Ailsa Chang http://weku.fm en VA Nominee Steps Before Senate Committee http://weku.fm/post/va-nominee-steps-senate-committee Robert McDonald, President Obama's nominee to run the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs, is appearing before the Senate for his confirmation hearing. He faces the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, which will vote on whether to send his nomination to the Senate floor. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.<img src="http://www.google-analytics.com/__utm.gif?utmac=UA-5828686-4&utmdt=VA+Nominee+Steps+Before+Senate+Committee&utme=8(APIKey)9(MDA4NDI3MDk2MDEzMjA0NDE3NTExOWRjNg004)"/></div><p> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 20:53:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 62807 at http://weku.fm House GOP Counters Obama's Request By Promising Own Proposal http://weku.fm/post/house-gop-counters-obamas-request-promising-own-proposal Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.<p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>And I'm Robert Siegel. It's a familiar dance in Washington - President Obama makes a request to Congress and the House says no. This time, the no is in response to the $3.7 billion dollars the president requested to respond to an influx of unaccompanied immigrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border.<p>House Republicans say they won't grant anywhere near that amount. Tue, 15 Jul 2014 20:58:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 62476 at http://weku.fm Could A Socialist Senator Become A National Brand? http://weku.fm/post/could-socialist-senator-become-national-brand As members of Congress continue hammering out a bill to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs' <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/06/04/318827245/va-health-cares-chronic-ailments-long-waits-and-red-tape">beleaguered health care system</a>, attention has focused on one man leading the charge: Bernie Sanders, Independent senator from Vermont and a self-described socialist.<p>Sanders barely got 2 percent of the vote when he first tried breaking into Vermont politics in the 1970s, but now there's buzz that the man known simply as "Bernie" may be a presidential candidate in 2016.<p> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 07:23:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 62208 at http://weku.fm Could A Socialist Senator Become A National Brand? Addressing Border Crisis, Politicians Find Invitation In Misperception http://weku.fm/post/addressing-border-crisis-politicians-find-invitation-misperception The House Committee on Homeland Security held a hearing Tuesday to address the influx of unaccompanied immigrant children from Central America. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson spoke at the proceedings, saying the situation at the border was "urgent." <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. Tue, 24 Jun 2014 21:25:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 61504 at http://weku.fm GOP: McCarthy Voted Majority Leader; Scalise Chosen As Whip http://weku.fm/post/gop-mccarthy-voted-majority-leader-scalise-chosen-whip Transcript <p>LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST: <p>House Republicans have elected a new majority leader. As expected, Kevin McCarthy of California, currently the third-ranked Republican in the House, easily prevailed. And Steve Scalise of Louisiana won the fight to replace McCarthy as majority whip. The leadership shuffle followed last week's unexpected primary defeat of the previous majority leader, Eric Cantor. Fri, 20 Jun 2014 10:22:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 61296 at http://weku.fm Old Senate Tradition Lies Behind Controversial Judge's Nomination http://weku.fm/post/old-senate-tradition-lies-behind-controversial-judges-nomination As President Obama continues to take heat for nominating to the federal bench a judge who once wanted to keep the Confederate emblem on the Georgia state flag, the White House says what's partly to blame for the choice is an old Senate tradition.<p>It turns out that tradition — which gives virtual veto power over judicial nominations to home state senators — helps explain why almost all the judicial vacancies without nominees are now in states with Republican senators.<p>There's an idea in the Senate that it's still a chamber operating on mutual respect and goodwill between colleagues, even in Thu, 29 May 2014 20:34:49 +0000 Ailsa Chang 60320 at http://weku.fm Old Senate Tradition Lies Behind Controversial Judge's Nomination Sen. Isakson: Boggs Fight Won't Break White House Deal http://weku.fm/post/sen-isakson-boggs-fight-wont-break-white-house-deal If the judicial nomination of Michael Boggs gets derailed, at least one of Georgia's senators says it won't unravel a deal the two senators entered with the White House to select seven nominees for the federal bench in Georgia.<p>"The deal was we agreed on seven nominees for seven judicial appointments and asked for all of them to get a hearing at the same time, and that was the deal," said Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia. Thu, 22 May 2014 23:10:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 60013 at http://weku.fm Sen. Isakson: Boggs Fight Won't Break White House Deal Obama Judicial Nominee Gets A Hostile Reception From Democrats http://weku.fm/post/obama-judicial-nominee-gets-hostile-reception-democrats Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>One of President Obama's most controversial picks for the federal bench faced a barrage of hostile questions from Democrats, during his confirmation hearing today. Michael Boggs is a state judge in Georgia. Tue, 13 May 2014 20:05:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 59541 at http://weku.fm Election-Year Politics Dooms Energy Bill, Averts Pipeline Vote http://weku.fm/post/election-year-politics-dooms-energy-bill-averts-pipeline-vote As expected, an energy efficiency bill failed in the Senate on Monday, which makes a separate Senate vote on the Keystone XL oil pipeline unlikely before the November election.