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The NPR Politics Podcast

The NPR Politics Podcast

Every weekday, NPR's best political reporters are there to explain the big news coming out of Washington and the campaign trail. They don't just tell you what happened. They tell you why it matters. Every afternoon.

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Weekly Roundup: October 15th

The two senators who are forcing more negotiations over the Biden administration's multi-trillion dollar climate and social programs bill appear to have different priorities for what they want to see changed. But it is hard to know for sure: Kyrsten Sinema avoids reporters and has said little publicly about her views to the frustration of her Democratic colleagues.

And top Trump aides have so far refused to appear before the House of Representatives committee investigating the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. That could lead to criminal penalties against former adviser Steve Bannon.

This episode: White House reporter Asma Khalid, acting congressional correspondent Deirdre Walsh, congressional correspondent Kelsey Snell, congressional reporter Claudia Grisales, and justice correspondent Ryan Lucas.

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2021-10-15
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The Boston Marathon Bomber Is Undoubtedly Guilty, But Should He Be Executed?

The Supreme Court heard arguments for and against reinstating the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bomber. President Biden himself has argued against ever using the death penalty, but here his administration is arguing that Tsarnaev should receive the harshest punishment.

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, and WBUR's Deborah Becker.

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2021-10-14
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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg Optimistic On Supply Chain Problems

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg tells NPR that the Biden administration is focused on resolving supply chain issues in time of the holiday shopping season. Also: what is a supply chain and why are they causing issues?

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, and chief economics correspondent Scott Horsley.

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2021-10-13
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Let's Talk About Young Voters

Young voters broke for Joe Biden in 2020, but are shirking party affiliations in greater numbers than older generations. And it remains to be seen how millennials and Gen Z legislators will fit into existing political power structures: many top Democrats have been at the helm in Washington for decades and recruiting young candidates can be a challenge.

This episode: White House reporter Asma Khalid, demographics and culture reporter Danielle Kurtzleben, and political correspondent Juana Summers.

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2021-10-12
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How Much Has The Country Really Changed Since Clinton's Impeachment?

The TV show Impeachment: American Crime Story dramatizes the Bill Clinton's impeachment through the stories of three women at the heart of the proceedings, including Monica Lewinsky. We discuss how the country and its politics have and haven't changed in the two decades since the impeachment unfolded.

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, demographics and culture correspondent Danielle Kurtzleben, and national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

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2021-10-11
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Weekly Roundup: October 8th

Congress reached a deal to raise the debt ceiling enough to cover the government's spending for a few more months. Anemic job growth persists. Former president Trump is holding an Iowa rally this weekend and his continued flirtation with re-election has kept the Republican primary field on ice.

This episode: White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe, congressional correspondent Kelsey Snell, chief economics correspondent Scott Horsley, Iowa Public Radio reporter Clay Masters, and senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro.

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2021-10-08
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What's Next For The Afghans Now In The United States?

Tens of thousands of Afghans have been brought to the United States but most have not yet been resettled in communities. The process is complex, with multiple visa categories and gutted resettlement infrastructure all making the challenge more daunting for the Biden administration.

This episode: demographics and culture correspondent Danielle Kurtzleben, White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez, and correspondent Deb Amos.

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2021-10-07
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Why Trump's Former Press Secretary Worries About His Influence In 2022

Former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham was part of the Trump administration from the beginning and, in a conversation with Tamara Keith, offers a clear picture into what she used to actively obscure: the chaos, pettiness, and mismanagement that characterized his four years in power. Her book is I'll Take Your Questions Now.

This episode: White House correspondent Tamara Keith and White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe.

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2021-10-06
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Hear What A Facebook Insider Told Congress About How Its Apps Hurt Kids

Former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen told senators that the company knows its products harm children and stoke division, but that executives have continued to prioritize growth over safety.

This episode: White House correspondent Scott Detrow, congressional reporter Claudia Grisales, and tech correspondent Shannon Bond.

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2021-10-05
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Why Does Biden's China Policy Look So Much Like Trump's?

Biden's top trade official, Katherine Tai, indicated in a Monday speech that tariffs levied against China initiated during the Trump administration would remain in place. The countries have been unable to work out key economic and political disagreements.

This episode: White House correspondent Scott Detrow, White House correspondent Asma Khalid, and international correspondent John Ruwitch.

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2021-10-04
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For White Evangelicals, The Identity Is About More Than Religious Faith

In the latest installment of the Politics Podcast book club, NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben interviews Calvin University historian Kristin Kobes Du Mez about Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation.

