The Social Security Administration has long kept track of deaths so it can stop checks when recipients die. And while researchers have used the file for years, fraudsters have, too. So Congress is limiting access to the data — and that has everyone from bankers to genealogists concerned.
As Congress returns from winter break, Speaker of the House John Boehner has called comprehensive immigration reform a priority. Host Michel Martin talks with immigration policy advocates Mark Krikorian and Ali Noorani about the political prospects for reform this year.
Mexico native Osiris Hoil overstayed his visa when he came to the U.S. Today, he employs more than 100 people at his restaurant chain District Taco. He's also a U.S. citizen now. Should immigration laws make it easier for people like Hoil to become citizens? Host Michel Martin hears from advocates on both sides of the immigration debate.
Behind the heated debate over national immigration policy are millions of personal stories of struggle and triumph. Mexican native Osiris Hoil began his life in the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant, and became a successful entrepreneur. He talks with host Michel Martin about his journey.
Senate Democrats will ring in the New Year with a vote on a three-month extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed. Benefits for those jobless for more than six months expired on Dec. 28. Prospects for a revival of benefits are uncertain at best in the Senate, and the measure faces even bigger hurdles in the House.
There's much on the congressional agenda beyond Monday's Senate vote on jobless benefits. The debt ceiling and immigration reform are sure to be big issues, and President Obama will lay out his priorities in his State of the Union later in January. NPR's political correspondent Mara Liasson talks with Rachel Martin about what to expect from congress in the new year.
Emergency unemployment insurance expired Dec. 28 for an estimated 1.3 million Americans. That includes more than 220,000 Californians. They responded with everything from returning Christmas presents for cash to packing up and leaving the state. Congress could still renew these emergency benefits, as they have multiple times since 2008.
House Republicans plan to start the year with a vote on legislation to better safeguard the personal data that Healthcare.gov collects. Democrats see it as yet another attempt to undermine the health law, but see political risk in voting against more security for sensitive consumer data.
Federal agencies are proposing new rules for handling gun buyers' background checks, in changes the White House says will "keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands." The changes include a clarification of rules barring firearm possession due to mental health problems.
Audie Cornish speaks with regular political commentators E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution and David Brooks of The New York Times for the latest in political news. They discuss newly minted New York City mayor Bill de Blasio's promise to deliver on his populist campaign agenda, the political implications of the latest revelations in last year's attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, and David Brooks' op-ed on pot-smoking.
It's been more than a month since leaders of the House and Senate budget committee worked out a broad agreement for federal spending, and their staffs are still working furiously to flesh out the outline before the deadline of January 15. So for many on Capitol Hill, there's been no holiday break.