Ailsa Chang http://iowapublicradio.org en VA Nominee Steps Before Senate Committee http://iowapublicradio.org/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(MDA4MjIzNjkwMDEzMTcwNjcxNzNmYmMzMA004)"/></div><p> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 21:12:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 44135 at http://iowapublicradio.org House GOP Counters Obama's Request By Promising Own Proposal http://iowapublicradio.org/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 20:21:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 43787 at http://iowapublicradio.org Could A Socialist Senator Become A National Brand? http://iowapublicradio.org/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 43496 at http://iowapublicradio.org Could A Socialist Senator Become A National Brand? Addressing Border Crisis, Politicians Find Invitation In Misperception http://iowapublicradio.org/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 20:50:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 42737 at http://iowapublicradio.org GOP: McCarthy Voted Majority Leader; Scalise Chosen As Whip http://iowapublicradio.org/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 42523 at http://iowapublicradio.org Old Senate Tradition Lies Behind Controversial Judge's Nomination http://iowapublicradio.org/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 20:56:08 +0000 Ailsa Chang 41436 at http://iowapublicradio.org Old Senate Tradition Lies Behind Controversial Judge's Nomination Sen. Isakson: Boggs Fight Won't Break White House Deal http://iowapublicradio.org/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 41081 at http://iowapublicradio.org Sen. Isakson: Boggs Fight Won't Break White House Deal Obama Judicial Nominee Gets A Hostile Reception From Democrats http://iowapublicradio.org/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 40575 at http://iowapublicradio.org Election-Year Politics Dooms Energy Bill, Averts Pipeline Vote http://iowapublicradio.org/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 06:53:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 40538 at http://iowapublicradio.org Election-Year Politics Dooms Energy Bill, Averts Pipeline Vote Women On Capitol Hill Reach Across Party Lines To Get Things Done http://iowapublicradio.org/post/women-capitol-hill-reach-across-party-lines-get-things-done 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 12:15:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 40324 at http://iowapublicradio.org Women On Capitol Hill Reach Across Party Lines To Get Things Done From Humble Beginnings, A Powerhouse Fundraising Class Emerges http://iowapublicradio.org/post/humble-beginnings-powerhouse-fundraising-class-emerges Women are far less likely than men to run for Congress. But here's the curious thing: When it comes to the hardest, most miserable part of campaigning — fundraising — women do just as well as men.<p>Study after study shows this, but it wasn't always that way. Efforts over the past 30 years to teach women how to <em>raise</em> money and <em>give</em> money have helped them catch up to men as powerhouse fundraisers. <br /> Tue, 06 May 2014 21:12:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 40250 at http://iowapublicradio.org From Humble Beginnings, A Powerhouse Fundraising Class Emerges Mega-Donor Opens Wallet On The Hill To Kill Online Gambling http://iowapublicradio.org/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 20:02:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 38577 at http://iowapublicradio.org Mega-Donor Opens Wallet On The Hill To Kill Online Gambling As Obamacare Deadline Nears, Louisiana Gets Special Attention http://iowapublicradio.org/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 38238 at http://iowapublicradio.org As Obamacare Deadline Nears, Louisiana Gets Special Attention How To Meet Your Congressman http://iowapublicradio.org/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 38120 at http://iowapublicradio.org How To Meet Your Congressman With Clock Ticking Down, Obama Polishes Judicial Legacy http://iowapublicradio.org/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 21:03:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 37927 at http://iowapublicradio.org With Clock Ticking Down, Obama Polishes Judicial Legacy Senate Blocks Military Sexual Assault Reforms http://iowapublicradio.org/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 21:01:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 37177 at http://iowapublicradio.org Democrats Help Block Nominee For DOJ's Top Civil Rights Job http://iowapublicradio.org/post/democrats-help-block-nominee-dojs-top-civil-rights-job Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene.<p>LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST: <p>And I'm Linda Wertheimer.<p>A handful of Senate Democrats joined Republicans yesterday to defeat President Obama's choice to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.<p>Debo Adegbile is a civil rights lawyer who once helped handle the appeal of a cop killer. Thu, 06 Mar 2014 10:22:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 37151 at http://iowapublicradio.org FEMA Flood Insurance Law Faces Partial Repeal Over Premiums http://iowapublicradio.org/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 36854 at http://iowapublicradio.org FEMA Flood Insurance Law Faces Partial Repeal Over Premiums Democratic Sen. Landrieu Walks A Fine Line In Red Louisiana http://iowapublicradio.org/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 36740 at http://iowapublicradio.org Democratic Sen. Landrieu Walks A Fine Line In Red Louisiana Senate Follows House Lead In Passing Debt Limit Raise http://iowapublicradio.org/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 21:29:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 36184 at http://iowapublicradio.org Does Congress Have Enough Political Will To Reduce The Debt? http://iowapublicradio.org/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 36050 at http://iowapublicradio.org Senate Moves Forward On Unemployment Benefits http://iowapublicradio.org/post/senate-moves-moves-forward-unemployment-benefits In a tally that surprised even its sponsors, a half dozen Republican senators gave Democrats enough votes to move forward with a bill extending emergency unemployment benefits for another three months. The proposal likely faces an even tougher hurdle in the Republican-controlled House. Wed, 08 Jan 2014 10:10:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 34567 at http://iowapublicradio.org Gun Control Lobby Takes Note Of Opposition's Success http://iowapublicradio.org/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 34034 at http://iowapublicradio.org Gun Control Lobby Takes Note Of Opposition's Success Will Obamacare Play Big In 2014? Keep An Eye On N.H. Senate Race http://iowapublicradio.org/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 11:06:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 33228 at http://iowapublicradio.org Will Obamacare Play Big In 2014? Keep An Eye On N.H. Senate Race House To Vote On GOP Solution To Canceled Insurance http://iowapublicradio.org/post/house-vote-gop-solution-canceled-insurance Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.<p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>And I'm Steve Inskeep. The first part of October was a political disaster for the Republican Party. After being blamed for the government shutdown, the GOP approval rating fell to historic lows.<p>MONTAGNE: The weeks since have become a political disaster for Democrats. Fri, 15 Nov 2013 09:50:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 32162 at http://iowapublicradio.org Congressional Odd Couple Could Be Key To Any Budget Breakthrough http://iowapublicradio.org/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 32034 at http://iowapublicradio.org Congressional Odd Couple Could Be Key To Any Budget Breakthrough When Lobbyists Literally Write The Bill http://iowapublicradio.org/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 31939 at http://iowapublicradio.org When Lobbyists Literally Write The Bill Obama's Nominations Blocked Again In Senate http://iowapublicradio.org/post/obamas-nominations-blocked-again-senate Senate Republicans have once again blocked President Obama's nominees. Despite a deal in July to let several of the president's picks go through, the rancor has returned with a fresh batch of appointments. Two nominations failed within less than an hour on Thursday, and Democrats may once again threaten to change Senate rules so Republicans can't easily derail another nomination. Fri, 01 Nov 2013 09:11:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 31471 at http://iowapublicradio.org Senate Gets A Dose Of Scolding With Its Morning Prayer http://iowapublicradio.org/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 30507 at http://iowapublicradio.org Senate Gets A Dose Of Scolding With Its Morning Prayer What Furlough? GOP Lawmakers Choose How Much Burden To Bear http://iowapublicradio.org/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 30133 at http://iowapublicradio.org What Furlough? GOP Lawmakers Choose How Much Burden To Bear