The 113th Congress is setting a new record, with 101 women this time around. Now there's lots of speculation about what difference — if any — a sizable group of women might make to our national legislature.
Linda Wertheimer speaks with freshman Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire about the challenges facing the 113th Congress. Shaheen is a former governor of New Hampshire and a part of the state's new all-female delegation to Congress.
President Obama will be publicly sworn in for a second term on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a notable confluence of events. Historian Taylor Branch joins guest host Linda Wertheimer to talk about race and democracy, past and present. Branch's new book is The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement.
This week saw both a frantic finale to the much-unloved 112th Congress and, hours later, the swearing in of the new 113th. The cast of lawmakers and their leaders is mostly unchanged. The same can be said for Capitol Hill's never-ending drama over taxes, deficits and spending.
What was arguably this week's most sensational congressional moment did not even take place in Washington. On Wednesday in Trenton, N.J., Republican Gov. Chris Christie blasted the GOP-led House for closing down the last Congress without even considering a Superstorm Sandy disaster relief bill.
Fiscal cliff week has mercifully ended with a deal done, hurricane relief approved, President Obama vacationing, and both parties bickering internally over what was won — and lost — in the early hours of the new year.
What we have found most intriguing is the vigorous post-facto wrestling within the liberal community over what the fiscal cliff negotiations say about President Obama.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. New York and New Jersey and getting some much needed federal disaster relief, but at least for now, it's far less than the state's leaders have requested. Today, Congress approved nearly $10 billion to replenish the National Flood Insurance program. The move comes after a major blowup earlier this week when House leaders failed to act on a larger aid package. NPR's Tamara Keith has our story.
President Obama may be going into the next big budget fight without his long-time treasury secretary. Timothy Geithner had been planning to leave before the start of the president's second term, but that would mean he is departing with the debt ceiling still looming and the Treasury scrambling to keep up with the government's bills.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
NPR's Scott Horsley joins us now. And, Scott, Secretary Geithner has made no secret of his plans to leave the government, but it sounds like his departure could be complicated.