Politics and Government

It's All Politics
6:00 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Congressman's Exit Closes Book On 'Watergate Babies'

Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of California fields a flurry of phone calls in his Capitol Hill office just after announcing Thursday that he'll retire after 40 years in the House of Representatives.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 10:17 am

Henry Waxman's retirement means more than the loss of a legendary legislator on health care, energy and other regulatory issues. It also closes an era that began 40 years ago with the election of the "Watergate babies."

When Waxman departs, there will no longer be a House member who has been serving since that historic class of 75 Democrats was first elected in 1974. One classmate who had been, George Miller of California, announced his retirement several weeks earlier in January.

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School Storm Shelters Still Controversy
6:46 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Legislative Leaders Don't Agree On All Oklahoma Mandates

Credit Katsrcool / Flickr.com

Legislative leaders in Oklahoma say not all mandates are equal.

House and Senate leaders say it's appropriate for Oklahoma to set academic guidelines, but they don't see telling school districts that they must build storm shelters.

Two competing shelter plans have emerged ahead of next week's opening of the Oklahoma Legislature. One legislator's plan would see the state raise $500 million, while one by Gov. Mary Fallin would let districts raise more money locally.

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First Elected In 2006
6:34 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

State Sen. Tom Ivestor Will Not Seek Re-Election

Credit Oklahoma Senate

State Sen. Tom Ivester of Sayre says he will not seek re-election to his Senate seat.

Ivester is a Democrat from Sayre who was first elected in 2006. He is eligible to serve one more term before term limits would affect him.

Ivester said in a statement released Thursday that he and his wife have decided it's time for someone else to represent the district and that he wants to spend more time with his family.

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The Salt
5:18 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Small Cuts To Food Stamps Add Up To Big Pains For Many Recipients

The farm bill proposes a $1 billion cut to food stamps, which would affect nearly 850,000 struggling families who already depend on food banks like the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland, Calif.
Antonio Mena Courtesy of Alameda County Community Food Bank

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 7:00 pm

In a rare display of bipartisanship, the House of Representatives Wednesday approved a massive five-year farm bill that costs nearly half a trillion dollars.

The bill includes some reductions to food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, to the tune of nearly $1 billion a year. It's far less than what many Republicans had wanted. But the cuts are large enough to worry some Democrats and many food stamp recipients.

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Politics
5:18 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Lobbyists Help Pay The Bill At Republican Lawmakers' Retreat

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 7:00 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

House Republicans are midway through their annual retreat. The three-day get-together is happening at a waterside hotel on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Lawmakers of both parties hold this kind of annual partisan conference to map out legislative strategy. And as usual, there's some controversy over who's footing the bill for them.

Here's NPR's Peter Overby.

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Law
5:18 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

An Unusual Coalition Helps Mandatory Minimum Bill Clear Senate Committee

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 7:00 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

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It's All Politics
2:13 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Policymaking By Pen: Obama's New Twist On Old Strategy

President Obama prepares to sign an executive order mandating that federal contractors be required to raise the minimum wage they pay their workers to $10.10, at the end of a Jan. 29 appearance at the US Steel's Mon Valley Works in West Mifflin, Pa.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 5:48 pm

The reviews are in for President Obama's stepped-up use of executive powers to carry out policies he can't get through Congress.

Republicans think the idea stinks.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann threatened to sue Obama over his announced intent to use his "unilateral authority" to change rules regarding, for instance, the minimum wage paid to employees by federal contractors.

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It's All Politics
11:48 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Rep. Henry Waxman, Ferocious Liberal, Says He Will Retire

Rep. Henry Waxman of California speaks during a 2011 hearing in Washington, D.C. The 20-term Democrat was among the "Watergate babies" elected in 1974.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 7:00 pm

Rep. Henry Waxman, (D-Calif.), a key architect of the Affordable Care Act and for four decades a ferocious liberal voice on matters of health and the environment, revealed Thursday that he plans to retire at the end of the year.

Waxman's news comes on the heels of a similar announcement from another liberal California "Watergate baby" elected in 1974, Rep. George Miller. Both are top allies of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, also of California.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
8:29 am
Thu January 30, 2014

The Legacy And Challenges Of A State Question That Shapes Bills Decades Later

Credit LLudo / Flickr Creative Commons

When the 2014 legislative session starts Feb. 3, state lawmakers will face more than 2,000 bills and resolutions, and are expected to have $170 million less to spend than last year. They will also be confronted by agency heads, most of which will argue, publicly, for more money.

Many of the bills under consideration this year address revenue and spending, directly. Republican measures to cut the income tax, for example, or gross production taxes on oil and gas activity the energy industry would like to reduce.

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Politics
3:36 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Obama Calls For The Creation Of MyRA Accounts

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 6:24 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

A passage in President Obama's State of the Union speech promoted job training. He'll promote it again today when visiting a General Electric plant outside Milwaukee. The president is trying to follow up on his address, which is also why he promoted retirement savings while visiting Pittsburgh yesterday.

NPR's Scott Horsley was there.

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