Interested in being a part of our next conversation? Join our Facebook group at n.pr/politicsgroup.

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2021-10-02
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Weekly Roundup: October 1st

Congress kept the government open but Democrats are still working out how to pass the two major pillars of the Biden agenda. And the president's approval rating has somewhat recovered as the public thinks less about Afghanistan, but the midterms could be bad for Biden if Congress stalls out.

This episode: White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe, acting congressional correspondent Deirdre Walsh, and senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro.

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2021-10-01
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Supreme Court Will Consider Abortion, Guns, Religious Liberty Cases This Term

An empowered conservative majority on the Supreme Court will consider a number of social and cultural issues at the heart of American life, including abortion access, gun rights, and religious liberty. The Court has stacked its docket with fractious issues even as its justices publicly mourn the intuition's bygone reputation as above the political fray.

This episode: White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe, national justice correspondent Carrie Johnson, and legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.

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2021-09-30
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The Docket: After A Half Century, Roe V. Wade Faces An Uncertain Future

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Dec. 1 in a case from Mississippi that tests whether all state laws that ban pre-viability abortions are unconstitutional. That case poses a serious challenge to Roe v. Wade, the decision that originally permitted abortion nationwide. For this episode we look at what the court was thinking when they decided Roe in 1973, and what the court may do in the upcoming term.

This episode: White House correspondent Tamara Keith and legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.

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2021-09-29
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Military Officials Recommended Trump, Biden Keep Troops In Afghanistan

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Commander of U.S. Central Command Gen. Kenneth McKenzie testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee today about the Afghanistan withdrawal.

Each said that, before the Taliban's swift takeover and subsequent evacuation of Americans and allies from Afghanistan, they recommended American troops remain in the country. They also said they were caught by surprise at the speed with which the Afghan government collapsed.

This episode: White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe, Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman, and national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

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2021-09-28
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With Biden's Legacy Teetering, Democrats Struggle To Overcome Divisions

Democratic Party discord threatens what amounts to nearly all of President Biden's domestic agenda, from childcare to climate. Compounding the challenge: looming government funding and debt deadlines.

This episode: White House correspondent Scott Detrow, acting congressional correspondent Deirdre Walsh, and national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

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2021-09-27
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Democrats Are Running Out Of Time To Negotiate On Major Priorities

Congressional Democrats are trying to wrap up negotiations on their reconciliation package, fund the government, and deal with the debt ceiling. But with looming deadlines with big consequences, someone is going to have to compromise. The big question: who's it going to be? Plus, bipartisan talks over police reform legislation officially came up empty handed.

This episode: White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe, congressional correspondent Kelsey Snell, and political correspondent Juana Summers.

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2021-09-24
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Do Lawmakers Have More Insight Into Stocks Than The Public? TikTok Users Think So.

Seven House lawmakers are facing ethics complaints for violating the Stock Act, which polices insider trading, because of a recent bipartisan trend of lawmakers ignoring disclosure requirements. They say it was an accident.

Plus, TikTok accounts are using public disclosures to tell followers when to buy and sell stock based on what congressmembers do. It's a clear sign of the distrust the public has in their officials.

This episode: White House correspondent Tamara Keith, congressional correspondent Deirdre Walsh, and investigative correspondent Tim Mak.

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2021-09-23
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Biden Faces Scrutiny Over Surge of Haitian Migrants

The Biden administration is expelling hundreds of Haitian migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, after thousands arrived at a crossing near Del Rio, Texas this weekend. Photos of groups in makeshift campsites and of border patrol agents aggressively confronting the migrants on horseback sparked outrage. Now, Biden is facing pressure from all sides: many Republicans say he needs to be tougher on border security, while many Democrats say deporting the migrants, without the option to apply for asylum, is cruel.

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, White House correspondent Franco Ordonez, and national immigration correspondent Joel Rose.

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2021-09-22
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Amid Many Global Crises Biden Calls For Togetherness In First U.N. Address

In his first address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Biden emphasized the importance of global cooperation to combat the coronavirus and climate change. And he not so subtly critiqued China and authoritarianism.

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe, and national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

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2021-09-21
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As Biden's Approval Rating Dips, Republicans Sharpen Their Message For The Midterms

The GOP has a good shot at taking at least one if not both chambers of Congress in next year's midterm elections. And they are already sharpening their message by focusing on the economy.

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, congressional correspondent Deirdre Walsh, and national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

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2021-09-20
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Weekly Roundup: September 17th

Saturday's "Justice For J6" rally is being held to protest government treatment of people who participated in the riot. It could serve as a test of how the Capitol Police force has evolved since January's attack.