<p>Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had made a Keystone vote contingent upon passage of the energy efficiency bill, and letting one doom the other may have temporarily gotten him out of a bind.<p>Reid faced a dilemma: Some Senate Democrats — especially vulnerable ones running in conservative states this year — want to support the pipeline. Tue, 13 May 2014 06:41:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 59508 at http://weku.fm Election-Year Politics Dooms Energy Bill, Averts Pipeline Vote Women On Capitol Hill Reach Across Party Lines To Get Things Done http://weku.fm/post/women-capitol-hill-may-be-better-crossing-party-lines There's a long-held assumption that women are more likely than men to collaborate. As the number of women in Congress has increased, however, so has the partisanship and gridlock. So does a woman's touch actually help on Capitol Hill?<p>There's a lot of academic research that supports the idea that women are better at building bipartisan coalitions. Thu, 08 May 2014 09:15:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 59299 at http://weku.fm Women On Capitol Hill Reach Across Party Lines To Get Things Done Hey, Superheroes On The National Mall: Any Advice For Congress? http://weku.fm/post/superheroes-go-washington-and-theyve-got-political-advice Hundreds of people gathered on the National Mall Friday to see if they could break the Guinness World Record for the largest group dressed as comic book characters ever assembled.<p>It was the kickoff to Awesome Con 2014, a comic book convention that will take place in Washington, D.C., this weekend. In the end, the group came up short by several hundred people to break the world record.<p>But with so much superhero power concentrated next to the U.S. Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:08:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 58423 at http://weku.fm Hey, Superheroes On The National Mall: Any Advice For Congress? Mega-Donor Opens Wallet On The Hill To Kill Online Gambling http://weku.fm/post/mega-donor-opens-wallet-hill-kill-online-gambling Now that the Supreme Court has eliminated the cap on the total amount one individual can give to candidates in each election, many are wondering how the very rich will respond.<p>If they spread their money across a wider swath of lawmakers, would that improve their chances of passing the legislation they want?<p>Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson could be the first test case.<p><strong>Expanding One's Reach Across Congress</strong><p>Adelson is pushing a bill through Congress that would ban online gambling, and he has pledged he will spend "whatever it takes."<p>The Supreme Court has ruled that a Thu, 03 Apr 2014 20:43:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 57739 at http://weku.fm Mega-Donor Opens Wallet On The Hill To Kill Online Gambling As Obamacare Deadline Nears, Louisiana Gets Special Attention http://weku.fm/post/obamacare-deadline-nears-louisiana-gets-special-attention With only four days left before the March 31 enrollment deadline, the White House is kicking into high gear trying to round up more Affordable Care Act enrollees – and Louisiana got special attention Thursday.<p>Why? Enrollment in the federal healthcare exchange there has lagged behind other states and, perhaps as important, citizens are getting bombarded with anti-ACA ads as Democratic Sen. Thu, 27 Mar 2014 22:10:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 57431 at http://weku.fm As Obamacare Deadline Nears, Louisiana Gets Special Attention How To Meet Your Congressman http://weku.fm/post/how-meet-your-congressman For all the campaigning and schmoozing members of Congress have to do, the truth is that the vast majority of Americans will never actually meet their lawmakers.<p>To be fair, not everyone wants to. But among those who do, there's serious competition for a lawmaker's time. So, how does an average citizen get access on Capitol Hill? The quick answer: It's not easy.<p>First, do the math. Wed, 26 Mar 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 57327 at http://weku.fm How To Meet Your Congressman With Clock Ticking Down, Obama Polishes Judicial Legacy http://weku.fm/post/clock-ticking-down-obama-polishes-judicial-legacy Republicans have a decent shot at taking control of the Senate in November, so President Obama could have as little as nine months left to shape the judiciary he will leave behind.<p>Senate Democrats positioned themselves to help with that endeavor when they eliminated the filibuster for most judicial nominees last November. But Republicans are still finding ways to slow things down.<p>When Senate Republicans lost their ability to filibuster judicial nominees, many claimed the federal bench would change forever. Fri, 21 Mar 2014 20:32:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 57143 at http://weku.fm With Clock Ticking Down, Obama Polishes Judicial Legacy Senate Blocks Military Sexual Assault Reforms http://weku.fm/post/senate-blocks-military-sexual-assault-reforms Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.