The Obama Administration is delaying the part of the Affordable Care Act that affects businesses and the insurance they offer - again. As NPR's Julie Rovner reports, this time, the administration is calling its changes to the new law a phase-in.
JULIE ROVNER, BYLINE: OK, first off, the very smallest employers, those with fewer than 50 workers? They never had to do anything, and still don't.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm Steve Inskeep.
SENATOR JAY ROCKEFELLER: I wouldn't drink that water if you paid me.
INSKEEP: That's West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller yesterday, telling NPR he does not trust his own state's water. More than a month has passed since a chemical spill left 300,000 West Virginians without usable tap water. Specifically, residents were told not to drink or cook with the water.
The Obama administration says businesses employing 50-99 people now have until Jan. 1, 2016, to provide health insurance, rolling back part of the requirement known as the employer mandate. Under the Affordable Care Act, larger companies must offer the coverage in 2015.
NPR's Julie Rovner filed this update for our Newscast desk:
House Speaker John Boehner and his fellow Republicans could give President Obama the clean debt ceiling increase he wants but not for the reasons the president wants it.
Credit J. Scott Applewhite / AP
When the federal government hits its debt ceiling at the end of the month, don't expect another big red-on-blue confrontation.
The appetite in the House Republican conference for that kind of debt-defying standoff isn't what it was last fall when the nation was hit by the double whammy of the debt limit and partial federal government shutdown.
And the House GOP can't even agree on what points to negotiate with President Obama — who has said he's not willing to negotiate on the debt ceiling anyway.
Is the water safe to drink? As we've just heard, that's the question still plaguing hundreds of thousands of West Virginians who live in and around Charleston. I spoke earlier today with the other U.S. senator from West Virginia, the senior senator, Democrat Jay Rockefeller.
Senator Rockefeller, welcome to the program.
SENATOR JAY ROCKEFELLER: Thank you, Melissa. I wouldn't drink that water if you paid me.
BLOCK: Really? Well, that was my first question, would you drink the water? And you say no.
Several members of Congress are convening a field hearing on January's toxic water crisis in West Virginia, gathering in Charleston to listen to officials testify about the safety of the water. While officials testified that the water was now suitable for drinking and bathing, there is one word nobody would use to describe the water: safe.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. The fate of the former mayor of New Orleans is now in the hands of a jury. Ray Nagin is accused of using his public position for personal financial gain. Nagin is a Democrat. He became known worldwide as the face of city government when Hurricane Katrina struck. He held office for two terms. NPR's Debbie Elliot was in federal court today to hear closing arguments in this case and she joins us now.
During his January State of the State address, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker made the case that extra money should be returned as property and income tax cuts; some Republicans say his proposal goes too far.
After several lean years of cutting budgets to the bone, states hit hard by the deep recession finally have good fiscal news: Many states are now projecting budget surpluses.
But in an election year for three dozen governors, these surpluses are setting up potential political battles over what to do with the extra cash.
The first salvos are coming from governors themselves, in their annual State of the State addresses, as many of them take credit for bringing budgetary warmth to states that suffered through long, bitterly cold economic winters.
President Obama hugs Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg prior to delivering his 2011 State of the Union address.
Credit Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP
It's been nearly four years since activists engaged in a battle over a Supreme Court nomination, and a tepid one it was.
Republicans barely pushed back on President Obama's 2010 nomination of Elena Kagan, his second appointment in as many years. She was confirmed by the Senate, 63-37.
At the time, influential Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona acknowledged the problem inherent in pursuing a high court battle: The GOP had only 41 Senate votes, making it "pretty difficult" to sustain a filibuster against Kagan, or any Obama appointee.