And congressional testimony by prominent U.S. gymnasts about the Federal Bureau of Investigation's handling of their sexual abuse allegations raises major questions about the organization's culture and accountability apparatus.

This episode: White House reporter Scott Detrow, congressional correspondent Kelsey Snell, congressional reporter Claudia Grisales, and national justice correspondent Carrie Johnson.

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2021-09-17
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Interview: EMILY's List President On Electing Democratic Women

The group was founded in 1985 to get Democratic women who back abortion access elected to office and has faced criticism in the years since from people who say the group has not done enough to support Black women and other candidates of color.

Now, EMILY's List has chosen a new leader: Laphonza Butler. She is the first first woman of color and the first mother to lead the group and spoke with NPR political correspondent Juana Summers and NPR White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe about her plans.

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2021-09-16
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With Big Plans And Small Margins, Can Democrats Pull Off Their Agenda?

Progressives feel as though their job compromising on the $3.5 trillion dollar budget bill is done, while Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema say the package is still too big. Looming over it all, a chance the federal government defaults on its debt as Republicans signal they won't cooperate on raising or suspending the debt ceiling.

This episode: White House correspondent Scott Detrow, congressional correspondent Kelsey Snell, and acting congressional correspondent Deirdre Walsh.

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2021-09-15
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Here Are The Tough Questions Congress Asked About Biden's Afghanistan Withdrawal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken appeared before both the House and the Senate this week, where he met with bipartisan frustration over the hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan after the country's government fell to the Taliban.

This episode: White House correspondent Scott Detrow, national political correspondent Mara Liasson, and diplomatic correspondent Michele Keleman.

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2021-09-14
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Should Athletes Be Activists? WNBA Star Nneka Ogwumike Says They Have To Be

The WBNA's political activism helped to reshape the political landscape in Washington. NPR's Franco Ordoñez and Ayesha Rascoe talked to Nneka Ogwumike, head of the league's players union, about its role in the racial justice movement and Georgia's 2020 Senate race.

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2021-09-13
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Listen: How The Country Remembered 9/11, Two Decades Later

There were remembrance ceremonies in New York City, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon. The reading of the victim's names ? there were nearly 3,000 ? took hours. Former President George W. Bush and Vice President Harris spoke. And, our reporters discuss the political legacy of the attacks after two decades.

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, White House correspondent Scott Detrow, and senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving.

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2021-09-11
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Weekly Roundup: September 10th

The number of new COVID cases hasn't been this high since before the vaccine was widely available. Aiming to curb the rise, President Biden has announced a series of expansive new policies covering the bulk of American workers.

And the Department of Justice is suing Texas over its near-ban on abortions, launching one of many expected court fights over the law.

This episode: White House correspondent Tamara Keith, White House correspondent Asma Khalid, business correspondent Andrea Hsu, and national justice correspondent Carrie Johnson.

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2021-09-10
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Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer Told Us He Isn't Retiring. Yet.

In a conversation with NPR's Nina Totenberg, Justice Breyer, 83, says he plans to retire from the High Court before he dies. He bemoaned the public's perception of Supreme Court Justices as politicians and said it is up to young people to address the problems facing the country.

This episode: legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, and White House correspondent Tamara Keith.

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2021-09-09
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There's A Chance That California Will Soon Have A Republican Governor

Voting ends Tuesday in California's recall election, where voters are deciding whether or not to remove Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom from office. If he loses, Republican Larry Elder is the most likely candidate to replace him.

This episode: White House correspondent Tamara Keith, senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro, and KQED senior editor Scott Shafer.

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2021-09-08
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Cutting Unemployment Aid Didn't Get Many Unemployed Americans Back To Work

Some twelve million Americans saw their expanded unemployment assistance expire Monday as the delta variant throttles the nation's economic recovery. Research from the states that halted the aid programs earlier this summer suggests the end of benefits will hurt spending and won't do much to get people back into the workforce.

So far, neither Congress nor the Biden administration are pushing to renew the benefits.

This episode: White House correspondent Tamara Keith, White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe, and chief economics correspondent Scott Horsley.

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2021-09-07
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Do School Mask Bans Violate The Rights Of Children With Disabilities?

The Biden administration is investigating several states over their bans on mask mandates in schools, saying the measures could violate the rights of children with disabilities who are entitled to a safe school environment.

This episode: White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe, White House correspondent Tamara Keith, and senior education editor and correspondent Cory Turner.

