It is one of those primary tenets of the Republican party: a strong, robust, well-funded military and the willingness to deploy it are a critical part of national security.
But Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who speaks to activists at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Thursday, has long felt it's time to re-examine that approach.
In less than four years in the Senate, Paul has emerged as a prominent new face of the GOP and a contender for the 2016 presidential nomination. But his libertarian philosophy sets him apart from the rest of the field.
The Senate has rejected a proposal that would have allowed military prosecutors, rather than commanders, to decide which sexual assault cases to pursue. As NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, the legislation pitted two women of the Senate, both Democrats, both lawyers, against each other - Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who pushed the bill, and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who lead the charge against her.
Now that the smoke has cleared from Debo Adegbile's failed nomination Wednesday to head the Justice Department's civil rights division, there are some lessons to draw from that Democratic debacle.
Why was it a disaster? Seven Democrats defected from their party to vote against Obama's nominee. The nomination had been opposed by police groups because of Adegbile's indirect role in the appeals process for Mumia Abu Jamal, a death-row inmate convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer in 1981.
A plan to cut both Oklahoma's corporate and individual income tax rates has cleared the Oklahoma House over the objections of Democrats who contend the resulting loss of revenue will decimate critical state services like education, public safety and health care.
The House voted 57-34 Thursday for the bill that includes triggers for both cuts that would require certain revenue collections to grow by enough to offset the lost revenue to the state. Bartlesville Republican Rep. Earl Sears described it as a "modest income tax reduction."
The last two abortion clinics in Texas' Rio Grande Valley along the Mexican border are closing today. New restrictions passed by the Texas Legislature last year require that doctors at abortion clinics obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Well, many hospitals have been reluctant to grant those privileges, and as NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports, today's closures have women's health advocates concerned.