Politics and Government

It's All Politics
3:03 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Interest Groups Gear Up For Next Supreme Court Vacancy

President Obama hugs Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg prior to delivering his 2011 State of the Union address.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 3:24 pm

It's been nearly four years since activists engaged in a battle over a Supreme Court nomination, and a tepid one it was.

Republicans barely pushed back on President Obama's 2010 nomination of Elena Kagan, his second appointment in as many years. She was confirmed by the Senate, 63-37.

At the time, influential Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona acknowledged the problem inherent in pursuing a high court battle: The GOP had only 41 Senate votes, making it "pretty difficult" to sustain a filibuster against Kagan, or any Obama appointee.

That could change by year's end.

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State Capitol
11:04 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Hickman Replaces Shannon As House Speaker

State Rep. Jeff Hickman (R-Fairview) at Gov. Mary Fallin's State of the State address - February 3, 2014.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The 72 Republicans in the Oklahoma House of Representatives have selected 40-year-old state Rep. Jeff Hickman of Fairview as the next speaker of the House, one of the most powerful positions in state government.

The Republican caucus met behind closed doors Monday morning and selected Hickman via secret ballot.

The speaker's post was vacated last week when T.W. Shannon stepped down to focus on his race for the U.S. Senate.

Hickman previously served as speaker pro tem, the No. 2 spot in the House, and lost the speaker's race against Shannon by a razor-thin margin.

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Health
11:02 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Fifty Years After Major Report, Surgeons General Work To End Smoking

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:41 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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State Capitol
9:31 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Republicans Voting On Next Oklahoma House Speaker

Credit LLudo / Flickr Creative Commons

The 72-member House Republican caucus is meeting behind closed doors to select the new Speaker of the House.

The House caucus is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Monday and will cast secret ballots to determine the winner.

Reps. Jeff Hickman of Fairview and Mike Jackson of Enid are vying for the post, one of the most powerful positions in state government. The speaker helps divvy up the state's $7 billion budget and helps shape the policy debate in the Legislature.

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Politics
4:18 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Does Congress Have Enough Political Will To Reduce The Debt?

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 9:24 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

When Congress reached a bipartisan budget deal last December, there was much fanfare about the compromises made by both parties. And immediately afterwards, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle began working to reverse one of the spending cuts - a small reduction in military pensions. One plan to restore those pensions is up for a vote today in the Senate. As NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, resistance against the small cut is calling into question whether Congress has the political will to reduce the long-term debt.

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Shots - Health News
2:25 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Family Planning Squeezed In California By Health Law

A new electronic system will attempt to cut costs at the Planned Parenthood in Concord.
Courtesy of Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 8:56 am

An unexpected quirk in the Affordable Care Act has left birth control clinics struggling to balance their budgets in California.

Clinics that have long enjoyed state support to run as nonprofits are having to rethink how to stay in business.

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Politics
3:48 pm
Sun February 9, 2014

A New Jersey Democrat On His Lack Of Wins In Congress

Originally published on Sun February 9, 2014 5:33 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

On Capitol Hill this week, another congressman is calling it quits. Representative Rob Andrews, a Democrat from New Jersey, will be resigning a week from Tuesday. In his 23 years in Congress, Andrews proposed 646 bills, and none of them was ever enacted. The Washington Post called it the, quote, "worst record of the last 20 years."

I spoke with Andrews earlier this week and asked him to respond to that headline.

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The Two-Way
11:18 am
Sat February 8, 2014

Holder Orders Equal Treatment For Married Same-Sex Couples

John Lewis (left) and Stuart Gaffney embrace outside San Francisco's City Hall shortly before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California in June.
Noah Berger AP

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 1:04 pm

Attorney General Eric Holder has for the first time directed Justice Department employees to give same-sex married couples "full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent under the law," a move with far-ranging consequences for how such couples are treated in federal courtrooms and proceedings.

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Politics
7:26 am
Sat February 8, 2014

A Possible Explanation For How U.S. Diplomat's Call Was Tapped

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland leaves a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev on Friday. A phone call of hers about Ukraine was leaked on the Internet.
Gleb Garanich Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 11:05 am

An American diplomat got in trouble for saying something, well, undiplomatic.

Victoria Nuland, a top State Department official, thought she was having a private phone conversation. She was speaking about developments in Ukraine with the U.S. ambassador to that country, Geoffrey Pyatt. And she was speaking bluntly, even using a not-so-choice word about America's European allies.

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The Two-Way
7:19 am
Sat February 8, 2014

3 Things To Know About The Looming Debt Ceiling Showdown

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell delivers remarks during a news conference in December, where he commented on the Ryan/Murray budget, debt ceiling and XL Pipeline.
Shawn Thew EPA/Landov

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 11:51 am

Bitter partisan brinkmanship has been the hallmark of debates over raising the debt ceiling in recent years, but there are signs that it could be less contentious this time around. Still, Congress needs to act fast to avoid a default. Here are three things you should know as things move forward:

-- Without a deal, the Treasury will officially run out of money on Feb. 27:

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