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2021-09-06
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Sacred Ground: A 9/11 Story

On Sept. 11, 2001, United Airlines Flight 93 was hijacked by four al-Qaida terrorists. The passengers and crew fought back and because of that, the plane crashed outside Shanksville, Pa., instead of its likely target: the U.S. Capitol.

Part of the plane crashed onto land owned by Tim Lambert, a public radio reporter at WITF in Harrisburg, Pa. The crash would end up connecting Lambert, in surprising ways, to the first responders who managed the aftermath and to the families of the people who died on board. He gained access and insight into 9/11 that no other reporter had.

Twenty years after Flight 93's crash, Lambert and NPR's Scott Detrow tell the story of Flight 93: what happened that day and what happened over the years to come.

Warning: This episode contains explicit language and content some listeners may find disturbing.

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2021-09-03
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For Now, 73 Percent Of Americans Support Allowing Afghan Refugees Resettle in U.S.

President Joe Biden's approval rating has dropped to a new low, 43 percent, according to a new poll from NPR, PBS NewsHour, and Marist College. Americans are split about what should have happened in Afghanistan, but a large majority label the U.S. role in the country a "failure."

The poll found that a historically large majority of Americans approve of resettling Afghan refugees in the United States, but that number could decline as the political fight heats up.

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, White House correspondent Scott Detrow, and senior political editor and correspondent Ron Elving.

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2021-09-02
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Abortion Is All But Banned In Texas

A state law took effect Wednesday banning abortion after about six weeks, before many women even know they are pregnant. It also allows people to sue others seeking an abortion and anyone who aids them in the process, with damages beginning at ten thousand dollars plus attorney's fees. So far, the Supreme Court has not halted the legislation.

So far, the Supreme Court has not halted the legislation.

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, and KUT reporter Ashley Lopez.

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2021-09-01
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After Two Decades And More Than A 150,000 Dead, America Has Left Afghanistan

The withdrawal effort managed to evacuate 124,000 people before the last U.S. service member left Afghanistan on Monday, ending nearly two-decades of American military presence in the country after the September 11th attacks.

Tuesday at the White House, President Biden fervently defended his decision not to "extend the forever war," though touted America's remote warfare capabilities and told terror group ISIS-K: "We're not done with you yet."

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, White House correspondent Scott Detrow, Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman.

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2021-09-01
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How Will Biden Respond To US Crises?

Much of the country is reeling from natural disasters as COVID hospitalization rates hit levels not seen since before the vaccine was widely available. Evacuations continue from Afghanistan in the wake of the most deadly attack on U.S. service members in more than a decade.

All that during what was supposed to be a domestic policy-focused summer for the Biden White House, with two trillion-plus dollar deals on the line. So, how is the president responding to crisis?

This episode: White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe, senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro, and national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

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2021-08-30
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Weekly Roundup: August 27th

President Biden has warned there could be more violence coming over the weekend in Afghanistan. Yesterday's attack at Kabul's airport could be a preview of the disarray that could be in store for the country after the U.S. finally exits. And: it is still unclear where tens of thousands of evacuated Afghans will be allowed to resettle.

Also, voting rights activists will take to the streets across the country this weekend to pressure President Biden and congressional Democrats to take aggressive action on voting rights. The protests come as Republican-controlled state legislatures continue to pass measures that advocates say make it harder to vote.

This episode: White House correspondent Scott Detrow, White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez, national security correspondent Greg Myre, and politics and racial justice correspondent Juana Summers.

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2021-08-27
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More Than A Dozen Americans Dead After Attack At Kabul Airport

President Biden addressed the nation to offer condolences to the families of the U.S. military personnel and scores of Afghan civilians who died. He promised to hold the perpetrators accountable.

The evacuation mission continues ahead of Tuesday's deadline. More than a hundred thousand people have now been evacuated from Afghanistan.

This episode: congressional correspondent Kelsey Snell, White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe, and international correspondent Jackie Northam.

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2021-08-27
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Tens of Thousands Evacuated??And Many Thousands More To Go

The U.S. has only a few more days to evacuate as many as 1,500 Americans and many thousands of Afghans before the Tuesday deadline set in negotiations with the Taliban. Staying longer, U.S. officials say, risks violence. Now, attention has begun to turn to what comes next: how and where to resettle the scores who have fled.

This episode: congressional correspondent Susan Davis, White House correspondent Scott Detrow, and national security correspondent Greg Myre.

