Ailsa Chang http://nhpr.org en VA Nominee Steps Before Senate Committee http://nhpr.org/post/va-nominee-steps-senate-committee Robert McDonald, President Obama's nominee to run the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs, is appearing before the Senate for his confirmation hearing. He faces the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, which will vote on whether to send his nomination to the Senate floor. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.<img src="http://www.google-analytics.com/__utm.gif?utmac=UA-5828686-4&utmdt=VA+Nominee+Steps+Before+Senate+Committee&utme=8(APIKey)9(MDA4NDI3MDk2MDEzMjA0NDE3NTExOWRjNg004)"/></div><p> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 20:53:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 52400 at http://nhpr.org Administration Officials Defend Funding Request To Stem Border Crisis http://nhpr.org/post/administration-officials-defend-funding-request-stem-border-crisis President Obama has asked for $3.7 billion to deal with the southern border crisis. There are predictions the number of unaccompanied children entering the U.S. could reach 90,000 by October. Fri, 11 Jul 2014 09:04:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 51720 at http://nhpr.org Could A Socialist Senator Become A National Brand? http://nhpr.org/post/could-socialist-senator-become-national-brand As members of Congress continue hammering out a bill to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs' <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/06/04/318827245/va-health-cares-chronic-ailments-long-waits-and-red-tape">beleaguered health care system</a>, attention has focused on one man leading the charge: Bernie Sanders, Independent senator from Vermont and a self-described socialist.<p>Sanders barely got 2 percent of the vote when he first tried breaking into Vermont politics in the 1970s, but now there's buzz that the man known simply as "Bernie" may be a presidential candidate in 2016.<p> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 07:23:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 51640 at http://nhpr.org Could A Socialist Senator Become A National Brand? GOP: McCarthy Voted Majority Leader; Scalise Chosen As Whip http://nhpr.org/post/gop-mccarthy-voted-majority-leader-scalise-chosen-whip Transcript <p>LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST: <p>House Republicans have elected a new majority leader. As expected, Kevin McCarthy of California, currently the third-ranked Republican in the House, easily prevailed. And Steve Scalise of Louisiana won the fight to replace McCarthy as majority whip. The leadership shuffle followed last week's unexpected primary defeat of the previous majority leader, Eric Cantor. Fri, 20 Jun 2014 10:22:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 50546 at http://nhpr.org Senators Reach Deal To Pay For Veterans' Care Outside VA System http://nhpr.org/post/senators-reach-deal-pay-veterans-care-outside-va-system Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>We will report next on the agency created to care for all of America's veterans. Eric Shinseki resigned a week ago. He was secretary of Veterans Affairs, and he stepped down amid reports of treatment delays and deceptive scheduling practices at VA medical centers. Now members of the U.S. Senate have cobbled together a bipartisan proposal to fix the problems. Their plans will provide more health facilities for veterans, allow them to visit private clinics if they wish and make it easier to dismiss poorly performing officials. Fri, 06 Jun 2014 09:16:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 49797 at http://nhpr.org House Panel Wants More Done To Undermine Boko Haram http://nhpr.org/post/house-panel-wants-more-done-undermine-boko-haram The House Foreign Affairs Committee got a briefing on the threat from Boko Haram, a terrorist group that has kidnapped and is holding hundreds of Nigerian girls captive. Thu, 22 May 2014 09:05:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 48935 at http://nhpr.org Election-Year Politics Dooms Energy Bill, Averts Pipeline Vote http://nhpr.org/post/election-year-politics-dooms-energy-bill-averts-pipeline-vote As expected, an energy efficiency bill failed in the Senate on Monday, which makes a separate Senate vote on the Keystone XL oil pipeline unlikely before the November election.<p>Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had made a Keystone vote contingent upon passage of the energy efficiency bill, and letting one doom the other may have temporarily gotten him out of a bind.<p>Reid faced a dilemma: Some Senate Democrats — especially vulnerable ones running in conservative states this year — want to support the pipeline. Tue, 13 May 2014 06:41:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 48375 at http://nhpr.org Election-Year Politics Dooms Energy Bill, Averts Pipeline Vote Women On Capitol Hill Reach Across Party Lines To Get Things Done http://nhpr.org/post/women-capitol-hill-may-be-better-crossing-party-lines There's a long-held assumption that women are more likely than men to collaborate. As the number of women in Congress has increased, however, so has the partisanship and gridlock. So does a woman's touch actually help on Capitol Hill?