Secretary of State John Kerry is only six-months into his new job - and he’s brought two major opponents together in Washington.
"We’re here today because the Israeli people and the Palestinian people both have leaders willing to heed the call of history," said Kerry yesterday.
Today, it’s our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse and we talk with NPR’s longtime Political Junkie Ken Rudin about the peace talks, Congressional support for the NSA surveillance program, gridlock and more.
U.S. home prices continue to surge. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index out today shows a 12 percent increase in May compared to a year ago.
Low interest rates and an improving job market are boosting demand for homes and driving prices up.
President Obama is out with a plan that he says will improve the job market even more. The president is touring an Amazon distribution center in Chattanooga, Tenn. to announce a so-called “grand bargain” to overhaul the corporate tax system.
Freshman U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty raised more than a quarter million dollars in the second quarter of 2013, bringing the 5th District Democrat's total campaign balance to nearly $400,000, according to her latest filing with the Federal Election Commission.
With a July 1 deadline looming, it seems unlikely that Congress will be able to stop interest rates on new federal student loans from doubling. But there may be time to address the situation before classes begin next fall.
About 7 ½ million students nationwide pay for a portion of their college tuition through subsidized Stafford Student loans. Right now, interest rates will go from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1st.
"There is a window of opportunity for Congress to still act."
More than six months have passed since Superstorm Sandy devastated the tri-state region and many people are still struggling. Money from the congressional Sandy relief bill is already helping those in New York and New Jersey. But Connecticut lags behind.
In Fairfield Beach, you can hear the constant whir of construction. Some recently raised homes look like they’re standing on long stilts 12 or 14 feet above ground. Many others are marked for demolition or are already empty lots.
It’s been five months since Superstorm Sandy devastated the tri-state area. And now, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are working on preparing for the next storm. Congress has allocated some money for that purpose, but very little of that will go to Connecticut.
The U.S. Postal Service has announced plans to reduce operations at two Connecticut mail processing plants this summer. That’s earlier than anyone expected, and could affect more than a thousand workers.
There’s been talk for a long time about closing or cutting back operations at postal facilities in Wallingford and Stamford. But last year, USPS officials assured workers – and CT’s Congressional delegation - that nothing would happen before 2014.
As the United States Congress nears its deadline for cutting spending, the country faces a sequester, or 85 billion dollars in across-the-board spending cuts that would take effect this year. The public debate over the impacts of the sequester have focused on defense and education cuts, but funding for environmental programs is also at risk. WNPR’s Neena Satija reports.
So, let’s say Where We Live was like the federal budget, and because of some self-imposed deadline, our show was subject to a “sequester” - A cut of 2.3%.
Well, you’d lose about 1 and a quarter minutes off the show. Doesn’t seem too bad, right? But what if it was completely arbitrary - cutting the first minute that explains what we’re talking about, or the precise moment our guest Bill Curry says something that might change your world. Doesn’t sound the the best way to trim things, huh?
On December 31, doctors will experience a 30% decrease in reimbursements through Medicare and Tricare, the federal programs that provide care for people over 65 years of age and active and retired members of the military, unless Congress acts to stop it.
In 1997, Congress created a formula that tied increases in physician payments from Medicare and Tricare to economic growth, a formula that leaves a shortfall in payments to doctors when health care costs rise faster than the nation's economic growth.
Although national Democrats are running ads in Connecticut connecting Republican Andrew Roraback to the tea party, his opponent Elizabeth Esty distanced herself from the attacks. "I don't say that and I've said I don't say that," said Esty. She added that if a Republican is elected from Connecticut's 5th District, "What you've done is added another vote, added more support at the national level for the national (Tea Party) agenda."
Esty pointed to a larger problem with the Citizens United ruling and campaign finance.
Congressman Joe Courtney has sponsored a bill that could help veterans who are in school or planning to enroll using the Post 9-11 GI bill. The legislation would change how education funding is classified from the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
There's been a lot of talk and some political movement toward a national standard for the use of clean energy. But the topic is still rife with politics. Researchers at Yale and Harvard have released a study that says Americans on average would be willing to pay $162 per year in higher electricity bills to fund a national standard requiring that 80% of energy be "clean."
But "clean" has different meanings for different people.
Baseball season puts us in mind of those great baseball names -- Van Lingle Mungo, Prince Fielder, Napoleon Lajoie, Nestor Chylack, Rabbit Maranville and Lancelot Phelps.
Actually ... Lancelot Phelps wasn't a baseball player. He was the first person elected to Congress from Connecticut's Fifth District. And since that time, the frequently redistricted Fifth has elected Connecticut's only African-American member of Congress - Gary Franks - and a fellow named John Rowland.
A 2004 law requires a certain percentage of federal contracting dollars to go to small businesses owned by service disabled veterans. But a recent inspector's report from the Department of Defense finds that in 2010, more than two dozen contracts were awarded to companies that weren't eligible.
Lawmakers in Washington are considering a bill to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act. Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal plans to introduce an amendment that raises similar concerns as his 2005 lawsuit over the education reform law.
The Senate waded into the emotionally and politically-charged issue of gay marriage Wednesday, with the first-ever hearing on the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. There was testimony from gay and lesbian witnesses, including a widower from Connecticut.
The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room was packed with gay rights advocates and same-sex couples, as the committee engaged in a divisive debate over the merits of DOMA and a corresponding push to repeal of that law.