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2021-08-25
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Today Proved How Hard It Will Be For Democrats To Pass These Huge Bills

Moderate House Democrats want to vote on infrastructure before negotiations continue on the big Biden economic plan. Progressive Democrats, joined by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, worry that would sacrifice much-needed leverage. The compromise the party brokered Tuesday shows just how much work lies ahead as the party works to pass the heart of President Biden's agenda.

This episode: demographics and culture correspondent Danielle Kurtzleben, White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe, and congressional editor Deirdre Walsh.

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2021-08-24
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Vets Are Worried Their Afghan Allies Will Be Killed Before They Can Evacuate

The U.S. is evacuating thousands of people a day from Kabul, prioritizing Americans and citizens of NATO allies. The Taliban insist that all troops must be out of the country by the end of the month. That has left Americans who were deployed to the country worried about the fate of their Afghan allies ? particularly those outside of the capitol city.

This episode: demographics and culture correspondent Danielle Kurtzleben, national political correspondent Mara Liasson, and veterans correspondent Quil Lawrence.

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2021-08-23
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Why Didn't Biden Start Evacuating Americans Sooner? We Asked Him.

President Biden spoke about the situation in Afghanistan again Friday, emphasizing his commitment to evacuating all Americans and Afghan allies after the Taliban's swift takeover. NPR's Scott Detrow asked him why these evacuations didn't begin months ago when the U.S. still had more control in the country.

And as COVID cases continue to rise, many school administrators are implementing mask mandates for teachers and students despite orders in some states that prohibit the rules. The Biden administration said this week that ensuring a safe learning environment for students is a civil rights issue.

This episode: congressional correspondent Kelsey Snell, White House correspondent Scott Detrow, White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe, and education reporter Clare Lombardo.

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2021-08-20
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Biden: Military Isn't The Way To Deal With Human Rights Issues

Frantic evacuations continue in Afghanistan as President Biden publicly defends the way in which the withdrawal of U.S. troops was conducted. And in an interview with ABC on Wednesday, Biden said that using military force to deal with human rights issues was "not rational."

This episode: congressional correspondent Kelsey Snell, White House correspondent Asma Khalid, international correspondent Jackie Northam, and senior political editor and correspondent Ron Elving.

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2021-08-19
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Election Officials Still Get Death Threats

The nation's top election officials met in Iowa last weekend. They discussed the ongoing challenge presented by false conspiracy theories pushed by Republicans about the presidential election.

This episode: White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe, voting and misinformation reporter Miles Parks, and senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro.

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2021-08-18
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Most Kids Still Can't Get The Vaccine. They Represent 18% Of New Cases.

Hospitals across the country are nearing capacity as they struggle to treat unvaccinated Americans. Children represent eighteen percent of all new cases, as parents and pediatricians push to get those under twelve access to the vaccine as schools begin to reopen.

This episode: White House correspondent Scott Detrow, congressional correspondent Kelsey Snell, and health correspondent Allison Aubrey.

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2021-08-17
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Biden: Americans Shouldn't Die In A War That Afghans Aren't Willing To Fight

In a speech at the White House Monday, President Biden forcefully defended his decision to withdrawal from Afghanistan ? rebuking the Afghan government for being unwilling to fight the Taliban and emphasizing that spending more time and money in the country would not, in his view, have changed the outcome.

The president devoted very little of the speech to criticism he has faced over how the withdrawal was conducted. He took no questions from reporters.

It remains to be seen how many of tens of thousands of Afghans who aided the American war effort will be successfully evacuated.

This episode: congressional correspondent Kelsey Snell, Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman, White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez, and national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

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2021-08-17
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Weekly Roundup: August 13th

The unexpected announcement from the Pentagon comes as the Taliban is rapidly increasing their control over the country. And new census data out this week shows that the share of Americans who identify as multiracial is up nearly 300 percent since 2010.

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, congressional correspondent Susan Davis, White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez, and national correspondent Hansi Lo Wang.

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2021-08-13
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The Docket: Vaccine Mandates

In the latest installment of the Docket, our series on legal issues, NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben and Carrie Johnson talk about vaccine mandates with Lindsay F. Wiley, a law professor at American University.

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2021-08-12
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What's Next For New York After Cuomo's Resignation?

Once talked about as a future presidential candidate, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) will leave politics in disgrace after the release of a report detailing multiple allegations of sexual harassment. Some allegations he denies, others encounters he says are being mischaracterized. Now, there are big questions about the future of politics in the state.

This episode: White House correspondent Asma Khalid, New York State Public Radio reporter Karen DeWitt, political correspondent Danielle Kurtzleben, and senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro.

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2021-08-11
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