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Journalism lost a trailblazing voice yesterday. Cokie Roberts, who covered Congress for NPR beginning in the 1970s and later joined ABC News, passed away at the age of 75. 

Schooled early in political rivalries and genteel Southern manners, Roberts became a legendary reporter and best-selling author. On Second Thought spoke with Scott Simon, host of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday, to ask about his longtime colleague and friend.


Cindy Hill / GPB News

Coastal voters had a chance to hear candidates from Georgia’s first congressional district Wednesday night at a League of Women Voters forum in Savannah.

The contest pits a two-term incumbent against a first-time candidate.

Courtesy of Beau Cabell / The Telegraph

The federal Farm Bill making its way through Congress could dramatically reduce the availability of free school meals. Those meals offer significant help for the nearly 20 percent of Georgia households with children that struggle to afford quality food for their families, according to the Food Research and Action Center. So many students qualify for the free meal program in Macon's Bibb County School District that free breakfast and lunch are available district-wide. To put that in perspective, the district served 18,000 lunches last year alone.


One day after the group Georgians for the Impeachment of Donald Trump paid to have a billboard put up along St. Augustine Road in Valdosta, the Impeach Trump sign was taken down, according to the group's Facebook page
(Thomas Hochschild/Facebook)

On this edition of Political Rewind, two political controversies have plagued South Georgia.

The anger over a proposal to close most of the polling places in Randolph County is making national headlines and sparking continued allegations of voter suppression. Meanwhile, in Valdosta, a billboard advertising an 'Impeach Trump’ website survives just 24 hours before community pressure forces it down.


A worker is seen behind the registration window of the emergency room at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.
(AP Photo/David Goldman)

On this edition of Political Rewind, we take a broad look at healthcare in Georgia. After multiple attempts, Congress has failed to shut down The Affordable Care Act, but President Donald Trump is eliminating a number of key provisions through executive orders. What’s the likely impact on Georgians of ending the individual mandate?


Updated at 6:17 p.m. ET

Congress has voted to avert a partial government shutdown that could have come Friday night.

President Trump has recently taken a series of what appear to be bold executive actions to reverse Obama-era policies: declining to re-certify the Iran nuclear deal, halting subsidy payments to insurance companies and setting an expiration date for the DACA immigration program. But, in so doing, he's dumping thorny problems on a GOP-controlled Congress already struggling to rack up significant legislative accomplishments.

Updated at 3:35 p.m. ET

Republicans are once again waving the white flag on health care.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he is pulling the Republican health care bill because it does not have the votes.

Rather than endure another embarrassing vote that sees his caucus come up short, the senators agreed in a closed-door meeting to shelve the bill.

Lawmakers have less than two weeks of legislative days to head off a government shutdown, raise the nation's borrowing limit and provide financial assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Congress is back after a monthlong break, although it may not have seemed like Washington was on vacation based on the pace of political news in August.

 

 

Georgia Congressman Austin Scott (R GA-08) wants to end a program that offers subsidized, low cost cell phones.

Scott introduced the End Taxpayer Funded Cell Phones Act in late July. It would end an Obama era program which provides basic smart phone service to people with low incomes for $9.25 a month.

The White House says the fight over health care is not over, but on Capitol Hill, Republicans are ready to move on.

"The president isn't giving up on health care and neither should the Senate," Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney declared on CNN on Wednesday.

On the Senate floor that same morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, was already focused elsewhere.

Updated at 9:45 a.m. ET Monday

Congressional leaders have struck a deal to keep the federal government funded through September.

The budget negotiations provided Democrats with a rare opportunity for leverage and clout, since Democratic votes will be needed to advance the spending plan through the Senate — and possibly the House if enough members of the conservative Freedom Caucus vote against it.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

The Republican chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations committees have endorsed the idea of a short-term spending bill to keep the government open while budget negotiations continue.

The stop-gap spending measure, introduced by House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, would put off the deadline to May 5.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

After a storm of criticism, including from President-elect Donald Trump, House Republicans have reversed themselves and restored the current rules of the Office of Congressional Ethics.

GOP members met Tuesday afternoon and agreed by unanimous consent to withdraw a change to House rules approved late Monday evening, before the new Congress was sworn in, that would have weakened the ethics office, an independent watchdog first established in 2008 under House Democrats.

Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET

The House Republican Conference voted Monday night to approve a change to House rules to weaken the independence of the Office of Congressional Ethics and place it under the oversight of the House Ethics Committee, a panel controlled by party leaders.

It will be part of a broader House Rules package to be voted on by the full body on Tuesday after the 115th Congress officially convenes and the House elects a speaker.

As the 115th Congress is sworn in Tuesday, Republicans will be poised to control Washington with a stronger hand than they have in a decade — with the Senate, House and the White House in GOP control once President-elect Donald Trump takes office on January 20.

This past November, Republicans held their congressional losses to a minimum, helped by an unexpectedly strong GOP wave behind Trump. After losing just two Senate seats, they'll hold a 52-48 edge (two independents caucus with Democrats). In the House, Republicans lost six seats, giving them a 241-194 majority.