Eric Lipton, an investigative reporter for The New York Times, has been writing about how corporations work in opaque ways to shape debates. He also explains the revolving door between Congress and lobby groups, and how non-profit think tanks aren't always what they seem
The last week before the long summer recess is usually crunchtime for Congress, but that hasn't been the case for the 113th. New York Times correspondent Jonathan Weisman joins Fresh Air's Terry Gross to discuss why this Congress has passed so few laws.
President Obama has been re-elected. Democrats and Republicans have maintained their respective majorities in the Senate and in the House. So does this mean there will be more partisan gridlock? Fresh Air talks with political analyst Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute.
Journalist Robert Draper's article for The Atlantic traces how the redistricting process has been manipulated for electoral gain. It has created increasingly solid Republican or Democratic congressional districts, which has led to more representatives who are unwilling to compromise, Draper tells Fresh Air.
In his new book, The Parties Versus the People, the former Republican congressman says party leaders have too much control over who runs for office, what bills make it to the floor and how lawmakers vote.
New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza profiles Rep. Paul Ryan from Wisconsin, whose radical alternatives to President Obama's economic policies have helped shape the GOP as it enters the final stage of the 2012 presidential campaign.
Newt Gingrich made a fortune from the businesses he started after leaving Congress in 1999. Washington Post reporter Karen Tumulty explains how Gingrich "transfigured himself from a political flameout into a thriving business conglomerate."
The 87 new members of the House are the reason the GOP now controls the House. "Nearly 40 percent of them are self-styled 'citizen politicians' who have never held office and who rode into Washington on the Tea Party wave," says journalist Robert Draper.
Linguist Geoff Nunberg says the compromises we refuse to make say the most about our character. "Sometimes we stand on principle for the heady satisfaction of showing that we can't be pushed around," he says.
Vanity Fair's Todd Purdum followed President Obama and his advisers around for a day this summer. He says the modern-day presidency would be unrecognizable to previous chief executives -- "thanks to the enormous bureaucracy, congressional paralysis, systematic corruption and disintegrating media."
The longest-serving U.S. Senator in history died Monday. He was 92. In a 2004 interview on Fresh Air, Byrd discussed his 50-year Senate career with Terry Gross — and talked about the noteworthy votes he cast over the years.
Rep. Charlie Wilson died this week at 76. Fresh Air remembers the brash Texas Democrat, who was best known for secretly arming the Afghan mujahedeen against Soviet troops in the 1980s. In 2003, both Wilson and George Crile, author of Charlie Wilson's War, spoke to Fresh Air about the covert operation.
Max Cleland served in Vietnam — where he lost both legs and his right arm — before being elected to the U.S. Senate. His new memoir is Heart of a Patriot: How I Found the Courage to Survive Vietnam, Walter Reed and Karl Rove.
Lincoln Chafee, former U.S. senator from Rhode Island, was often called the most liberal Republican in the Senate. In office, he bucked his party on a number of hot-button issues, including same-sex marriage and the war in Iraq. His book Against the Tide challenges the Republican Party on its rightward drift.
It's been a busy congressional season — contentious hearings with Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez in the hot seat, revisions to the nation's domestic-eavesdropping laws, major ethics-reform moves and, of course, debate about what to do about Iraq. Journalist Carl Hulse, who reports on Congress for The New York Times, reviews the legislative session.
Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) is serving out his term after being ousted by Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse in the midterm elections. Considered to be the most liberal Republican in the Senate, Chafee is the only one to have voted against the war in Iraq. He made another notable split with the GOP when he opposed the nomination of John Bolton as Ambassador to the United Nations.