Melissa Block speaks with our regular political commentators, E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution and David Brooks of The New York Times about the lackluster January jobs report, the debate surrounding a new report from Congressional Budget Office and the renewed debate over immigration policy.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock appointed his number two, John Walsh, to serve out the term of longtime Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, who was confirmed Thursday as U.S. ambassador to China. The appointment gives Walsh a brief incumbency advantage going into an expected tough fall battle.
Hundreds of thousands of people are put on probation every year. Now, a study by Human Rights Watch finds private probation contractors are racking up profits and effectively criminalizing poverty. Host Michel Martin discusses the issue with HRW's Chris Albin-Lackey and Rhonda Cook of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"That doesn't mean I'm the only guy that can do it," the vice president tells CNN. "But if no one else, I think, can, and I think I can, then I'd run." He's far behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a recent poll of Democrats. Biden said he'll decide by summer 2015.
Friday is the statutory deadline for the Treasury's borrowing authority, but Congress has no agreement on how to raise the limit. House Republicans appear unwilling to force another showdown over the debt ceiling, but they have not yet found a way to save face, and there are few legislative days left before Treasury exhausts its means to pay the bills.
Cutting the national debt and deficit used to be the most divisive political debate in Washington. These days, not so much. Both parties have agreed to move on and focus on issues they largely agree on: income inequality and social mobility. But there's not much they can do without a sustainable budget.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made combating climate change a major focus during his time in office. Now, the billionaire businessman and philanthropist has a new international role to push his message. He has been appointed the U.N. special envoy for cities and climate change. Melissa Block talks with Bloomberg about the new job and what cities can do to fight climate change.
It's been almost eight months since the Supreme Court effectively stuck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. That section required places with a history of discrimination to get their local voting laws cleared by the federal government. When the Supreme Court ruled, it said people could file lawsuits if they felt disenfranchised. But it hasn't quite worked out that way.
Two members of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot made their first appearance in the United States Wednesday night. Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina appeared at a concert in New York sponsored by Amnesty International. David Greene talks to them about how they are getting their message out.
On Wednesday, President Obama spoke to Senate Democrats at their annual retreat. Since the debacle of HealthCare.gov last fall, Democrats have been running scared headed into the 2014 elections. With 21 Democrats facing the voters — compared to 15 Republicans — the party's majority standing is at risk.
Some Republicans have begun to demand the repeal of a key feature in the president's health care law, which protects insurance companies taking part, in exchange for agreeing to raise the nation's debt ceiling. But according to Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf, the so-called "risk corridors" actually benefit the Treasury, rather than costing taxpayers money.
On Tuesday, economists with the Congressional Budget Office announced findings that indicated the new health care law may result in hundreds of thousands leaving the workforce. The findings spurred new debate on the merits of the law and its economic impact. NPR's Scott Horsley has more on the reactions to the report.