Frank James

Frank James joined NPR News in April 2009 to launch the blog, "The Two-Way," with co-blogger Mark Memmott.

"The Two-Way" is the place where NPR.org gives readers breaking news and analysis — and engages users in conversations ("two-ways") about the most compelling stories being reported by NPR News and other news media.

James came to NPR from the Chicago Tribune, where he worked for 20 years. In 2006, James created "The Swamp," the paper's successful politics and policy news blog whose readership climbed to a peak of 3 million page-views a month.

Before that, James covered homeland security, technology and privacy and economics in the Tribune's Washington Bureau. He also reported for the Tribune from South Africa and covered politics and higher education.

James also reported for The Wall Street Journal for nearly 10 years.

James received a bachelor of arts degree in English from Dickinson College and now serves on its board of trustees.

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5:08pm

Fri January 3, 2014
It's All Politics

House GOP Puts Another 'Target' On Obamacare

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 8:32 pm

House Republicans plan to start the new year with a vote on HealthCare.gov that will place Democrats in a politically tough spot.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Updated at 7:55 p.m. ET

When Congress returns next week, House Republicans will welcome their Democratic colleagues with a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't vote.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has let it be known that the House will vote on legislation ostensibly meant to protect Americans from HealthCare.gov data breaches. Several Republicans have introduced HealthCare.gov-related security bills, so Cantor has plenty of material to work with.

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1:22pm

Fri January 3, 2014
It's All Politics

7 Political Dates To Watch In 2014

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 6:01 pm

Vice President Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio applaud President Obama as he gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Feb. 12, 2013.
Charles Dharapak AP

With November midterm elections looming, 2014 promises much more political catnip than 2013.

It's a year with a full roster of House, Senate and gubernatorial races, but 2014 is also likely to prove to be another critical period for the Affordable Care Act as an important deadline comes early and the Supreme Court takes up another aspect of the health law.

Here are some of the most important dates to watch:

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12:30pm

Tue December 31, 2013
It's All Politics

2013: The Year In Political Screw-Ups

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 2:34 pm

The partial federal government shutdown was a political misstep that will be remembered for years to come.
Carolyn Kaster AP

If anything defined 2013, it was the political misstep. There were so many gaffes, flaps, scandals and ill-advised moves that voters were often left scratching their heads at the political class's uncanny knack for diminishing its profession.

Here are eight of the more memorable screw-ups:

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3:06pm

Fri December 27, 2013
It's All Politics

5 Achievements Of The 113th Congress (So Far)

Congress managed to get a few things accomplished in 2013, with an emphasis on "few."
T.J. Kirkpatrick Getty Images

The 113th Congress, which just ended its first year, has come to be defined more by what it hasn't done than what it has. With two warring and ideologically polarized parties controlling either end of Capitol Hill, Congress has more or less become a quagmire for policy.

Still, one of the least productive Congresses of the modern era was able to accomplish a few things in 2013. Here are five of them:

1. Going Nuclear

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7:42pm

Fri December 20, 2013
It's All Politics

Obama Zings Friends And Foes Alike In Year-End News Conference

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 9:01 pm

A few of President Obama's comments at his year-end news conference were the kind that could rankle political allies and opponents alike.
Susan Walsh AP

It's the season of peace and goodwill, but President Obama may have tested the limits of both with some comments at his end-of-year news conference.

Asked if he would negotiate with congressional Republicans about the debt ceiling, Obama said he wouldn't do so over raising the limit, though he was willing to talk with Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican and House Budget Committee chairman, about other issues, like tax reform.

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8:31pm

Thu December 19, 2013
It's All Politics

Will 2nd-Term Obama Show More Mercy Through Pardons?

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 8:47 am

President Obama speaks to reporters Wednesday in the Oval Office. On Thursday, Obama announced that he was granting a series of pardons and clemencies.
Carolyn Kaster AP

President Obama came to office after bemoaning the disparity in sentences for crack versus powder cocaine offenses, and with a background as a community organizer and constitutional law teacher that had some progressives anticipating a robust use of the Constitution's "reprieves and pardons" power.

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11:32am

Wed December 18, 2013
It's All Politics

5 Things We Learned From The Budget Debate

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 5:08 pm

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., takes a break from the Senate floor Tuesday after a bipartisan budget compromise cleared a procedural hurdle.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Now that the bipartisan budget agreement has passed the Senate and is headed for the president's desk, it's a good time to consider some of the takeaways from the past two weeks of congressional Sturm und Drang.

Here are five:

Congress still works, sort of.

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3:47pm

Tue December 17, 2013
It's All Politics

Bridge Controversy Could Take Toll On Chris Christie's Future

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 5:17 pm

The George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, N.J., on Sept. 2, just days before lanes were closed under mysterious circumstances.
Mel Evans AP

Were access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, the nation's busiest span, closed as political retribution against a mayor who didn't publicly endorse New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's re-election?

The governor denies that politics played a role in the traffic-snarling decision, but the controversy has put an ever-growing stain on Christie's glossy November re-election victory. And the episode could have an impact on Christie's White House ambitions.

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6:02pm

Mon December 16, 2013
It's All Politics

New Year Likely To Ring In Old Debt Ceiling Fight

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 7:00 pm

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. (right), accompanied by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, takes reporters' questions during a Dec. 11 news conference.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

At the moment, Washington fiscal policy is a good news, bad news story.

The good news is that the budget agreement, overwhelmingly passed by the House last week in a bipartisan vote, is likely to be approved by the Senate this week. That takes another costly government shutdown off the table.

The bad news? Another debt ceiling fight, with all the attendant risks of a U.S. government default, appears to be right around the corner.

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7:35pm

Fri December 13, 2013
It's All Politics

Newtown Anniversary Marked By Gun Control Stalemate

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 7:44 pm

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, at a gun show in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in October. Giffords was shot in the head in a 2011 mass shooting in Tucson. She and Kelly have since founded a political action committee to push for tougher gun laws.
Tim Roske AP

In the wrenching days and weeks after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, many on both sides of the gun control debate thought that horror had so shifted the political winds that stricter federal gun laws would surely result.

That, of course, didn't happen.

On the surface, it may look like the gun lobby ultimately won the political battles that mattered in the past year. After all, Congress failed to pass tougher gun laws. But the reality is more mixed; the result was more of a stalemate.

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