Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas is a bright young Hispanic star who will be sworn in this week in Washington. The Republican Party nationally hopes Cruz will be part of the solution to its growing problem luring Hispanic voters.
Almost nobody had heard of Cruz when he began his campaign for the U.S. Senate. But when he stepped in front of a microphone, he could light up a room in a way that made the other Republican candidates seem lifeless.
Right now in Pasadena, the floats in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade are the homestretch. The Rose Parade is a long-established national tradition, of course, watched every year by hundreds of thousands across the country. Los Angeles Times columnist Patt Morrison covered the event many times and wrote today: Its huge cultural shadow has been as much about what you didn't see on display as what you did.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan. This afternoon, House Democrats and Republicans are meeting separately to consider the Senate-approved deal that would avert automatic tax hikes and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. Some House Republicans indicate they'd like to amend that bill and send it back to the Senate, which if it doesn't get done tonight could invalidate the negotiated deal. It would then become a problem for the next Congress, which takes office on Thursday. As of now, no vote is scheduled.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Early this morning, the Senate approved a fiscal cliff package that includes some important steps forward on taxes, an unemployment extension and a new farm bill, among others. But now it appears that bill may be in trouble in the House of Representatives. NPR senior Washington editor Ron Elving joins us now from his home here in Washington, D.C. Ron, Happy New Year.
Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 12:03 pm
Following an already violent year in Pakistan, on the first day of the New Year gunmen shot and killed five teachers and two aid workers as they were driving home from work.
According to The Associated Press, the groups director said they may have been targeted for their anti-polio work, which would follow a pattern of attacks against charity and aid workers in Pakistan in recent weeks.
Waves crash over the Kulluk oil rig, which washed aground on Sitkalidak Island, Alaska. Officials say aircraft have not spotted any signs of a fuel leak from the rig, which reportedly does not contain crude oil.
Credit PA3 Jon Klingenberg / Coast Guard
The drilling rig Kulluk, seen here in 2010, is specially built to work in the Arctic Ocean. Its round shape deflects ice floating in the water.
Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 5:44 am
An oil drilling rig holding more than 150,000 gallons of diesel, lubricating oil, and hydraulic fluid has run aground near Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska, after it was being towed during a storm. The crew was evacuated before the rig was incapacitated.
"The rig ran aground in a storm, with waves up to 35 feet and wind to 70 miles per hour," reports Jeff Brady, on NPR's Newscast. The Shell Oil rig is "about 250 miles south of Anchorage," Jeff says.
Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 11:39 am
A compromise deal to stop broad spending cuts and tax increases is headed to the House of Representatives, after receiving strong support in the Senate. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., talks with Steve Inskeep about a possible House vote on the "fiscal cliff" deal.
Cole, the House deputy majority whip who also serves on the Appropriations Committee, says he expects the House to approve the Senate bill, calling it "a pretty big win."
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden make a statement regarding the passage of the fiscal cliff bill in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House late Tuesday evening.
Credit Charles Dharapak / AP
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio arrives on Capitol Hill on Tuesday as legislation to negate a fiscal cliff of across-the-board tax increases and sweeping spending cuts moves to the GOP-dominated House.
Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 3:23 am
The House of Representatives voted 257-167 late Tuesday to pass a Senate-approved compromise deal that stops large tax increases for 99 percent of Americans, and delays massive spending cuts for two months.
The bill now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.
NPR's S.V. Date is reporting on the deal for our Newscast unit. Here's what he says:
"The eventual deal was hammered out by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden. It passed the Senate with overwhelming, bipartisan support.
This New Year could mean a new cost for the craft store chain Hobby Lobby. The federal health care law requires employee insurance plans to cover emergency contraceptives. Hobby Lobby's owners did not want to do that. They say drugs commonly known by names like the morning-after pill are tantamount to abortion.
Now, the Supreme Court has turned aside Hobby Lobby's request to block the mandate. So, starting today, the company could be fined as much as $1.3 million per day for defying the law.