a debate that has gone front burner with gay marriage now legalized in 16 states, and counting.

Can individual businesspeople like Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver be compelled to provide wedding (or commitment ceremony) goods and services to gay couples?

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Politics
9:04 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Pensions Become Less Certain For Government Workers

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn smiles during the signing of the pension overhaul legislation bill on Dec. 5 in Chicago. Looking on from left are Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington; Senate GOP leader Sen. Christine Radogno; Rep. Darlene Senger, R-Naperville; Rep. Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs; House Speaker Michael Madigan and Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 10:18 am

Federal workers have reason to be nervous. The budget agreement announced Tuesday — if it passes — would raise revenue by making employees contribute more toward their pensions.

It's part of a trend. Governments at all levels have been cutting back on pension benefits in recent years, in an attempt to fix funding problems caused by the recession and years of fiscal mismanagement.

In many cases, states and localities have made benefits less generous. But that has, for the most part, only affected newly hired workers.

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Federal Budget
8:44 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Sen. Coburn Calls Budget Deal "Patch Work"

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) greeting President Barack Obama.
Credit Tom Coburn / Facebook

A leading congressional deficit hawk says a bipartisan budget agreement hammered out on Capitol Hill is mostly a patch-work approach that fails to address wasteful spending that is contributing to a ballooning federal debt.

Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma says the accord announced by GOP Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state likely was the best that could be achieved, but says he can't support it.

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Politics
7:31 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Sen. Murray On Budget Deal: A 'Compromise' With 'Smarter Cuts'

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 9:10 am

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan announced a bipartisan budget proposal Tuesday. For more details on the plan, Steve Inskeep speaks with Murray, who led her party in the negotiations.

The Two-Way
6:09 am
Wed December 11, 2013

'Something For Everyone To Dislike' In Budget Deal

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., crafted the budget deal.
T.J. Kirkpatrick Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 3:37 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Tamara Keith reports on the budget deal
  • On 'Morning Edition': Sen. Patty Murray speaks with Steve Inskeep

The reviews are coming in for the bipartisan budget deal crafted by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and as the Los Angeles Times says, the package seems to have "something for everyone to dislike."

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Politics
5:56 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Budget Proposal Is No 'Grand Bargain'

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 9:10 am

For years, there's been talk in Washington, D.C., about the "grand bargain" — a big deficit-reducing budget deal that rewrites the tax code and trims from the long-term costs of Medicare and Social Security. Tuesday night, Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Paul Ryan announced what can only be described as a small bargain. But if it's approved by the House and Senate, it would avoid another government shutdown in January.

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