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.
Religious organizations have objected to the new health care law's requirement that employers include contraception coverage in the insurance plans they offer employees. But the Obama administration says one group of nuns is already exempt and has no standing to object.