Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 11:18 am
Federal workers have reason to be nervous. The budget agreement announced Tuesday — if it passes — would raise revenue by making employees contribute more toward their pensions.
It's part of a trend. Governments at all levels have been cutting back on pension benefits in recent years, in an attempt to fix funding problems caused by the recession and years of fiscal mismanagement.
In many cases, states and localities have made benefits less generous. But that has, for the most part, only affected newly hired workers.
Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 12:56 pm
Enrollment in the federal government's new health insurance exchange picked up sharply in November, but the number of people signing up for coverage still trails original forecasts. Officials from the Obama administration say they expect the pace of enrollments will continue to increase now that the insurance website is working more smoothly.
Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan announced a bipartisan budget proposal Tuesday. For more details on the plan, Steve Inskeep speaks with Murray, who led her party in the negotiations.
And here's even bigger news from General Motors, it has chosen a woman as its next chief executive officer, a first in America's auto industry. She's an engineer at the company insider - which could be a lot more important to GM's future than her gender.
Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports.
TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: Mary Barra follows in the wake of two CEOs from outside the auto industry. Dan Akerson ran a large private equity fund before taking the helm of GM. Before him, it was Ed Whitaker - a telecommunications guy.
Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on lawmakers not to impose further sanctions in Iran as negotiations on reining in Tehran's nuclear program continue. Iranian officials have said new sanctions would kill off any hope of a final deal between Iran and world powers.
Renee Montage talks to David Cohen, the U.S. undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, about the sanctions against Iran and their role in curtailing the Iranian nuclear program.
For years, there's been talk in Washington, D.C., about the "grand bargain" — a big deficit-reducing budget deal that rewrites the tax code and trims from the long-term costs of Medicare and Social Security. Tuesday night, Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Paul Ryan announced what can only be described as a small bargain. But if it's approved by the House and Senate, it would avoid another government shutdown in January.
The Affordable Care Act has produced a surge in the number of people signing up for Medicaid. The ACA offers billions of federal dollars to states to expand Medicaid coverage for the poor. But only 25 states have accepted the federal government's offer, and those that haven't could face economic and budget losses.
Shortly before eulogizing Nelson Mandela in South Africa on Tuesday, President Obama shook hands with Cuban leader Raul Castro and set off much discussion about a possible shift in U.S.-Cuba relations. David Greene talks to Dan Restrepo, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and former adviser to Obama on Latin America.