Top Of The News
MIKE PESCA, host:
Welcome back to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. We are on digital FM, Sirius Satellite Radio, and online at npr.org/bryantpark. I'm Mike Pesca. Coming up, move over, Deep Blue. There's a new game-playing computer in town, and this one beat a real, live human at a quintessentially human game. But first, let's get the latest news headlines from the BPP's Mark Garrison.
BILL WOLFF: This is NPR.
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MARK GARRISON: Thank you, Mike. Federal Reserve chair, Ben Bernanke, faces Congress again today. Yesterday, he told the Senate the economy is expanding slowly, but faces big challenges. NPR's Paul Brown has more.
PAUL BROWN: Bernanke says rising energy prices, flat wages, and the bursting of the housing-market bubble are creating inflationary pressure alongside reduced buying power. Yesterday, he said if higher prices start to put upward pressure on wages, the Fed would have to aggressively fight inflation. That would mean raising interest rates. Economist Gary Clayton of Northern Kentucky University says the Fed has few good choices.
Dr. GARY CLAYTON (Chair, Economics & Finance, Northern Kentucky University): If the Fed tries to fight inflation by restricting the growth of the money supply, it drives up interest rates. That drives up prices. So, this is going to be a very difficult period for the Fed.
BROWN: Clayton says with no apparent restraint on energy prices just yet, the country may simply have to ride out a period of inflation as an expansion cycle in the economy ends.
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GARRISON: We had a mic problem. Sorry about that. That's NPR's Paul Brown reporting. E. coli tainted beef has now been found in five states. The meat came from Nebraska Beef Limited, which sent it to Kroger. Kroger recalled more than five million pounds last month. More than 40 people have gotten sick, some seriously. The Centers for Disease Control has details on its website.
Congress has overridden a presidential veto of a health bill. NPR's Julie Rovner has more.
JULIE ROVNER: After failing to outflank the president on the Children's Health Insurance Program, Democrats in Congress played the Medicare bill just right. Here's how Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus put it on the Senate floor just before the vote.
Senator MAX BAUCUS (Democrat, Montana): Will doctors' doors stay open to old Americans, and to the children of our fighting men and women? Our voice tonight will make that difference.
ROVNER: Medicare's physician fees also determine the payment for the TRICARE program that serves nine million members of the military and their families. That forced Republicans to choose between doctors and patients, and the insurance companies, whose payments would be trimmed to pay for the bill. In the end, enough Republicans chose the former to produce lopsided majorities in both the House and Senate.
GARRISON: NPR's Julie Rovner reporting. And that is your news for now. Plenty more online at npr.org.
WOLFF: This is NPR.