White House

Former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb has become the fifth Democrat to announce he is seeking the party's nomination for president.

"[Our] country needs a fresh approach to solving the problems that confront us and too often unnecessarily divide us," Webb said in a statement. "We need to shake the hold of these shadow elites on our political process."

Webb, 69, joins former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee in the 2016 contest.

President Obama on Wednesday announced the formal resumption of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba after more than half a century of hostilities. The two countries have agreed to reopen embassies in Washington and Havana.

Standing in the White House Rose Garden, Obama called it "a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people."

Obama said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Havana this summer to "proudly raise the flag over our embassy once more."

Obama To Expand Overtime Pay For Millions

Jun 30, 2015

President Obama announced this week that the Labor Department will expand overtime pay, in a move the administration estimates would impact 5 million U.S. workers. That would double the income threshold at which employers can avoid paying overtime.

Right now, only salaried employees earning less $23,660 a year are eligible for overtime. This rule would raise that threshold so that employees making up to $50,660 a year would get paid overtime.

The U.S. ambassador to France has been summoned to the French Foreign Ministry to answer new claims that the NSA monitored the communications of three sitting French presidents and their top staff.

Those said to be targeted include President Francois Hollande, who is holding an emergency meeting today with top French lawmakers.

From Paris, NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports:

This story is part of NPR's series Journey Home. We're going to the places presidential candidates call home and finding out what those places tell us about how they see the world.

Hillary Clinton's family moved to Park Ridge, Ill., in 1950 when she was a toddler. It's a quiet, upper middle-class suburb of Chicago — except for all the airplanes.

"Park Ridge is right under O'Hare [International Airport]," said Ernie Rickets, who grew up with Clinton. "It's in the final approach"

Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a law that allowed Americans who were born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their birthplace on their passports.

In a 6-3 ruling, the court said that the law, passed by Congress in 2002, interferes with the president's constitutional right to recognize foreign nations. The U.S. State Department has a long-standing policy not to recognize any nation's authority over Jerusalem until Israelis and Palestinians resolve its status.

The case is seen as an important separation-of-powers ruling.

Updated at 1:00 p.m. ET

Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas and 2012 Republican candidate for president, formally announced a second bid for the White House.

At a rally in Addison, Texas, this afternoon, Perry told a group of supporters: "Today I am announcing that I'm running for the presidency of the United States of America."

He decried that "weakness at home has led to weakness abroad" and that "Our economy is barely growing."

Nearly 100 years after their heroic deeds, two World War I U.S. Army soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor, America's highest military honor, on Tuesday. Historians say Sgts. William Shemin and Henry Johnson hadn't been properly recognized for their bravery under fire.

Beau Biden, Vice President Joe Biden's older son, has died after battling brain cancer, the vice president announced Saturday. Beau Biden, a former attorney general of Delaware, was 46.

"It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life," Joe Biden said in a statement issued by the White House. Hallie Biden is Beau Biden's wife; Hunter and Ashley are his brother and half-sister.

Updated at 12:33 p.m. ET

Former New York Gov. George Pataki is adding his name to the list of Republicans running for their party's 2016 presidential nomination.

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

Republican Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, announced Wednesday that he is running for president.

"Working families don't need another president tied to big government or big money," he said in Cabot, Pa.. "And today is the day we're going to begin to fight back."

With Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains behind him, Sen. Bernie Sanders officially kicked off his presidential campaign Tuesday afternoon at Waterfront Park in Burlington.

Updated to reflect that Santorum is now officially in the race.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is praying for political lightning to strike twice.

Even after pulling an upset win in the Iowa caucuses four years ago and going on to survive the longest against eventual nominee Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential hopeful is again the underdog in a much more crowded 2016 field.

The Senate voted 62-37 late Friday to grant President Obama additional trade powers, which the president plans to use in pushing through an extensive new agreement with a group of Asian countries.

