Politics

2:35pm

Mon December 30, 2013
The Two-Way

Official In Charge Of Creating HealthCare.gov Steps Down

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 4:28 pm

Michelle Snyder, the official who oversaw the creation of the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov website, is retiring.

In a statement on Monday, Marilyn Tavenner, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, announced Snyder's departure from the agency, saying she had originally planned to retire at the end of 2012 but had stayed on at Tavenner's request to help "with the challenges facing CMS in 2013."

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10:56am

Mon December 30, 2013
The Two-Way

Billionaire Philanthropist, GOP Donor Harold Simmons Dies

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 2:49 pm

Harold Simmons stands by the Dallas courthouse entrance in October 1997. Simmons, the Texas billionaire, philanthropist and GOP donor, died Saturday in Dallas. He was 82.
Flor Cordero Reuters /Landov

Harold Simmons, the Texas billionaire, philanthropist and GOP donor, has died. He was 82.

The Dallas Morning News says Simmons died late Saturday at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. His wife, Annette, told the newspaper that Simmons was "very sick for the last two weeks" and was in Baylor's intensive care unit. The family spent Christmas at the hospital, she said.

Here's more from the Morning News:

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10:31am

Mon December 30, 2013
It's All Politics

GOP Crafts New Rules To Shorten 2016 Primary Season

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 12:28 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan on stage with their wives Ann Romney and Janna Ryan at the Republican National Convention on Aug. 30.
Jae C. Hong AP

A year after losing the popular vote for the fifth time in the past six presidential elections, the Republican Party has crafted a series of rules tweaks designed to regain control of — and dramatically shorten — its presidential nominating process.

The subcommittee charged with looking for fixes has approved five proposed changes for review by the Republican National Committee's rules committee at its January meeting. The full RNC would then need to pass the changes by a three-quarters supermajority.

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7:09am

Mon December 30, 2013
It's All Politics

Assessing Bloomberg's Legacy Is A Complex Task

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 11:16 am

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at the opening of the New York Genome Center on Sept. 19 in New York City.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

At the end of this month, Michael Bloomberg ends his three terms as mayor of New York City. Assessing Bloomberg's legacy, a man who went from Republican to Independent, is not a simple thing to do. His 12 years in office were groundbreaking, locally and even globally.

But at the same time, many New Yorkers found him arrogant and insensitive to the poor. It's a vein that was tapped successfully by Democratic Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who described New York as a city of haves and have nots. But the changes implemented by Bloomberg will impact generations of New Yorkers to come.

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5:25am

Mon December 30, 2013
Politics

If The NAFTA Vote Were Held Today, How Would It Fare?

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 7:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. It's been 20 years since President Bill Clinton signed into law a trade pact that wiped out many of the commercial barriers between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The North American Free Trade Agreement was controversial. Although Congress in the end approved NAFTA, it divided lawmakers, and on both sides of the aisle.

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5:00pm

Sun December 29, 2013
Politics

A Look Back At A Rather Rotten Year In U.S. Politics

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 5:42 pm

2013 was a terrible year for politics and politicians of all stripes. Matt Miller of The Washington Post and the public radio program Left, Right, & Center joins NPR's Arun Rath for a wrap-up.

12:03pm

Sun December 29, 2013
Politics

Abortion Rights Groups Say It's Time To Stop Playing Defense

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 1:08 pm

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis filibustered for 11 hours against sweeping restrictions on abortion back in June, becoming a hero for abortion rights activists.
Eric Gay AP

Abortion rights activists are working on a counterattack to the 200 bills that have passed in states across the U.S. since 2010.

In the past three years, Republican-led legislatures have backed bills to regulate abortions and the doctors and clinics that perform them.

Bills to ban abortions at 20 weeks are among the laws that cropped up three years ago and have now passed in about a dozen states. This year, North Dakota pushed to end abortions at around six weeks of pregnancy.

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8:28am

Sun December 29, 2013
Governing

John Kerry's Ambitious First Year

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 11:12 am

Transcript

JENNIFER LUDDEN, HOST:

Secretary of State John Kerry helped broker the deal to remove chemical weapons from Syria. He's been in his State Department post since February, and in that time has had a full portfolio - Syria, Iran, another attempt at Mideast peace talks. To better gauge how John Kerry's performed during his first year on the job, we called David Ignatius. He is a columnist for the Washington Post. Thanks so much for joining us.

DAVID IGNATIUS: Oh, happy to be with you.

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8:28am

Sun December 29, 2013
Politics

Family Leave Laws Enacted In 10 Cities And States In 2013

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 11:12 am

Transcript

JENNIFER LUDDEN, HOST:

This month, NPR's been looking at some of the numbers that bring 2013 into focus. Today, the number 10. That's how many cities and states have passed laws guaranteeing access to some kind of family leave this year, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families. That group's long championed such leave policies. And joining us now to talk about such trends is Vicki Shabo, the partnership's director of work and family programs. Welcome.

VICKI SHABO: Thank you, Jennifer. It's so great to be here.

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5:02pm

Sat December 28, 2013
The New And The Next

Teaching Democracy Through Jazz, Perfecting Party Playlists

Originally published on Wed January 29, 2014 3:04 pm

Peter Mason Getty Images

The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest feature stories.

This week, Watson tells host Arun Rath about a teacher using jazz to educate young students about democracy and a site that could spruce up the playlist for New Year's Eve parties this year.

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