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FROM THIS EPISODE

Saudi Arabia says it's leading a coalition of 34 Muslim nations in a fight against terror. That's welcome news to the US, but skeptics are asking if it's really as good as it sounds.

Later on the program, big change in the smoking habits of American teens.

Photo: Secretary of State John Kerry sits with Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's newly appointed Minister of Defense at the Royal Court in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on May 7, 2015. (US State Department

Producers:
Christine Detz
Evan George
Sarah Sweeney

Spending Bill Has Something for Everyone but Nobody Likes It 6 MIN, 17 SEC

After years of gridlock and inaction, the Senate and Congress are taking up a massive, bipartisan package including $1.1 trillion in spending and $622 billion in taxes. The tax portion passed the House today, even though Speaker Paul Ryan had reservations. "Let me be the first to say, I don't think this is the way government should work. This is not the way appropriations should work... We played the cards that we were dealt with as best as we possibly could." Paul Singer is Washington correspondent for USA Today.

Guests:
Paul Singer, USA Today (@singernews)

More:
Speaker Paul Ryan on passage of permanent tax-extender package
USA Today on House passage of tax breaks

Is Saudi Arabia Serious about Declaring War against Terror? 33 MIN, 56 SEC

Saudi Arabia says it's formed a coalition of 34 Muslim nations against ISIS, other terrorist groups and their "violent ideology." The US was surprised, but calls the announcement "welcome." Pakistan, one of 34 nations named as a partner, says it wasn't even consulted. Iran, Syria and Iraq weren't included at all, raising questions about the divide between Sunnis and Shiites. Is Saudi Arabia just responding to Western critics, diverting attention from warfare in Yemen or making a real bid for leadership in collective security?

Guests:
Liz Sly, Washington Post (@lizsly)
Brian Katulis, Center for America Progress (@Katulis)
Andrew Parasiliti, RAND Corporation (@ATParasiliti)
Andrew Bowen, Center for the National Interest (@abowen17)
Ali Al-Ahmed, Institute for Gulf Affairs (@alialahmed_en)

More:
Washington Post on Saudi Arabia launching Islamic military alliance to combat terrorism
Katulis on how Saudi Arabia is expanding its role in the Middle East
Bowen on Saudi anti-terror alliance as collective self-defense

Daily Pot Use Surpasses Cigarettes among High School Seniors 9 MIN, 20 SEC

The Centers for Disease Control have spent $50 million a year to persuade Americana teenagers to stop smoking. It appears to be money well spent. Using federal money, the University of Michigan has monitored smoking by American middle- and high-school students for the past 41 years. The latest results show some of the lowest levels in history. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has more on the study's findings.

Guests:
Nora Volkow, National Institutes of Health (@NIDAnews)

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