Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 6:44 am
The budget compromise bill that is meant to allow the U.S. government to avoid higher tax rates and austere budget cuts has tax rates as its central issue, with discussions about more spending cuts, and the federal debt limit, put off until the coming weeks.
Most of the really big changes made by the 2010 health law don't start for another year. That includes things like a ban on restricting pre-existing conditions, and required insurance coverage for most Americans. But Jan. 1, 2013, will nevertheless mark some major changes.
Arizona's new 9th Congressional District is sending a different type of representative to Washington this week: She's young — 36. She grew up homeless for a time. And she'll be the first openly bisexual member of Congress.
Democrat Kyrsten Sinema marvels at the number of women, minorities and members of the LGBT community who will join her in the freshman class, which will be sworn in Thursday.
In covering this debate, much has been made of income tax rates and where exactly they should be raised. But one fact has gotten far less notice. Starting today, payroll taxes are going up two percentage points for nearly all American workers. NPR's John Ydstie joins us to talk about it. And John, this means lower take-home pay for a lot of workers starting very soon.
Sen.-elect Ted Cruz of Texas is a bright young Hispanic star who will be sworn in this week in Washington. The Republican Party nationally hopes Cruz will be part of the solution to its growing problem luring Hispanic voters.
Almost nobody had heard of Cruz when he began his campaign for the U.S. Senate. But when he stepped in front of a microphone, he could light up a room in a way that made the other Republican candidates seem lifeless.
When you think about the great music of science fiction, a few staples spring to mind — say, the theme from the classic Star Trek series, or John Williams' compositions for the Star Wars movies.
Nathan Johnson, the composer for the new time-travel thriller Looper, wanted to break with tradition. Instead of going for that slick, orchestral sound, he immersed himself in the world of the film to find his source material.
Right now in Pasadena, the floats in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade are the homestretch. The Rose Parade is a long-established national tradition, of course, watched every year by hundreds of thousands across the country. Los Angeles Times columnist Patt Morrison covered the event many times and wrote today: Its huge cultural shadow has been as much about what you didn't see on display as what you did.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan. This afternoon, House Democrats and Republicans are meeting separately to consider the Senate-approved deal that would avert automatic tax hikes and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. Some House Republicans indicate they'd like to amend that bill and send it back to the Senate, which if it doesn't get done tonight could invalidate the negotiated deal. It would then become a problem for the next Congress, which takes office on Thursday. As of now, no vote is scheduled.