The administration's Trans-Pacific Partnership has been opposed by labor groups and some Senate Democrats because of concerns that the deal could cost some U.S. workers their jobs.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

President Obama may have had an unusually tough message on climate change for graduates at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, but commencement was still a day for celebration and reflection for the cadets themselves.

White House

President Barack Obama visited New London on Wednesday to give the keynote address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's 134th commencement. He told the new ensigns the Coast Guard is on the front line to help combat and adapt to climate change.

Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET

Intelligence officials on Wednesday released a trove of newly declassified documents, books and magazines found during the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. They're calling it "Bin Laden's Bookshelf."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

President Obama comes to New London to address graduating cadets at the Coast Guard. The big theme of his speech? Climate change. It's a little different from Vice President Joe Biden's message to Yale grads this weekend. He encouraged them to find their "sweet spot."

This hour, it’s our weekly news roundtable, The Wheelhouse where we’ll talk about the president’s trip and about the use of the word "racist" in political speech. Governor Dannel Malloy used the word and Republicans are criticizing him for it.

Also, the a bill banning powdered alcohol is going to the governor's desk. Wait, what? Powdered alcohol?

During a commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy today, President Obama will cast climate change as posing an "immediate risk to our national security."

NPR's Scott Horsley reports Obama is expected to tell graduates that the Coast Guard itself will have to adjust to the effects of rising sea levels. Scott filed this report for our Newscast unit:

Harriet Jones / WNPR

President Barack Obama will be in New London Wednesday to give the commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. It’s the second time he's been the keynote speaker for graduation at the Academy. He was last here in 2011. 

Marc Nozell / Creative Commons

Commencements were held at colleges and universities across the state this weekend. 

The Senate could begin debate Tuesday on a bill that would give President Obama fast-track authority to complete a Pacific Rim trade agreement.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has become the president's signature trade initiative, but it is also very unpopular with Democrats.

Leading the charge from the left against the deal in Congress is Sen. Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts. She says the TPP could result in the watering down of Wall Street regulations put in place by the Dodd-Frank Act, after the 2008 financial crisis.

When it comes to energizing Latino voters, a group of young people who can't even vote plays an outsized role.

They are known as DREAMers — undocumented immigrants, brought to the country by their parents when they were kids.They were so named for meeting the requirements under the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act proposal that would have created a pathway to citizenship for them. Now they're a political force.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced Tuesday that he is seeking the Republican presidential nomination.

"It seems perfectly fitting that it would be here that I announce that I am a candidate for president of the United States of America," he told a crowd of supporters in his hometown of Hope, Ark., which is also Bill Clinton's hometown.

Huckabee, who previously ran for the presidency in 2008, hosted a television program on Fox News until January, when he ended the eponymous show to consider his political future.

(Updated at 12:09 p.m. ET.)

President Obama has nominated Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. as the country's next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Speaking at the White House, Obama praised Dunford as one of the most admired officers in the military.

Dunford, 59, is currently the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. Previously, he served as the commander of the allied forces in Afghanistan and he commanded the 5th Marine Regiment during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

This post was updated at 11:40 a.m. ET.

Meet Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor. Forget about Mike Huckabee, Fox News host.

That's the message the GOP presidential hopeful is already conveying as he makes another bid for the presidency.

Carly Fiorina, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, says she will seek the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential contest.

Fiorina made the announcement on ABC's Good Morning America and later via a simple tweet.

"I am running for president," Fiorina tweeted.

Sen. Bernie Sanders made it official Thursday. He will seek the Democratic Presidential nomination.

Sanders made his announcement with an early morning email and then spoke to reporters just outside the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. He plans a formal campaign kickoff in Vermont at the end of the month.

Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is running for president, he said Wednesday night. He will be challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, and the self-described "Democratic Socialist" will keep the pressure on Clinton to move to the left.

Sanders has lamented for a long time what he thinks has been woefully missing from the national conversation.

VPR News has learned from several sources that Independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will announce his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday.

Sanders will release a short statement on that day and then hold a major campaign kickoff in Vermont in several weeks.

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