<p>After months of anticipation, the Senate has rejected a proposal to fundamentally change the way the military prosecutes sexual assault. Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand of New York needed 60 votes for a bill that would give military prosecutors, rather than commanders, final say over which sexual assault cases to prosecute. The legislation got 55 votes today.<p>With us now is NPR's congressional reporter Ailsa Chang to talk about the fight around Gillibrand's legislation. Thu, 06 Mar 2014 21:16:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 56453 at http://weku.fm FEMA Flood Insurance Law Faces Partial Repeal Over Premiums http://weku.fm/post/overhaul-fema-program-has-homeowners-calling-congress The House is expected to vote as early as next week to partially repeal a 2012 law that overhauled the National Flood Insurance Program, which is tens of billions of dollars in debt.<p>The law was meant to make people living in flood-prone areas foot more of the insurance bill. But lawmakers didn't realize how many homeowners would be affected — or how hard they'd be hit.<p>You can find some of those homeowners in Bayou Gauche, about 30 miles west of New Orleans.<p>Like other parts of South Louisiana, this small community is below sea level. Thu, 27 Feb 2014 08:26:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 56158 at http://weku.fm FEMA Flood Insurance Law Faces Partial Repeal Over Premiums Democratic Sen. Landrieu Walks A Fine Line In Red Louisiana http://weku.fm/post/democratic-sen-landrieu-walks-fine-line-red-louisiana If Democrats are going to keep their majority in the Senate, they'll need to hang on to a few critical seats they hold in conservative states.<p>Mary Landrieu of Louisiana has one of those, and like some of her colleagues up for re-election, her support of the Affordable Care Act could be the mountain to overcome this fall.<p>The question for Landrieu is: Will Louisiana voters define her by Obamacare, or judge her on the entire record she's built over nearly two decades as a senator?<p><strong>For Some, Obamacare's A Dealbreaker </strong><p>There's a sprawling, twisty live oak in Galliano, La. Tue, 25 Feb 2014 08:37:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 56060 at http://weku.fm Democratic Sen. Landrieu Walks A Fine Line In Red Louisiana Senate Follows House Lead In Passing Debt Limit Raise http://weku.fm/post/senate-follows-house-lead-passing-debt-limit-raise Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.<p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>And I'm Robert Siegel.<p>Congress has averted a default by raising the country's borrowing limit. The Senate passed the legislation this afternoon after overcoming an attempted filibuster. The bill pushes the debt ceiling deadline to March of 2015 and it now heads to the White House for the president to sign. As NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, Democrats needed five Republicans to join them. Wed, 12 Feb 2014 21:00:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 55535 at http://weku.fm Does Congress Have Enough Political Will To Reduce The Debt? http://weku.fm/post/does-congress-have-enough-political-will-reduce-debt Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>When Congress reached a bipartisan budget deal last December, there was much fanfare about the compromises made by both parties. And immediately afterwards, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle began working to reverse one of the spending cuts - a small reduction in military pensions. One plan to restore those pensions is up for a vote today in the Senate. Mon, 10 Feb 2014 10:18:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 55420 at http://weku.fm Gun Control Lobby Takes Note Of Opposition's Success http://weku.fm/post/gun-control-lobby-takes-note-oppositions-success For gun control advocates hoping to see federal gun laws tighten after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., 2013 was a disheartening year. A narrow provision to expand background checks failed in the Senate.<p>For gun rights activists, the death of that legislation proved once more their single-issue intensity and decades-long grass-roots organizing were enough to prevail. Those are also valuable lessons for their opponents.<p><strong>A 'Voice' For Lost Children</strong><p>It may have been the year gun control legislation collapsed in the Senate, but Shundra Robinson is grateful for 2013. Thu, 26 Dec 2013 08:17:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 53630 at http://weku.fm Gun Control Lobby Takes Note Of Opposition's Success Will Obamacare Play Big In 2014? Keep An Eye On N.H. Senate Race http://weku.fm/post/will-obamacare-play-big-2014-keep-eye-nh-senate-race With a new White House push to promote the Affordable Care Act well underway, the question is whether an improved HealthCare.gov site and onslaught of positive talking points will be enough to bolster Senate Democrats facing tough races in 2014.<p>One re-election fight to watch is Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's in New Hampshire, where she's been taking heat for supporting the new health care law.<p>Step inside a small diner called Chez Vachon in a working-class section of Manchester, N.H., and you'd never guess the White House is actually regaining its footing on the health care rollout. Mon, 09 Dec 2013 10:45:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 52895 at http://weku.fm Will Obamacare Play Big In 2014? Keep An Eye On N.H. Senate Race Congressional Odd Couple Could Be Key To Any Budget Breakthrough http://weku.fm/post/congressional-odd-couple-could-be-key-any-budget-breakthrough Twenty-nine lawmakers are supposed to come up with a long-term budget deal by mid-December. They meet again Wednesday around a conference table, led by two people who couldn't be more different: Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.