<p>There's a lot of academic research that supports the idea that women are better at building bipartisan coalitions. Thu, 08 May 2014 09:15:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 48127 at http://nhpr.org Women On Capitol Hill Reach Across Party Lines To Get Things Done Senate Republicans Block Bill To Raise Federal Minimum Wage http://nhpr.org/post/senate-republicans-block-bill-raise-federal-minimum-wage One of the Democrats top election themes this year was stopped cold in the Senate on Wednesday. Republicans successfully blocked Democrats from even taking up a bill to raise the minimum wage. Thu, 01 May 2014 09:12:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 47705 at http://nhpr.org Hey, Superheroes On The National Mall: Any Advice For Congress? http://nhpr.org/post/superheroes-go-washington-and-theyve-got-political-advice Hundreds of people gathered on the National Mall Friday to see if they could break the Guinness World Record for the largest group dressed as comic book characters ever assembled.<p>It was the kickoff to Awesome Con 2014, a comic book convention that will take place in Washington, D.C., this weekend. In the end, the group came up short by several hundred people to break the world record.<p>But with so much superhero power concentrated next to the U.S. Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:08:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 47021 at http://nhpr.org Hey, Superheroes On The National Mall: Any Advice For Congress? As Election Nears, Congress Is Expected To Be Less Productive http://nhpr.org/post/election-nears-congress-expected-be-less-productive Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>Let's look at the calendar now. We are seven months away from the midterm elections. Members of the House of Representatives and a good number of senators have turned much of their focus to campaigning. There are still votes happening in Congress, but often of a different kind. This year, we've seen a flurry of show votes: votes on bills with no realistic hope of passing, but are done to make political points. As NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, both parties have been in on it.<p>AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: In eighth grade civics class, it was simple. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 09:28:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 46705 at http://nhpr.org How To Meet Your Congressman http://nhpr.org/post/how-meet-your-congressman For all the campaigning and schmoozing members of Congress have to do, the truth is that the vast majority of Americans will never actually meet their lawmakers.<p>To be fair, not everyone wants to. But among those who do, there's serious competition for a lawmaker's time. So, how does an average citizen get access on Capitol Hill? The quick answer: It's not easy.<p>First, do the math. Wed, 26 Mar 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 45629 at http://nhpr.org How To Meet Your Congressman Senators Agree To Compromise Extending Jobless Benefits http://nhpr.org/post/senators-agree-compromise-extending-jobless-benefits Negotiators in the Senate reached a bi-partisan deal to extend unemployment benefits for 5 months, retroactive to the end of last year. A full Senate vote isn't expected until later this month. Fri, 14 Mar 2014 09:03:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 45063 at http://nhpr.org Gillibrand, McCaskill Square Off Over Military Assault Prosecutions http://nhpr.org/post/gillibrand-mccaskill-square-over-military-assault-prosecutions Transcript <p>LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST: <p>The Senate has rejected a proposal that would have allowed military prosecutors, rather than commanders, to decide which sexual assault cases to pursue. Fri, 07 Mar 2014 10:05:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 44670 at http://nhpr.org House Approves Measure To Ease Flood Insurance Hikes http://nhpr.org/post/house-approves-measure-ease-flood-insurance-hikes Transcript <p>LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST: <p>The House overwhelmingly passed legislation last night to undo flood insurance reform that Congress passed less than two years ago. When homeowners started calling lawmakers about sharp premium hikes, both chambers moved swiftly to ease the pain.<p>NPR's Ailsa Chang reports.<p>AILSA CHNAG, BYLINE: In 2012, Democrat Maxine Waters of California put her name on a bill that was meant to help the National Flood Insurance Program dig itself out of huge debt. Last night, she said she made a big mistake.<p>REPRESENTATIVE MAXINE WATERS: Mr. Wed, 05 Mar 2014 10:02:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 44543 at http://nhpr.org