The federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. is second only to the United States Supreme Court in terms of the important cases it decides. But the court, known as the D.C. Circuit, has been limping along with four vacancies. President Obama's first nominee recently withdrew after two Senate filibusters blocked her path. The White House is hoping its other nominee will have an easier ride.
In recent elections the Republican Party has struggled to find much support among African-American voters. That though did not dissuade Kentucky's Republican Senator Rand Paul from making a pitch yesterday at Howard University, the historically black college in the nation's capital.
NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson was listening.
MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Rand Paul spoke carefully from a teleprompter and posed this question to his audience of young African-American students.
On Capitol Hill, the Senate is set to open debate this morning on the first major gun control legislation to reach Congress in two decades. Some Republicans, though, say they have a pretty good reason to hold up that debate. NPR's Ailsa Chang explains.
AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: Senator Mike Lee of Utah is one of the Republicans who say they're filibustering, and here's his rational: He's not actually trying to block debate. He's just trying to buy more time to consider the proposals.
Drivers travel on Interstate 495, the Capital Beltway, near Tysons Corner in Fairfax County, Va., in November, just days before the opening of four new express lanes. Virginia is among 19 states that have approved or are considering legislation to increase transportation funding, according to Transportation for America.
It's no secret that many of the nation's roads are in pretty bad shape. In the latest report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the condition of America's highways rated a grade of D.
Congestion is a big problem, and so is upkeep. Most states rely on gas taxes to raise the money for repairs and new construction, but that funding source is not the stream it used to be, says James Corless of Transportation for America.