<p>At 6-foot-1, Ryan looms over Murray by more than a foot. He's known as a budget geek, but managed to get a photo spread in Time magazine last year doing bicep curls in a T-shirt. Wed, 13 Nov 2013 08:17:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 51803 at http://weku.fm Congressional Odd Couple Could Be Key To Any Budget Breakthrough When Lobbyists Literally Write The Bill http://weku.fm/post/when-lobbyists-literally-write-bill It's taken for granted that lobbyists influence legislation. But perhaps less obvious is that they often write the actual bills — even word for word.<p>In an example a week and a half ago, the House passed a measure that would roll back a portion of the 2010 financial reforms known as Dodd-Frank. Mon, 11 Nov 2013 19:03:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 51714 at http://weku.fm When Lobbyists Literally Write The Bill Senate Gets A Dose Of Scolding With Its Morning Prayer http://weku.fm/post/senate-gets-dose-scolding-its-daily-prayer It's easy to tune out when the Senate goes through its morning rituals. The president pro tem calls the chamber to order; there's the Pledge of Allegiance. One morning could sound like any other.<p>Except for the past two weeks. Barry C. Sun, 13 Oct 2013 09:41:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 51332 at http://weku.fm Senate Gets A Dose Of Scolding With Its Morning Prayer What Furlough? GOP Lawmakers Choose How Much Burden To Bear http://weku.fm/post/what-furlough-gop-legislators-keep-staff-working As the government shutdown enters its fifth day, House Republicans and Senate Democrats continue to spar over who's being more unreasonable in this fight.<p>GOP members now find themselves on the defensive, as they face questions about forgoing pay and forgoing staff during the widespread furloughs.<p>Hundreds of thousands of federal workers were forced to figure out this week just how many paychecks they could afford to skip. In a show of solidarity, at least 150 lawmakers said they'd give up their pay, too. Sat, 05 Oct 2013 10:49:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 50994 at http://weku.fm What Furlough? GOP Lawmakers Choose How Much Burden To Bear Clock Keeps Ticking Toward Government Shutdown http://weku.fm/post/clock-keeps-ticking-toward-government-shutdown Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.<p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>And I'm Steve Inskeep.<p>The brinksmanship is familiar, but nobody quite knows how the fight over a government shutdown will end.<p>GREENE: Congress has to pass a bill by midnight to keep the government in full operation. House Republicans demanded that all funds be denied to Obamacare in exchange for keeping the government running 45 days. Mon, 30 Sep 2013 08:34:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 50718 at http://weku.fm With Government Shutdown Looming, All Eyes Turn To House GOP http://weku.fm/post/government-shutdown-looming-all-eyes-turn-house-gop As expected, the Senate passed a bill Friday to keep the government funded through mid-November — without stripping any funding away from the president's health care law.<p>Now the action returns to the House, where Republicans earlier in the week tied the measure to defunding the Affordable Care Act. With the threat of a shutdown looming three days away, the question is now, what will the House do?<p>On Friday before the Senate vote, even the Senate chaplain hinted that the squabbling and mounting anger on Capitol Hill had gotten out of hand. Sat, 28 Sep 2013 07:43:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 50664 at http://weku.fm With Government Shutdown Looming, All Eyes Turn To House GOP Republicans Push Back On Obama's D.C. Court Nominees http://weku.fm/post/republicans-push-back-obamas-dc-court-nominees If President Obama has his way, he will get to fill three more of the 11 slots on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the second most powerful court in the country. Obama already has filled one vacancy with Sri Srinivasan, who was confirmed back in May.<p>On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved another nominee for the D.C. Circuit, law professor Cornelia "Nina" Pillard.<p>That means two of the president's picks — Pillard and Patricia Millett, who was approved by the Judiciary Committee on Aug. 1 — are now waiting for a full Senate vote. Thu, 19 Sep 2013 21:17:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 50285 at http://weku.fm Republicans Push Back On Obama's D.C. Court Nominees Syria Resolution Could Be A Hard Sell On Capitol Hill http://weku.fm/post/syria-resolution-could-be-hard-sell-capitol-hill Twenty-four hours after President Obama announced on Saturday that he'll wait for congressional authorization before launching strikes on Syria; members of Congress attended a classified briefing at the Capitol.<p>For days, most of the discontent among members of Congress has been about not being included in the deliberations on Syria, about not getting the chance to vote. Now that they've gotten their way, each member of Congress will have to go on the record.<p>"Right now, I would say, if the vote were today, it would probably be a no vote," Republican Rep. Mon, 02 Sep 2013 07:31:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 49455 at http://weku.fm Syria Resolution Could Be A Hard Sell On Capitol Hill