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Updated: 48 min 35 sec ago

House Sets Vote On Raising Debt Limit

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 12:27pm

House leaders have had weeks to come up with a plan to deal with the nation's debt limit. Now, the day before they want to leave town for a break, it appears they've essentially decided to throw in the towel. They plan to put a bill on the House floor raising the debt ceiling for a year without any conditions attached.

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Immigration Turbulence Buffets Boehner

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 10:12am

John Boehner and his GOP leadership team embraced a set of principles for updating the nation's immigration laws. Then the winds shifted and the House Speaker expressed grave doubts about the feasibility of overhaul.

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The Internet Flexes Political Muscle With Anti-NSA Protest

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 9:40am

It won't be as powerful as the strike against SOPA and PIPA in 2012, when Wikipedia blocked its site, Google blacked out its logo and millions of people joined in. But "The Day We Fight Back" on Tuesday is intended to show lawmakers that there's ongoing public pressure to reform mass surveillance laws.

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The Internet Flexes Political Muscle With Anti-NSA Protest

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 9:40am

It won't be as powerful as the strike against SOPA and PIPA in 2012, when Wikipedia blocked its site, Google blacked out its logo and millions of people joined in. But "The Day We Fight Back" on Tuesday is intended to show lawmakers that there's ongoing public pressure to reform mass surveillance laws.

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Holder Calls For Restoring Felons' Voting Rights

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 9:31am

In a speech Tuesday, the attorney general said laws barring convicted felons from voting are counterproductive and perpetuate "the stigma and isolation imposed on formerly incarcerated individuals."

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Twittersphere Lets Us In On Diplomats 'Normal' Banter

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 4:00am

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power used Twitter to tweet her Russian counterpart after he made snarky comments about her meeting with members of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot. It's the latest high-profile incident of diplomats engaging each other using less than 140 characters. Renee Montagne talks with Alec Ross, former senior adviser for innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, about diplomatic protocol in the era of social media.

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House Has 6 Working Days Left To Raise Debt Ceiling

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 4:00am

With time running short, House Republicans held a caucus meeting Monday night to map out their plan to deal with the debt limit. Speaker John Boehner last week indicated he would need Democratic votes to pass a debt limit increase because he was not likely to get enough Republican votes to reach a majority.

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U.S. Delays Obamacare Deadline For Some Businesses

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 4:00am

The Obama administration on Monday announced yet another postponement in implementing the new federal health care law. This time the administration is giving small businesses affected by the law another year to comply. Businesses with 50 to 99 employees have until 2016 to comply.

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Congressional Panel Probes W.Va. Chemical Spill

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 4:00am

State health officials testified Monday before a House field hearing in West Virginia. The members of Congress asked whether tap water is safe to drink, a month after a major chemical spill.

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Debt Ceiling Standoff? Not This Time

Mon, 02/10/2014 - 5:18pm

When Congress hits its debt ceiling at the end of the month, don't expect another big confrontation. House Republicans don't have the appetite for it and can't even agree on what points to negotiate.

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U.S. Resets Insurance Deadline For Some Businesses To 2016

Mon, 02/10/2014 - 5:01pm

In the second delay for medium-sized businesses, the Obama administration says firms with 50-99 workers now have until Jan. 1, 2016, to provide health insurance. Larger companies must offer the coverage in 2015.

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Sen. Rockefeller Responds To Water Safety Concerns

Mon, 02/10/2014 - 3:00pm

A month after a major chemical spill in West Virginia, Melissa Block talks to Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller about clean-up efforts in his state, as well as legislation he has introduced in order to prevent future spills.

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Legislators Make A Field Trip To Investigate W.Va Spill

Mon, 02/10/2014 - 3:00pm

Several members of Congress are convening a field hearing on January's toxic water crisis in West Virginia, gathering in Charleston to listen to officials testify about the safety of the water. While officials testified that the water was now suitable for drinking and bathing, there is one word nobody would use to describe the water: safe.

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Fate Of Former New Orleans Mayor Now In Jury's Hands

Mon, 02/10/2014 - 3:00pm

The jury has begun deliberations in the federal corruption trial of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. Nagin is accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from businessmen in exchange for steering city business their way after Hurricane Katrina. NPR's Debbie Elliott was in court on Monday and speaks to host Robert Siegel about the day's developments.

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With Wallets Bulging, States Must Decide How To Spend Their Cash

Mon, 02/10/2014 - 3:00pm

Many governors are looking to use their budget surpluses to cut taxes or restore funding to programs that were slashed during lean times. But in an election year, these surpluses are setting up potential political battles.

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Interest Groups Gear Up For Next Supreme Court Vacancy

Mon, 02/10/2014 - 2:38pm

With Republicans growing more confident about their prospects for taking over the U.S. Senate this fall, activists from both parties are starting to fire up the message machines for the next Supreme Court opening.

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

Mon, 02/10/2014 - 11:02am

The first Surgeon General's report on the dangers of smoking came out just over 50 years ago. Now a group of former Surgeon Generals are finding new ways to prevent smoking. Host Michel Martin speaks with two of them: Dr. Regina Benjamin and Dr. Antonia Novello.

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Does Congress Have Enough Political Will To Reduce The Debt?

Mon, 02/10/2014 - 4:00am

When the bi-partisan budget deal was announced in December, supporters heralded cuts that would balance spending increases. Among them, a slight reduction to the pensions of working-age military retirees. But a bi-partisan consensus emerged to undo it — calling into the question whether Congress has the political will necessary to make any cuts that reduce the long-term debt.

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Family Planning Squeezed in California By Health Law

Mon, 02/10/2014 - 2:25am

As more clients go on Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, some birth control clinics are losing money and looking for creative ways to adapt.

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A New Jersey Democrat On His Lack Of Wins In Congress

Sun, 02/09/2014 - 3:00pm

Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Rob Andrews of New Jersey announced that he'd be resigning from office. Andrews proposed 646 bills during his 23 years in Congress, and none of them passed. The Washington Post dubbed it the "worst record of the last 20 years." He speaks with NPR's Arun Rath about his record and why he is leaving Congress.

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