Barely three years after the Supreme Court's landmark Citizens United ruling, which liberated corporations to spend freely in elections, the justices say they'll take up another campaign finance case — this time aiming at one of the limits on the "hard money" that goes directly to candidates and party committees.
By now, it's widely accepted that indiscriminate spending cuts in defense and domestic programs due to start March 1 are likely to occur owing to the failure of President Obama and the Republican-led House to reach an agreement to avoid the budgetary cleaver.
So now, the contest boils down to each side scampering for the higher ground of moral indignation.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer.
Earlier this hour, President Obama spoke in the White House about the impacts of deep spending cuts that are scheduled to take effect a week from Friday. A group of first responders in uniforms stood behind him. The president said if Congress does not stop these cuts, these men and women in uniform will not be available to help communities respond to, and recover from disasters.
The Defense Department and other government agencies are preparing for the possible government budget cuts known as sequestration. Host Michel Martin talks with Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Robbins of the Defense Department and Washington Post 'Federal Diary' columnist Joe Davidson about who'll be affected.
Standing in front of first responders who he says could lose their jobs, President Obama pushed Tuesday for Congress to act now to avoid $85 billion in "automatic, severe budget cuts" set to kick in starting on March 1.
The cuts due because of the so-called sequestration "are not smart, they are not fair [and] they will hurt our economy," the president said.
Sen. Mike Johanns, a reliably conservative Republican from Nebraska, announced yesterday (Feb. 18) he would retire rather than seek a second term in 2014 ... one where he was considered the overwhelming favorite. A former two-term governor and agriculture secretary under President George W. Bush, Johanns wrote his constituents an open letter that was also signed by his wife Stephanie: