Politics and Government

Music Interviews
11:02 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Esperanza Spalding: Guantanamo Doesn't Represent 'Our America'

Grammy Award-winner Esperanza Spalding in her video 'We Are America."
ESPLLC

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 2:24 pm

Grammy Award-winning musician Esperanza Spalding has a problem with using the phrase "protest song" to describe her new recording, "We Are America." The song, along with its accompanying music video, demands congressional action to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

" 'Protest' doesn't seem accurate to me," she tells NPR's Celeste Headlee. "We weren't thinking of a 'protest' song, we're thinking of a 'let's get together and do something pro-active, creative and productive' song."

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The Two-Way
8:07 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Remembering JFK By Rewatching His Inaugural Address

President John F. Kennedy delivered his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 1961.
AP

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 9:20 am

Very few of us need to be reminded about what happened 50 years ago today in Dallas.

And with all the remembrances of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in the news media this week, there's no need for us to post yet another.

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It's All Politics
8:06 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Wal-Mart Food Drive Unwittingly Fuels Talk Of Minimum Wage Hike

Dozens of people protest for better wages outside a Los Angeles Wal-Mart store on Nov. 7.
Lucy Nicholson Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 9:51 am

Wal-Mart's pay practices have long been targeted by advocates of America's working poor.

So it was no surprise that it became national news when the discount retailer, the nation's biggest employer, asked workers at an Ohio store to contribute to a holiday food drive — for fellow workers.

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Politics
3:33 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Senate Democrats, After Threats, Detonate 'Nuclear Option'

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 4:45 am

The Senate voted on Thursday to abandon precedent and change its rules to end the filibuster for most of President Obama's judicial and Cabinet nominations. The rules change strips the Senate's GOP minority of a potent tool.

Politics
3:33 am
Fri November 22, 2013

FEC: Tea Party May Not Shield Donors

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 4:45 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene. The Federal Election Commission has turned back a bid by conservatives to weaken the federal campaign-finance disclosure law. A Tea Party group had asked for a precedent-changing decision to keep its donor lists secret. It said Tea Party members are being targeted for harassment and intimidation. NPR's Peter Overby reports.

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Politics
3:33 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Obama Should Benefit From Senate Rules Change

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 4:45 am

The Senate's vote on Thursday to change its rules and approve presidential appointments by a simple majority, presents new opportunities for the president. Until now, dozens of appointments to the administration and the federal bench have been held up because they could not get the needed 60 votes in the Senate.

Will Lead Federal Reserve
4:58 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Coburn Votes In Favor Of Janet Yellen's Nomination

Credit Medill DC / Flickr.com

Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn has cast one of the three Republican votes that helped advance Janet Yellen's nomination to lead the Federal Reserve.

Coburn, a conservative lawmaker from Muskogee, says in a statement that he cast a vote in favor of Yellen's nomination Thursday because she is "unquestionably qualified" to serve as the next chair of the agency.

Republican Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Mark Kirk of Illinois cast the other two votes in support of Yellen's nomination.

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It's All Politics
4:16 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

'Nuclear Option' Vote Marks Tectonic Shift In Senate Rules

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada (from left), Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois defend the Senate Democrats' vote Thursday to weaken filibusters and make it harder for Republicans to block confirmation of the president's nominees for judges and other top posts.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 6:15 pm

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's move Thursday to make possible the confirmation of presidential nominees with a simple majority marks a tectonic shift in the rules and folkways of the Senate.

Back in 2005, then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist called this idea "the constitutional option" when he came close to invoking it on behalf of the judicial nominees of President George W. Bush.

That sounded a lot more dignified than the name Frist's predecessor, Trent Lott, had used just two years earlier: "the nuclear option."

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Politics
3:29 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

ATF Chief Faces Tough Challenge At Troubled Agency

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Director B. Todd Jones speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Aug. 29.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 5:54 pm

For the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, nothing seems to come easy.

The agency runs at a fraction of the size of its much larger law enforcement counterparts. Under pressure from gun rights groups, it operated without a Senate-confirmed leader for seven years. And its new leader, B. Todd Jones, only narrowly averted a congressional roadblock to win confirmation this summer after serving more than two years as an interim leader.

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It's All Politics
2:51 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

GOP Enraged After Filibuster Vote, But Does It Change Much?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) speaks to the media on Thursday after passing the so-called nuclear option, which changes the Senate rules to eliminate the use of the filibuster on presidential nominees except those to the Supreme Court.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 3:48 pm

The political class was aflame Thursday with outrage (Republicans) and triumph (Democrats) as Senate Democrats voted to hem in the minority party's ability to filibuster most presidential nominees.

By a 52-48 vote, the Democratic-controlled Senate carried out the so-called nuclear option. The leadership will now allow a simple majority of senators to override filibusters on nominations, with the exception of those to the Supreme Court.

Previous precedent, in place since the 1970s, required a 60-vote "supermajority" to end a filibuster.

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