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Does Obamacare violate the right to religious freedom? That's what some religious non-profits and some private employers are saying.  It's all about the requirement that insurance policies they provide to their employees cover contraception. We hear about new exemptions the administration's come up with to serve women's health needs and overcome constitutional objections. Also, President Obama proposes limited spending cuts to delay sequester. On Reporters Notebook later, did a major ratings agency help create America's financial crisis?  We hear about federal fraud charges against Standard and Poor's.

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Caitlin Shamberg
Katie Cooper
Sonya Geis

Making News Obama Proposes Limited Spending Cuts to Delay Sequester 7 MIN, 25 SEC

President Obama today asked Congress to pass a package of limited spending cuts to head off the so-called "sequester" scheduled for March 1.  Jim O'Sullivan is White House correspondent for the National Journal.


Jim O'Sullivan, National Journal

Main Topic Contraceptives, Obamacare and Religious Freedom 34 MIN, 4 SEC

Religious organizations are fighting some mandates of the Affordable Care Act, but it's not about cost. It's about moral objections to contraception. Obamacare requires employer-provided insurance to pay for contraceptives, including the morning after pill, so women can get them for free. For the past year, religious organizations, family-owned businesses and others have claimed that violates their religious freedom. After lawsuits and public outcry, the Administration has offered exemptions it says will serve women's health needs and religious liberty at the same time. We update a controversy that might end up in the US Supreme Court.

Noam Levey, Los Angeles Times (@NoamLevey )
Sharon Levin, National Women's Law Center (@SLevinWashDC)
Kyle Duncan, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (@TheBecketFund)
Frederick Gedicks, Brigham Young University

Reporter's Notebook Federal Government Sues Standard & Poors for Fraud 11 MIN, 26 SEC

For the first time, the ratings industry is being held accountable for its role in the financial crisis. The Justice Department has charged Standard and Poor's with fraud. America's largest credit ratings agency earned record profits by making complex bundles of home mortgages look safer than they actually were, paving the way for the financial crisis. That's according to the Justice Department, which is accusing Standard and Poor's of knowing the ratings were wrong — and committing fraud. Felix Salmon is a finance blogger for Reuters.

Felix Salmon, Fusion (@felixsalmon)


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