Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Springfield, Ill., Wednesday where she sought to use the symbolism of a historic landmark to draw parallels to a present-day America that is in need of repairing deepening racial and cultural divides.

The Old State Capitol — where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "A house divided" speech in 1858 warning against the ills of slavery and where Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in 2007 — served as the backdrop for Clinton as she spoke of how "America's long struggle with race is far from finished."

Episode 711: Hooked on Heroin

1 hour ago

When we meet the heroin dealer called Bone, he has just shot up. He has a lot to say anyway. He tells us about his career--it pretty much tracks the evolution of drug use in America these past ten years or so. He tells us about his rough past. And he tells us about how he died a week ago. He overdosed on his own supply and his friend took his body to the emergency room, then left.

New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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Hill Workers' Health Perk A Sticking Point In Spending Fight

Oct 1, 2013
Originally published on October 1, 2013 6:38 pm



Among the things House Republicans are asking for in the ongoing spending battle is an elimination of health benefits for members of Congress and their staff. As the law now stands, congressional staff are required to buy their health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchanges and the federal government will help pay for their plans.

House Republicans say that kind of assistance amounts to a special subsidy. But as NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, taking away the health benefit would amount to a large pay cut.

AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: This latest maneuver by House Republicans to wipe out her health benefits might be enough to make Rochelle Dornier(ph) walk away from her job after 32 years on Capitol Hill. She's the chief of staff to Democrat Sam Farr of California. And she says she feels like she's being penalized for her public service.

ROCHELLE DORNIER: I really resent being used as a pawn in this political game.

CHANG: If the measure passes, Dornier must retire by December 31st to retain her current health benefits for the rest of her life. Right now, the federal government contributes more than $5,000 a year to her health plan. Dornier is 58, and says when she budgeted out the next several years of her life, she had assumed that money would always be there.

DORNIER: I have hip problems and I have knee problems, so I will probably need hip replacements and knee replacements at some point when I'm really old. And so, I've planned my healthcare around that.

CHANG: Republicans have characterized congressional staffers like Dornier as recipients of a generous government handout no other American enjoys. So, Senator David Vitter of Louisiana and other lawmakers want to take this so-called handout away. He says their legislation is about fairness; about treating everyone alike who's buying a health plan on the Obamacare exchanges.

SENATOR DAVID VITTER: This special congressional subsidy is unique. Nobody at that income level can get this sort of bailout or subsidy going to the exchange.

CHANG: Actually, let's back up. There are a few things Vitter and other Republicans are not mentioning. Back when Congress was debating the Affordable Care Act, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa got an amendment through that forced members of Congress and their staff to buy their health insurance on the exchanges. It was a way to make Congress put their bodies where their mouths were. And Republicans were also hoping it might make some Democrats drop their support for the healthcare law altogether.

The amendment passed with the rest of the law. And Stan Dorn, of the Urban Institute, says that set up a disparity.

STAN DORN: If you want to talk about people being treated differently, the main different treatment here is that members of Congress and their staff are the only ones in the country who were being forced to go into the exchange.

CHANG: The vast majority of people who are buying their healthcare on the exchange are people who don't get employer-provided insurance. But the Obama administration decided Capitol Hill staffers who were forced onto the exchanges shouldn't have to lose their health benefits. That would be a huge pay cut. So the administration decided it would give the same amount of money that staff members currently get for healthcare and let them use it on the exchange instead.

Dorn says that was a way to treat Hill staffers the same as most other workers in the country, not better.

DORN: The rest of the federal government provides health insurance to its workers, all large companies, practically speaking, provide insurance to their workers. How are you going to be able to attract and retain good employees?

CHANG: Rochelle Dornier says three other people in her office might also retire early if the proposal passes.

Ailsa Chang, NPR News, the Capitol. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.