FROM Emily Pierce
Brinksmanship and the Blame Game Before anyone knew for sure there would be a government shutdown at midnight tonight, Democrats and Republicans were blaming each other. At least in public, there was more talk about political fallout than there was about making a deal, with polls showing Republicans faring the worst. Meantime, the crisis atmosphere has given ideological groups and potential candidates a great chance to raise money from ardent supporters. With a few hours remaining, we look at the options for a possible settlement and at the likely consequences of halting many federal services.
Senate Votes on Spending Bill, Obamacare The Senate has voted has voted unanimously to go ahead with a spending plan that avoids a government shutdown. That's despite the efforts of Texas Republican Senate Ted Cruz. He set a modern record last night and this morning by talking for 21 hours. He was protesting the Affordable Care Act, but he wasn't always talking about Obamacare. At one point, he even ready from Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham. Emily Pierce is deputy editor for Roll Call magazine.
Senate Compromises on Healthcare Bill On his way to Europe to pick up his Nobel Prize, the President today commended Democrats in the Senate for an agreement arrived at last night to dispose of one of the most controversial aspects of health care reform, the so-called "public option." We hear what's known so far about the details of the deal, and find out what happened yesterday with regard to Medicare and abortion.
Centrist Senate Democrats Declare Independence from Obama In the Congress, the Democratic majority is divided between liberals and moderates, who call themselves Blue Dogs and often vote with Republicans. In the Senate, the party had been more unified. President Obama says the financial crisis makes it more urgent than ever to take on expensive projects like healthcare, education reform and global warming. Today, a group of moderate Democratic Senators, led by Evan Bayh of Indiana, declared they have their doubts . Roll Call's Emily Pierce has more on this new challenge for President Obama.
Children's Healthcare Coverage Becomes 'Philosophical' Battle President Bush and the Republican Congress created the Medicare prescription drug benefit in 2003 . No new revenue was provided to fund almost $330 billion for five years of increased costs. Now, at a cost of $56 billion in five years, Democrats and some Republicans want to increase health coverage for millions of uninsured children—by raising the tax on tobacco. But President Bush says that's a step toward "government-run healthcare." The dispute is coming to a head this week as Congress debates the State Children's Health Insurance Program , which has to be re-authorized before it expires in September. Why has SCHIP become a political football? Would increasing it be a step toward universal healthcare? Do such well-intentioned stop-gaps prevent comprehensive healthcare reform?
Senate Debates Military Draw-down in Iraq Democratic Senate leaders staged an all-night debate on their plan to give President Bush just 120 days to start bringing troops home from Iraq. Republicans called it a "circus," a "mockery" and "Kabuki theater." Before noon today, the Democrats lost a procedural vote to cut off debate. Yet, despite today's outcome, there's no doubt that many Republicans are uncomfortable about the President's course in Iraq —especially those who are up for re-election next year, and back an alternative that incorporates recommendations of the Iraq Study Group . Meantime, polls show that a majority of Americans think it's time for the troops to come home. We hear about the marathon session and what's next for efforts to force the President to change direction. We also talk to authorities about troop withdrawal, whether the "surge" still has a chance or if it is only postponing the inevitable.
What happens when America retreats from the world? Is President Trump taking his "America First" agenda to extremes, withdrawing the country from the international stage on trade and climate change, distancing America from its traditional allies across the Atlantic and even threatening to physically isolate the country through the building of a wall along its southern border? León Krauze guest hosts.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
What is Trump's plan for Middle East peace? On his first foreign tour, President Trump has promised "peace" between Israel and the Palestinians. Are there any details for re-starting talks that have been stalled for the past three years?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.