Ailsa Chang http://nhpr.org en 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 FEMA Flood Insurance Law Faces Partial Repeal Over Premiums http://nhpr.org/post/overhaul-fema-program-has-homeowners-calling-congress The House is expected to vote as early as next week to partially repeal a 2012 law that overhauled the National Flood Insurance Program, which is tens of billions of dollars in debt.<p>The law was meant to make people living in flood-prone areas foot more of the insurance bill. But lawmakers didn't realize how many homeowners would be affected — or how hard they'd be hit.<p>You can find some of those homeowners in Bayou Gauche, about 30 miles west of New Orleans.<p>Like other parts of South Louisiana, this small community is below sea level. Thu, 27 Feb 2014 08:26:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 44224 at http://nhpr.org FEMA Flood Insurance Law Faces Partial Repeal Over Premiums Democratic Sen. Landrieu Walks A Fine Line In Red Louisiana http://nhpr.org/post/democratic-sen-landrieu-walks-fine-line-red-louisiana If Democrats are going to keep their majority in the Senate, they'll need to hang on to a few critical seats they hold in conservative states.<p>Mary Landrieu of Louisiana has one of those, and like some of her colleagues up for re-election, her support of the Affordable Care Act could be the mountain to overcome this fall.<p>The question for Landrieu is: Will Louisiana voters define her by Obamacare, or judge her on the entire record she's built over nearly two decades as a senator?<p><strong>For Some, Obamacare's A Dealbreaker </strong><p>There's a sprawling, twisty live oak in Galliano, La. Tue, 25 Feb 2014 08:37:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 44091 at http://nhpr.org Democratic Sen. Landrieu Walks A Fine Line In Red Louisiana Senate Follows House Lead In Passing Debt Limit Raise http://nhpr.org/post/senate-follows-house-lead-passing-debt-limit-raise Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.<p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>And I'm Robert Siegel.<p>Congress has averted a default by raising the country's borrowing limit. The Senate passed the legislation this afternoon after overcoming an attempted filibuster. The bill pushes the debt ceiling deadline to March of 2015 and it now heads to the White House for the president to sign. As NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, Democrats needed five Republicans to join them. Wed, 12 Feb 2014 21:00:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 43460 at http://nhpr.org Does Congress Have Enough Political Will To Reduce The Debt? http://nhpr.org/post/does-congress-have-enough-political-will-reduce-debt Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>When Congress reached a bipartisan budget deal last December, there was much fanfare about the compromises made by both parties. And immediately afterwards, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle began working to reverse one of the spending cuts - a small reduction in military pensions. One plan to restore those pensions is up for a vote today in the Senate. Mon, 10 Feb 2014 10:18:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 43284 at http://nhpr.org Lawmakers Hear President Say He's Ready To Go It Alone http://nhpr.org/post/lawmakers-hear-president-say-hes-ready-go-it-alone Members of the House and Senate sit and listen and often applaud the presidential State of the Union, but when it's done many members crowd the microphones in Statuary Hall to oppose the chief executive's vision. Wed, 29 Jan 2014 11:14:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 42622 at http://nhpr.org Senate Moves Forward On Unemployment Benefits http://nhpr.org/post/senate-moves-forward-unemployment-benefits In a tally that surprised even its sponsors, a half dozen Republican senators gave Democrats enough votes to move forward with a bill extending emergency unemployment benefits for another three months. The proposal likely faces an even tougher hurdle in the Republican-controlled House. Wed, 08 Jan 2014 10:21:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 41451 at http://nhpr.org Defense Bill Addresses Sexual Assaults In The Military http://nhpr.org/post/defense-bill-addresses-sexual-assaults-military Transcript <p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.<p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>And I'm Steve Inskeep.<p>A defense bill reaches the floor of the United States Senate today and it includes a measure aimed at cracking down on the problem of sexual assault in the military. For the first time, this bill would give sexual assault victims more rights, rights they normally do not get under the military code of justice.<p>Many lawmakers praise the reforms as the most significant in decades. Thu, 19 Dec 2013 09:56:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 40427 at http://nhpr.org Sebelius Faced More Grilling From House, Despite HealthCare.gov Fixes http://nhpr.org/post/sebelius-faced-more-grilling-house-despite-healthcaregov-fixes Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.<p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>And I'm Melissa Block.<p>CORNISH: We begin this hour with the latest on two huge government challenges: the rollout of the new health care law and the budget. There are new, better numbers on enrollment in health plans and there's a new budget compromise. We'll hear about health care first. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified today for her third time since the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Wed, 11 Dec 2013 21:46:00 +0000 Ailsa Chang 39979 at http://nhpr.org Will Obamacare Play Big In 2014? Keep An Eye On N.H. Senate Race http://nhpr.org/post/will-obamacare-play-big-2014-keep-eye-nh-senate-race With a new White House push to promote the Affordable Care Act well underway, the question is whether an improved HealthCare.gov site and onslaught of positive talking points will be enough to bolster Senate Democrats facing tough races in 2014.<p>One re-election fight to watch is Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's in New Hampshire, where she's been taking heat for supporting the new health care law.<p>Step inside a small diner called Chez Vachon in a working-class section of Manchester, N.H., and you'd never guess the White House is actually regaining its footing on the health care rollout. Mon, 09 Dec 2013 13:34:44 +0000 Ailsa Chang 39789 at http://nhpr.org Will Obamacare Play Big In 2014? Keep An Eye On N.H. Senate Race