Politics

11:09am

Tue February 19, 2013
The Two-Way

Obama Pushes Congress To Avoid Automatic Cuts; GOP Says It's Not The Problem

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 11:54 am

As he pressed Congress for action Tuesday, President Obama stood before a group of first responders. He made the case that their departments will be hurt if automatic budget cuts go into effect March 1.
Win McNamee Getty Images

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.

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6:33am

Tue February 19, 2013
Political Junkie

Nebraska Sen. Johanns Won't Run Again; Was Support For Hagel Nomination A Factor?

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 12:25 pm

Nebraska governors have often moved on to the Senate. Will Heineman be next?
Ken Rudin collection

Nobody saw this one coming.

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:

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5:51am

Tue February 19, 2013
Economy

Obama To Challenge GOP To Compromise On Budget Cuts

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 12:33 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

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2:59am

Tue February 19, 2013
Politics

Get A Social Security Check? Treasury Says It's Time To Go Electronic

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 12:33 pm

U.S. Treasury checks are run through a printer.
William Thomas Cain Getty Images

Every month, the government sends out about 5 million checks to Americans who receive federal benefits. On March 1, the Treasury Department is making those paper checks a thing of the past.

Since May 2011, all new Social Security recipients are required to get direct deposit of their benefits. Some 93 percent of all recipients now do.

But there are still holdouts, so the Treasury Department started a campaign and a website, Go Direct, in an effort to convince the remaining 7 percent.

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4:39pm

Mon February 18, 2013
It's All Politics

How New Jersey's High-Flying Sen. Menendez Ran Into Turbulence

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 5:12 pm

Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, shown in June, has come under scrutiny before, but has never been charged.
Mike Coppola Getty Images

These should be good times for Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez.

New Jersey voters re-elected him last fall in a landslide, and he became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee a few weeks ago. But along the way, Menendez has come under scrutiny by the Senate Ethics Committee and perhaps other government investigators — and certainly the media — for his connections to a longtime friend and generous campaign donor.

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4:19pm

Mon February 18, 2013
The Two-Way

Sen. Mike Johanns Says He Won't Seek Re-Election

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 7:39 pm

Mike Johanns, the Republican senator from Nebraska, announced Monday that he won't seek another term in the Senate.

Here's more from the Omaha World-Herald:

"Johanns said it was time to 'close this chapter' in his life. He noted that he and his wife, Stephanie, have spent 32 years in public life and that they want to spend more time with family.

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5:37am

Mon February 18, 2013
Environment

Protesters Call On Obama To Reject Keystone XL Pipeline

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 4:33 pm

Dr. J. William Hirzy, a chemistry professor at American Universiy, rests outside the rally route with a graph he uses to teach his students about the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature.
Daniel M.N. Turner NPR

Tens of thousands of protesters turned out on the National Mall Sunday to encourage President Obama to make good on his commitment to act on climate change.

In his Inaugural address from outside the U.S. Capitol, the president said: "We will respond to the threat of climate change knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations."

Just a few weeks later, next to the Washington Monument, Paul Birkeland was one of a couple dozen people holding a long white tube above their heads.

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3:22am

Mon February 18, 2013
It's All Politics

Government Slowly Changes Approach To Whistle-Blowers

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 6:42 am

In this 1971 file photo, the real-life Frank Serpico (center, with beard) appears at a hearing during an investigation into police corruption in New York City.
Jim Wells AP

The federal government once considered whistle-blowers a nuisance or worse. But over the past few years, that attitude has slowly started to change. More agencies have been reaching out for tips about fraud and abuse in and outside the government, even if digging through the stacks of complaints can present a challenge.

Think back to those movies in the 1970s — movies filled with heroic figures who risked it all to expose unsafe factories and police corruption, like New York cop Frank Serpico exposing his less-than-clean colleagues.

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12:20pm

Sun February 17, 2013
It's All Politics

White House Outlines Plan To Give Illegal Immigrants Path To Citizenship

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., (second and third from left) announced plans to work on a bipartisan immigration proposal with their colleagues on Jan. 28 on Capitol Hill. They were also some of the first to respond to a leaked White House proposal.
Alex Wong Getty Images

The first details of an initial proposal by the White House to tackle the nation's immigration system include an eight-year path to legal residency for illegal immigrants.

A draft of the plan, which USA Today says was leaked to the newspaper by a White House official, proposes the creation of a "Lawful Prospective Immigrant" visa for those living here illegally.

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11:27am

Sun February 17, 2013
It's All Politics

White House Warns Of Sequestration's Effects

Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 2:08 pm

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough at the White House on Jan. 25.
Carolyn Kaster AP

The White House and congressional Democrats are sounding the alarm bells over the consequences of the sequester, the across-the-board cuts to the budget that are scheduled to go into effect in March.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said the cuts would offset "pretty good" economic activity over the past few months. He said President Obama had a plan to cut an addition $1.5 trillion from the deficit.

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