Politics and Government

Fresh Air with Terry Gross
1:05 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

How ALEC Serves As A 'Dating Service' For Politicians And Corporations

President Bush speaks to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Philadelphia, on July 26, 2007.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:07 am

A batch of internal documents recently leaked to The Guardian has revealed new insights into the goals and finances of the secretive group called ALEC. The American Legislative Exchange Council is a group that brings together state legislators and representatives of corporations. Together, they develop model bills that lawmakers introduce and try to pass in their state legislatures.

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Transportation
12:05 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

ODOT Still Concerned With Federal Funds Reimbursement

Credit Oklahoma Department of Transportation

Oklahoma Department of Transportation officials said Monday they are still concerned with federal highway funding and how it will affect ongoing and future projects in the state.

ODOT Director Mike Patterson said in November that the agency is going be more conservative in issuing new projects because of these uncertainties in federal funding. 

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It's All Politics
11:54 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Conservative Firebrand Challenges Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn

Texas Rep. Steve Stockman participates in a mock swearing-in ceremony with House Speaker John Boehner in January. Stockman made the surprise move to challenge Sen. John Cornyn in the 2014 Texas GOP primary.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 3:42 pm

Another day, another GOP primary fight.

This time, it's John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, who's receiving a challenge from the right in 2014. Rep. Steve Stockman, a conservative firebrand, made the surprise move to enter the March 4 race Monday evening just before the state's filing deadline.

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State Capitol
9:06 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Oklahoma House Speaker OKs Hefty Raises For Staff

Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton) speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.
Credit Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

While Gov. Mary Fallin and legislative leaders waited for the completion of an independent study on state employee pay, House Speaker T.W. Shannon approved more than a quarter of a million dollars in annual pay increases for his staff.

Figures released by House officials on Monday show about half of the 117 full-time House employees received raises totaling more than $280,000. The pay hikes for 52 House employees ranged from about 2 percent for a housekeeper to more than 30 percent for three staff attorneys.

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The Two-Way
6:56 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Congress Renews Ban On X-Ray-Evading Plastic Guns

Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Bill Nelson of Florida talk to reporters about their effort to renew the ban on plastic firearms, at the Capitol on Monday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Congress voted to renew a ban on plastic firearms that can skirt airport detectors, but Republican lawmakers blocked efforts to tighten the restrictions.

The Senate approved the measure by a voice vote hours before it would have expired at midnight. The House voted last week to renew the ban.

As The Associated Press reports:

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"Far From Reality"
6:19 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Satanic Statue Not Coming To Capitol

Credit nzhamstar / Flickr.com

Legislative leaders in Oklahoma are seeking to ease public concern over a plan by a group of Satanists to erect a monument at the state Capitol.

Both House Speaker T.W. Shannon and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman suggested Monday that such a plan was far from a reality. Members of the committee that would need to approve the monument sounded skeptical.

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It's All Politics
5:45 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Ethics Panel Hands Down Holiday Gift Rules — In Rhyme

The U.S. Capitol Christmas tree is lit against the early morning sky on Dec. 4.
J. David Ake AP

Time was when business-suited Santas would spend December roaming the corridors of Congress, bestowing all sorts of goodies upon their elected friends, prospective friends and staffers: baskets of food, bottles of booze, even high-priced tickets to sports events.

That last item is the kind of thing that sent uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff to prison. It also brought the House of Representatives a new set of ethics rules — stern and often complex limits on accepting gifts.

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It's All Politics
4:42 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Senate GOP Could Taste Sweet Revenge In Supreme Court Case

Miguel Estrada, whose 2002 nomination to a federal judgeship was filibustered by Senate Democrats, will represent Senate Republicans in their recess appointments case against President Obama.
Kiichiro Sato AP

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 5:09 pm

If revenge is a dish best served cold, in Washington it can also be served with a heaping side of irony.

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to Sen. Mitch McConnell's request to let Senate Republicans participate in the high-profile case Noel Canning v. National Labor Relations Board.

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The Two-Way
4:39 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Government Sells Last Shares In GM, Loses $10 Billion

General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson speaks to the media after a June 2013 GM shareholders meeting in Detroit. General Motors posted $152 billion in global revenues in 2012.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 4:59 pm

Critics of the federal auto bailout will no longer be able to refer derisively to GM as "Government Motors" — on Monday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced the U.S. government has sold its remaining shares in the carmaker.

"With the final sale of GM stock, this important chapter in our nation's history is now closed," Lew said, announcing the sale.

The net? Taxpayers lost $10.7 billion on the deal.

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Politics
4:33 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Without Opponent, Sen. Kay Hagan Already Faces Re-Election Fight

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 9:45 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In North Carolina, the ads are starting early - the political ads, that is. Republicans are setting their sights on defeating first-term Democrat Kay Hagan. Senator Hagan's GOP opponent won't be known until the spring but her support for President Obama and the Affordable Care Act has already hurt her with voters. She's also being targeted by outside groups, spending millions of dollars hoping to unseat her. NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports.

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